Actually, the title of this post should be “Obese cat attacks family after being booted in the rear as a disciplinary measure. Family freaks out but wants to keep cat.”
Oh, where to start.
1) A 22 lb cat is obese and there are obviously animal care issues.
2) Kicking a cat in the rear after it objects to having its tail yanked by a baby is hardly an appropriate training measure
3) A cat that will attack with enough vehemence to make a group of adults barricade themselves and call 911 has other behaviour issues.
4) A family that thinks a cat that has a history of aggression and that made them barricade themselves in a room and call 911 is still an appropriate family pet for a household with a seven-month-old child is delusional.
While there may well be more to this story than has been reported, it seems like the baby pulled the cat’s tail, the cat objected and scratched the child, the owner kicked the cat, the cat responded, and the owners ended up locking themselves in a bedroom and calling 911 saying "I kicked the cat in the rear, and it has gone over the edge, He’s trying to attack us — he’s very hostile. He’s at our door; he’s charging us" as the cat screeched in the background.
Yet, after all that they apparently want to keep the cat, though they "definitely want to keep [the cat] away from the baby and keep an eye on his behavior."
Does this cat pose a major risk?
It’s hard to say. Probably not in most circumstances, but it can certainly be sent over the edge and respond very aggressively, something that has apparently happened more than once.
Should this cat be in this household?
Probably not. It’s in a household with a high-risk individual (the baby). Kids sometimes inappropriately handle animals, and this cat clearly doesn’t respond well to provocation. The owners don’t seem equipped to handle this properly. The cat might be perfectly fine in a household where it’s not provoked, but it doesn’t seem like a good fit for this household.
Can anything be done to prevent further problems?
A few things need to be considered. The first is a veterinary exam to make sure there’s not a physical reason for the cat’s response (e.g. is there a problem that made a little tail pull cause severe pain?). A consultation with a veterinary behaviourist (a veterinarian that specializes in behaviour as a result of extensive specialty training – not a self-proclaimed, untrained "pet psychologist" that the owners mentioned) would then be indicated to try to identify why this happened, and how (or whether) it can be prevented in the future.
While rarely (if ever) is there a situation where there should be no pets in households, there are situations where a combination of a certain pet and certain people doesn’t fit. This is probably one of those.