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Urgent advice on how to tell a 2 year old about our cat’s death

(13 Posts)
peakaboo Mon 09-Nov-09 14:00:02

Our beloved cat Ella has just had to be put down as she had a sudden stroke and was paralysed from the waist down. It all happened early this morning so dd came with us to the vet, and knows that we left her there. Dd was talking about Ella being ‘at the doctor’ and saying Ella is ‘not well’ on the way to nursery (thought we’d better stick to a ‘normal’ day); I am going to pick her up in an hour or so and will need to talk more about this with her and just don’t know how as I keep getting upset.

Fabster Mon 09-Nov-09 14:02:43

I am sorry for your loss. sad

I would tell your daughter that the cat was very poorly and the vet couldn't make her better so now she has died. Simple, matter of fact but truthful. Don't be surprised if she says okay and then goes off to play. Kids don't always go off in floods and tears, and also you may have to tell her again until she really gets it.

RIP Ella.

Fabster's advice is perfect. Honest and simple.

It's good for a child to learn to deal with sadness, so don't feel awful for upsetting her.

Sorry about your cat.

peakaboo Mon 09-Nov-09 14:05:07

Thanks. Do you think that a little one can grasp the idea of somethign being dead? I want to tell her that but don't know if she'll understand. Or if it really matters if she doesn't. And I don't want my emotion to make her upset.

andgodcreatedwoman Mon 09-Nov-09 14:05:50

Sorry about your sad news but I would tell her the truth.

I told our 2 year old when we put our cat to sleep earlier this year and she was fine. She chose a photo of him to go in her room and she still mentions him now. She's never seemed traumatised by it.

Horsiemummy Mon 09-Nov-09 14:07:58

my ds came with me when our elderly moggie had to be put down!

i told him she had fallen asleep and she was going to stay with the vets so they could make her better.

when he asked about going to get her - i said the vets could not make her better and that she went to heaven. we had a bit of a chat about the fact that old animals and people go to heaven, and that we cant see or touch them when they have gone there, but we can still think about them and they will still be thinking about us (god im nearly blubbing just typing this!)

this was in march and ds was 2 and 4 months. i think he understands as he will talk to people about our cats and then say - and there is tinkle too - but she is in heaven now.

since then we have lost a couple of relatives and had a horse put down and he seems quite happy with the fact that they have gone to heaven and that heaven is a nice place.

good luck. i found it hardest not to cry when i was telling him.

peakaboo Mon 09-Nov-09 14:08:09

Thanks too for the idea of the photo, think that will help.

Fabster Mon 09-Nov-09 14:08:49

Don't expect a bug reaction.

Don't say she went to sleep and didn't wake up.

Don't say she was put to sleep.

Both can worry small children.

Fabster Mon 09-Nov-09 14:09:53

BIG reaction, not bug!! Sorry.

She may not understand. You may explain it all only to be asked an hour later when your cat is coming home.

Just keep saying very gently that your cat has died and won't be coming home again, and you all miss her a lot.

IME children handle the idea of death much better than adults, but this is often because they don't get the permanence of it, so need some gentle reminders.

Horsiemummy Mon 09-Nov-09 14:11:00

totally agree with fabster! when mine asked why she went to heacen i sinple said " she died" and that was that.

peakaboo Mon 09-Nov-09 14:13:17

Thanks. In some strange way I think I almost need permission to talk about death with such a small child. I do agree that the simple and honest approach is best. I really appreciate all your advice.

Fabster Mon 09-Nov-09 14:15:32

I hope it goes well.

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