T.H. asks from Tucker, GA on September 23, 2008
Putting Our 17Yrold Cat to Sleep
My daughter is 5 years old and this cat is her BEST FRIEND...we have to put her to sleep SOON and I am not sure how to deal with this where my daughter is concerned...should I have a funeral? Should I let her see the cat after the fact? I am torn up about this and very stressed out...she loves this cat more than anything!! help...
S.J. answers from Savannah on September 24, 2008
I'm a 54 year old grandmother. Put the cat down and afterwards have a little funeral and let your daughter say goodbye. After you bury the cat get a plant and put it over the cats grave site and tell your daughter the cat will now become part of the plant. The cats body is good fertilizer and the plant will feed off it.I hope this will help her understand it is all part of lifes cycle.
1 mom found this helpful
V.A. answers from Atlanta on September 24, 2008
T., my heart goes out to you truly. I had to put to sleep my 17 year old cat when I was pregnant with my first, he was my best friend. When our others go I don't know how my sons will handle it either.
M.F. answers from Athens on September 24, 2008
Is it possible to get a kitten before the funeral? This will maybe help ease the pain knowing there is another cat to take care of. Maybe you can explain it that the other cat is old and has to go kitty heaven but the new cat needs your daughter's help. She will need to teach her all of the things the old cat used to do? Just a thought. Good luck!
M.J. answers from Charleston on September 23, 2008
I know this a hard one! I dread the day when we will have to do the same thing. I would definatly have a funeral. The cat is a part of your family and his life should be honored in some type of closer event. I agree with the photo book for a keepsake. She will remember this kitty, I know I remember my animals as a child. My parents had a burial for each of them when the time came and it really helped me to just say goodbye. I dont think I would let her see him after. Perhaps let her pick out a really nice box for him and event write messages on it but explain to her that once he is in it, it cant be opened again. I really think this will help her make the separation a little better to handle. I would also explain to her why the kitty has to be put down, organs not working, in pain, etc... She will understand. Tell her she can look up to heaven at night and pick out which star is his. Little things will help the healing. I know its not easy for you either! Best of luck to you guys. I'll keep you in my prayers:)
E.B. answers from Atlanta on September 28, 2008
I know I am responding to this late, but I can give you some advice from both a veterinarian's as well as a mom's perspective. You have to discuss how sick the cat is and that this is the best thing for her. I would NOT let her see the cat after the fact. They don't look the same and she really needs to have a good mental picture as a strong memory of the cat, not an image of a cat that has already passed away. The best thing to do is make a scrapbook or just get out all the old pictures of the cat and celebrate the good times. If you get the cat cremated, you may want to plant a tree and scatter the ashes in the hole before planting it. Then you have a good memorial without having a grave there. Good luck, and you may be suprised- children are very resilient!
B.F. answers from Atlanta on September 23, 2008
I can't speak for someone else I can only share my experience and you knowing your own family need to ponder what may be best for them. I had two cat that died within 6 months of each other one was 14 yrs old and the other 15 yrs old. The first one named Lacey had gotten out (thanks to my 17 yr old nephew)who wanted to party with some friends and left the door open. She was found one month later thanks to the micro chip the shelter told me she was very sick, we spent lots of money trying to get her well. She died anyway 14 days later. I wanted to, I don't know all I can say is she lasted longer then either one of my other two husbands did and she was a better friend. We had a funeral at my sister house on the patio all three children understood heaven and that her soul went there, yes I made a choice to let them see her they agreed she looked asleep (I wanted to take the curious out of it) she was in a box we put material in it silk we played some soft music in the back ground and all said something about her. We said a prayer we took candles and flash lights out (it was dusk) my sister closed the box took her up on the hill and buried her. We visit the grave site and take flowers on holidays. Do my kids remember her and nursing her or trying back to health? yes. did they cry? yes, we all did alot. They were ages 3, 4 and 6. We did they same 6 months later for Molly she became ill was in very much pain. No we didn't tell them about putting an animal to sleep. We had another funeral the same way. Every spring summer and fall we plant some flowers in our yard (we rent) and it's in honor of them, we pick out flowers (colors) that the cats loved and name the flower area after them. These gold ones are usual Lacey's and the dark purple are Molly's. I remember and felt lost when my Dad never came back with our cat from the vet when I was 7. I had questions I had no closure to this day I still feel a void. That's just me. I felt I wanted my children to experience what is real. Why? for one my husband isn't all that well and it's easier to explain a cat then a person and sadly if it comes to it and I have to explain about Dad one day in the next few years the understanding will be there. I know it's different from an animal but I'm talking taking the curious out of it the wonderment to be able to ask questions in private and understand, to bring up what we don't talk about everyday. I wouldn't say anything about a new cat I would follow her lead. You maybe surprised she may handle this better then what you think. I do want to say I am so sorry I know this is very difficult and even more so for you if you've had the cat the entire 17 yrs. I know there are books at the library about animals going to heaven maybe that can help. If you have to do this maybe a weekend would be best so there's no school the next day and she can have a chance to understand everything and spend time with you. I took my boys to the park and then we all got into bed together and watched a movie. My prayers are with you.
D.H. answers from Charleston on September 24, 2008
I'm so sorry for your kitty and your family! About 4 years ago, I had to put down my 16 year old cat (Arlo)approximately 6 weeks after my dog (Biscuit) died of cancer (it was a slow death, but he ate steak and burgers everyday for about 8 months!). Luckily, my daughter had not been born yet. I loved Arlo so much as he was my only "child" at the time! Arlo ran away for 2 years after I got Biscuit, but came home about a year before he died of kidney failure. I had Biscuit cremated and scattered his ashes on Morris Island where he loved to run and play (I still talk to him when we visit the island!). I had Arlo put to sleep and buried him in the backyard. However, I prepared a lovely box for Arlo to be buried in...my suggestion is this, have your daughters help decorate the box after you tell them the cat is very sick and will probably not live much longer. I put some of Arlo's favorite toys in the box and a comfy towel for him to lay on. I also planted flowers on Arlo's grave. You might let your girls help prepare your cats box for burial, have the vet put the cat in the box for you, and have a little funeral for the cat. It'll be easier for everyone knowing that she will rest comfortably and have toys to play with in heaven. I hope my experiences with the death of my pets has provided you with a few ideas for your family. D. H.
B.S. answers from Atlanta on September 24, 2008
yes have a funeral. No, don't let her see the cat after its gone. Too young. Be careful about using the wording 'putting to sleep', could frighten a child about their own sleeping. I lied to my kids when they were 3 & 5. Took cat to the vet and put it to sleep, brought it home but left it in the car (I know, ugh). the next morning had a friend call and I pretended it was the vet. said the cat died overnight. It was plausible, the cat had been awfully sick. But i prepped the kids that night that the cat might not make it but that the vet was doing everything possible. When my hubby came back from his errands in the a.m., we took the cat out of my car and buried it. Me a chicken? Yes. But it allowed me the opportunity to discuss death with the kids and i didn't feel they were old enought to understand the whole euthanasia thing.