How to teach your toddlers to be nice to the pets...

Discussion in 'The Toddler Years(1-3)' started by kingeomer, May 1, 2009.

  1. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    We have two cats, who thankfully have a nice temper. Most of the time the kiddos are very nice to the cats, they pet them nice and will say "Aaahhh" to them and try to snuggle. But then there are some days where they want to hit and play rough with the cats. We've been rewarding them with praise each time they are nice and gentle with the cats and when they are not, we tell them no, that hurts the cat, and redirect them. Any other suggestions to teach the little ones to be nice to the pets?
  2. gina_leigh

    gina_leigh Well-Known Member

    We've just been doing the same thing. Some days it works better than others.

    We have a cat who is not as even tempered. She's loving- but only when she wants to be. She only tolerates the kids in small doses and then leaves to go to her hiding spot. (Where the kids can't get to her.) One day I was not fast enough though and J was petting her, but a little rough. Before I could move him away, she bopped him on top of his head with her paw. He was not hurt and she did not use her claws, but it startled him enough that now he only pets her when I'm holding her.
  3. Minette

    Minette Well-Known Member

    That's about all we did too -- show them how to pet gently, remind them never to sneak up on the cat, etc.

    Luckily for us, our cat has no tolerance for small children but is not aggressive or violent at all -- she just runs away. So she never lets the kids come anywhere near her unless she is sound asleep or unless she's on my lap. Sometimes Amy will try to pet her when she's sleeping, and although she has never swatted either of the kids (I don't think), she will suddenly wake up and jump off the couch, and even that startles Amy enough that she doesn't try it again for awhile.

    So, on the whole, I don't worry much about the cat. Cats can take care of themselves, and most of them seem to have a great ability to warn children off without actually scratching them.
  4. twinboys07

    twinboys07 Well-Known Member

    We basically do the same thing as pp's. In our home, animals deserve the same amount of respect as humans. No exceptions. We do use time-out if they are too rough and don't stop/change their behavior when it's requested. However, it hasn't been an issue but maybe once or twice in the past 9 months. When we first got our cat, we would chant, "gentle.... gentle.... gentle.... oh, that's so nice!" over and over and over to teach them how to interact with the cats.

    My boys are VERY nice to our pets. We have friends whose son is NOT nice to animals because they don't intervene enough (they have a sweet old dog). He aggressively poked our kitten in the eye last year and now she has vision and depth perception problems. :rolleyes:
  5. debid

    debid Well-Known Member

    I held their hands and showed them how to pet nicely. I told them that pets can scratch and bite so they might get hurt if they play too rough. I also told them NOT to chase after because running away from them means they don't want to play. There were lots of frequent reminders at that age and they do really very well now! And like you, I have mild mannered pets who will tolerate an awful lot but that doesn't mean the kids should get away with rough treatment because other people's pets might not be so tolerant and it's not fun for the animal to be handled too roughly.
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