Daughter is rough with our senior kitty

My 9-year old daughter who has always been an animal lover is now suddenly being very rough with our 13-year old cat, Kiki. This has started in the last 6 weeks - basically, the start of summer break. My husband works from home, but since he is working, he probably isn't giving her as much attention as she would like. I think she's bored, but since I'm at work M-F for about 10 hours a day, I can't be there to intervene. My daughter chases the cat around incessantly, squeezes her too tight and picks her up in awkward positions. I have tried talking to her about why she shouldn't do this (she's scaring the cat, the cat is old and she could really hurt or injure her, etc.) but she just won't listen. Any suggestions on getting her to stop, given the fact that I am not there when it happens and my husband is consumed with doing the job he's paid for to be policing how our child treats our cat?

  • Anonymous
    Jul 25

    Sounds like you need some alternate childcare. Maybe you can hire a high school student to come over and play with her a few hours a day.

  • Anonymous
    Jul 25

    For the summer when I was a kid, my mom went out and bought me activity books - both educational and fun ones. If boredom is the reason for her behavior, this may help. You can motivate her to do them by offering a sweet treat (ice cream trip) or small toys for when she completes a section of a workbook without any mistakes. Also have her participate in your local library’s summer reading program (if they have it). Not going to entertain your daughter for the 10 hrs that you’re gone but it might help. Also maybe ask her if she loves the cat... and if she does then say that’s not how we treat our loved ones. Maybe even scare her by saying that if she doesn’t stop, that cat will have to go to a new home or she herself will be sent away to an “animal hater correction facility”

  • Vicki
    Jul 26

    Can she volunteer at an animal shelter or vet’s office? I know she’s young but maybe someone local would be willing to have her around for a couple of hours on the weekend. Until she stops treating the cat this way, can you keep the cat locked in your room when you are at work? I know that sucks for the cat but it’s better than getting tortured all day. And as suggested above, try to keep her busy during the day. Chores, reading and writing assignments, complex crafts and STEM projects.

  • anonymous mom
    Jul 26

    I don’t mean to be an alarmist but I know two different people who are partially and legally blind because of their cats swatting them in the eye due to rough play...so at the age of 9 your daughter should definitely understand cause and effect, I’d explain to her more firmly that behavior like that is not only upsetting to the older kitty but can have lifelong repercussions for her as well. I love the idea of volunteering at an animal shelter. Depending on your daughters maturity level I think most shelters would entertain the idea, especially if there’s a high school aged kid who you could pay to accompany her there during the day. Another option is to give her a chore list each day with a reward at the end, something like finish this short list of chores by lunchtime and Dad will take you for a walk before returning to work. It sounds like she’s bored and needs something to keep her alert and active throughout her day.