Cat Scratched 10.5 Month Old

Updated on June 15, 2009
E.O. asks from San Mateo, CA
20 answers

My husband just phoned at work (he's at home with our son today) and our cat scratched our 10.5 month old on the cheek. I think he was warning me so I didn't freak out later when I arrived home. Of course our first reactions were extreme (find her a new home, declawing) but I really am not sure what to do. I've been telling everyone how great she is with our son, which is the truth! She lets him pet her (I show him how and say, nice, gentle) and she follows him around and lets her chase (crawling, some walking) her...she entices him by always sitting right by him, rubbing her tail as she walks by him, etc. I think she loves him because these days he gives her the most attention!

Besides the obvious of keeping an eye on both of them (my husband had stepped out of the room momentarily to get something out of the dryer), does anyone have advice of how we can protect both of them from each other? Do other people have successful stories of co-existance of infant/toddler and cats? I've consider declawing as she's an indoor cat but have heard it's inhumane.

Thank you in advance for your advice!

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thanks- I think we've calmed down and realize we just need to do a better job of keeping our cat's nails trimmed. Overall, the two get along great and that should solve the problem. Apologies for the hasty posting!
(Molly is part of the family and isn't going anywhere, nor are we declawing her. Thanks to all!)

Featured Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

T.H.

answers from Sacramento on

I cut my cats' claws regularly and I have found that the more regularly I do this, the shorter I am able to get her claws and since she still scratches on her scratching post, they get nice and smooth. I have been doing it for so long that she just lays on my lap and lets me do it now.

More Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.B.

answers from San Francisco on

the only way to be 100% sure that it won't happen again, is to declaw the cat. Just like you can never be 100% sure of what someone else will do or say, so with an animal. They have a mind of their own and they're quick! I don't know how declawing is inhumane as long as it's done the proper way by a proper vet. If the cat stays indoors, it doesn't need the claws - they are only destructive inside the house.

G.M.

answers from Modesto on

Things happen. If you are happy with your cat, I wouldn't stress about it too much. You can't get rid of EVERYTHING that is gonna hurt your kid. Kids learn new respect for animals when an animal let's the kid know they've crossed a boundary. I wouldn't make a snap judgement to declaw the cat, I think it's pretty inhumane myself. I raised both my boys with dogs and cats... there's gonna be a mis-hap now and then. As long as you don't have a vicious animal I would just chalk it up to a learning experience and now you are aware.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.N.

answers from San Francisco on

Hello E.,
I just did my masters thesis on toddlers and cats, believe it or not. If you email me at [email protected]____.com, I'll send you a copy of it and I think it'll have a lot of useful information for you A few things to say quickly--overall, it sounds like your cat and son have a pretty good relationship. Unless there are really negative things you didn't mention, I think finding another home for your cat is unnecessary (and also very difficult). This isn't a 'steady state' situation, i.e. your cat and son always get along. By telling your friends that, you also may be establishing an expectation in your mind that reality will not live up to. It's a situation that could be very dynamic and changing until your son is close to five or six, and particularly from now through the age of two and up to four or so. I'd suggest doing something I never managed to get around to with my daughter and cats, i.e setting up a baby gate situation so that there's at least one configuration in your house where the cats can be in their normal, social locations (i.e. not hiding) and your son can't have access. M;y thesis talks a lot about how to take positive approaches to kids and cats so that you're not saying "no" all the time. Good luck and please get in touch if you're interested.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.C.

answers from Stockton on

Hi E.,

I know it is in humane to declaw a cat, I have a cat and at that time my children was 3 and 2. Isabell loves our can and even named her Frankie, I had to declaw our cat because she scratched Isabell. I made that choice because my daughter really loves to hug, dress her up and the cat sleeps with her. Frankie is an indoor cat.

M.

