Cats and Young ChildrenCity Kitty answers: The first thing a young child tends to do is grab whatever is moving. A cat, with its small size, playful spirit, and waving tail, can be an irresistible invitation to a child who doesn't yet understand that the cat or kitten is actually a living creature and not another toy from the toy box.
The normal, exuberant behavior of your child frightens me. Most of my full-grown furry friends only weigh in at about ten pounds; so even a young child can seem large by comparison. Being stepped on or dropped by a child could cause serious injury to me. Even if I wasn't injured, the emotional trauma will probably make me standoffish and unfriendly the next time that child is around.
I would really rather run away than stand and fight your child. But if I can't escape unwanted attention, I will hiss, scratch, or even bite. Because young children don't always control their impulse to grab, yell, and chase, parents should never leave preschoolers alone with me.
Knowing how to handle and play with a cat doesn't come naturally to children, so parents need to teach them. Why don't you give your child some "cans" and "cannots," and review the rules whenever he/she wants to play with me.. Keep the list of rules short and simple.
I would love to play with your child, but if he/she mishandles me, play should be stopped immediately and just let me go to a different room. If your child is very young, you could give ONE more "chance," but if I am mistreated a second time - terminate the "play date" right then. Your child must learn that you really mean business when it comes to the way I am handled.