Cat Attack!

Why Does My Cat Bite My Child?

As described in the Feline Fury article, there are several reasons why a cat may lash out. No doubt the most worrying is when they do so at a child.

Even so if you read that above article and pay attention to the videos below, you can see that in all cases the cat is feeling stressed and clearly signalling this with body language long before the actual scratch or bite.

 

Cat Attack Videos

This one is even worse. You have got to wonder what kind of parent, never mind what kind of cat owner, would allow the cat and baby to interact in this way and THEN keep filming when they baby gets bitten. The wide open stare and laid back ears at around 0.18 secs are classic signs that that baby is going to get attacked by the cat.

Again on this one around the 0.18 mark you can see the laid back ears and the tail swishing. That cat is getting pretty fed up of being pestered by the little boy. In fact, after the body signals the final pounce was quite gentle. It could have been a lot worse.

Although it might seem like it, cats rarely just lash out, out of the blue. They give signals first to let you know they have had enough. If your child is playing to rough the cat may be stimulated to retaliate out of aggression or fear. Here’s what to look out for:

Learn to Speak Cat

Ears: Moving from typical upright position to swivel to the back so you actually can see the outside back of the ears from the front. This is an aggressive posture. The ears flat down against the skull  is a fearful posture. Either can lead to an attack.

Eyes: While an open eyed gaze is friendly to a cat, a flat wide stare is not. You can see that in the second video. The cat goes very still, focusses intently on the child0’s face with a flat wide glare, turns his ears back and ounces.

Tail: On the third video the cat’s tail is swishing back and forth, Cats can say a lot with their tail and that is a classic sign of getting mad. If you have a cat sitting on your knee and its tail starts to lash like that, it’s time to get up and let her roll off your lap. Same thing if you see a cat your child is playing with begin to switch its tail. If that happens it is time to separate cat and child and have a little cool down time.

Preventing Cat Bites or Scratches

One of the best things you can do to prevent your cat from lashing out at your children is to teach them to respect the cat’s body language. If the child is too young to understand that lesson, then they should not be left alone to play with the cat. In that case, you have to keep an eye on the situation and remove the cat or the child from the room. Also make sure that the cat has a quiet and kid-free space she can bolt too when she is feeling stressed out.