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RE: cat and toddler

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Posted by: 3coolcats at Mon Aug 8 12:34:50 2005  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by 3coolcats ]  
   

I have a 3 yr old and until recently 3 cats....sadly one passed away. Now I am home all day and normally right there with her. But as a parent who also has a house to take care of, I am not always in the same room with our daughter. That also means I'm not always in the same room as the cats. I have never locked the cats up. We have taught our daughter from a very young age how to be nice to the cats. She is usually very good but occasionally forgets. Instead of getting mad at her, we decided on natural consequence for this........if she corners a cat and a cat bites or scratch then, as horrible as this may sound, our daughter deserved it. At a young age (11 months) it didn't phase her. But now that she's older and she comes crying to us we can explain that she hurt the kitty first so the kitty defended itself and hurt her more. That usually gets her to leave the cats alone for a few days. All the cat is doing is defending itself and I believe it should not be punished. I think your friend should take the time when it happens to talk to the toddler each time about being nice to the cat. Yes she will have to do it numerous time but in the next few years it really will start sinking in. Also he is young still. Not even a year old. From the time my daughter was 11 months until she was 2 was the hardest on the cats. Then it started tapering off. Now at 3 1/2, almost 4, it is rare to have her do anything mean to the cats. And now one of the cats (the one who has always given her the most chances to learn to be nice but yet was always the biggest biting/scratching offender) will come up to her on his own to get petted by her. Maybe if your friend just changes her way of thinking a tiny bit and realizes it's just a passing phase then she won't get so upset. She just needs to make sure both baby and cat are up-to-date on shots because if a bite gets infected then the child will need antibiotics. (I know from experience, once a bite on a finger got soooo swollen that our daughter was in tons of pain. One of the first questions the doctor asked was if both were current on shots. They were so our daughter didn't need anything more than antibiotics.) Good luck in talking to your friend. Feel free to share my experience with cats and a toddler with her. And if it makes her feel any better you can add that I'm expecting baby #2 in a few months and I plan on doing the same thing all over again with the natural consequences for a young toddler learning to be nice to cats.

Oh yeah.....let me add that once our daughter hit the age of 3 and we knew she understood what it means to be nice to the cats, if we catch her really doing something mean (like sitting on one.....what possesses her to do this we don't know) we now just skip the natural consequence and give her a swat on the butt and then give her a time out. She's at the age now that this is more effective than natural consequence when it comes to the cats.

Kathryn


   

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