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How do you explain pet death to your kids?

Had to euthanize one of our cats recently because of late stage terminal bladder cancer and my oldest just realized the cat was missing. How do I explain the cat died without her worrying about the other pets or family members?

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Asked by LorinLizziesMom at 7:55 PM on Apr. 15, 2011 in Pets

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Answers (10)
  • Sorry for the loss of your kitty This poem helped me explain a lot to my DS when we lost a dog & cat

    Answer by liss05 at 8:04 PM on Apr. 15, 2011

  • When a beloved pet dies , the pet goes to this special place. There is always food and water and warm spring weather.

    The old and frail are young again. Those who are maimed are made whole again.

    They play all day with each other. There is only one thing missing.

    They are not with their special person who loved them on Earth.

    So each day they run and play until the day comes when one suddenly stops playing and looks up !

    The nose twitches !

    The ears are up !

    The eyes are staring !

    And this one suddenly runs from the group !

    You have been seen, and when you and your special friend meet, you take him or her into your arms and embrace.

    Your face is kissed again and again, and you look once more into the eyes of your trusting pet.

    Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together, never again to be separated


    Answer by liss05 at 8:05 PM on Apr. 15, 2011

  • i had to put my cat to least last summer, I took the kids with us (3 and 5) and let them say good-bye and b/c we are religious I told them that the cat was going with Jesus. They saw me cry b/c I was devastated, we had him for 15 years, he was the only pet that I had on my own. It took awhile for them to stop asking when we were going to pick him up, but they were fine soon after.

    Answer by Bubbie0809 at 8:10 PM on Apr. 15, 2011

  • sorry for your loss, I know it is horrible.

    Answer by Bubbie0809 at 8:10 PM on Apr. 15, 2011

  • There is a book called "Freddy the Leaf" that is wonderful for explaining death to children.

    Answer by wellnessgirl at 8:14 PM on Apr. 15, 2011

  • I'm sorry for your loss.

    Be honest, but keep things age appropriate. I don't know how old your oldest is, but keeping it simple is probably best....kitty died, which means he isn't with us anymore. Maybe say a little more if you think it will help...

    We have went through this....far too many times. The first time was a couple months after DD turned 3. The cat that was her very best friend, Bailye, died unexpectantly while he was spending the night at the vet office. We were honest with her at the time and told her that Bailye died and that he wasn't going to come back. We explained to her that his spirit was still alive and with God and that he was playing with another of our cats who had died a few years prior....that he lived a good long life and he loved her so much. We brought his body home from the vet so that she could see him again and say her good-byes to him. We were very lucky in that she was okay with it all.

    Answer by AllAboutKeeley at 8:29 PM on Apr. 15, 2011

  • I'm sorry for your loss. We just recently lost a kitten as well, took her in to be fixed and it turned out she had a heart condition they didn't find in time.

    Answer by prettypaper at 1:34 AM on Apr. 16, 2011

  • So sorry about your cat. Just yesterday we lost our family cat that we've had since she was born and that was 18 years ago. It's
    very hard to know what to say, I had problems explaining it to my daughter, but she knew the cat was old and getting ready to die,
    and that everything and everybody dies eventually. She knows and believes in Jesus and that goes a long way.

    Answer by JeannieBee at 7:25 AM on Apr. 16, 2011

  • We lost our dog very suddenly due to a ruptured intestine. Our son knew right away that something was wrong with "white dog" because we woke up in the morning and the poor girl was lifeless. He lost his Opie when he was 2 and he asked us right away if White dog was in heaven with Opie and we told him yes. When Opie passed away he visited him in the hospital which at times I regret because he was on Lsupport but our son knew where heaven was and still to this day points to the moon and says hi to Opie and White dog.
    I feel the best is honesty. Explain heaven to them and the moon is a good sign of heaven, at least for our son :)

    Answer by DMansMom005 at 3:05 PM on Apr. 16, 2011

  • I'm sorry for your loss. I'm not sure how old your children are- that might affect their understanding. I try to be honest with my kids. I would tell them that the cat was sick... the vet tried to make him better but sometimes they are not able to help and so the cat died. You can also explain any beliefs you have about the afterlife or whatnot. When one of our guinea pigs died last summer, my kids really liked the Rainbow Bridge poem that a previous poster cited above. When we buried her the kids all said a special memory about her, and I read that poem out loud. My daughter still talks about Frenzy being in 'the rainbow place' and not being sick anymore.

    Answer by Freela at 9:34 PM on Apr. 16, 2011

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