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How can I stop my toddler from harassing our cat?

Our cat is an inside cat and he's an arsehole. He just hates people so would rather just lay there all day and sleep but our 2.5 year old won't leave him alone. He is constantly poking him, laying on him, trying to pick him up, chasing him, tries to force feed him etc. The cat has given him some nasty scratches but it doesn't seem to deter him from harassing him. No matter what we do or say our son just won't leave the him alone.

It's driving me crazy because I don't want him to get attacked by the cat and he doesn't listen when we tell him to leave the cat alone, there isn't anywhere the cat can go to hide either unless I lock him in a room every day which isn't fair on the cat.

What can I do?


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Answers (20)

I put a baby gate in the doorway of one room, this means the cat still has access to the house but also has her own safe space away from the dogs. This could work for you too, and you could get the baby gates that don't damage the walls as you're renting?

Your son sounds like the asshole. Create somewhere your cat can escape to, either inside or outside that your toddler won't be able to get to. Thpe next scratch could do some serious damage! Toddlers and angry cats do not make good combinations.

 He's a 2 years old…not an arsehole but thanks for that.
There is no where I can create for the cat to go unless I put him into a bedroom or something like that. But that isn't fair on him.

I was more looking for ways to curb the behaviour, ways that other parents have dealt with the same thing.

helpful (1) 
 I was a bit harsh but meant he is antagonising the cat. Could you put a screen door on a spare room with a cat door and just keep it locked so the cat can come and go as it pleases?
helpful (2) 
 Unfortunately we are renting so can't make any major changes to house like that.
helpful (0) 

Get a water spray bottle and use it on the toddler with a firm 'no!' whenever he misbehaves? ;)

helpful (0) 
 This is my favourite so far.
If only I could use this in public with the toddler 🤔

helpful (1) 

I had the same problem with my toddler, the unfortunately some parents are just too scared of discipline, we warned at first several time not to do that and explained why (as a 2 year old is more than capable of understanding no) then if he didn't listen he got a sharp smack, he's very stubborn so we had to do this several times until he go the hint, just make sure you give a couple warnings first. Secondly I installed a hanging single book shelf up high on the wall with a blanket and our cat loved that spot

Here's a word for you. NO! Don't wait for your son to 'grow out of it'. Tell him NO and move him away whenever he goes near the cat.

If he had a habit of sticking forks in electrical sockets you would, hopefully, stop him before he got to the socket, take the fork off him and tell him no.

 Excellent point!
helpful (2) 

Let natural justice take its course. Sooner or later the cat will have enough and give him a good scratching and a few bites as well. Make sure you take him straight to the doctor after it happens because cat bites can easily lead to blood poisoning and death.

What the hell is wrong with everyone on here. I have told my child No! a thousand time, she still harasses the cats. I have done time out, hand slapping, and No! I looked up this up for help and these are the posted responses. If someone is asking for help give help, not unjustified judgement.

Okay so this was my post from last year. We haven't gotten rid of the cat like people suggested and yes at the time we did smack him and tell him no. I love how people just assume that those aren't the first things we would do in this situation. A few months after this post our toddler lost interest in him so didn't bother him anymore…they have recently started playing together and the cat doesn't attack him anymore.

Thanks to all the people who actually had helpful suggestions, and to all the people who made stupid comments or assumed that my son was an arsehole or that I was disciplining my child - f**k you.

Have a good day :)

Hopefully he will grow out of it. The only thing I can think to suggest is make a cat run, give him one room that the toddler can't get into with a cat run outside so the cat has his own space. Give the toddler and cat a few minutes of supervised time together each day so they get used to each other. Good luck.

 I would love to build him a cat run but we are renting and have no where to put an enclosure in the yard either. He loves being outside but obviously due to council laws he has to stay in his own yard and cats don't do that.
helpful (0) 
 I'm sorry but every suggestion that's been made you have a weak excuse for not trying. When someone asks for advice then poo-poos all the suggestions it makes them an ask-hole. You are a giant ask-hole. Sorry.
helpful (5) 

I could have written the exact same thing. My toddler harrases our poor cat all the time. Lucky she can go outside but he still chases her outside and she's scratched him a few times.

My cat had a similar problem when we got a very annoying puppy! In the end, I cleared the top of a bookshelf for her (I really wanted a big cat playground thing with the boxes and rope scratching posts, but they were a bit $$$). I put a folded blanket up there and made sure she could get up there from other lounge room furniture. She loved it, she could watch the puppy from afar and still get pats.
As for your toddler, distraction is a good idea. You may want to put a box of toys away - grab one out whenever he is annoying the cat and start playing with it. Novelty is key!! Give him ten minutes then put it away again.

Your son doesn't sound like an asshole, he sounds like a toddler. What the?!
Could you get one of those tall cat scratchy things with the house bit on the top so the cat has a place to hide?
Also We've been looking at an enclosed cat bed that suctions on to the window. Just as an escape from the dog when she's had enough play and she also loves the heat from sitting in front of windows.
Other options could be a little bed on top of a bookcase or something? We did this when our youngest was learning to crawl as the cat was scared of him lol. or a coffee/side table with the bottom enclosed with a door?

 I agree with a tall scratching post. Cats love to get up high, especially if they feel threatened. Or have a closet he get in when he feels the need to escape your son. As for your son, it's going to take time. You'll need to constantly remind him that the cat doesn't like to be bothered, the cat could hurt him and he can hurt the cat. Keep repeating it and moving him away from the cat, he'll catch on/outgrow it.
helpful (2) 
 The cat doesn't like scratching posts or beds or anything like that plus I can imagine our son climbing it to get to the cat so it'd be more of a hazard. When the cat has had enough he jumps onto the computer desk but I caught our son throwing balls at the cat today, that's what inspired the post.
The cat is almost 5 years old so he just prefers to lay on the beds in the sun all day, but that puts him into a more vulnerable spot for our son to get to him.
I did set up a little section under our bed for him to go and hide in but our toddler found him straight away.

helpful (0) 
 We also leave the linen cupboard door open and she likes to hide on the top shelf in there on a blanket.
Other than that I think you'll just have to wait for him to grow out of it 😞

helpful (0) 

Get a child gate with a cat flap in it. That way you can close off a room but the cat can still get out if it wants. We did this with our 2 and a cat.