Cat Was Killed Today, Ideas to Tell Our Kids

Updated on January 06, 2012
M.P. asks from Minneapolis, MN
12 answers

Our kitty was a save from the neighbor. He was beating this kitten with a water hose and almost killed it. We pumped tons of money and time into him and Pickles never really became the most loving cat. He was however, our cat. My oldest daughter loved him, slept with him, carried him everywhere. He tolerated only her. Our other kids got scratches for their efforts. The cat had its quirks, but he was endearing. I didnt think I would miss him this much. He was a sneaker. He hated being indoors, and snuck out at every opportunity. He loved being with the dog outside. Our good neighbors loved him as well. He was hit and killed this morning. The vet clinic across the street who knew him well. They got him off the road for us. Called me right away. It was so sad. He was so badly damaged that I dont want to bring him home to bury him. I had him cremated. Any good ideas how to let the kids mourn him and have something for him? Like bury a picture of him in a box?

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So What Happened?

kids are 4, 2 , and 1. They are exposed to farm environment, we also have rescued a dog who's litter mate was hit and killed in front of the kids. We have experience with death, but not sure what to do for a memorial since I didn't bring the body home.

We did call on him when we caught him doing it. He wasnt that scared, he was an elderly old crank. I picked up this baby kitten, and even though it attached it's teeth to my thumb, I walked away like nothing happened LOL. He was feral. It took a really long time to get him friendly. I have mentioned before in previous posts, we have laws, and enforcement. It's pathetic. They do nothing. They "talked" to him on a better way to make cats stay out of his flower beds. I mailed them a copy of the vet bills and they told me to stop harassing them (animal control) I worked for a shelter for 7 years as an abuse/neglect officer its sad to see this agency so lazy and pathetic. They are basically one man, paid by the city to pick up and transport strays to a local shelter and vet clinic, which isnt even in the same county.

More Answers



answers from Washington DC on

I am so sorry for you, your kids and Pickles too. Your care of him was wonderful and you seem to understand -- some pet owners don't -- that his lack of ideal cuddliness didn't make him a bad pet, it just reflected his tough life before you rescued him.

This is a time when your kids will start learning about death. The death of a pet very often is a child's first experience with death. When you tell the kids, you might want to emphasize that the vet did all they could; sometimes nothing can help; and yes, the idea of burying a picture, maybe along with a favorite toy of the cat's, could help. Or they could, in his memory, donate their pennies toward getting some cat food to take to a local animal shelter. That would let you show them that something positive can come out of pet's death. If you do that, be sure you are prepared for them to beg for another cat once they see the cats at the shelter, and decide in advance if you are prepared for that. I would definitely wait a bit before getting another cat, so that they understand you don't just "replace" a pet instantly and all goes on as before. But I would definitely have them do something positive and charitable for animals!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

I think the burying of a picture of him is a good idea. I don't know how old your kids are or if this will be their very first experience with death. My kids were 4 & 5 years old when we got our first kitten from the SPCA. Tater Tot was sick when we got him (though we didn't know it at the time) and died of respiratory issues just 2 1/2 weeks later after very expensive vet bills. My kids were very, very upset when we told them, but we did not have any sort of burial for them to attend. We waited only until the next weekend before going to get a new kitten at the vet's suggestion based on their ages. She said they didn't need a ton of time to mourn the loss & wait to get over it before getting a new cat. Even 7 years later they do still talk about what a good kitten he was & how adorable he was, but they're not scarred or anything from the experience.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

How sad. I'm so sorry that this happened.

I would just tell your children the truth and maybe have them help find a place to bury the ashes or spread the ashes and have a little funeral for him.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I am sooo sorry for you loss. This happened this summer to our beloved "Kit Cat". She ran across the street in the middle of the night and a car did not see her. The gentleman called us. Heartbreaking to all of us.

Tell them the truth. Kitty ran across the street, but a car did not see him in time to stop and so kitty hurt so bad he died.

Never underestimate your children.

They will understand the situation and then the consequence. Decide how and where you will bury kitty.. Let the kids see the place where he is buried. Maybe let them paint some rocks or bricks to place on top of the grave. Say prayers if you are all religious.

They will have questions, just answer them honestly and simply. Let the kids lead that part of the discussion.

If you need some books on death there are great ones to check out at the library or to purchase at the book store.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

I'm sorry, mama. That is very sad. Your "eulogy" is touching and I think you should use part of it to have a ceremony for the kids, and go ahead and bury him in a box along with remembrances of him. My mom did that for us when we were kids, when our guinea pigs died.

What an awful neighbor. I hope that you called the authorities on him...


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answers from Charleston on

So sorry. Sending you hugs. Tell them the truth. It's a hard thing to hear/learn, but the truth is better than telling them that he just ran away or something. I'd say the vet is getting him ready to bury - then bury the ashes so there is closure. :( Thinking of you!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

I would tell them the truth that the cat died by accident and is in heaven with (whoever they are familiar with dying) and is no pain, and is happy.

A memorial service would be nice by burying a picture and leaving a flower and saying a simple prayer. Spreading the ashes outside is a good idea but so that cat can always live outside now.

I wouldn't run out and replace the cat - I would recommend having the children draw a good memory of the cat. Perhaps sleeping next to the cat or looking out the window since he liked being outside. I would also frame a picture of cat so the kids can remember him.

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answers from Washington DC on

His quirks and all he was still part of your family. I am so sorry.

We had a gravesite at my parents home when I was growing up. Alll the kitties are there.

Can you get the ashes from the vet? Our neighbor buried her dog's ashes in their back yard. Or a favorite toy?

They are young enough to move on quickly but may look for him here and there. ((((hugs)))) He had a good life with you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

When our kids were younger and at home we had a 'grave yard' for the animals that died and the kids put little stick markers for them even. We lived out on property though. I think it helped our kids to bury something, a picture might work for you, and talk about how they loved the guinea pig or the kitten or the rabbit, etc. Eventually our dog died of old age and we did have a 'funeral' for her and one son dug a deep hole and she is still missed. I would be honest and tell them the whole truth and they will accept it even though sad. I know they are sad and maybe a new kitten will help fill the empty feeling for your oldest daughter.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

So sorry about your kitty...last year when our dog died (he was cremated...all 100 pounds of him), we explained to the kids (they were 3.5 and 18 months at the time) that he went to Doggie Heaven. My older one asked "how did he get there?", I said how do you think and he said "so God dropped down wings and he flew up there...!" We did a paw print in plaster for the dog. Still mourning him...almost a year later.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Have a funeral or other "good bye" to give the kids closure. You can still spread his ashes or bury the urn. Gather them and say, "I'm very sorry but Pickles was hit by a car this morning and he didn't make it. The vet called us to let us know." Simple and honest. Maybe donate to the ASPCA in his memory.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I'm so sorry to read this. Sorry for your loss. I would be honest with your kids and tell them that he snuck out and accidentaly got hit by a car, but he's in heaven right now with God and other animals and he is okay. But he can't come back because God is taking care of him and is in charge. (If you believe in heaven and God) Sorry, I just don't know what else to say, but this is something I would tell my son. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful
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