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My cat keeps scratching the kids

Posted: Sun Dec 29, 2019 11:03 am
by Carlyjane87
Hi just looking for some advice please we got betty our cat when she was 10 weeks old she is now 2 years old she has never been one for cuddles or even being petted but seems to scratch my children and hiss at them all the time even if they arnt bothering her if they walk past her she scratches there legs n draws blood this morning she got my 4 year old daughters face and it was so close to her i eye i really dont want to rehome her but its getting out of control shes hissing at my neices and nephews when they visit but she never does this to adults do you think shes not happy in a home with children maybe it really is becoming unmanageable i cant leave her near the kids incase she scratches them and shes a house cat refuses to go out 😣 at my wits end ive tried allsorts to stop her doing it giving her little spots in quiet so she can get out the way if she wants nothing seems to work if anyone has any advice xxx

Re: My cat keeps scratching the kids

Posted: Sun Dec 29, 2019 12:47 pm
by exlibris
First thing - is she neutered....even at this late stage it might be a factor. It doesn't change the personality you love, but does calm the hormones that are sending her scatty.

Either way, clearly something has changed to alter / worsen her behaviour:
Could be illness - pain could be causing her to lash out.
Could be that the house has got even busier - your kids are getting bigger and louder, they have friends coming around and more younger family are visiting, even if they leave her alone it could be a bit much.
Could be you've got outdoor cats marking your backdoor and she can smell them - she feels threatened and she might be trying to be dominant. I'm assuming all your kids are now really wary of her? She'll be picking up on that, so it will appear to we working.

You're going along the right lines trying to give her time out spaces. Is she using them? Have you managed to hit on the right ones? If not, see where she gravitates to naturally (mine love a box on top of the wardrobe).

Find out how your children are trying to play with Betty. I know with my first cat I would encourage rough play, which meant she kept trying to bite my partner - I thought she was wonderful, my partner thought she was a hellcat. By rough play I mean moving her around with my hands playing but not stopping when claws and teeth come out. Nothing harmful, but basically not realising when Lucy had had enough and it had gone from play to annoying her. I feel very annoyed at myself now, but apparently it's quite a common mistake. You could try getting your kids to engage with Betty using a cat toy on a line or a bit of string. Both keeping her at arms length, but also giving her the choice when to start/stop play and stimulate her instincts.

Good luck.

Re: My cat keeps scratching the kids

Posted: Sun Dec 29, 2019 2:47 pm
by Carlyjane87
Thankyou so much for replying shes been neutered yes and i wouldnt really say her behaviour has changed as such maybe a bit quicker to get her claws out and hiss but maybe like you say its worked at keeping the kids away so maybe why shes worse now at night time when the kids are in bed shes a different cat wont sit on your lap but will sit next to you though and does let us occasionally stroke her im going to try getting some more toys in the house and see if they work just feel like shes unhappy all the time everyone keeps saying i should be kind and find her a home without children but i want to try everything i can first 😓 i just wonder if she will ever calm down .

Re: My cat keeps scratching the kids

Posted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:38 am
by lilynmitz
You need to look at the world through your cat’s eyes. You say she won’t go out - this suggests to me that by nature she is a timid cat. As a kitten she was around lively toddlers, who can behave unpredictably, and loudly (!) which could spook even a docile cat, so it’s given your cat some negative learning experiences. Now the kids are older and much more mobile, and no less noisy and unpredictable, she is constantly on the alert for another incident that she might find scary. So she lashes out at your kids when they come near to tell them to keep away from her, as she’s scared. She’s not a nasty cat, just a very anxious one. The fact that she settles down once the kids are in bed and she is in the presence of calm adults shows she has the capacity to be a relaxed and loving cat.

Try explaining this to your children so that they can see her in a different light and be more careful around her, and keep reinforcing this; their behaviour needs to be consistent for the cat to learn to trust them again. Teach them to spend time with her being quiet and calm (although it may take your cat some time to learn to trust them when they are doing this, and it’s more than likely that your children, being perfectly normal, will get bored with this after a few minutes, leap up and carry on being lively, spooking her in the process! So, kids being kids this is a big ask, telling them to calm down because the cat finds it scary when they’re being lively is probably placing wildly unrealistic expectations on perfectly normal children.

So I’m going to suggest something that goes against the grain: rehome her to an adult only household. The cat will be happier, your children won’t keep getting scratched (and hence learning negative lessons about cats) and you won’t have to keep worrying about the welfare and happiness of both the cat and your family. Your current situation is why many rescues won’t rehome to households with young children, it frequently results in precisely the problems you are experiencing. Some cats cope pretty well with it if they are confident and laid back by nature, but most cats are anxious to some degree (their super alertness to danger is part of their survival skills), and children are by nature noisy, at times boisterous, and frequently unpredictable, all things that will trigger a scaredy cat into fight or flight. If you decide to follow this route, if you can home her with friends or family without children, this will be less traumatic for her and will mean you can still visit her from time to time. Otherwise, get in touch with a responsible local rescue centre, and they will place her with a family more suited to her needs.

Re: My cat keeps scratching the kids

Posted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:06 am
by Mollycat
I would completely agree with Lilynmitz, it does sound like children are the problem for her. My girl Molly was rescued at 9 months old from a noisy chaotic home and unfortunately this early experience has left deep scars so even now at 12 years old she is still extremely timid. She wasn't mistreated I don't think, but handled in a way that suggests small children and had cuddles forced on her when she didn't want them. It took 4 years before I could rub her ears even though she loves it, she was just too scared I would be rough to trust me with them.

Rehoming isn't a failure, it's responding with empathy and kindness to your cat's catness, being sensitive to her needs and putting her welfare first. We can do all we can but sometimes the square peg just has to go in a square hole not the round one we have to offer.