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So our elderly cat has gone into a steep decline - she has kidney disease and has reached the point where she can't eat or walk. STBX and I have decided to have her put to sleep. I am wondering what/how to tell DD about it.

The cat lives with STBX and DD is used to seeing her several times a week. The cat is part of the family, albeit a nervous and stand-offish one where DD is concerned! DD knows that the cat is sick, because we all went to pick her up from the vet's last weekend. I want to be honest with her, but I don't want to frighten her or inspire scary fantasies about people getting sick and disappearing. (I don't think she really "gets" death.)

Any thoughts, advice, experiences?
 

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I got some good advice, from our family counselor, when ds's great-grandmother died. (He was around the same as yours.) I had been kind of dancing around the issue, i.e. when we went to her apartment to help pack up her stuff he asked where she was and I said lame stuff along the lines of, she's uh, not here, she's not with us anymore.

The advice is: tell him she died. He may not grasp the concept of death, but now he'll have a word for it. That way he won't confuse 'not here anymore' with someone else who has to go away and he probably won't ever see again. The directness and honesty I believe is worthwhile and eventually, probably sooner than you think, he'll get the meaning of 'not living' and 'died' and be able to connect it to the word. He'll know that the subject, while sad, is open for discussion and does not need to be avoided and this relieves a lot of anxiety for kids.
 

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I agree with jempd... my dad died before my children were born and my ds is named after him. i use - "dead" and "died" and try to talk the best i can about it. i think they process it as they get older and experience the world more. he remembers a farm cat that died a couple of years ago and brings that up every now and then. there are some good kid books about sick pets (dogs) i'm sure there are cat ones too. we read "saying goodbye to lulu" the other day and i couldn't get through it without tearing up. good luck.
 

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There are a couple of great kids books about pets dying. I can't for the life of me remember the names of them right now, but I'm sure if you ask at your local bookstore you can find a couple.

We had to put my Mom's cat to sleep recently (Alex was very fond of him) and I said that he died, which meant he went to cat heaven. We read a great book about how pets go to heaven and then later when we go to heaven we join them and are back together again. I don't know how much Alex understood, but he did quit asking where the cat was.
 
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