to not want to put my cats out :(

(79 Posts)
macdoodle Mon 01-Apr-13 13:26:29

DD2 age 5 has a friend over for a play date, also 5. Both lovely little girls.
The friend however seems terrified of cats, not mentioned to me by her mum.
I have 2 cats, one old boy who is almost 15 and just sits his days out on his blanket on the back of the settee, he rarely moves. The other young boy about 2 but calm and sweet natured.
Friend would not budge from where she was sat terrified on the other settee. She is usually a lovely outgoing little girl.
So I've had to take them both downstairs where its cold with no people, they are both sociable cats and like to be near their people sad
Everytime someone open the door, the friend jumps terrified onto the sofa.
So I guess the cats are banished for the day, but cant help being a little annoyed and sad.
We did try lots of reassurance and trying to get her to pet them first with no luck.

YANBU not to want to but was definitely the right thing to do.

When very small I was terrified of dogs (again, no reason, just developed a fear from somewhere). It's horrible when some well meaning ignoramus belittles that fear and attempts to foist the object of it upon you. I have overcome the terror now, but it took a long time.

She needs to trust you (i.e. that you won't let the beasties come near her unless she requests it, unlike the 'oh but mine is different' school) before she can trust the cats. It may well be that, because you listened to her, she, over time, will be more inclined to listen to you when you explain your cats and the fact they won't attack her, or climb all over her. It could be a really good opportunity to help her overcome the fear, if she decides she wants to.

Maryz - try getting your DD's friend to actually look at the cats if they come in next time. One of the theories why cats always go for the person who likes them least is that such people try to ignore the cat, and cats like not being stared at, hence the reason they think they've found a fellow traveller and make a beeline for the poor unfortunate.

Sorry for essay, but I can really remember what it was like going through it and its so rare to find people who are sympathetic to same. (That'd be you BTW wink)

Emilythornesbff Tue 02-Apr-13 20:00:07

macdoodle it sounds like you were very considerate.

macdoodle Tue 02-Apr-13 19:46:17

Gosh am surprised this is still going on. Of course I put the cats out, little girl more important obviously, much as I love my cats (yes I will be that mad old cat lady grin).
Certainly didn't try to force them on her. After a few episodes where they crept in every time the door was opened, I locked them properly out. They survived but definitely sulked when finally let back in.
Her mum was so stressed when I dropped her back that I didn't have the heart to mention it, I will at a better time.
Thanks all.

Emilythornesbff Tue 02-Apr-13 11:16:17

She has a phobia (severe IRRATIONAL fear).
Stunned that some people would suggest this child is being silly and pandered to but a cat can't reasonably be expected to be excluded for the duration of her visit.

Put the cats out.

TheNebulousBoojum Tue 02-Apr-13 08:48:27

Fair enough though, she's scared so move the cats. It's only for a few hours, and you could make downstairs warmer for them. Cats are often pissed off when the universe is not how they want it. smile
You could ask the girl's mother if there is any way you could help her try to get over the fear.
Why not see if she prefers your reptiles, in the aquariums?

stressyBessy22 Tue 02-Apr-13 08:37:56

she is your guest.You cannot let her be terrified all day for the sake of a bloody cat!! And I speak as a cat owner!
You can do managed 'de-sensitising' IF that is what she wants, otherwise you respect your young guest.

sheeplikessleep Tue 02-Apr-13 08:33:31

My Ds1 had a Fear of dogs, after a huge young German shepherd bigger than him, ran past and knocked him over.

We've gradually exposed him to more docile, calmer, less interested dogs as times gone on and he now likes some dogs. He certainly isnt point blank nervous of scared of them now, just a bit reluctant of some he doesnt know. He still doesn't like his aunties German shepherd though (to be honest, is 6ft when stood on his back legs and has never been trained, I don't like him).

If my son had unknowingly gone to a house with a dog, I would hope the mum or dad would keep the pet separate and then talk to me afterwards about possibly playing somewhere else, in a nice way.