E.D.

answers from San Francisco on

I think you could cut the nails with trimmers,(they are easy to use) and file them soft afterwards. That is not inhumane and it protects the baby. I did that with our cat when my children were young. It also keeps the furniture and screens safe from scratches.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.C.

answers from Sacramento on

Cats and babies do not mix. I love cats and dogs and babies.I have 4 children the youngest 21 mos. But due to the independant nature of cats and the risk you take with their mouths being highly infectious if there is a bite, even a playful bite it is dangerous for your child. Just keep the cat out or away from child. My son had the white of his eye torn by our cat when he was two.It was just a playful swat.Toddlers love to put their faces down on the kitty's fur because it feels good. My advice is to keep them separated and do not declaw or you cannot put the cat outside. The mouth is what I would be worried about. We have a ragdoll which are the most docile of breeds and he will even get irritated by small children if they do not learn a cat's signals.When to leave him alone.As your child grows you gradually introduce and teach respect and caution. No need to give it up, your child will learn as he grows how to stay safe around a cat. I am sure they will appreciate each other when your child is older. Cats are great pets. Cats are just independant and highly playful so either trait could cause a problem. Hope this helps ! Good Luck! JC

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.W.

answers from San Francisco on

Congratulations on having a good kitty and a good kid. So glad you are working things out. We always had three or four cats with my daughter, and it was fine. I'd second the advice on there being a neutral area for your cat, so she can have some time out. (Ours could escape through the catdoor, being indoors/outdoors cats.) You'll notice though that mostly the cat will want to be around your kid, because he is fun, and part of her family.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.P.

answers from San Francisco on

I don't suggest declawing your cat. We have two boys 8 and almost 6 and a cat that will be 16 in a couple of months. Our cat mostly stays away from the kids and we've never had an issue. Since DH wasn't in the room when your kitty scratched your son it is hard to say what happened. Cats give warnings before they "attack". But at 10 mos old your son wouldn't have a clue the cat was warning him to stop doing something. It could have been a complete accident too, maybe the cat was playing and your son got scratched. If you haven't had any problems while watching your son and cat then I wouldn't take drastic measures right now. Just continue to supervise your cat and son together. Teach your son to respect the cat's space and how to gently pet the cat when the cat wants to be petted. Give your cat praise when he is good with your son. They both need to be trained to live happily together.

C.C.

answers from Fresno on

I have always considered our cats to be wonderful teachers of cause-and-effect for the kids! =) Your cat just taught your son a wonderful lesson in respecting animals - he will likely not forget this lesson anytime soon. Our older cat refreshed my 4-year old's memory on this topic just yesterday when she decided it would be ok to wrestle with the cat. She cried and we put a band-aid on, but I just explained to her, "Lily doesn't have words to tell you that you're hurting her. She growled first, and when you didn't listen, she scratched you to tell you how much that hurt!" My daughter cried it out and then went and gave the kitty treats to say sorry, and now they're friends again. So, while it's never fun to have a scratched kid, they do learn something from it.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.P.

answers from San Francisco on

I work for a Vet. There is a product called Soft Paws. There are great ! They're like fake nails that you put the claw inside the soft paw and is rounded at the tips you , glue on . They come in many colors and I think 3 sizes. They stay on for about 4-5 weeks maybe longer. They're pretty easy to put on. It may take 1 person to hold your cat while you put them on.They're kind of fun.
It sounds like your kitty made a mistake and you might just need to trim her nails.
Declawing is very painful and inhumane . It's like cutting your fingers off at the first nuckle and I don't know why but cats that are declawed sometimes start to bite! Then you would have another problem......
Please give the Soft Paws a try. it sounds like your kitty likes your baby and wasn't trying to hurt him.
Good Luck , K. P

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

W.M.

answers from Sacramento on

E.,
I would keep the cats claws short. We have indoor cats also, and they can get pretty sharp. Also get the cat one of those carboard nail scrathers. Ours is called the turbo scratcher. they love it when you rub the cat nip into it. The cats need to work their claws into something like that or a scratching post. We have both.
Anyway, I hope it all works out for the best. \
W. M.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.C.

answers from San Francisco on

I've never had a cat, but could the cat have been trying to play possibly?

I think your baby is too young to tease or to even understand what respecting a pet and learning a lesson means, and he's also too young to understand that he needs to be "cautious" around the cat. Of course, he'll understand as he gets a bit older.

