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Help! My Siamese male hates my 21 month old.

350z
March 10th, 2011, 04:17 PM
Summary version:

My wife and I have 2 cats: Minou (9yr old domestic spayed female) and Ciel (7yr old neutered Siamese male). Both are very affectionate kitties who seem to tolerate each other. There is some fighting but it's just Minou establishing boundaries with Ciel. Prior to my daughter's birth, u could go hours without seeing Minou but that is just the way she is. Ciel, on the other hand, is everywhere we are in the house.

When my wife was pregnant with my daughter, both kitties enjoyed cuddling the her belly. Minou especially established a stronger presence around us. However, once we brought my now 21 month old daughter home from the hospital, Ciel seemed to become jealous of my daughter. At first, he was curious but then that quickly switched to resentment.

Once my daughter was old enough to give him treats, we let her give him treats whenever he wouldn't hiss at her. This seemed to establish a short term behavioural change to him just running away from her whenever she came near. However, the change in behaviour was shortlived. He is now more aggressive towards her and will even hiss as well as put himself in an attacking stance whenever she is in the same room as him. Despite this, all returns to normal when daughter is in her crib for bedtime.

What I am after is suggestions to remedy this behaviour considering that my wife and I are expecting our 2nd in June.

sugarcatmom
March 10th, 2011, 05:21 PM
There is some fighting but it's just Minou establishing boundaries with Ciel.

Do you mean actual scratching/biting kind of fighting? Or just hissing and growling? How often does this occur, and how long has it been going on? I'm asking because it could indicate a high stress level between or with one of the cats.

However, once we brought my now 21 month old daughter home from the hospital, Ciel seemed to become jealous of my daughter. At first, he was curious but then that quickly switched to resentment.

It might actually be more related to fear and stress than true resentment. To many cats, the jerky movements, high pitched crying and squealing and strange smells of a baby are something to be wary of.

He is now more aggressive towards her and will even hiss as well as put himself in an attacking stance whenever she is in the same room as him. Despite this, all returns to normal when daughter is in her crib for bedtime.

Now that your daughter is moving around, Ciel is probably even more concerned for his safety around this unpredictable creature. I know it seems like he's being aggressive, but I'm betting that it's actually a defensive behaviour. One thing for sure, I would never leave them together unsupervised. Have you ever scolded Ciel for his actions around your daughter? That would likely make things worse as it adds to his anxiety.

Some things you could try: put a couple of Feliway diffusers around the house, which have a calming pheromone only cats can smell. Flower essences like Bach Rescue Remedy may help as well. Make sure you have at least one tall cat tree or other places up high (bookshelf, window perch, etc) that Ciel can go to to get out of the baby's vicinity but still be with his family.

Otherwise, I think you just have to be patient and extra loving to Ciel to help him feel comfortable again. Maybe develop a routine with him using some play therapy (with wand or fishing rod style toys, or tossing play mice around, or a laser pointer, etc) at the same time every evening if you can. Or if he likes to be brushed or petted, give him some dedicated one-on-one time that he can look forward to. Cats thrive on routine and feel more confident when they know what to expect. Part of Ciel's issues may be due to his whole routine being turned upside down with the arrival of the baby.

Good luck!

catlover2
March 12th, 2011, 12:43 PM
I agree with all of sugarcatmom's suggestions. I haven't used the Feliway diffusers or Bach Rescue Remedy so can not vouch for them. I think there are mixed reviews from other posters on the success of Feliway----works for some, but not for others.

I think extra one-on-one time is important for Ciel, as well as rewarding him when he is behaving nicely near your daughter, either with a toy or treats. I think you may have to keep in mind that Ciel may be overwhelmed when your new baby arrives and be even more jealous and may escalate his behaviour to attacking and/or biting your daughter. You should keep this in mind that you may have to re-home Ciel for the protection of your children. Siamese can have very strong likes and dislikes.

krdahmer
March 12th, 2011, 02:37 PM
The girls here have the advice covered! I just wanted to add that I have used the feliway diffusers and they really helped with my one girl who was very high strung, we don't have kids but I know it really does help to calm the kitties. Best of luck!:goodvibes:

And also my oldest girl is terrified of any child under 3 feet tall... she reacts in much the same manner to yours. So it could be fear, not anger or jelousy.

chico2
March 12th, 2011, 05:03 PM
I am just going to add,it's never too early to teach little ones how to behave with pets,no pulling tails,no chasing etc...

sugarcatmom
March 12th, 2011, 09:41 PM
I am just going to add,it's never too early to teach little ones how to behave with pets,no pulling tails,no chasing etc...

Absolutely! I so completely agree. It amazes me how many parents I know just seem to let their toddlers do whatever they want to animals without any guidance and expecting the dog/cat to just accept it all (not saying that's what's going on here!). I recently had some friends of mine and their 2 year old son stay at my house for the weekend (:eek:) and I found I had to be the one to keep telling the kid not to go stomping up to my elderly cat and smacking him on the head. Must admit, I smirked a little when the kid got a smack back from Aztec. He wasn't hurt, but it scared him enough that he started crying and carrying on. Made him think twice the next time. Unfortunately those kinds of interactions have resulted in Aztec hating children more than he already did.