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Here's a question. My 3-year old son has taken to kicking my cat... and this is very upsetting to me. We've always shown him to be kind and gentle with animals, and he always has been until now. I'm not sure why it's changed. I also have a 4 month old. Could it be a way of trying to get attention?

Anyway, last night, my son walked over to the cat and kicked him (not too hard, but hard enough that the cat got up and ran away). I told my son "no" we don't kick the cat because (fill in the usual reasons why one wouldn't kick a cat). Later, he did it again, and laughed. Needless to say, I got angry.

Later, when I tried to show my son how *I* pet the cat and am kind to him, and how the cat likes it, etc., my son just said "sometimes you [meaning himself] pet him, sometimes you kick him..."
I really do not know how to handle this situation. It makes zero sense to me to use violence or anger to prevent a child from behaving violently. But, at the same time, I cannot let him hurt my cat (my cat is 16 years old, and he's not as strong as he once was).

Does anyone know how I can make "don't kick the cat" stick without using anger, or God forbid, spanking?
 
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