We never can know exactly how an animal could be feeling at any particular moment. We have an extremely sweet, friendly dog, but I will never completely trust her around my baby. Sometimes they may just want to be left alone, they don't feel well or they're just having an off day. Just that you're aware now and keeping the cats claws short will definitely help. I think everything will be fine, and I'm glad you're feeling better about it.

N.P.

answers from San Francisco on

I grew up around a menagerie of pets and from my experience cats won't scratch for no good reason. The moment your husband walked away and left them alone could have been the moment your little one decided to grab a fistful of cat and the cat said, in it's catty way, "back the heck up little human and stop pinching me, it hurts."

You don't need to declaw the cat but you have to treat the cat like it's a sharp object, which it is. You don't leave the baby alone with a sharp object until he understands how to behave around it.

If you had the cat declawed and the situation repeated itself, it could have been the cat that was injured instead of your son as it no longer has a way to get the crushing grip of a groping toddler off him. So declawing isn't really a viable solution unless you don't care about the cat very much.

The only real solution is to keep them separated when you can't watch them until your son ages to the point where he understands how to treat little animals. Little kids don't know any better. If you have to leave the room, and your little ones unattended for a moment, take the cat and shut it up in another room or take your toddler with you while you do whatever chore needs doing.

I know you didn't want to hear that but asside from giving the cat away until your toddler isn't a toddler anymore it's the best solution imho.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

E.K.

answers from San Francisco on

Oh, please don't declaw your cat! I'm a vet and it's a horrible surgery! Your cat sounds soooo sweet and wonderful. She probably scratched your baby if he tugged on her tail or something else like that. You can try softpaws, a soft plastic covering for your kitty's claws if you like. They are great. Good luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

E.T.

answers from San Francisco on

E.,
There is also a product called Soft Paws you can purchase to cap your cat's claws. I always called them "Lee nails" for cats. They come in different colors. I used to order them online, but I think some pet stores may carry them now. It takes some effort to put them on the cat because you have to do each claw, and if it doesn't like its paws touched, you may need another person to help you. I forgot how long they stay on (maybe it was 4 weeks?), but I thought it was worth the effort and struggle to protect the kids and furniture. You still will need to trim the claws before applying.
but it's definitely better than declawing.

E.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.M.

answers from San Francisco on

hi E....
i have always been a cat person, and my husband a dog person, and when we brought our beautiful baby girl home, not to mention the whole of my pregnancy, all my husband could do was remind me the cats would be thrown in traffic if they ever laid a paw on her. the first scratch led to a huge fight, we agreed to be more vigilant, with one of our three kitties in particular. eventually she was scratched again, a little fight, a little no hurt band aid brand antiseptic and a little neosporin and it healed the third time this happened we were all sitting i the living room, she was about 11mos old and wanted to give her toy to our culprit kitty who was sleeping by banging it too near sleeping kitties head over and over again. we both were telling her no she'll scratch you, and you can hurt the kitty and kitties don't like to play that way honey remember, soft and gentle...well she did not heed our warning, of course, and kitty struck first my husband pushed and shooed the kitty away with a "god d***it ibitz" which i think scared our daughter more than the actual scratch, then to me shaking his head all wild eyed "babe i swear, if she gets it in the eye, i'm tossing the cat into traffic" (he never would of course) and for what he did next i was amazed and impressed with my husband. he said honey that is why you can't play with kitty that way... well she got it a coulpa more times never in the eye and never was it done on the part of the cat, to injure, only ever as a warning after provoked by my daughter who by the way was never attacked by a disturbed cat who lacked a clear understanding of kittie to human social interactions, so we were never, at least i was never in fear for my daughter around the kitty, if however you do fear for your son and your cat's behavior is erratic and kittie lashes out without being provoked, this advice may not serve you well. too sum up our daughter is now three, and will still get the occasional warning though it hasn't happened in a while, she is much more careful and shows more trepidation when she approaches only this particular kitty, and i'm sure i't because she knows this particular kitty will scratch her. the other two, well one has and will always run and hide from her, and the other one, poor cat, puts up with it all and comes back for more. we no longer protect her from the scratching cat, she knows better, and if she fails to treat kitty the way kitty has pointed out kitty wishes to be treated and she doesn't leave kitty alone when we remind her she will get scratched, well... then she will get scratched, we will say well that's what happens. now, next time you will remember getting scratched, and stop when asked to, so kitty won't want to scratch you. then we dry her tears and baby her wound. to make this long story short. i wouldn't worry too much lots of kids grow up with lots of cats, and there aren't lots and lots of horrible headlines or even wives tales where this pairing ended in a fatality, a mauling, or a maiming, unless it was the kitty who suffered such a fate. so remember, in a year you'll be trying to protect the cat, from the iron grip of your toddler, and this and the few more scratches, which i'm sure he will, but hope he won't, get, we'll seem like nothing in the scope of dangers to come. so unless you have a cat who is truly psychotic, just be extra vigilant, constantly reminding and modeling "soft and gentle" saying it over and over again, stroke your son in this way to so he can best grasp "soft and gentle" guide his hand stroking you in this way repeating the mantra "soft and gentle." do not, whatever you do, declaw kitty. kitty needs these for proper muscle control too, not just for climbing trees. if you must alter kitties claws have your vet apply soft claws if you don't trust your own ability to properly apply and affix the very small soft plastic caps applied to kitties fully exposed claws, or you might clip kitties claws weekly. if you're uncomfortable doing so with manual clippers try out [email protected]____.com, or have your groomer/vet do it as often as conveniently possible. don't rid your home of kitty he's a part of the family too, not to mention wonderfully educational for your son, will in time be a great playmate for him as well and good for your soul too!

