Cat scratched my baby for the 3rd time in 3 months - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 38 Old 12-15-2003, 05:41 PM
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Sorry to hear about your dilemma. I am not sure there is a black and white answer to issues like this, and each situation should be treated individually without all the judgements being thrown around. Cats can be jealous and feel displaced by the new baby and feel threatened by them as they enter the toddler stage and start investigating things, inculding the cat. I do believe there is a responsibility to both the cat and the child, and there are different solutions for each case. Having access via the cat door means that you cannot always control when your cat is going to come in and they both might be unattended and you might want to consider changing that, if the dog needs to come and go that way you can get magnetic doors that only allow access to that particular pet. Also the cat needs attention too, and probably senses when you are upset at her, but also needs to understand that scratching the baby is not acceptable behavior. She may be happier in a different home with no kids, too, and if that works better for everyone there is nothing wrong with that, as long as it is handled properly. Sometimes you can get the situation to resolve by working with the cat (or dog) and the child, sometimes it just is not going to work, and you have to look for other options. Soft claws are good, but the cat can still bite, and after declawing (which as a vet I have never done and consider humane, it has never been legal in UK where I graduated) cats may bite more, as their primary defences are gone, plus it is traumatic, and not recommended for outside cats, and it sometimes takes a lot longer than a week to recover, or can change a cats temperament and behavior permanently. There are feline behaviorists too who might be able to help you work with the cat, as it often is resolvable, but your child definitely needs to be protected and to feel safe in their own home. Bach Flower Remedies can help with the cat's emotional issues too, if she is just scared, jealous or plain aggressive, and with the idea's people have suggested you may be able to improve the situation, or at least try to. Anyhow I hope you work it out one way or another, I think you just have to look at what is best for your family, child, cat and make the right decision and thats all you can do, it is not always black or white and if you do end up finding a good home for the cat, which might work out better I do not think you should feel guilty, yes a pet is a big responsibility, but doing the right thing for them sometimes requires that step. Not suggesting taking her to the pound where she would probably be euthanized but finding her a good home directly or through an appropriate rescue organization.

Good Luck

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#32 of 38 Old 12-15-2003, 10:59 PM
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<putting on mod hat> I'd like to try and stay away from the "disposable pet" subject. Either that or start a topic on that in another forum.

Devrock has made her point and done so respectfully. You are all welcome to respectfully disagree with her, but please direct those responses to the OP (as in, offer her some other alternatives).

<now for my two cents... >

I look at it this way: what are the chances of my DD being seriously hurt? She has had many scratches from the cat. They are scratches, that's it. Sometimes she barely even notices them. Yes, there is a slight chance that the cat could scratch her eyeball - a serious injury. But IMO the risks of that are very very small and not worth taking any further measures (other than keeping an eye on the two of them when they are interacting). The risk is definitely not so much that I can't wait it out. In another year or so it will be a moot issue. I've had my cat for almost 12 years now. It's worth waiting.

The OP needs to decide how much she wants the cat to stay with her. If she wants to get rid of the cat, then that's her choice. IMO, as the cat's owner, she has a moral responsibility to ensure that the home it goes to is appropriate, and that there is virtually no chance that the cat will be displaced again in the future.

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#33 of 38 Old 12-16-2003, 01:15 PM
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thank you, piglet. My thoughts exactly: what are the chances of a child getting seriously injured by a cat? Very, very slim. My daughter often scratches herself worse than any cat could. This is a temporary situation that will go away once the child is old enough to understand how she must treat the cat. Until then, there is a way to guarantee she is never scratched and that is to not let them interact without complete supervision. If that means putting the cat in a room with the door closed for much of the day, so be it. (This is better than shelter life, even at a no-kill shelter, and it can take a loooong time to find another suitable home.) Only let the cat roam around when you are focused on both the animal and your child. Definitely get a bell for the collar so you will be more aware of where the cat is. And even if the child cannot yet truly understand, begin the process of educating about how to treat animals. Pet the cat gently in front of the child, only on the head, and say "we have to be gentle with the cat and s/he only likes you to touch the head" kind of thing. I think the posts about animals being disposible are a reaction to the fact that in a very few instances an animal may truly be too aggressive to be in a home with children, but that the cases in which an animal is given away far exceed these few instances.
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#34 of 38 Old 12-16-2003, 11:10 PM
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My vet recently told me something I did not know - that the front claws are for capturing prey ONLY. Not for climbling and defending as I previously believed (they defend by grabbing and using their back claws). We have two cats and one is declawed by my choice. I rescued her from a shelter and she REALLY tore up my furniture. So, rather than hand her back to the shelter, I had her declawed. She is awesome! And we also have a pet door for our two dogs (yes, we have a small zoo). My other cat is not declawed and he brings in live rodents at least 4 times a week if we do not lock the pet door at night (just before writing this I rescued a bird from our living room!).

Anyway, my opinion is that your cat will be happier with you declawed than having to search for a new home.

Good luck.
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#35 of 38 Old 12-17-2003, 02:36 AM
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Does your cat door lock? If so, keep it locked. Problem solved Only let her in at night when the little one is sleeping. If you decide to have them in the house at the same time, you need to be watching them- don't even run to the bathroom.

You can clip the nails yourself, it's pretty simple and helps, but you'd still need to always be in the room to watch them.

I have a dog (not the biting dog that Devrock was referring to) that when we moved into a smaller place recently started getting "snappy" with the baby (not biting, but threatning to). I posted here about it and got some wonderful advice. I immediatley implemented behavior modifications and the problems stopped within a week. Had they not, I would have given him away in a heartbeat. Anyway, all is well now, he lets ds "ride" him and pull on him. But, I am ALWAYS in the room with them. They are never to be left alone together, because you can never trust an animal alone with your child. If I need to leave the room, I put the dog outside or in ds1's room. Maybe you can do the same.


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#36 of 38 Old 12-17-2003, 11:45 AM
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Regarding the vet who said that the front claws are not used for defense, I would be skeptical since I imagine this vet performs (and profits from) declaw surgery. I have only heard the exact opposite and watch any two cats in a fight and you will see the one on the defensive using his front claws to swipe at the aggressor (as well as grabbing and using the back claws). I think it is not in the best interests of the cat to declaw and still allow it to be an outdoor cat (I don't think it's good for cats to be outdoors period, but that's probably more of an urban/rural issue. Here in the city, it's crazy to let your cat roam outside.) Also, many cats recover fine from the surgery, but you can never tell if your cat will be one who becomes a biter as a result or has health problems from the surgery.
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#37 of 38 Old 07-12-2014, 09:44 AM
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father_nature, welcome to the Mothering community.

I've removed your post. While your input may be of value, the way it is expressed is not respectful. You are welcome to post again but do so with respect and helpful advice rather than blame and sarcastic insult.
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#38 of 38 Old 01-13-2015, 09:23 AM
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It will also be traumatic for the kitty to be locked in the bathroom for the rest of its life. One of our cats just clawed our crawler across the face. Up until he's been incredibly patient, but the cat hasn't learned to get out of the way and the kid hasn't learned not to pull the cat's hair so it's going to be a while before they can be in the same room again.

I see parents here blaming their infants and toddlers for harassing the cat. This makes no sense. The cat can move much faster than a toddler, the cat has full control over its movement and knows better than to attack people, and is more than agile enough to jump out of the way. If the cat is getting harassed, then unless the cat is indeed somehow cornered, it's entirely the cat's fault.

A young child by contrast has very little control over their hands, doesn't know yet that pulling hair and tail hurts and doesn't know any better on how to treat a cat.
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