17 month old terrorizes our cat.. - Mothering Forums
Life with a Toddler > 17 month old terrorizes our cat..
Monday's Avatar Monday 05:28 AM 06-08-2012



I don't know how to stop our toddler 17 months to stop chasing, sitting on, dragging and pulling our cats tail.  Things we have tried are:

> distraction (showing him something else to get his attention away from the cat)

> Saying NO firmly and picking him up and moving him

> sitting him on a chair and explaining that he needs to be gentle with the pets

> showing him how to pat and stroke gently


Sometimes these work but not often and he seems to get a huge pleasure from man handling the poor cat as he giggles and claps, then does it again.  I feel that the word NO is wearing thin and we dont particularly like using it if it isnt having any affect.


Anyone got ANY ideas? Wil he grow out of it soon or is there a way I can show him how to be gentle with animals??


Thanks in advance for any replies

crystal_buffaloe's Avatar crystal_buffaloe 11:50 AM 06-08-2012
I'm guessing the cat is de-clawed? This is my fear with DD -- we don't have a cat but she LOVES them (too much) and I'm afraid she's going to be scratched.

I'm also guessing that the cat runs away out of reach when its being mistreated -- is that right?
skycheattraffic's Avatar skycheattraffic 12:02 PM 06-08-2012
You must have one tolerant cat to put up with it lol. One of my cats runs from DD but the other hangs around.
skycheattraffic's Avatar skycheattraffic 12:06 PM 06-08-2012
Sorry I got cut off. It sounds like you're doing the right things. Keep explaining, showing, and don't let him get away with it. As I see DD approach kitty, I remind her to be gentle. I think as long as you step in and not let him torment the cat and explain how it feels bad and makes kitty sad/hurt he will get it. My dd used to be rough too but is steadily getting more gentle.
Monday's Avatar Monday 01:15 AM 06-09-2012

my cat doesn't run away, she can't as usually ds is gripping her tail so tightly that she CAN'T run.  She isn't declawed either, but has never scratched or tried to fight back, she does kind of tolerate it and doesn't exactly try and avoid him either, its not like she is terrified of him, I guess I just want ds to understand that animals must be treated with respect.  Luckily both my dog and cat are VERY tolerant.  But I still dont think they should have to put up with it!

Monday's Avatar Monday 01:17 AM 06-09-2012

skycheattraffic: yeh i think I am just going to have to be a lot more vigilant and try and step in more and maybe if I stroke and pet the cat more he will copy. 


Thanks for your replies :)

crystal_buffaloe's Avatar crystal_buffaloe 02:41 PM 06-09-2012
I really think your DS will outgrow it. I would step in ASAP and talk about it each and every time, but I think this is something that he will figure out. I'm not as good about this as I should be, either, but I'd also try to be just as consistent in giving positive praise when he's doing a good job with the cat. HTH smile.gif
neonalee's Avatar neonalee 04:29 PM 06-15-2012
Monday - oh was I in your shoes 2 months ago! At least, I think it was 2 months ago. Or so. dizzy.gif Anyway, DS did all the same and our cat and dog (amazingly) tolerated it. We consistently said NO and Gentle! Gentle! Gentle! and OPEN HAND!! 9 out of 10 times we had to actively intervene - he didn't stop even with our verbal reminders. Sometimes I'd sit down on the floor and DS would sit on my lap and I would call the cat over and I would demonstrate, saying gentle and open hand again. Exaggerating my hand being open & flat and never closing my hand at all. Whenever DS would be near the cat I'd try to keep an eye out and overpraise for gentle touch. We bought a book called "hands can" that he loves, but I don't know if that made a difference.

2 days ago we were out at the ice cream shop and DS was able to pet (well, more like pat LOL) someone's little puppy very gently. He's 22 months. Be vigilant and consistent and he will likely learn appropriate behavior.
dancingflower's Avatar dancingflower 11:14 PM 06-15-2012
We have a cat and a toddler too. But as we always say that every child is different, each cat is a different story too.

Our cat won't give DS a chance. When he starts the chasing, she disappears. DS is a pretty chilled child and the cat is feisty.

While your DS is learning, why don't you give the cat more escape opportunities?

I mean, before I realized that my DS was of a very mellow personally, I had already envisioned how I was going to give my old cat a break from the high energy of a toddler. I wanted to build shelves for the cat to get out of reach. Like these:


But if your LO is obstinate... Would he try to climb after the cat? Oh my smile.gif

Btw. One thing that worked with DS was to model gentle touch, again and again...
bananabee's Avatar bananabee 05:05 AM 06-16-2012

My DD was getting too rough with our dog, and really getting on his nerves. He is very patient and gives a lot of warning before reacting, but I was worried he would nip her. Even though she knew better, it seemed like she didn't have a real reason to change her behavior. I decided to teach her a lesson, and when she was trying to climb on him, I picked a moment when she was near his face but not looking at him, and I growled and clamped down on her arm to give her a quick bite. She thought it was him, and jumped away, crying from the rude surprise. My dog appreciated my intervention and has been even more patient with her since then. He gives me this look when she's too close for comfort. I think I may have had to repeat that treatment, but now she has a proper respect for animals. She LOVES animals of all kinds, but she's aware they have teeth!

Asiago's Avatar Asiago 01:16 PM 06-16-2012

While an infant we modeled behavior, took my son's hand with ours and showed "gentle". Once he had the dexterity to control his hand....it worked out.


When the 'chasing' phase came and my son's lower brain urged him instinctively to 'chase', we basically had to separate him from the dog when he began to chase him. We utilized the baby gates. Cognitive function and control comes along with age and developement. I found that the chasing phase passes.

crystal_buffaloe's Avatar crystal_buffaloe 01:43 PM 06-16-2012
Originally Posted by dancingflower View Post

I had already envisioned how I was going to give my old cat a break from the high energy of a toddler. I wanted to build shelves for the cat to get out of reach. Like these:

Those are AWESOME!