Cat Ran Away

Updated on March 29, 2009
M.M. asks from Newark, NY
11 answers

We recently had a cat run away, and we are trying to find a way for our kids to have closure. Our soon-to-be 5 year old boy is taking it especially hard. Are there any good books for kids that you would recommend? We are pretty sure the cat is probably dead because it has to take medication for seizures. We think the cat went outside to die (it is an indoor cat) because the seizures had been getting worse even with the meds.
Thanks for you help!

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answers from Albany on

I don't know of any books, but I thought I would share a funny story that may help you take a different perspective. We have two cats, one of whom ran away in the fall. We think that a fox or coyote got ahold of him (we live out in the country). One day my three year old (who had been fairly upset that the cat was gone) told my babysitter "Snickers ran away. He got eaten by a wolf...or maybe a dying moose." A DYING MOOSE!!! In upstate NY? And not just a moose, a DYING moose!! Kids come up with things all on their own that totally change their perspective on things. We just gave him time to think it through and rationalize it on his own. We let him allow himself to think of the possibility that maybe he got eaten by a bigger animal and that that is just the way the world works with animals. Then he came up with this hysterical story all on his own. Now he knows that we tell the story a lot and everyone laughs and he focuses on that rather than on the cat having gone missing (he loves to make people laugh!) I hope maybe that helps a little! Good luck!!

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answers from New York on

We rescued a cat from the shelter only to have it be eaten by coyotes a year later. My kids still miss Spot and talk about him. When asked they tell people Spot was eaten by coyotes and they miss him. It is very unfortunate that this happened to Spot but my kids have moved on much quicker than I ever will and I don't dwell on it. I have my moments alone. Be Brave and your kids will see that you are brave. Its okay to be sad, remember our loved ones, but then it is time to move on.



answers from Buffalo on

I'm so sorry for your loss :( I can't imagine losing one of my kitties. They're part of the family. Unfortunatley you're probably right, if your cat had a seizure disorder it would be hard to survive without any medication.

I'm a veterinary technician and have seen the books Cat Heaven and Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant used often. It depends on your beliefs, but i think its great to let them know that its okay to be sad and cry, but their cat is in a place where he/she is happy and having fun and just can't be here anymore.

I think its a great opportunity to explain death and loss to your children. A way to prepare them for it and help them learn how to respond to it because it is something they will experience again.



answers from New York on

Dear M.,

I'm so sorry for your loss! I also really recommend Cynthia Rylant's Cat Heaven. Just one other thought: in response to a similar question on this site, someone suggested a memorial service in which children can put messages to the departed pet in helium balloons and let them go. This can be presented very literally (the balloons will reach the cat in heaven) or more figuratively (it's a message to the cat's spirit), depending on your beliefs.

My condolences once again,



answers from New York on

Hi M.,

When our cat passed away. My kids were having a hard time accepting it. Several months after his passig, we put a cross in a wooded area and had a small burial. I also purchased the book Cat Heaven, a very cute book about a cat that went to heaven. The book was a great help in helping the kids understand and accept.



answers from New York on

Were you thinking about getting another cat? If you were, I have a wonderful 1 yr. old cat that I found under a car when she was only 1lb. She is spayed and up to date on all her shots. She is an indoor cat and has no interest in going outside. She is wonderful and my kids love her, the only problem is that I am allergic. I would like to find her a good and loving home. Let me know.


answers from New York on

if you are pretty sure the cat is gone for good then how about having a memorial service for your cat and allow your children to share stories about what made their cat so wonderful and how they'll miss him/her. By getting them involved in the activity and giving them a chance to speak what's on their mind it should give them closure.

If you are getting another cat wait until you feel ready to move on. Then involve the kids in picking out the new family member. Kitten season is right around the corner so there will be plenty of fun friends looking for a good home shortly.



answers from New York on

Tell them that kitty has probably gone to kitty heaven and why and then take them to an animal shelter to find a new kitten. I was a host to a widowers chat room for years and it was disturbing that so few were prepared to cope with death. Their parents had shielded them as kids from pet deaths and they had not been allowed to attend funerals of relatives. When their spouse died they were totally devastated. Death is a part of life and should be dealt with early on, not so we can get used to it, but so we can understand it.



answers from New York on

I am so sorry for your loss. Two of our cats died within months of each other when our daughters were young, so I understand the painful loss your son is feeling. The book "Cat Heaven" is wonderful. We also let the girls have a memorial service in which they shared their good memories of the cats and drew pictures. Your son could plant a perennial plant in a special spot in the yard for the cat, or make a donation to a rescue shelter in your area in the cat's memory. As soon as you're ready, please rescue another cat. There are so many in shelters. Tell your son that while the new cat will never replace the old cat in his heart, the old cat would be happy that he gave another cat the chance to have a good life.



answers from New York on

If you are going to deal with it as a death, there is a wonderful book about the loss of a dog called 'Saying Goodbye to Lulu'. I'm a nurse and have helped people deal with loss and death for years, and it's one of the best books ever for helping with that.

God bless..

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