good luck,
aline

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

T.V.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi E.,

The scratch may have been a lesson for your son and he will be extra cautious around the cat from now on. Still, I would be careful not to leave the two alone (for a second)...things can happen so fast even if you are present.

I have always had animals before and after my son was bord. He was bitten once, but not by one our our animals. I had dogs not cats when he was little. The dog took to the baby immediately and use to sleep under his crib...She was a furry baby monitor.

Blessings.....

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

O.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi E., Declawing your cat should be your final step. I work in the verterinary field. Try Soft Paws. Your vet can teach you how to apply them. I have one Declawed cat and two that are not. It was a tough decision to do the one cat. We love her and she's one of those cats who would not adjust well to another household. There are many new things that "help" the surgery be "less" painful, such as nerve blocks and Fentanyl patches (continuous pain meds). Cats overall do well but it is an extreme surgery. If you chose to do the surgery do your homework with your vet to make it as pain free as possible for you and your cat. Just a side note kids are kids they will pinch, pull, bite, basically push all there buttons. They are animals. We just need to remind ourselves that they cannot (even the most gentle of animals) 100% be trusted with our children. I always give my animals a one time pass (on minor offenses). If you say your cat is good he most likely is. Don't jump the gun just yet. Trim his nails regularly, then soft paws...final step declawing. Good luck. Just remember this is your family including the cat.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

H.P.

answers from Sacramento on

I have started clipping my cats' claws. I just use people nail clippers and snip off the dead part, past where you can see the pink quick. It's something I used to do regularly but stopped when a new cat moved into the neighbourhood and there were some fights (I wanted my kitties to be able to defend themselves) but now that I have a six month old who loves the cats I'm not taking any chances. If you have never done it it may take some time to get your cat used to it - give them a lot of praise and pets and do one claw at a time! I only do the front paws since those are most likely to do the damage.

Also, if your cat is particularly fond of a treat (my oldest LOVES, I mean absolutely LOVES Greenies!) then you could try giving the cat those while the baby is petting him/her to try to positively reinforce the baby's presence. That technique is more of a doggie training thang, but I don't see why it wouldn't work with a food driven cat!

I once heard a veterinarian compare declawing to removing the tips of a person's fingers. I wasn't in favour of it before that, but with that visual I'm even less inclined to suggest or support it. Clipping the claws and keeping a close eye on the two of them should help a lot!

Good luck!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches