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My 5 year old saw me kill a rat and I think it has disturbed him

(5 Posts)
Muffster Tue 12-Jul-16 17:35:46

One of my cats brought a badly injured rat to the front door and was playing with it as I returned with my son. He saw the rat and wanted to stroke it as he thought it was cute. I panicked and told him to go inside which he did. The injured rat started trying to climb up the wall round the door to get away from the cat and me, leaving a trail of blood. I didn't know what to do and was worried the neighbour in the upstairs flat was about to return - she hates me having cats which are allowed outside and would no doubt freak if she saw a large bloody rat and a pleased-looking cat outside her home. I grabbed a broom and walloped the rat with it until it was dead. Then I chucked it in the canal outside. I now think my son was watching through the window and saw me kill the rat and throw it in the canal. Since then he keeps going on about rats, asking what they eat, if they can swim, why was it trying to climb the walk etc. I feel awful and don't know how much of the truth to tell him. He already knows cats hunt rats, rats steal food from bins and have lots of germs and do poos everywhere so people don't like to have them near their homes. He knows rats can swim. I'm pretty sure he knows the rat is dead but he keeps saying he'd like to give it cheese and where did it swim to and will be see it again? He can see me getting flustered so there's an element of him enjoying my being flustered. He has seen dead animals before - snakes, snails, lizards (we live abroad).

I want to explain the whole truth - the rat was badly hurt and couldn't be fixed after the cat hunted it, so I killed him so he wouldn't be in pain any more and put him in the canal so his body could feed other animals. That people sometimes do this when animists are very sick or hurt, but they don't do it to other people...I don't know if this is too much? Can anyone advise?

Muffster Tue 12-Jul-16 18:42:19

Apologies if this isn't the right forum. I didn't want to put in chat or AIBU as didn't want a bunfight.

feetheart Tue 12-Jul-16 18:46:20

I think the whole truth is always a good idea, done at his level. Your explanation sounds fine to me though I have a bit of a reputation of being a straight talker smile

Elllicam Tue 12-Jul-16 18:49:23

I think I would go with the truth. We had a slightly similar situation with next doors cat being run over and we went with the truth and our 2 (2 and 3) coped fine with it.

Muffster Tue 12-Jul-16 19:05:13

Thank you both so much. I wish I had told him the truth straight away now instead of just saying we would not be seeing the rat again. Almost 2 weeks have passed and he's still going on about it. No doubt because he knows there's more than he was told. Agh. I will tell him the whole story and say sorry for not telling him everything at the time because I thought it would make him feel sad (and possibly have a meltdown although I won't say about the meltdown. He does have a lot of difficulties with things not being as he expects/wants/hopes so if he has set his heart on a narrative of the rat swimming away happily then returning to play and eat outside our home again and I explain that's not happening because the rat is dead he may well flip out. But it's clearly bothering him and thinking Mum just goes round killing animals for no reason is probably much more worrying!...what a mess! Damn, why couldn't the cat have finished it off properly shock

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