Your cats will be fine, I'm sure.

raspberryroop Tue 02-Apr-13 08:26:56

mmm immersion therapy on a 5 year old when you have NO idea why she is terrified or WTF you are doing - got to hate MN sometimes.

RedHelenB Tue 02-Apr-13 08:22:51

I am a cat lover & my ds is upset cos our cat runs away from him BUT if friends come round scared of cats I shut them away! Just as I would stop a human from chasing after & annoying a cat if they didn't want to be stroked. cats are made for the putside, they're animals & a bit of time away from their favourite chair won't hurt them!!

DreamingOfTheMaldives Tue 02-Apr-13 08:08:06

I think it's dreadful of posters to suggest the girl should have to get on with it and should just get used to the cats in the room with her. It may be irrational, fears normally are but the poor girl is frightened.

If your child was scared of the monsters under the bed at night would you shove him under the bed in the dark?! No, of course you wouldn't, you'd so everything possible to ensure he could sleep without being afraid.

I'm terrified of spiders and cannot sit in a room with one wandering around. Just because the girl is scared of a family pet doesn't mean she should be forced to face her fears so suddenly. It's one thing to ask her if she wants to stroke the cat and to give positive encouragement but quite another to just force her into a frightening situation.

OP, you are definitely doing the decent thing. My dog would look at me in disgust for leaving him in another room when guests were round but if a guest was so scared of him then it has to be done. Just be sure to give them plenty of treats later to appease your guilt

aldiwhore Tue 02-Apr-13 01:07:03

My cat is 18 and still does a lot of killing, she's out the door and being a cat without a scared child's fear conjuring up an AIBU.

macdoodle for the record I don't think YABU to feel a bit guilty at the break in routine, and think that I'd prefer to have a child in my care who was happy and content and a slightly miffed pair of cats (who will forgive you, you FEED them don't you? Then they will forgive you... well they feel like it) than a terrified child and two slightly miffed cats that there's a small person who doesn't like them in their house.

As for the posters who 'hate drippy parents' I could say the same about drippy animal owners, but I won't because it's a stupid stupid argument. It is actually okay to have a fear of something, and it is actually absolutely fine to not force a child to face that fear if it can be avoided.

Sounds like you've made a compromise that suits all macdoodle although I am slightly giggling that you're dotty enough to sit in the cold with your cats, but because is daft and sweet, and your choice.

TheCraicDealer Tue 02-Apr-13 01:01:37

I have a fear of birds. My parents are by no means "drippy" and I got constant abuse from them over my reluctance to eat outside with small birds pecking around my feet * shudder * If at the age of five I had been put into a room with a pigeon and told to go over and stroke it I think I would probably have had some sort of hyperventilating semi-psychotic episode. Even today I can't stand being near them, although I know rationally it's not going to hurt me. That's the thing about phobias, they're by their very nature irrational. So previous posters thinking that having her stroke the cat once will somehow "cure" her without therapy is ridiculous.

Aside from that, this kid has a granny in ITU. There's probably a lot of stress in that household right now. So the child's comfort should be put first for the few hours she's in the house, as a guest.

seeker Tue 02-Apr-13 00:27:04

"I'd put the kids outside and let the cats stay where they are. A bit of cold weather never hurt a child."

I do hope you're joking.

tigerdriverII Mon 01-Apr-13 21:48:11

I'd put the kids outside and let the cats stay where they are. A bit of cold weather never hurt a child.

