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How do I get my cat to stop scratching and biting when my child wants to pet him?

We adopted a cat a few weeks ago and he was absoulty wonderful. My child, like most three year olds, got really excited and likes to chase the cat. Well I got it to where he doesn't chase him so often anymore but the cat now scratches and bites my husband when he trys to let our son, pet him. Our son will sit calmly but the cat still fights him. Is there a way that I can make this stop? I have tried to tell my husband that if our son hadn't chased the cat that this wouldn't be happening. He knows better than to chase animals because we had a cat before. But he thinks it ok to get rid of the cat if our son gets scratched because he's provoking the cat and it's defending himself. What can I do to help settle everyone?


Asked by Kitten19 at 11:05 PM on Dec. 28, 2009 in Pets

Level 4 (36 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (5)
  • How old is your cat? We adopted ours when she was a kitten, so she grew up with my little ones and it seems like she sees them as playmates. My kids (5 and 3) chase her around, and she runs, but she will also initiate the chasing. On occassion she will swipe at them when they get to lovey-dovey with her. I just say, "She doesn't like that. Get away from her. She wants to be left alone now." I take time to point out her body movements and teach them what it means when her ears point back, or what it means when her tail twitches. We also watch for things like how she's laying/sitting. You can find great pointers here: cat body language


    Answer by happy1mom at 11:12 AM on Dec. 29, 2009

  • Honestly, this is a major problem. I have been through it. It might be best to give cat back to Humane Society under these circumstances. Shelters where I am won't give cats to families with kids under age 8. Believe me, it surprised me. I ended up going to Craigslist. It's not fair to the cat who will now associate your son with something threatening. The chasing was a mistake that I don't think you can fix. You could try separating the two or waiting to adopt when your child can learn to respect animals (not his fault, he's just little). Either way, cat loses in this deal now or down the road when your husband gets mad enough and tosses him out the door. I'd get rid of him. Consider a kitten that is a baby and can grow with your son but you'd have to watch kitty like a hawk to make sure he is safe.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:09 PM on Dec. 28, 2009

  • hold the cat, even if its harshly, and let ur son pet the cat. then cat will re-learn that your son is ok. just make sure that your son doesnt chase him anymore. you dont need to get rid of the cat unless hes posing a threat. from the way it sounds, the only time there is a problem is when your son tries to pet him. get the kitty treats and make sure ur son is the one to give them to the cat.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:52 AM on Dec. 29, 2009

  • I think you should not forse the cat to hold still at all. This is going to freak the cat out and make it all worse. Just tell your son to leav ethe cat alone. I bet after time the cat will come around as long as it feels safe and confortable. We have had out cat 1 year and the kids can now walk up and pet the cat but she just does not like to deal with them, they are not mean to her at all! I tell them that if she bites or scratches them then they shouldnt have been bothering her.

    Answer by IMAMOM2-2KIDS at 9:23 AM on Dec. 29, 2009

  • If you cat is still on the young side, like 3 and under, then she just hasn't reached the age where she has mellowed out. She probably also associates your son with his previous wild behavior, so she would rather not be with him. I would not force the cat to endure your son. Let the cat do what cats do, which is run around and sleep. Maybe you and your son can try to pet gently when she is sleeping, but other than that just let the cat be. When she matures more, she will realize that your son isn't what she thought he was and she will begin to come to him. Cats come with all kinds of personalities, some love to be held and touched and some don't. I had one of each of those cats. My loner cat would sleep all day where the kids couldn't get to him and only came out at bedtime. The other one is wherever we are.

    Answer by slw123 at 11:08 AM on Dec. 31, 2009