Need help ASAP! How to tell toddler about giving away a cat. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 9 Old 09-23-2013, 11:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I cry as I write these words. I strongly believe you don't give away a pet unless there's no option. We have two cats and one has always been skiddish, nervous, but loving and attached to my husband (cries when he's not around... No joke! Sometime last year when my son was 2 the cat changed and start attacking my son... Not defending himself, I mean stalking, biting, and attacking. We have tried everything, and I mean EVERYTHING!

Many visits to the vets, pheromone sprays, anti depressants for the cat, soft paws, extra love, only my son feeding him, my husband doing extra attention, and most recently the cat attacked my son in the face. This is the kindest cat ever too, which is what scares the vet as the attacks are unprovoked. After the face we said "that's it one last chance and he will be supervised 100%" we'll this weekend my son was playing with his Legos quietly and the cat jus walked by, looked and him and attacked, biting and all.... I feel i need to add my son is quiet for a toddler and doesnt harass the cat. Thankfully the vet tech I saw wants him and knows the issues. As a shelter isn't an option for me, it's a death sentence in my mind. (No offense to anyone).

I don't want to give this cat away, but I cannot put my sons safety in risk. I worry for the cat because he is strongly attached to my husband.

Long rant short, how do I tell my son (almost 3 now) He still loves this cat And isn't afraid of him?

Sorry for the typos I am upset beyond words. Thank you. Any advice on how to not feel like a kitty mom failure and to stop feeling so guilty would be helpful. greensad.gif
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#2 of 9 Old 09-24-2013, 01:00 AM
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Awwww, I'm sorry. :Hug  My only suggestion is to not stress too much about what to tell him at this point.  You can say that there was a person who really needed a cat, and you wanted to share because you had two.  You could say that you felt like the cat would be happier in a home where he was the only pet. I don't think he'll be overly concerned for too long, although the subject may periodically come up at times in the future.

My sister had to rehome a much attached dog because she just kept attacking the other pets in the home, and she was a big heavy dog.  She could really have hurt someone, and your cat could cause damage to your son. Ultimately, my sis found a home for the dog where she got to be the only dog and really, the only child, since the couple's children were grown.  She had a hard time at first, basically just wanted to go outside all the time, and seemed to want to leave, but eventually settled into her new life, and was much adored and basked in the adoration.



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#3 of 9 Old 09-24-2013, 01:33 AM
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I do feel your pain. We had a similar situation here, two years ago, where I had to rehome our dog. She was a border collie, and she bit our son into the face. Not bad. No scar or anything. But that was the straw that told me that she needed to go. 


I talked about it with the kids (son was three years old). I told them, that Merle (our dog) is not happy with us anymore, because she needs some things that we cannot give her. She needs to work and more stimulation, and since we did not keep sheep, we could not offer that. So we found a home (with cattle) and a person who was willing to train her. And although she will miss us, as we will miss her, we know for sure, that she will be happier at her new place, and not do things like biting anymore. We will get updates, and know that she will be happy. 


It worked quite well. DS did cry, DD cried a lot, but I acknowledged their feelings, and hold them, and talked with them, and described how Merle is herding cattle, and how PROUD she feels, because she has such an important job, and they got over it pretty well. 


They do ask about her, and since I do get updates, I can tell them how she is. 


Hope that helps! 

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#4 of 9 Old 09-24-2013, 12:14 PM
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Just tell your son the cat is living with a different family now. Everyone will be fine, including the cat. Animals adapt very quickly to new situations.
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#5 of 9 Old 09-24-2013, 07:28 PM
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I have dogs rather than cats but I wanted to send some reassurance from the pet angle too. You have done everything you could, and more than most people would have done in the situation. I really think that both your family and the cat will feel more peaceful with the new setup once the adjustment is over. It's not like you are doing it for convenience, it is a safety issue and in this case I think it is better for the kitty too.


How to explain it to your toddler I'm not sure, it would be hard if I had to do that with my DD (she's 2.5) but some of the mamas above had good ideas. Start with a short and simple explanation, I would say, and only elaborate when he asks so as not to make it sound like a bigger issue that he should be worried over.

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#6 of 9 Old 09-24-2013, 10:50 PM
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Oh honey, I am so sorry. I so understand what you are going through, although my situation was a little different. We had a sweet little shiztu for four years, but my husband was always allergic to him. Then his asthma got really bad from being around him. Finally, he got very sick with pneumonia, had a partially collapsed lung, and had a long hospital stay!! He told me he didn't want to come home because home made him sick. Of course we knew what we had to do.

I had such a hard time that I hired an animal communicator to help through the process of rehoming our beloved dog. It was HARD. But we found a wonderful woman who loves him so much, and after having him for a while she lost her cat of 16 years. She wrote to me and told me that our dog was a godsend to her during that difficult time. I knew we had done the right thing. I think that sometimes animals come into our lives to fulfill a special purpose. Maybe it's time for your kitty to help someone else on their journey.

Also, with my husband being so sick all the time I knew that we couldn't have another baby with our shiztu in our lives. Within a month after he left I was pregnant. It's funny how losses can make room for other things.

I don't have much to offer other than my condolences. I know what you are going through is so hard but you are doing the right thing. I think you got some great suggestions from other posters. Big hugs to you. <3

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#7 of 9 Old 09-25-2013, 01:24 PM
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I sympathize.  I just had the same problem.  My daughter grew up with our cat from kitten.  Suddenly the cat started just getting really mean with my three year old.  She knocked her down about 8 steps and that was when I said that I am done.  We gave it away and my daughter only really took very little notice.  We told her that kitty went to go live with Uncle Richard because kitty was hurting her and mommy doesn't like things hurting her baby. and that maybe she could see it sometimes.  We left it at that and she really hasn't said much about it. 


I was over thinking it.  I thought I was going to scar her because I got rid of kitty.  I think it was actually a relief for her to not be stalked anymore.

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#8 of 9 Old 09-25-2013, 02:14 PM
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We had to give away a dog once because she bit our three year old son. It was a bit different, as we'd only had the dog for a short time, and simply gave her back to the original owner (who, AFAIK, still has her). The kids were three and four at the time, and are now teenagers, and they honestly wouldn't even remember having that dog if they hadn't heard us talk about it. (That dog had puppies a couple of years later, and we adopted one. So the kids knew that their dog's mother used to live with us, but went home.) They also have no real memory of the cat I had who died around the same time.

I would just say, simply, that kitty is going to go live in a new home. If asked, you could say that it's because she will be happy there, or because the new owners really want or need a kitty. You could say that you love kitty very much, and are trying to give him what is best for him. I wouldn't say anything about the cat having hurt your DS, because I wouldn't want him to feel like it was his fault.
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Michelle, wife to DH, and momma to DD16, DS15, DS12, DS10, DD9, DD7, DS5, and baby girl born Christmas Eve 2013!
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#9 of 9 Old 09-25-2013, 02:34 PM
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We had to re-home all 3 of our cats when DS was 3 after our DD had a brain injury and trach put in.  (Trachs and cat fur do not mix).  We were honest and said we had to find the kitties new homes, and talked about what kind of homes they went to.  This was very hard since DS LOVED the kitties, and they had done nothing wrong.  I advise being honest.  Kitty is scratching and biting people in our house because he is unhappy.  So-and-so is going to take kitty to her house to live so he stops scratching and biting people.  We are still going to keep other pets.

Wife to M , Mommy to DS aka Captain Obvious  (06/06) and DD aka Lissalot  (03/09, anoxic brain injury)
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