How do I encourage my son to be gentle with cats/babies?

[deleted account] ( 3 moms have responded )

My 16 month old adores our cats. Whenever they come near him he gets insanely excited and runs straight for them. Now, initially my idea about the cats was that they'll tell him when they've had enough and will probably just leave. If he's being a real bother he might get a swipe - but he'll learn to leave the kitty alone.

....well, one of my cats doesn't do any of this. He just lays there looking grumpy but puts up with anything my son throws at him.

Xander will pet him gently at first (he is getting better) but will then grab handfuls of fur and lie down on the cat and give him a kiss. It is very rough. We have tried urging him to be gentle but he just gets so excited. The poor cat puts up with it out of love, but you can tell he really doesn't like it.

Well a few days ago we went to a friend's daughter's 1 year birthday party and he did the -exact same thing- to her little girl. He grabbed her hair, leaned on her and gave her a kiss. I'm aware that this is him expressing that he likes her - but she was less than thrilled.

I have no idea what to do. I kind of feel like hiding away from all other people with children to avoid the shame of my kitty and baby tackling son.

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3 Comments

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Leanna - posted on 03/11/2012

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Babies and kitties are fragile creatures. Teach him to be gentle with them by showing him what to do.

Ruth - posted on 03/11/2012

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To teach my son "gentle" I would often softly touch his hair or back so that he could feel what gentle is. I agree with Amanda, to use those moments when he is rough to teach him to be gentle. I also made a point of letting my son know when something hurts me or himself. Whenever he did something that hurt him or I, I would say "ouch", that way, when he does something that might hurt another child or animal, I would also say "ouch" so that he gets the concept of being hurt, as well as the concept of being gentle.

Amanda - posted on 12/12/2011

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Encourage him to be gentle, like you've been doing. Don't forget to show him how to do it. When he gets rough, remove his fingers and show him the right way to do it. It won't be automatic, but he will start to get the hang of it.

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