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Can't find the words....
please help me explain our beloved cat passing away to DD.

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8 replies to this topic

#1 Flutter Bug

Posted 13 December 2012 - 03:57 PM

Sorry if I'm posting this in the wrong place but I wasn't sure where to ask for help with this.

We made the heartbreaking decision to put our beautiful cat to sleep today. He came to us as a stray and has been living with us for the past 5 years. He hadn't been eating and became very skinny  over a week or so. We planned to take him to the vet and that's when he went missing for over a week.  He returned home last night looking very frail, could barely walk and sooo skinny. We took him to the emergency animal hospital where he has been ever since. By estimate he was 12 or so years old. He may have become well again but we made the tough decision to let him go due to his age and having been unwell before he went missing. To find out how his quality of life was going to pan out he would have needed to stay in hospital for over a week with tests being done every day - we feel so terrible that this was partially a financial decision, the bill would have been well over $5000 which we just don't have. We felt the kindest thing to do was to give him peace. Sorry, I've digressed a bit...

He is home with us now, in a box. My daughter is almost 3 years old and keeps saying she hope he gets better soon and wakes up again. She wants to pat him. I don't know how to explain what has happened in a simple way that she may understand, can you please help me find the words? She is a very inquisitive little thing.

Thank you

#2 strawberry blondes

Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:01 PM

A few weeks ago I had to rush my neighbours to the vet with their very sick dog, all 3 of my girls were with me as it was 7am. When we arrived the dog and owners were ushered into a side room, the receptionist told me the dog was dead. My 2&4 yo's didn't know what that meant so DD1 who is 6 told them the doggy had to go and live in the fluffy white clouds. The younger 2 seemed to accept this explanation, I thought it was very sweet.

#3 la di dah

Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:01 PM

I remember one of my cats dying when I was about that age.  

I would just tell her he was very sick and not the kind that gets better, and he died. He doesn't hurt anymore, but he can't come back. It's okay to miss him. At least we can be happy he doesn't hurt. Its always very sad when something dies but we can remember them.

I'm very sorry.

#4 niggles

Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:02 PM

Sorry about your cat. sad.gif That's really sad. Our fish died recently but our DD was already familliar with the concept of death so it didn't need much explanation other than the fact we couldn't keep the fish in the tank now that he had died, and that it wasn't her fault for not looking after him properly (these were her concerns). She appreciated burying Bubbles in the garden and putting flowers on the ground for him for the next few weeks from time to time. Do you think that might help your daughter to grasp the concept that the cat won't be coming back?

Edited by niggles, 13 December 2012 - 04:03 PM.

#5 Velvetta

Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:06 PM

That's sad,and I would do the same, but lots of ritual will help. Maybe she can write a poem (Ode to a dead cat?).
I'd bury him quickly though as the fleas will be jumping off in no time.

#6 FiveAus

Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:06 PM

I;m so sorry. It's so hard to lose a pet....our pets are our life so I know how you're hurting.

With your little girl, keep it simple and truthful. Children are very accepting of what they're told by adults, just let her know it's OK to cry, and it's OK for *you* to cry too, because you are both missing the cat and are sad that he won't be coming back.

#7 mewsings

Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:11 PM

Sorry for the loss of your pet OP.

I'd let your daughter pat him if she wants to -  I'd gently explain that Puss was sick and unwell and is no longer in pain.  Little kids can be very matter of fact about death, which with pets I think is a blessing in disguise.  If you are up to it,  take a paw print for her and put it in a little frame as a reminder.

I wouldn't hide it from her,  particularly since he has recently been missing.  I'd just say he died, and that it's okay to be sad about it and that you are sad too.  I'd also say that sometimes it helps you to feel a bit better if you think of a time when she and the cat were happy together.  

You can introduce the Rainbow Bridge if it suits your philosophy.  My DD - and I - like the idea that they'll be waiting for us when it's our turn to join them.

#8 Flutter Bug

Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:38 PM

Thank you all for your suggestions, they have really helped me gather my thoughts and explain to DD what has happened. She is most definitely the sort of child you need to be matter of fact and truthful with as she asks a lot of questions.  I basically used your words, La di Dah so I thank you very much. I've let her see him and touch him. She has noted that he is not breathing so that helped. We will bury him together and she wants to draw him a picture, so cute!

So thank you to everyone who replied, much appreciated.

#9 rainycat

Posted 13 December 2012 - 04:58 PM

We just lost our much loved cat and dog within a month of each other.  My twins just turned 3 and they loved their pets.
We just kept it really simple and said they were old and sick and had to go away.  We kept repeating how sad it was for us but Reg and Rainy were happy.
They both decided they were shopping?? and now a month later it has hit them quite hard with lots of tears asking when they can come back and that it is unfair.
We did explain about dying but they are too young to understand.
To much info gets lost on them so just big hugs for them and agreeing it is very sad.
We had our pets cremated and they are together on the piano. cry1.gif

Edited by rainycat, 13 December 2012 - 05:00 PM.

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