Kitten constantly attacking toddler

jadelouxo

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Please somebody give any advice on what I can do?! We’ve had our kitten 3 weeks now and she constantly is trying to attack my toddler who’s 3. I know most will say the child has been rough but if I’m being 100% honest she has not gone near her hardly at all if anything my toddler tries to stay away from her as she’s now petrified.

my 3 year old will be sitting on the sofa watching the tellyhaving nothing to do with the kitten and then out of nowhere the kitten will literally pounce on her and a few times has gone for her face now too!! She comes up behind my toddlers head on the sofa and spits at her also.
I am always around so I know my toddler hasn’t done anything to provoke her at all.
Honestly at wits end on what to do :(

anyhelp and advice would be hugely appreciated. Thank you xxx
 

Willowy

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How old is the kitten? I think she's playing, not being aggressive, but kittens can play pretty rough and humans are fairly delicate. It's best for kittens to have other cats to play with.

Since you haven't had the kitten very long, and the child is scared of her, I think it may be best to rehome her to someone who has another kitten for her to play with.

If you really want to keep the kitty, try introducing a fishing pole type toy, and play with her until she's worn out a few times a day. If the pole is long enough, maybe even the 3-year-old can get involved and play with her like that.
 
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jadelouxo

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How old is the kitten? I think she's playing, not being aggressive, but kittens can play pretty rough and humans are fairly delicate. It's best for kittens to have other cats to play with.

Since you haven't had the kitten very long, and the child is scared of her, I think it may be best to rehome her to someone who has another kitten for her to play with.

If you really want to keep the kitty, try introducing a fishing pole type toy, and play with her until she's worn out a few times a day. If the pole is long enough, maybe even the 3-year-old can get involved and play with her like that.
She’s only 11 weeks old so still a baby and we have lots of toys for her that we all play with with her and try to get my 3 year old to get involved, my eldest daughter is fine with her. We really don’t want to have to rehome her as we do love her so much but just don’t get the random attacks on the little one. Hopefully it will calm down and she’ll settle in soon xxx
 

miasa

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Hi,

Basically, your children are small and have moving parts :) That makes them hunting/play partners/"prey" for a solitary hunter's juvenile version.

You might want to read the whole document but especially "Pillar 3" is a must for your situation IMO...

And this is a simplified version of Pillar-3 from Dr. Mikel Delgado:
 

FeebysOwner

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I can't add much to the information miasa miasa has offered, but will say that since it seems you are always around to watch, I would try distraction techniques with the kitten. Anytime you even remotely think the kitten is going to try to 'play' with your 3 yo, I would give or toss a kickeroo toy to the kitten to see if you can redirect her attention from your 3 yo to the kickeroo toy. If that doesn't work, then merely pick up the kitten and move her away, and then hand her a favorite toy if you don't have time to play with her for a few minutes. As you said, she is still so young, so distraction is the best approach for now.
Just one example of many kickeroo type toys -
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XZW7N6W/?tag=thecatsite
 

ArtNJ

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If a cat was attacking a toddler with intent to injure out of fear/redirected aggression or the like, and the issue was resisting solution, I'd certainly recommend getting rid of the cat, and in fact I have recommended that. Kids come first. However, this is just a kitten trying to play, and the scratches are not intended. More importantly, the behavior should be relatively easy to modify.

Some negative reinforcement should work. Clap or use a loud "no!" or noise of similar volume. Of course, your child is probably making some loud protest noises naturally, but you can help make it clearer for the cat with a consistent noise. Its very useful to have a noise that means "no/stop" in any event, as you'll need it in other contexts as well going forward.

Playing with the kitten a lot is a great idea, but I don't think it will do the trick by itself. As you cure this issue and move forward, teaching the toddler to use a lure toy to play with the cat might be useful to get the toddler comfortable with the cat again.

In the meantime, cutting the kitten's nails should help mitigate the scratches while you wait for negative reinforcement to work.
 

LTS3

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She’s only 11 weeks old so still a baby and we have lots of toys for her that we all play with with her and try to get my 3 year old to get involved, my eldest daughter is fine with her. We really don’t want to have to rehome her as we do love her so much but just don’t get the random attacks on the little one. Hopefully it will calm down and she’ll settle in soon xxx

Such young kittens have no manners and are curious about everything and attack anything they see as fun so you need to teach good behavior and discourage bad ones. Take a read through these TCS articles:


Kittens eventually grow out of this phase so have patience. Kind of like a kid's terrible two stage.
 

miasa

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Just a little correction...

Some negative reinforcement should work. Clap or use a loud "no!" or noise of similar volume.
This is positive punishment.

Negative reinforcement (a.k.a. escape) occurs when a behavior (response) is followed by the removal of an aversive stimulus, thereby increasing the original behavior's frequency. In the Skinner Box experiment, the aversive stimulus might be a loud noise continuously inside the box; negative reinforcement would happen when the rat presses a lever to turn off the noise.

Positive punishment (also referred to as "punishment by contingent stimulation") occurs when a behavior (response) is followed by an aversive stimulus. Example: pain from a spanking, which would often result in a decrease in that behavior. Positive punishment is a confusing term, so the procedure is usually referred to as "punishment".

(Operant conditioning - Wikipedia)
 
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