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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please Help!

My near 3 yr old dd is very rough with our cat. She pulls the fur, tail, ears. Wraps her hands around her neck, throws objects at it, hits it with her hands and toys.

We adopted the cat (it was a stray) about 3 months ago and she has not let up yet with the aggressive behaviour.

I am seriously at a loss. Repetition, repetition repetition we have tried, "we pet the cat, not hurt it." Over and over and over.

We have rewarded the good behaviour.

We have tried to keep her away from the cat but it is very hard to do 24/7

Tonight at about 5pm she was seriously hurting the cat and I had had it after so many months of my talking not phasing her at all and told her she was not allowed near the cat for the rest of the night but she would find the cat (or it would find her) and next thing I know she is hitting it again. I lost it and told her we were getting rid of the cat but now regret it.

I dont know what to do?????!!!!

Should I make the cat live in the basment till she is ready to try again???

Should we find the cat a new home???

What are the natural consequences to hurting the family pet???

PLEASE HELP
 

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Oh my gosh... I was just going to post about this! My just turned 4yr. old is doing the same type of thing w/ our new kitten. We got the cat from a friend about a month ago I guess. As far as natural consequences, well our ds is soo scratched up from the cat!!! It's really bad, but it doesn't seem to stop him at all. I sure hope someone has some good suggestions.
 

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Sometimes I see my 4 yo ds look at the cat sneak up and hit it. It certainly shocks me and grieves me. we used to sing the song "I love little pussy, her coat is so warm, and if I don't hurt her she'll so me no harm, so I'll not pull her tail nor driver her away and pussy and I very gently will play". It was a song my mother sang to me when I showed innappropriate behavior to the cat. Well, it doesn't work with my son. In fact it makes him want to pull her tail and drive her away. I changed to lyrics to say" ...so I'll sit by the fire and give her some food, and I'll pet little pussy because she's so good.' It works better. It turns out that my son doesn't respond well to negative commands, but if he is talked to in a sweet empathetic positive way, he models that behavior. For instance, if he is pulling the cats tail my first reaction is to say, "stop that, you are being mean. Play gently, play gently please." That doesn't work. However, if I take a deep breath, even wait a bit to get calmer ( let the cat be tortured for a few more seconds) then quietly reach my own hand in there and start stroking the cat, then sweetly say "what soft fur she has, it feel like little clouds, she is such a sweet liitle kitty, when she was a little kitten, i used to snuggle with her and she would purr and purr...blah blah blah...." but don't even mention the negative behavior, ds does a complete turn around and starts being so sweet to her. Use the kind of things that makes your child feel soft and secure inside. My child likes images of soft cuddly things, like nests and chicks and baby mice, etc... It is so hard for me NOT to be direct with the problem, to make a moral teaching opportunity out of the situation, but experience has shown me that it doesn't really work with my son. I think the reason why is because he isn't TRYING to hurt the cat, he is learning about cause and effect, or he is learning about dominance and his and the cats places in the pecking order of our family. I see my job at this point to teach him other ways of feeling towards the cat. I am hoping that modeling appropriate behavior is more powerful than his whims. It seems to be working. He hits the cat about half the time he used to, and more important than that, he spends positive time with the cat now.

BTW, natural consequences haven't really worked for us very well, I think, because it assumes some sort of logical reasoning. My son usually misbehaves out of emotional neediness and is not in a very logical state of mind. He is the kind who would keep on hitting the cat no matter how much he got scratched, because his perceived "need" to do it overwhelms him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you, I think I might try the complete lack of mentioning the negative behaviour and only focus on the positive. She is definitely like your ds BusyBee, she doesn't respond well to my lesson teaching. If modelling the positive behaviour produces a change within a reasonable time I think I can manage, it is so hard though since it has been several months of trying to correct the behaviour with little results, very frustrating and exhausting.
 

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rosebuds-We have two new kittens, and my 3 year old likes to run after them and stalk them. He is also fond of pulling them out from under furniture to pet them. He hasn't hit the cats, yet, but he is a bit rough and it really worries me. I know it's just the age, I really do. And I think this may be the case for you, too. He doesn't get that the cats don't want to just sit in his lap. There has been a lot of yelling around here and some regret and questioning over whether or not this was the right time to adopt two new kittens. I am crossing my fingers that focusing on the positive only will really help. Thanks for this thread.
 
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