How do I tell my 6 year old that our cat has died?

It can be difficult to talk to young children about death, especially a beloved family pet. How do you tell your child that the family pet has passed away?

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11  Answers

0 39

We lost our beloved cat almost 3 months ago and telling my 6 year old and 8 year old was the hardest thing i have ever done.
I dont believe there is a right or wrong answer to this but my husband and i decided to tell them everything. The cat was quite old and had been poorly for a couple of weeks and there was nothing else that could of been done for him.
My 8 year old cried straight away and even now still gets upset. She had a very close relationship with him.
My 6 year old didnt understand and kept asking when and if the cat got better could he come home. We tried to wxplain that the cat wouldn't be coming home and that he was now in heaven and after acouple of hours of explaining this a few times it finally sunk in and he cried but i dont think he fully understood.
REcently we all watched Marley and me on tv and it hit home very hard everyone was in tears and my 6 year old finally understood. We constantly talked about the cat when it first happened sharing funny stories and we still do i think that helps.

2
69 42

When our family dog passed away, my then almost 4 year old granddaughter was living with me. We knew time was running out for Belle, a 16 year old white toy Poodle. To say I was very attached to my dog would be an understatement. When we made the decision to take her to the vet, I explained to my granddaughter that the puppy's body would come back with me so we could bury her on our property but that her spirit would be released and could go wherever she wished. Also that this was something that all living things face, without exception. When I came home with the body, my sweet little granddaughter was both interested and concerned. She was allowed to touch the still little soft furry body and help as we prepared it for burial. We had a little service where we all spoke of our wonderful memories of this long time friend and then laid her in the ground and covered her over. There is a paving stone that marks her place along with three others that belong to bunnies we had for over 12 years. Even now she will talk about Belle with great fondness. This was a tender and natural way of handling something that evokes great emotion. I shed some tears and my granddaughter understood that I would miss my friend.

2
0 17

I love your post. Very honest and loving. I wholeheartedly have and would do it all again the way you described. I believe it's the fairest way to go about things. Everything dies, and being honest and involving the kids in the burial/emotions avoids all confusion and, if you ask me, brings the family together knowing the pet was equally cherished. Having a paving stone is adorable. :)

2 9

you could always get her a kitten and let her no that the one that died is an angel watching over her and the new kitty i hope that helps a little it will make her cry alittle but then maybe she will no that opening her heart even more makes her into a loving litter girl and yes its sad and we feel helpless but its nature it is one big cicle in life.......

0
21 13

my dad and step mom just recently lost their dog. My 9 yr old took it the hardest but shes very emotional. She cant watch the aspa commercials without crying. I did wait 2 months before telling them as my dad lives in another state. I dreaded telling them but when they asked if we were going to see molly and rudy (my dad's dogs) I explained that molly was really sick and she passed away. We also recently had an aunt who passed away. It was much easier to explain the dog passing away than the aunt. Be honest with your child and let them ask questions. I answered all my kids questions with nothing but honesty. If your honest now about this it will make the harder things easier to talk about as they get older. My 6 yr old ask a million and one questions but we answered them. with the aunt who passed away he even wrote her a note (he thought of this himself) and gave her the ring off his cupcake to be placed in her casket with her. My cousins were so grateful at him for that. Use this as a way to explain life and death.

0
0 3

I actually wrote a book on explaining death to small children. Check it out on pawpawduckdefeatsdarkness.com Hope it helps!

0
16 0

Death is a fact of life, animals dying help children to learn about the ups and downs of life. Yes of course we love and miss our pets when they die, but life does go on. Imagine having to tell your 8 year old that their dad had died. That kind of puts it into perspective, doesnt it? Thats what i had to do and even after such a horrendous experience, we are living our lives and even having fun sometimes but that doesnt mean we love or miss him any less. I would go with getting a new pet and move on. Good luck.

0
1 71

I don't really think there is an easy way either....just tell them. Yes the child will be sad, but it is a fact of life. The pets are a stepping stone on how to deal with death, because in time it may be a close family member or friend. What is important is that you answer their questions as openly and honestly as you can, while showing sympathy and being there for total support. Maybe even going out and making a special spot for the cat and making a mark for him and visiting it and saying a few nice words. Or maybe take this time to go and find a new kitty, and tell the child, "beings you were such a good pet owner, I think you deserve to have a new kitty to love! Our last Cat was just old and tired and he was ready for rest, but I am sure this one would love to have you care for him!" Make a negative situation, and make it a positve one.

0
5 0

Honesty is the best. We have a 10 year old dog who is struggling and may have a couple of good years left..or not. My 5 year old daughter is an only child and the dog is her 'big sister'. We occasionally will chat about the fact that she won't live forever and we don't want her(the dog) to be in pain. My daughter seems to grasp this but I DREAD the day of departure. I can guarantee that my husband and I will not be able to hold it together. I believe that being honest is best and will help prepare them for future losses..pets or family members. Good luck!

1 27

Hi, I have always been honest with my children, especially so, for very sensitive situations. Unfortunately death is as much of life as life itself whether it's a loved family member, friend or pet, it's destiny. Showing your emotions is really important, as well as being understanding and tolerant.
Don't stop talking about the pet, remembering all the things they did together. Just be there for your child, no one can say how someone will grieve, patience and understanding and loads of hugs.

0
0 21

Talk about cycles. Show them that all things have their own cycle and that it is a natural process. I know it is probably cliché, but The Lion King is a great teaching tool when it comes to this topic. Once you have established that these cycles are natural it is important that you recognise and acknowlege their grief, "it is ok to be sad when someone/thing we love passes on". Help direct them to remembering what made their pet special and remind them that they will always be able to keep those memories, in that way they can keep the love they had close to their heart. Help them make a special picture or write a story about their pet. Then make sure to help them see opportunities that may have opened like getting a new pet or a new activity that they couldn't do before, like growing a window garden or starting a dressertop collection of little delicate things the cat would have knocked over or chewed up.

0
3 17

Tell your child that the cat was not feeling well and went to kitty heaven. then from behind your back produce a brand new baby kitten. the grieving process will happen slowly with the memory of the old pet but be overcome by the love of the new pet. let the child name the new kitten. and the trauma will never happen. simple as that . NEVER tell your child that everything dies etc. its unnecessary. the circle of life will become apparent as they grow into adulthood. and remove the deceased pet before the child finds out its gone. it does not need to see it or bury it etc. no trauma no pain.

3 17

You gently tell your child that the cat was not feeling well and went to kitty heaven. then from behind your back appears a brand new baby kitten. let the child name it and the trauma never happens. simple as that . Pets are replaceable. let your child know that the cat will be missed and let it go. the new kitten will cure the hurt in an instant.

-1
0 21

Let them watch all dogs go to haven.

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