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Do I tell him, or do I just let it go?

We had an outside cat, and I noticed on Monday that he wasn't around. He was an incredibly affectionate cat so that was really weird. By Tuesday I was pretty sure something had happened because he still wasn't around, then yesterday I started to smell....death. I didn't want our three year old to follow me around looking for the cat because I was afraid of how he would react if we found him. So his dad looked today while I took kiddo on a walk. He said that our cat is dead in the back yard (we never go back there because of the mosquitoes) and that he'll bury him tomorrow. Up until this point I've just been telling our three year old that our cat is out playing, so now do I tell him his cat is dead or hope he just eventually kind of forgets about him? I can't even go look and I'm trying so hard not to cry. I don't want my kid to see me upset.

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Asked by ajguinn at 6:29 PM on Sep. 17, 2009 in Pets

Level 2 (10 Credits)
Answers (17)
  • i would tell my own kid "kitty had a bad boo boo and he's not coming back,he really loved you and i know you loved him,he's sorry he couldnt say goodbye"

    Answer by BUSYLOVINGHIM at 6:34 PM on Sep. 17, 2009

  • Oh! I'm so sorry. (hugs)

    I had a very affectionate outdoor cat that just disappeared one day when I was pregnant. I don't know what happened to him and I think that is almost worse than knowing he had died.

    But for your three year old to know his kitty is dead is a tough call. Is this the first time he has seen something he loves die? (no goldfish die on him yet?)

    If it is the first time, he probably won't understand it means he won't come back. If it's not the first time, I would just not mention the kitty at all and see if he stops asking about it. He probably will since there are so many things for him to think about!

    Maybe a goldfish would take his mind off the kitty. :)

    Answer by 07upsydaisy at 6:34 PM on Sep. 17, 2009

  • You need to tell him so when someone/something else just up and disappears, he doensn't think that they will eventually come back. Just keep it simple and tell him that kitty went to Rainbow Bridge.

    Answer by Jademom07 at 6:35 PM on Sep. 17, 2009

  • Yeah I think it's better to give some kind of explanation...maybe just say that someone decided to adopt the cat?

    Answer by stepmom929 at 6:37 PM on Sep. 17, 2009

  • Im sorry about your kitty cat and, well, this is a tough one, little ones have a hard time understanding death...... Ive heard of some being afraid of going to sleep again after loosing a pet or someone because they dont understand..... Its awful any way you have to think or talk about it really.... honestly, I told my kids when they were that little that the kitty got married and started a family of his own...( GASP< I KNOW!!!! Thats horrible!) Of course, once they got older they knew better, but really, they arent mad at me for my little "fib" I didnt even know what happened to our cat and really couldnt bear the thought of all the tears either.......Its really up to you what you tell them, but you have to be the judge of what you think your little one can handle. Good luck Momma :) hugs! ( you can also take this another direction and have a funeral for the kitty and explain it like that too, its all up to you)

    Answer by SuperMomof3kids at 6:39 PM on Sep. 17, 2009

  • Oh - I just reread your post and realized it was your cat...that makes the adoption story a little strange. I just think 3 years old is a little young to try to explain death but it might be a good opportunity to try to start explaining it. That's a tough one..sorry!

    Answer by stepmom929 at 6:39 PM on Sep. 17, 2009

  • Supermom's answer about the kitty getting married and starting a family of his own is so hilarious!

    I love it.

    Answer by 07upsydaisy at 6:43 PM on Sep. 17, 2009

  • Would it be horrible to tell him that someone found the cat and loved it so much that they stole it? I wouldn't want to tell my little one that their pet died either.
    Hugs and GL

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:44 PM on Sep. 17, 2009

  • you could go with the old standby of, you took the cat to a big happy farm full of other kitty cats it can play with all the time, b/c kitty wanted some cat friends. but you have to tell him something, my mom told my brother that our dog had to stay at the vet when he was 5 (she was put down) when he was 12 he asked when the dog was coming home. for 7 yrs he thought the dog was still at the doggie doctors and at 12 he started to realize something wasn't right there so he asked about it. and he didn't even ask her he asked my husband!

    Answer by vabchmommy at 6:56 PM on Sep. 17, 2009

  • i'm not sure he'd understand but if you could just tell him kitty went to kitty heaven and he is happy there with his other kitty friends. i think you should be truthful. it will be hard but kids are stronger then we give them credit for.

    Answer by melody77 at 7:02 PM on Sep. 17, 2009

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