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KRM2012
KRM2012 asks:
Q:

3 year old hurts the cat, what can I do?

I rent a house with my boyfriend and cousin ( a woman) from my uncle (my cousin's dad). My cousin has a 3 year old that lives with us and we all have separate rooms. In the past month the girl has been intentionally hurting the older cat in the house. We have 2 cats, a younger cat and an older one. The young cat meows like she wants to get away every time you pick her up and the older cat is so old that it cannot even really meow at all. I've caught the child many times trying to hurt the older cat and try to keep him even if he tries to get away. I've yelled at her and have told my cousin about it. Even my cousin notices her bad behavior toward the cat. The spankings and time outs do not seem to help or even affect the child at all. She will say that she is sorry to people and the cat but it doesn't sound like she knows what it means and it doesn't sound remorseful. Tonight she kept peeking out her door and I asked what she had in her hand and to let the older cat out of her room and she showed me what it was in her hand. It was a metal-like object from the sewing room that I can only assume she was using to hurt the cat. When she had the door open the cat tried to run out multiple times but she kept shutting it... right on his head and mind you, her hurting the cat has been happening for a while now and I am getting sick of it because it is animal abuse and he is helpless. I have noticed marks on the cat, unsure if it is from the girl. This is worrying me. Any advice?
In Topics: My child's growth and development
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Louiseasl
Feb 11, 2014
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What the Expert Says:

Hello and thank you for writing!

Please consider discussing your observations and concerns with a local counselor, pediatrician or early child intervention team. A child being injurious to animals is often considered a "red flag" in behavioral terms which should be addressed by trained professionals.  Resources are available, therefore I would suggest that you try to avail yourself of these.



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Additional Answers (1)

TeacherandParent
TeacherandP... writes:
When you ask the child why she does this - what does she say? I'd ask her outright - do you dislike the cat? Is she jealous of the cat? It sounds like it's your cat - not your cousin's.

I'd wonder - if the child gets spanked because of the cat, does it make her want to hurt the cat less - or more? 3 year olds are very young - they can get confused as to whose fault it really is and she may blame the cat for getting in trouble. As you say, 3 year olds may say they're sorry but they're not really sure what that means and it can just be something they've been told to say.
It would upset me as well. I'd make a firm rule - you may not have the cat in your room ever. But since this has only being going the last month - has anything changed in the last month that could be upsetting your daughter and she's taking it out on the cat? Does this child have toys to play with? Does her mother structure her time in any way or is the child pretty much left on her own? 3 year olds need supervision.

And I'd ask the child to help me feed the cats. Try to help her to see the cats not as toys but as living things to be cared for. If you have to, keep the older cat in your room and let it live in peace there.
58 days ago

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