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Mama? Why Kitty in the mud?

600 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  pianojazzgirl
Happy Easter everyone.

Ugh. So it happened. One of our four healthy animals mysteriously passed away overnight, and Baby was the one who found her. Kitty was only about six years old. We'd noticed she'd been curled up sleeping a lot over the past couple of days, but nothing major. She was eating and going in and out of the house like normal.

When we got up in the morning, Baby went across the hall to Dad's office and started with "Kitty sick! Kitty sick!" Well, Kitty was dead, laying on her side on the floor next to the closet.

We all petted her (she was stiff and cold) and told her goodbye and that we loved her. Then Papa took her out to the backyard and buried her by the shed.

That was yesterday. Since then, Baby continually pops up out of nowhere with "Where's Kitty? Why Kitty in the mud? Get her out?" As well as "Baby sick? Mama sick?" and also "Died?" Several times per day she takes my hand and drags me out into the backyard to look at Kitty's grave.

I'm sort of at a loss and I keep finding myself saying all those silly things that grownups tell kids that I always thought were probably not a good idea:
"Kitty was very, very sick, honey. She's gone now." (Thinking to myself: Baby is thinking 'I've been sick, does that mean I'll go away'

I finally found myself saying "Kitty's in heaven, honey. She's playing with all the other kitties and purring. She's happy! We miss her, but she's doing okay!" Especially ironic since we're agnostic.

Anyone else had to deal with this? Otherwise, Baby doesn't seem stressed or traumatized, just - curious. And you can tell she misses Kitty.

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Gosh, I'm so sorry. I have absolutely no advice but wanted to tell you I'll be watching this thread in hopes of learning how to deal with this in the future. Hugs.
I think that your dc is just dealing with the new situation with where the kitty is in the way toddlers do. I think if you continue to be patient with her and let her get it out of her system to keep visiting kitty's grave and answering her questions in an age-appropriate manner like you have been, things will be fine.

A suggestion of what to say...

We put kitty in the ground so she can be safe and go where things go when they die. (why, momma?) The kitty died, which means its body is still here but it doesn't see or hear us with its eyes or ears anymore, and it doesn't run around or play anymore. (why, momma?) Because sometimes things die. (why, momma?) Because they do. Let's go __xyz___<distraction>.

Good luck,
There is a great kids' book about the death of a cat called The Tenth Good Thing about Barney. There is also one called Cat Heaven.
No advice here either. I guess just follow your heart on how to explain to her. Poor kitty. Poor dd.
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I'm so sorry for the loss of your kitty, how very sad.
Thank you.

Baby had trouble falling to sleep tonight, and she continued to ask "where's Kitty?", so she does keep dwelling on it.

I finally answered her with "Kitty's okay! Don't worry. Kitty's okay. Don't be sad!" She seemed to accept that better than about anything - repeating to herself in a reassuring way "Kitty's okay...Kitty's okay...Mama's okay...Baby's okay..."
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I so dread this happening. I love my kitties and my parrot and the cats are 11 and 9 now, so they are just entering their senior years. It sounds like you are handling it sensitively and well... reassuring her that Kitty is ok (which I believe she is) and that everyone will be ok. I don't think toddlers can REALLY grasp what death really is (the permanence of it) and I don't remember what age that happens. But you're doing the best you can... I can't imagine doing it any better.
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Originally Posted by loraxc
There is a great kids' book about the death of a cat called The Tenth Good Thing about Barney. There is also one called Cat Heaven.
I second the recommendation for these books.. .they helped our (then 2 1/2 year old) toddler understand and process it when one of our cats passed away.

I'm sorry about your loss.
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So sorry to hear about kitty
It sounds like you are doing just fine helping your dd with the loss.
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