What to say when a beloved pet dies...

Recently, one of my parents' garage cats went missing. Now, they live in the country so their purpose for getting the cats was for rodent control plus, my mom is horribly allergic. Having the cats live indoors is just not an option.
What to say when a beloved pet dies
It's been a year since they brought the kitties home and  my son, Brennan, has been influential in taking care of the cats whenever we go to my parents'. He named the cats and loves them. He even likes to Skypes with them when we're apart. Naturally, I took to a few trusted resources on the subject: Unfortunately, the cat that was missing has been found. A neighbor discovered that she had been hit by a car in the morning last week. Not knowing that she belonged to my parents, he placed her in the ditch so when my dad asked him if he had seen her he was able to show him where she was. Everyone in the family is heartbroken but the person I know who will take it the hardest is my sweet boy. So now my husband and I have the daunting task of  telling him that his favorite cat is no longer alive. I mean how do you explain that to a five-year-old? The AACAP brings up the point that children who are between the ages of three and five-years-old will not understand the finality of death. It is because of this that we will most likely have to reiterate that the cat is not moving, cannot wake up and will not be able to play any more.  Click here to read more. An article on WebMD suggests being brief and not using euphemisms such as "passed away" or "went to sleep" because it makes no sense to a preschooler who doesn't have the developmental capability to understand the permanence of death. So that's the gist of everything out there.  Have you had to explain the death of a pet to your little one? What did you say?
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18 comments

  • I do not look forward to losing our fur babies. I cannot even imagine explaining it to our little without tearing up.

    Courtney on
  • One of my sisters was 3 1/2 when my grammy died. We are a very religious family, and I was impressed with the depth of understanding she had about death and where we believe people go when they die. I know my mom talked a lot with her to help her understand what was going on. I think it helps a lot when we as parents talk frankly and clearly with our children about it when a pet or loved one passes away because then they can process the situation better.

    Marcelaine on
  • Talking to kids about loss is hard, but I think when a child learns what death means through the experience of losing a pet, it makes it easier when they (inevitably) face the loss of a human loved one. Not that losing someone is ever easy, and I wish no one had to go through it, but most children will experience a loss at some point, and being able to understand (in an age-appropriate way) what is going on helps the process be a little smoother.

    Rebecca T on
  • This is such a sad sad topic. :(

    It makes me incredibly sad to think that my wonderful and amazing golden retriever who has helped me through so much won’t live forever. Someday she will pass on, and I will have to explain it to my children. It makes me more sad that my children won’t appreciate how amazing of a doggy she was. :(

    Sad sad day. :(

    Beth Ann on
  • We thought we were going to have to put our injured Husky down last spring. We had the conversation with the boys (3 and 6 at the time) The dog miraculously felt better pretty much every day since then. However since we’d already talked about it, Luke kept announcing to everyone, even people walking by, yelling from the front window “My dog is going to heaven soon!”

    Kristi on

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