Recently, one of my parents’ garage cats went missing. Now, they live in the country so their purpose for getting the cats was for rodent control plus, my mom is horribly allergic. Having the cats live indoors is just not an option.
It’s been a year since they brought the kitties home and my son, Brennan, has been influential in taking care of the cats whenever we go to my parents’. He named the cats and loves them. He even likes to Skypes with them when we’re apart.
Naturally, I took to a few trusted resources on the subject: Unfortunately, the cat that was missing has been found. A neighbor discovered that she had been hit by a car in the morning last week. Not knowing that she belonged to my parents, he placed her in the ditch so when my dad asked him if he had seen her he was able to show him where she was. Everyone in the family is heartbroken but the person I know who will take it the hardest is my sweet boy. So now my husband and I have the daunting task of telling him that his favorite cat is no longer alive. I mean how do you explain that to a five-year-old?
The AACAP brings up the point that children who are between the ages of three and five-years-old will not understand the finality of death. It is because of this that we will most likely have to reiterate that the cat is not moving, cannot wake up and will not be able to play any more. Click here to read more.
An article on WebMD suggests being brief and not using euphemisms such as “passed away” or “went to sleep” because it makes no sense to a preschooler who doesn’t have the developmental capability to understand the permanence of death.
So that’s the gist of everything out there. Have you had to explain the death of a pet to your little one? What did you say?