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How to tell the children their beloved cat has died?

(10 Posts)
HappyPrince Tue 09-Dec-14 14:00:17

Our beloved cat Zeddy went for an operation this morning. We thought he would just be having an abscess seen to and a tooth removed but the vet has just called to say he has mouth cancer (I guess they could only find out by operating) and that if he wakes after the operation he will be in a lot of pain. So, very sadly, we have asked the vet to have him put to sleep.

As the vet had told us before the operation that, apart from the abcess Zedd was in good health, I reassured the children this morning that Zeddy would be coming home tonight and that we would all have to nurse him and spoil him. How do I tell them? I'm worried this will shake their trust. Any advice please?

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 09-Dec-14 14:04:21

How old are your dc.

I would avoid any use of the words holiday or sleep or gone away as that will give them.false hope of coming back.

I would just tell them that he was sadly very ill and there was nothing the vet could do for him so they gave him an injection so he could die peacefully.

tell them.he knew he was loved and cherished and he loved them.back.

so sorry for your loss flowers

sweet dreams kitten xx

HappyPrince Tue 09-Dec-14 14:14:30

Thank you Giles. They are 7 and 11. You're right. Direct language is best. They have been through bereavements before for Granny and a close family friend and Zeddy's sister so I am not so worried about telling them that Zedd has died. It's more that I feel I misled them by saying the operation was the best thing and that they shouldn't worry, he'll be home tonight etc etc. I am worried that they might not trust things I tell them in future. Probably getting it all out of focus as I sit here with tears rolling down my cheeks!

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 09-Dec-14 14:24:00

I think.the 11 year old should get that there was no way you could have known or the vet could have known. you didn't mis lead them, 99% of the times you would have been spot on.

Just tell the 7 yr old that you all thought he was coming home and your as upset as he is but you and the vet had to do what was best for zedd no matter how sad it is for everyone.

my dd would have understood but of yours doesn't I'd just give him some time. Maybe he could pick a picture or something to frame for his bedroom

HappyPrince Tue 09-Dec-14 14:37:19

Thank you. I feel I can face up to it now! x

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 09-Dec-14 14:43:39

I hope they take it as well as can be expected.

remember that whatever their reaction it's not your fault. They will be upset and angry and sorry they never said good bye. They won't mean it if they blame you. not really. Please don't take it to heart if they do say something. It's just because they are upset and your there.

you couldn't have known. cats will hide their symptoms as long as they can. And fwiw you made the right choice for him.and he wouldn't have been in any pain when they did it.

I'm truly sorry about your cat xxx

EauLittleRougeofBethlehem Tue 09-Dec-14 15:54:10

Sorry for your loss sad

Our cat died in the spring and my DDs (6 and almost 4) still say they miss him. Our situation was a little different because they had some time to say goodbye and they were there when he was PTS. I'd also told them that he would be fine and felt awful that I'd 'lied'. We talked about how it was a shock that he was so ill, and that he wasn't going to get better. I avoided saying 'put to sleep' because I didn't want them to think he was going to wake up again. I just told him that the vet gave him an injection so he didn't die in pain and they seemed OK with that.

We bought this book which really helped, but it might be a little young for your 11yo.

The other thing we did was make a trip to the garden centre and they chose a little statue and some plants to put on his grave. They also decorated a sheet with some marker pens and we wrapped him in that to bury him.

I hope they take it OK, it's not easy to deal with xx

HappyPrince Fri 12-Dec-14 16:55:21

Thanks EauLittle, the book is fantastic, even for the 11 yo! Lovely illustrations too.

They were both very shocked and angry and it took a while for my 11yo to really understand that the vet hadn't 'killed' the cat horribly and that none of us could have predicted this. He has taken it especially hard but it's all part of learning about love and loss.

Thanks all

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 12-Dec-14 17:08:54

So sorry he took it so hard. flowers

I hope you are all doing ok. I know how hard this is. x

EauLittleRougeofBethlehem Fri 12-Dec-14 18:08:01

Your poor DS sad It's never easy losing a pet, but so much harder for children. I'm glad the book helped a bit, we read our copy whenever the DDs miss our cat.

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