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Cat doesn't like DS

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#1 Nicole-Bris

Posted 23 December 2012 - 10:29 AM

We have had our cat Coby for about 3 years and for quite a while he hasn't liked DS.  DS is nearly 12 and is a really nice kid (in other words not kicking or hurting him etc). Occassionally Coby will attack DS if he is walking past or if DS gives him a pat, after a few pats Coby will bite him.  Coby doesn't do this to other family members although sometimes he will give them a little warning bite if he is being annoyed.  DS just stays away from the cat now and is a little scared of him but I encouraged him to give Coby a pat yesterday which ended in tears, I felt terrible.  Is there anything that I can do?

#2 lamarque

Posted 23 December 2012 - 10:36 AM

Can your DS perhaps feed the cat?  Something nice too, not just your average can - raw meat or special treats?

My DH grew up with a cat that didn't like him.  He use to think DH's legs were walking slabs of meat and would wait in the dark to attack him when he came home at night.  He was quite vicious too.  MIL ended up at the doctors on numerous occasions.  

It wasn't until we got our current cat (a British Shorthair) that DH felt confident in his cat wrangling abilities.

Edited by lamarque, 23 December 2012 - 10:36 AM.

#3 emski72

Posted 23 December 2012 - 10:48 AM

There was a show on foxtel called 'my cat from hell' or something similar. The guy was like Ceasar Milan for cats - he always got the person who the cat has issues with to play with the cat with one of those long poles with feathers etc on them - and to spend a good 30 mins playing with the cat every day so the cat associates the person with good times... it worked on the show and might be worth a shot? He also suggested the person feed the cat too (more good associations)  I'd also say wait til the cat approaches your son for a pat... maybe after them playing a bit this will happen. Cats are fickle things!

#4 Froger

Posted 23 December 2012 - 11:07 AM

Sounds like he is trying to dominate your son. I had to suffer a cat like this when I was a child. It is not pleasant.

But unlike dogs, where dominant behaviour is more easily discouraged (and I could offer you heaps of suggestions for dogs!) I really have no idea what to do about changing a cat that behaves in a dominant manner towards humans. Cat behaviour is so much harder to control than dog behaviour! But luckily a dominant cat (generally speaking) is unlikely to do as much damage to a child as a dominant dog.

Although perhaps a Feliway diffuser may help? I haven't used it myself though, so it is only a suggestion. I have no idea really, apart from suggesting the Feliway, and also keeping your son away from the cat!

#5 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 24 December 2012 - 06:05 PM

The obvious thing to do is to stop forcing the interaction, as clearly your son and the cat are both getting upset by this. And don't push a cat to the point of being annoyed. Its not 'dominant' behaviour, its communication - using the normal methods cats have for letting each other know what is appropriate and what is not. So, everyone should learn the 'signals', that let you know the cat has had enough attention.

There is no doubt a 'reason' for your cat's behaviour, and it need not be your son's fault. For example, a past owner with a young boy of a similar age, who wasn't so kind and gentle to the cat - and the cat 'learns' that all boys are bad.

What to do about it? Well, apart from stopping forcing the issue, you need to teach the cat that DS is okay.

First up, DS should be in charge of feeding, so that Corby sees your DS as being associated with food (good stuff). DS should also be given a supply of cat treats, which he should dole out at a particular time each day. So, for example, at 5:00pm, he drops a cat treat in front of Corby. Eventually, Corby will begin to look forward to these moments, and will begin seeking out your DS.

The next phase is giving Corby a treat for good interactions. That means either praise, or a treat, when he doesn't attempt to swipe your DS. After a while, there ought to be some behaviours that are 'good interactions', such as showing DS attention (like asking for food or treats). These should be rewarded.

The other thing that you should be doing is time-out for the cat when it jumps out at people. This is actually a form of cat play - seriously. Cats do this to each other all the time. Your DS isn't as 'disliked' as he thinks. Unfortunately cat play can really hurt. So, on the 'unprovoked' incidences, pop Corby away in the laundry or somewhere similar for about 5 minutes. Then let him out and resume situation normal. What happens is that cats learn to control 'the cranky', and also learn to modify their play so it isn't quite so painful.

At this point, I'd be giving a chase toy a bit of a wide berth as I wouldn't want to encourage the kitty at this kind of play (the time-out is designed to reduce it). Once you have some positive interactions, and less frequent pouncing, its time to get out feathers on a string and other toys that are non-contact.

One thing your DS could try is flicking ponytail holders across a smooth surface for your cat to chase. Much better the cat chases them, than your DS's feet (and I speak from painful experience). If Corby really gets into this, he may start bringing the ponytail holder to your DS to initiate play.

Good luck - and its also worth a word with the vet. Just in case there is a physical issue and patting etc might be causing pain.

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