Have to put the cats down... what do I tell DD??? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 04-27-2005, 10:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Need some advice.. anyone been here? I have to have two of my three cats put down next week ; they are both old and sick, though not in a way that is obvious to DD. She'll be 4 in july. How do I explain death to her without scaring her??? Not to mention that technically I am causing their deaths. I"m just sick about this.


Melissa Andrew dd1 dd2 dd3 and
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#2 of 6 Old 04-28-2005, 08:29 AM
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I would explain about the cats' illness, in terms that she can understand, then explain what's ahead (Will they be in pain? Is there no cure for their illness?) I've explained euthanasia to my kids as helping the animal to die without suffering. They were very accepting of this idea.

I'm sorry about your cats.

Single Mom to 3 (12, 17 & 21)  luxlove.gif and dog2.gif.

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#3 of 6 Old 04-28-2005, 09:23 AM
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I have to do the same thing with the dog...she's just old and frail and it's time...but my 11 year old is going to be so upset...it's come up in the past and she's been extremely sad about it. She is old enough to understand...at 4 I would just explain it simply like the above poster said.

I feel for you mama...it's so hard
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#4 of 6 Old 04-28-2005, 10:32 AM
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I'm very sorry about what you are going through. The decision to have a pet put down is such a tough one. When we had our cat put down past year, we found a mobile vet clinic to do it in our home. I would not have done it any other way. "Big G' was not scared or in pain. The procedure was very, very fast and my son was present. He was young not even two, but we felt like it was something we should be together for as a family.

Best of luck to you.
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#5 of 6 Old 04-28-2005, 01:51 PM
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My parents put our dog down when I was about nine, when I was at school. They didn't tell me beforehand, only after the fact, when I got home and was looking for her.

Them not warning me hurt so bad, it was hard to take that along with losing the dog we'd had my whole life!
She had been smelly and weak and incontinent for a while, so I'd been sort of keeping my distance. I felt guilty about that for years. And knowing after the fact that I could have had a chance to think to say some sort of goodbye, but my parents didn't give me that chance?

I'm not sure if I'm recommending this idea, but this is what I decided (at some point later in my childhood) I'd wished they had done:
A week ahead, explain that she is very sick, and in pain, and will die soon.
Right before It happens, remind me that she will definitely die soon, so it will occur to me to give her some extra love on my way out the door to school.
When I get home, tell me she died.
I liked the idea of having some warning, and not having to decide whether I wanted to be there for the euthanasia or not. At the age I was, anyway, the idea of my parents killing our dog just broke my heart- I wished like anything that I didn't know it was their decision.

Today, I think the way you handle it should be entirely about your individual dd and where she's at.
Some kids will do okay knowing the whole story, and being there for everything, and gain what there is to be gained from the experience, and others could be completely devestated by even the first suggestion of what is coming.
I'm a big fan of telling kids the truth as much as possible, but every so often it feels like some truths can wait, or aren't important enough to share, based on the pain they can cause. It all depends on the circumstances and the kiddo.

It's so hard, all around. I'll be thinking of you.

DIYer mama to DD 11/00 and DS 6/05- both intact, naturally!
...missing Mothering Magazine...
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#6 of 6 Old 04-28-2005, 02:18 PM
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I am so sorry about your cats. We were recently in a similar situation when the class preschool pet died. This was the first experience my children had had w/death. I had never explained it to them bc my ds is ultra-sensitive & I knew it would worry him. It was difficult for my ds to grasp the concept about death being permanent. Then his focused moved from the preschool pet dying, to will our pet die? and will we die? I just add this because it may help to plan ahead. Also, it might help to plan some form of good-bye ritual/ceremony for your dd. Good luck and s

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"And now," cried Max "let the wild rumpus begin!"
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