19 answers

How Do I Help My Kids Through the Loss of Their Pet?

Last night we discovered that our 3 year old Himalayan was run over by a car. He was an indoor cat, we had no idea he got outside. My oldest boy (7) is taking it the hardest. Any ideas on how to make this time easier. They've never had to deal with any kind of death before.

What can I do next?

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Talking about all the good times they can remember about the cat is ALWAYS a good thing. They will eventually want another or a dog, but the best medicine is to talk about the cat and all the fun they had with him.

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This may be a little out there, but this past weekend I was at Brookfield Zoo. In the Hamill Family's childrens play zoo they had a whole little section dedicated to pets that had passed away. Kids had drawn pics and I miss you cards to the pets and they were hung up. There was also a few great books that specifically dealt with the death of a pet. It was adorable. Maybe have your kids can make cards for their cat and be part of the burial or small memorial service. I wish I could remember the name of the books. If you have time try and stop in at the zoo and see this little exhibit.

2 moms found this helpful

K.-I've seen this in different forms, but figured it could help some others, too so I included the story.
"Rainbow Bridge"
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

Based on this, I believe is a website...
http://www.rainbowsbridge.com/

http://www.rainbowsbridge.com/Grief_Support_Center/Grief_...
I'm sorry for your loss.

1 mom found this helpful

First Iam sorry for lose. A couple months ago we had to put our 7 year old beagle down and it was hard for our children. First I would do a memorial so that way your children have a way to say good bye. Put something in your backyard for your cat. Like a stone or a arrangement of flowers or something. Have your children write something to the cat saying goodbye to the cat. It will help them and just explain to them that the cat is with god now or however you want to word it. Death is a hard thing to explain especially to children, I have had to explain it to my children 3 times. One for a pet and twice for great granparents and it is not easy by any means. Good Luck to you and your family.

I am soo sorry about your cat. It's really hard when a pet dies, especially when you have little kids. When my parents dog (Mugzy) died about 1 1/2 years ago at 17 we were all heart broken. Anyhow, my son got the honor of knowing him for four years. I know it is different because your cat got out on accident, and I had that happen growing up too, but we are teenagers in our house, so it was a little easier to explain. I know I saw a book at the library called "All Cats go to Heaven." I cannot think of the author right now. Maybe that will help. We sat my son down and told him...lit a candle to say a prayer for Mugzy and remember nice things about him, and we also had a picture of him and Mugzy together that we gave him to keep (he keeps it in a box under his bed), to look at anytime he misses him. He still asks questions and I will admit it was easier to explain because Mugzy was so old and sick, but still painful. Unfortunately it is a life lesson we all have to learn sooner or later. I am so sorry and I hope some of these ideas help.

Someone else already posted The Rainbow Bridge website - it was a huge help to me when my cat died (and I was 32). One thing that worked wonders for me and also for my friend's young daughter when her cat died was a link through the rainbow bridge site. It's called the Monday Night Candle Ceremony. Each Monday for about 2 months, I participated and while I cried, I also felt tremendous peace. Here's the link...
http://rainbowbridge.com/CandleLighting_Tribute/default.htm

There's also a great book called "10 Good Things About Barney." It might help as well.

I agree with everyone who mentioned letting him grieve and talk about the loss. In our family, we have our furry kids pictures on the wall with our non-furry child. We talk about having four kids - three with fur. This was a member of your family, so it may take some time, but it will get easier each day.

Good luck and please know your in our prayers. Losing a pet is never easy - while the Rainbow Bridge offers comfort, it's hard to not want them here with you still!

I'm hoping to find a book about this subject. Our dog was hit and killed last week. The dog saw someone riding horses and ran out to check things out. She was hit by a car coming from the other direction. My son, 7, is taking it pretty hard. Our elderly cat died last year, but we had been preparing him for that so it wasn't as bad. We're dealing with the shock it as well as the loss of the dog.

J. R.

K.,

I am so sorry to hear about your loss. The U of I has a great resource for dealing with pet loss.

http://www.cvm.uiuc.edu/CARE/index.html

Some personal recommendations of books are:
-I remember (Memory Book) by Mary Montgomery (good for 9-13 year olds) - ____@____.com - this is free if you e-mail this address
-Children and Pet loss: A guide for Helping by Marty Tousley (more for you to help them through)

Other books:
The Accident by Carl Carrick
Healing your Greiving Heart: 100 practical ideas by Allan Wolfelt

Additionally they have a free hot-line you can call to talk about I am not sure if this would help your son or if they could provide further ways to help him.

Again I am sorry to hear about your loss.

I saw someone else trying to give you the name of this wonderful book. It is "Cat Heaven" by Cynthia Rylant and is so lovely. (She also did one called "Dog Heaven.") Best of luck and so sorry for your loss.

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