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Thread: Question - telling a child about a pet's death

  1. #1
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Default Question - telling a child about a pet's death

    This is the situation:

    1. My brother adopted a cat that had some kind of illness and had to be euthanized about 1 year ago. My kids (3 and 5) used to play with the cat. When my kids asked where the cat was, we said it "went to heaven".

    2. Our cat, who my kids really liked, was killed by a car about 5 months ago. Luckily, they didn't see the aftermath of it, but we once again told them the cat "went to heaven".

    3. My brother's latest adopted cat, contracted oral cancer and had to be euthanized today. My kids really liked cat, and don't know about this yet.

    I'm feeling kind of weird about having to keep describing all these animals going to heaven. My daughter already told me a week or so ago that she
    dreamed I went to heaven.

    So, my question is not whether I think my daughter is psychic or not, but wondering if this "went to heaven" thing is going to backfire or make my kids wonder who is next. What's the best thing to tell them in this circumstance?

    (I also know that the standard theological position is that animals don't go to heaven.)

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Kitty died because you didn't love him enough.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    A*O
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    At that age I think I'd just say that the cat went to heaven too. Very young kids can't really grasp the concept of death. When they are ready they will either work it out for themselves or ask you the dreaded "am I going to die one day?" or even worse "are you going to die one day?" but even then they can only imagine it as a vague concept, not a harsh reality. Of course you can't lie and say "no you are not going to die" but you can make it a softer landing by saying something like "well everybody dies one day not for a very very long time so don't worry". They are usually happy with that.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Right. Keep it simple. Keep it like you have it-I might add an unopened pretty box (for deceased kitty) so the attend the burial with a little ceremony. Kids like that,too. Then-on with the new!! They bounce back fast.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Thanks, everyone. Grimmlock, I saw you coming from a mile away. It's probably your avatar.

    My parents didn't really spare me the realities of death. I remember when I was a little kid I thought my head would fall off (a horror movie I saw). I asked my mom about it and she said:

    "NO, your head's not going to fall off....unless someone CUTS it off."

    Thanks, Mom!

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    Elite Member t13nif's Avatar
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    ^^^ha, too funny.
    I agree with what's been said. So many kitty deaths though!

    And i disagree with the standard theological theory.
    "Hope everyone' shavin a good one!" - Karistiona

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    Elite Member panda's Avatar
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    the circle of life..........

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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    dont tell them the truth. our cocker, Roscoe, bit my brother when i was 6 and he was 3. they gave him away. they told us that roscoe went to visit his family back east. we bought it.
    i used the same story when my sons canary made a break for it.
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    A*O
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    I love the way we teach our kids not to lie, yet as parents we do it ALL THE TIME LOL
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    Elite Member t13nif's Avatar
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    That's why i believe you never give them any more info then they actually ask for. Kids are simple, they are satisfied with a simple answer usually. It's more a lie of omission in my mind. I can't remember my parents lying to me about anything--they were pretty brutally honest, like Mohandas', lol.
    "Hope everyone' shavin a good one!" - Karistiona

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    Elite Member nwgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msdebagain View Post
    dont tell them the truth. our cocker, Roscoe, bit my brother when i was 6 and he was 3. they gave him away. they told us that roscoe went to visit his family back east. we bought it. i used the same story when my sons canary made a break for it.
    Back east? Like they had to give you a geographical reference to make him "visiting his family" more believable? That cracks me up!
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."

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    I say they went over the rainbow to be with other dogs or cats. -- because I have to, some people in my family don't believe dogs go to heaven but they are WRONG!

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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nwgirl View Post
    Back east? Like they had to give you a geographical reference to make him "visiting his family" more believable? That cracks me up!
    lol my aunt and uncle lived in Virginia, so it made sense to me.
    i come from a long line of dorkdom
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    Elite Member Laxmobster's Avatar
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    ^

    Back when I was in HS our family cat was sick with several tumors on its spine so the doctors decided that enough had been done and it was time. So my mom makes the decision on her own, but fails to inform any of us kids (me being 17, my brothers 22 and 25). Well a week after Henry went to the vet, I called her on her cell to ask when he's coming back. She tells me that he's still getting his work done and should be home soon. Then, when she thinks I hang up her friends says " You're really not telling her the truth, she's almost an adult". I found it cute that my mom was sheltering me like that, but it also annoyed me that she couldn't be straight forward with me especially at that age.
    Quote Originally Posted by Celestial View Post
    I also choose to believe the rumors because I am, when it is all said and done, a dirty gossip.

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    Elite Member sweetness's Avatar
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    December before last I accidentally ran over one of our cats as I was backing out of the driveway. She must've been curled up behind a tire. It was dark so the headlights acted as a spotlight on the poor kitty as she lay there flailing around. All 3 of my kids (ages 13, 8, and 3) were in the car with me and saw it all.

    They were screaming and I wanted to as well but couldn't, had to keep in control. It was so awful.

    Thankfully it killed her pretty much instantly (ran over her head), she only suffered for a few seconds. I turned off the headlights and had my oldest keep his little sisters in the car while I ran next door for the neighbor's help.

    There wasn't much I could tell them as it was an accident, but we were all heartbroken. I wrapped her up in a blanket, put her in a box, and we laid her to rest in our garden the next day. She's got her own little memorial there.

    To this day I still feel like crap about it.

    We've got other kitties, so now I always honk the horn before backing up.

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