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Now we have a toddler there are definitely new rules that have to apply with regard to the cats
Recently the toddler has taken more of an interest in the kitties, unfortunately the little monster is loud and annoying which means that he is not always their favorite person and there need to be boundaries. I want them to have a great bond but at the same time the toddler and kitties both need their space.
If cats get stressed or feel they have no space they can lash out and become aggressive which is something we definitely want to avoid. Luckily most of this is preventative and so I thought we would write about the rules we have for the toddler (and the cats) to lead to a harmonious (the only harmony we get in this house) relationship between them.
I try not to interfere as much so that they learn to have their own relationship and navigate the workings themselves but I have set some rules for them both
Rules for the Toddlers:
- No pulling tails – or any other feline body parts – this is pretty obvious
- No Trapping – Cats like to have an escape route and can feel threatened and lash out if they are cornered so if there is a kitty and toddler in the room, a door or window stays open.
- If the cats walk away, leave them – Walking away is a sign that they have had enough and they need to have the freedom to have that respected
- When kitties are eating, leave the kitchen – Cats who don’t feel safe while eating will usually find a food source elsewhere which is the fastest way to them finding a new home!
- Don’t make them jump – It might be funny in the videos and you can’t help accidentally doing it (cats can be pretty jumpy anyways) but doing it frequently stresses them out and can lead to aggressive behaviors and other tendencies such as chewing on themselves.
- Help with their upkeep – From the beginning the toddler was expected to help look after his kitty friends in some way – now he helps brush them and feed them at feeding time so that he gets a sense of responsibility and understands they are not just playthings, you have to take care of them.
So here’s one you might not agree with:
Letting the toddler get scratched – now here’s my reasoning, I am not actively going out of my way to get my little chap scratched by the cat and I ensure that I pay attention to the mood of the cats BUT (and here it is) if Toddler wants to ignore the rules and pull a tail and be aggressive towards them he needs to understand that there are consequences. It happened once – and only once, and before you start calling social services it was minuscule – but it did make him jump and it did the trick. After continually winding them up and being rough with them (despite my explaining and telling him not too) the cat taught him why you don’t behave in that way, and since then he has had a lot more respect for them, which is something I definitely want him to understand.
Rules for the Kitties:
- No eating from plates – Aside from the dribble and Toddler diseases, the food thing works both ways, the toddler doesn’t need begging kitties while he’s trying to eat, he wants to be left alone!
- It’s Toddlers choice when it comes to his bedroom – It’s his room, his rules and he needs his space too, if he doesn’t want you in there he is allowed to kick you out (it doesn’t happen very often)
- Toddlers pillow is off limits – They are allowed on his bed now that he is a bit older but he doesn’t need a hairy pillow and breathing in all of their fluff!
- Must tolerate at least two minutes of “patting” – At the moment the toddler has been struggling the concept of “stroking” them and it has turned into more of a pat so they have to deal with it – love is love!
These are some of the ways we keep a great kitty atmosphere to avoid stress for cats and toddlers. Ultimately they are the best of friends who love playing together, and they will grow up together which is all I could ever ask for – even if Toddler shouts in their faces every now and again he still gets furry friends for life!
What rules do you have for your cats and toddlers?