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Tazz's Mommy
09-22-2000, 12:57 PM
I have a kitten he is 16 weeks old.And he has become very aggresive towards my niece she is 2 years old.He hisses at her growls and tries to attack her. I have always monitered any time they were near each other she has never hurt or scared him in any way.
He just recently started to act this way. And he only acts this way to her.

EileenKay
09-23-2000, 11:14 PM
I don't think you can say she has never scared him, he is making it clear to you that that is not true. It's a very bad habit to start off pet ownership by denying or ignoring the messages your pet is sending you.

Toddlers are often noisy and have chaotic, random movements. If your niece doesn't live with you she carries strange scents with her too. It's very common for cats to be frightened of toddlers, especially at first. Although you may supervise her very well, many people don't, and kittens end up with broken necks, legs, tails, and internal injuries from toddlers fairly often. So their instincts are natural and correct for the most part. These are all reasons that animal behaviorists say people with preschool children should not have kittens.

It is harmful to punish cats for sending out warning signals or defending themselves when they are frightened.

You may need to distract him with interactive fishing pole type toys when she is around. He needs to have high places where he can go to feel safe and observe her behavior, such as tall cat trees, bookcases, tall dressers, and the like. And sometimes you may need to have a room ready with his accessories where he can stay while she is around.

The book 'Think Like a Cat' has a chapter on cats & children, as well as much information on how to interpret the behavior of your cat and effective ways to manage it.

Pam
09-24-2000, 06:53 AM
My cat, Trevor, reacts strangely to some visitors too. When someone new comes into our home he rubs up against them and smells their shoes. Sometimes he will give a muffled "growl." We have tried to think of a link between the people who get the "growl" and those who do not. The only thing these people have in common is that they have dogs at home. This is sort of strange, too, because Trevor used to live with 2 dogs and got along quite well with them. (They have both since passed away). It may not be the "dog factor" but I would agree that it is possibly a smell that triggers the reaction. Trevor is also not a kitten. He is a big 22 lb. tabby who is not reacting because he feels threatened. http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/biggrin.gif He is normally a very laid back cat! There was one incident on Thanksgiving a few years back where he did hiss at my 14 year old niece but I think it was because the house was full of people and he felt a little stressed. Up til then we had never even heard him hiss at all (except the day we introduced him to our new kitty, Andy). Now they are great buddies. I would say give it some time but, by all means, don't leave your kitten in the room with your niece until he outgrows this behavior.

lhg0962
09-24-2000, 05:44 PM
By all means, separate your cat from the toddler when she is around. Cats are very independent animals and don't always react well to the sudden movements of small children, even if it isn't directed towards the cat. I always tell all visitors at my house to just lightly pet my cat and move on. She is unpredictable. It sounds like this cat has given you the message that he is not happy, so heed the warning! Better safe than sorry. Good luck and don't get mad at the cat. http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/cool.gif

EileenKay
10-01-2000, 01:55 AM
Pam, re: "The only thing these people have in common is that they have dogs at home. This is sort of strange, too, because Trevor used to live with 2 dogs and got along quite well with them."

just a comment - that isn't strange at all really, because the dogs Trevor smells on those people are not the dogs he lived with. Generally if a cat comes home from the vet after surgery it's companion cats will growl or hiss at it as though it's a stranger because it brings different smells home with it - they don't even care that it is the same animal!!!