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How do I tell our two year old our cat had died?

(9 Posts)
hophophippidtyhop Fri 07-Aug-09 07:13:16

Has anyone done this? I know she won't really understand, but what kind of words should I use so she starts to know he's not coming back? Last 3 weeks she'd been calling him in for food and he'd come to her. I'm trying to minimise the times she's going to call for him as it makes me cry my eyes out. I was thinking of telling her he had been very ill and had to go and live with other cats who were ill, what do you think? Any ideas?

3littlefrogs Fri 07-Aug-09 07:16:08

Do you know the "Mog" series of books? Can't remember the author (she is very well known, but my brain doesn;t work). Anyway, she wrote a lovely story about when Mog finally passed away. My dc loved Mog when they were about 2.

BiscuitStuffer Fri 07-Aug-09 07:16:55

oh dear, poor you

I actually have no idea. My concern would be that they then worry if you or they get ill that you will be going away and not coming back. Is it completely inappropriate to say that sometimes animals just go away and don't come back and that is why we make sure we have a lovely time with them while they're here?

Hopefully someone with more experience will be along soon.

HuffySpice Fri 07-Aug-09 07:20:48

Just 2 or nearly 3?

I tend to favour the truth when explaining diffcult things to children.

Pusspuss was very old and sometimes when animals are very old they get ill and die. Pusspuss has died and that means he doesn't live here with us any more. We can feel a bit sad about that because we will miss Pusspuss, but it's okay because it's just what happens and it means that Pusspuss doesn't have to feel poorly any more.

And then answer any questions or give your dd space to chat about it.

Sorry for your loss hophop.

Twistle Fri 07-Aug-09 08:25:15

Hi, Goodbye Mog, by Judith Kerr is the book 3littlefrogs is referring to. Badger's Friends is another book about death.

I'd just tell her. I shouldn't think she'll be that bothered, but will look sad as that's what she'll think you want to see. I think it's a bad idea to say he's gone to live somewhere else - she might worry that if she got ill you'd send her away.

Our cat died 2 months ago. I told my 7 year old (at end of school day) and she said, with sad face, "oh, how sad....... it's (my best friend)'s birthday in 10 days".

We had a funeral, buried him in a box with a few flowers and photos of the girls, planted an apple tree over him (we'd been meaning to plant it out for ages). Sang "Peter Perkins, he's a jolly nice cat" and talked about nice things Felix did.... afterwards my 2 year old said, "oh, I wish (othercat) was dead too"... so perhaps the funeral was too much fun?!

I think from what you say, your problem is that like me, you are upset, which is fine. It gets better. I don't burst into tears whenever they talk about him, I just smile now. Well, I well up a little!

misshardbroom Fri 07-Aug-09 08:36:44

One of our cats died about 10 months ago so DS2 was 2.4 at the time.

We just said that [cat's name] wouldn't be coming back ever again because he had died, which was very sad for us because he had been a good cat.

We talk about heaven fairly regularly so the children immediately asked whether he was in heaven, and so I said yes he was. I didn't think the death of a family pet was the time to introduce debate about religious belief.

I would be very straight up about it, you don't want to introduce any ambiguity or let her think there is a chance he'll come back.

Sorry that you're feeling sad about it yourself - it's a real shame.

hophophippidtyhop Fri 07-Aug-09 11:02:25

Thanks for all your advice, DD is 2 in 2 weeks time. Like you say I'm worried about using words like gone to sleep or he's gone away because he was very ill in case it has repercussions later. I know that she will forget, only happened wednesday night, yesterday we went out all day and I've managed to avoid her thinking about him so far! But I can't do that forever. All of your suggestions are very good, I think I'll do a mix of all of them, with the back up of the book if needed. It's hard as it was very sudden, heart attack I think. One minute he'd just had his dinner and half hour later he was gone.

daisymaybe Fri 07-Aug-09 20:34:20

The absolute worse thing in the world at that age is when mummy or daddy is upset. As long as you don't break down and cry, but explain it calmly then I think she'll take her lead from you.

Mintyy Fri 07-Aug-09 20:40:19

Tbh, I think you'll be amazed at how un-phased your little dd is. She will take it in her stride. You can tell her about death now and she may not understand it or grasp the concept at all. I believe understanding of death is a developmental stage all humans go through (like potty training, if you will) and when they do get it, you get loads and loads of questions about it. I'm not sure what the "standard" age is, but I don't think its often before the age of 2.

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