Sparklingbrook Mon 01-Apr-13 15:26:58

I am not a drippy parent, DS1's fear of dogs is because he saw a dog bite me when he was a toddler. sad

macdoodle Mon 01-Apr-13 15:20:43

Seeker, you're right. And while I adore my cats especially my old boy, I am not a massive fan of animals generally.
My DD1 though is animal potty, and determined to be (depending on the day), a vet/marine biologist/zoologist etc . And we have had numerous varieties of animals from cats and dogs, to small furry creatures (no good, they poo and wee a lot and are very atopic), to the current fad of reptiles!
I do think its good for them though, and was surprised as this little girl is quite a lovely outgoing little girl and this seems so out of character for her.
Me and the cats are happy downstairs now and the girls are playing happily upstairs.

seeker Mon 01-Apr-13 15:10:32

Can't bear this "drippy parents" stuff. People don't actually have to like animals, you know - it's not compulsory! And 5 year olds are allowed to be frightened of things.

dancemom Mon 01-Apr-13 15:09:05

Drippy parents??

I'm pretty sure I'm not "drippy" and as I happen to be a big fan of animals I'm sure her fear doesn't come from me. As pp said I'm always the one petting passing animals while dd practically vaults the nearest wall to get away!

No, it's not a parenting issue. My DD (5) is terrified of cats. A cat got in to her pram when she was little, and it scared her so much she has never got over it. Its now extended to dogs. We've spent ages with her, gradually introducing her to family pets, and she's ok with some now. But overall she's terrified of them. I always check before play dates, and most people are fine with putting the cat outside. If they are not ok with that then DD doesn't go there - I'm not going to force her to face up to something that scares her just to make a cat (or its owner) happy. She will get over it in her own time, with our support.

KobayashiMaru Mon 01-Apr-13 14:54:45

Hmmm, small childs feelings (known) vs cats feelings (assumed by indulgent owner).

Seems pretty obvious to me YABU.

Panzee Mon 01-Apr-13 14:52:29

Maryz I am allergic to cats. I try to stay away but they make a bee line for me and try to sit on me. Cats know. grin

seeker Mon 01-Apr-13 14:50:54

Sometimes people are scared of things. Put the cats in your bedroom and let your dd's friend have a nice time. People are more important than other animals.

movingonandup Mon 01-Apr-13 14:50:52

Thank you Maggie - Pets as Therapy have a link to the clinic my DD attends. She has met one lovely, old and very gentle dog. She looked at her from a distance (but in the same room!) and watched her eat a biscuit which sounds a small step but is a massive deal. It took weeks of therapy to get to that stage and we are very proud of her.

We are now able to visit parks with her for the first time ever. She used to scream the place down and just wasn't safe around dogs or roads.

That's why people are wrong when they think letting animals roam around a child who is very scared will help. Yes gradual introduction is the key but it must be VERY VERY gradual. Like looking at a picture of a cartoon cat then graduating to a photograph of a cat then graduating to an animated cat then to a video clip. Even those stages alone can go backwards and take weeks to build up to.

If a child is that scared of animals you can't cure them by starting off with a real life cat - you're scare the hell out them!

JazzDalek Mon 01-Apr-13 14:45:07

this has usually come from drippy parents

Sometimes, maybe, but not necessarily. My DD became terrified of cats when she was about three. Definitely didn't come from me as I love cats and we always stop for a stroke when we meet one in the street. I read something once about these fears children can develop, seemingly out of nowhere, in toddlerhood; it is to do with the brain developing awareness of potential threats, of possibilities, even when no prior experience informs such fears. In the case of the cat fear, a child with no previous bad experiences with cats can become aware that:
Cats have claws and teeth
Cats could hurt me
Cats are unpredictable
= seemingly irrational fear.
My DD got over it gradually and is now fine with cats (and dogs, which were a lesser fear for her).

Maggie111 Mon 01-Apr-13 14:43:25

movingonandup

Sorry to hear about your daughter's phobia sad I have a dog and go on dog forums and thought I'd suggest you contact Pets as Therapy charity after the CBT course - http://www.petsastherapy.org/

They are likely to have a trained, calm dog who will be good to introduce your daughter to. They go to local libraries and hospitals etc and are perfectly placid around all sorts of people. Perhaps someone local might be able to meet your daughter - after she's had some treatment of course smile

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