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We've had this cat for almost 4 years. She's peed on stuff only when obviously mad at us, until about a year after we brought a baby into our lives.

The problem is the baby loves to interact with the cat in a way that kinda sucks for the cat. She grabs tufts of fur and twists and stuff like that. I immediately stop the behavior every time I catch it but it's become more difficult to keep the baby from the cat. She's at the age where she's even climbing the cat tower.

Basically, the cat has nowhere to really be safe from the baby, and she's non-violent, but she's making her voice heard by peeing on the baby's belongings, every day.

I got really mad at her and probably broke trust because I don't feel like there's anything I can do about the situation. The apartment is small and we don't have a lot of spare income. Is there a way I can give her privacy or should I take her to an adoption shelter? I love the cat, I don't want her to suffer for our decisions, but this isn't working for either us or the cat unless we can find some way to fix it.

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    Has the adult cat been tested for urinary diseases lately? Cats usually are very clean animals. Peeing on objects can be a sign for urinary stones or other problems in the urinary tract causing her pain. – Elmy Nov 26 '19 at 7:49
  • Not recently. Even though I haven't noticed any signs of pain, I can't rule it out until next vet visit. However, this urination seems very targeted. She hasn't peed on anything except the baby's toys. – James M. Lay Nov 26 '19 at 17:08
  • Don't wait until "the next vet visit," urinary tract issues can be serious and even fatal in some cases. Make the appointment and take her in. – Allison C Dec 2 '19 at 14:39
  • I can confirm she does not have urinary tract issues, although she apparently needs dental work. – James M. Lay Dec 5 '19 at 17:03
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Like comments and other answers suggest : first you should exclude a health issue by visiting the vet.

Maybe it is possible to make the cat a place, the baby could not reach.

I have seen some combinations of cupboards on the wall, so they form a stair up to a closet. There the cat could have a bed to feel comfortable and save. The stair steps (cupboards) are build in a way the baby could not reach them, but the cat could jump. Maybe it needs some encouragement to train the cat for it, but the cat will catch the idea quickly, if it notices the place is "baby safe". (Examples below)

Another point is: it is positive for your baby to learn cats (and other animals) have feelings one could hurt. They need special care and are no toys! This is an important step in the development of every human: I am not the king/queen of all, I have to follow the rules of sympathy and respect for other living beings. So it is important for you to teach this to your child. It will help him/her in the future life because it will be able to react on other's feelings, like notice sadness and bring comfort, or cause happyness in another person (maybe you) with a kiss/cuddle/smile.

Example 1 "IKEA hack"

Example 2 "Luxury"

Example 3 "Big gaps Baby could not climb"

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Though this sounds like it's most likely due to stress, it's generally a good idea to get your cat checked out if it's urinating outside the litterbox. Once medical issues are ruled out, I think it's pretty safe to say it's stress related territorial marking, which contrary to popular belief, female cats will also do.

First of all, anything that's been marked should be cleaned with cleaners designed for removing cat urine, which hopefully will discourage repeats. After that, I think the most important thing is to try to provide your cat more spaces where your toddler cannot go. Cat shelves, for example, that lead up to the top of a high shelf, hopefully higher than your toddler can climb, or some hiding spots that the child can't fit into.

The other thing I recommend is that since your cat seems specifically marking your child's things, that may be partly because your cat is not able to go to those places where your child is, like probably it's not going in your child's crib, and so these things don't smell much like your cat. It may help then to spread more of your cat's scent in places like that. You can do this by if there's some object like a blanket that your cat likes to lie on, then move that to those sorts of locations.

Lastly, you're going to have to do your best to supervise their interactions, and to teach your child how to interact with the cat, such as how to pet it appropriately, and do not chase the cat, and so forth. Of course this will be difficult if not sometimes impossible when your child is at the age when they're just starting to walk, but if you have patience and persistence, the situation will surely improve with time as your child matures.

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  • +1 for the cleaning and territorial scent. But "higher than the baby could climb" sounds dangerous for a baby. They will climb higher than they should and then fall of if no one will discourage them. – Allerleirauh Nov 27 '19 at 7:53
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    I was thinking more along the lines of, a cat can probably jump up higher than a toddler can actually reach to climb (like kitchen counter height ish). Of course though you should consider the child's safety and not install things that they could climb and fall off of from a dangerous height. – Kai Nov 27 '19 at 15:38
  • Thank you for explain it to me :) so we followed in this part the same thought – Allerleirauh Nov 27 '19 at 18:25
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The cat is all right, it's the baby's fault. Try to train the baby not to abuse the cat. If she does it anyway, pet the cat to show she's loved.

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    Maybe you could offer some way to train the baby? Could you add some suggestion how to handle the cats behavior until baby is trained? – Allerleirauh Nov 27 '19 at 6:48
  • I should say, the cat is receiving annoying amounts of positive attention throughout the day. I thought about disciplinary strategies for kiddo as well, but every answer I've heard is that at this age, saying "no" this much causes more harm than good (as they learn to ignore you, extrapolating the wrong lessons like "don't explore" because they're not developed enough to understand, etc..). Anyways, I'm not trying to blame the cat or the baby. I just want to see what kinds of solutions can take both of their needs into consideration on a serious budget. – James M. Lay Nov 27 '19 at 22:30

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