Death of a Pet - Woodbridge,VA

Updated on June 04, 2012
C.C. asks from Foresthill, CA
7 answers

How do/ did you help your child with the death of your pet? My 4 y/o is still asking for our cat to come sleep (he started to be her companion once out oldest went to college) with her and my oldest wants to bring another kitten into the house but I am not willing to do this since she will be going back to college in the fall which equates to me taking care of it. We allowed our 4 y/o to snuggle with us for 5 min last night then made her go back to bed. you'd think that the 18 y/o would be better adjusted but she also is having a hard time sleeping without the cat!!

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answers from Dallas on

So sorry for your loss. My dog died two months ago, and my 4 yr old still asks about her death and cries. We have a new dog, but it doesn't change our loss. There's a lot for them to process and grieve; they didn't see this coming the way that we as adults do. To them, it's a total shock. My daugher also started applying the concept of death to people and became very scared of losing me. Your little one may also be terrified of losing you. The main thing that's helped has been telling her that our dog is in heaven and is able to run, play and eat again. Besides that, it's acknowledging her grief, empathizing that I also miss our dog, answering questions (including ones that I think she has but that are unasked) and providing lots of love and cuddles.

My pediatrician gave me a list of books to help children (and adults) deal with pet death. Some on the list for 3 - 8 yr olds: Lifetimes (Bryan Mellonie 1983), A Funeral For Whiskers (Lawrence Balter, 1991), Barn Kitty (june Kirkpatrick, 1999), I'll Always Love You (HansWilhelm, 1985), My Pet Died (Rachel Baile 1997), Remember Rafferty: A Book About Death of a Pet for CHildren of All Ages (Joy Johnson, 1998). One for Adults is: Pet Loss: A Thoughtful Guide for Adults and Children (Herbert A Nieburg, 1906).

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

So sorry :( 3 of our 4 dogs passed in the past several months, my 3yo still asks for our doberman every day :(

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I am sorry I don't have the time to craft a longer response, but just let me say I am sorry for your loss, and the death of a pet can be a big adjustment for anyone at any age. And 4 year olds have a very fuzzy concept of death anyway and don't always understand that it's permanent. It might help to think of some ways to memorialize your cat, such as making a scrapbook with pictures, having a picture in a frame in your child's bedroom, or even planting a tree outside. You can also try getting the 4 yo a stuffed toy cat for now while telling the 18 year old that you are just not ready for another cat right now. There is also a book called "Cat Heaven" by Cynthia Rylant that might be helpful for your 4 yo too. It just shows that Kitty can't be with us anymore because she is up in Heaven now, but she's happy there for various reasons - like having soft fluffy clouds to sleep in and endless bowls of tuna. Good luck to you.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I would just get another cat. Cats are more like roommates than pets. :p

I don't think we have ever had a pet die that was the last one. Seems like as soon as one gets old someone sneaks another into the house. I guess they know my no when it comes to pets is not a real no, go figure. :)

If you have an 18 year old I am sure she works. Make her buy the good stuff to make taking care of a new cat easier on you. Seems like a fair compromise.

Oh but don't buy that stupid litter box that is automatic, breaks in under a month. :(

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

It's tough. I'm sorry you lost your pet.

I would suggest getting a stuffed animal that looks like the cat and having her sleep with that instead.

At 4 it can be hard to explain death. Keep it simple. It will take time. I know that it's been 4 years for us and even though we have a new dog - 2 years now - my boys still ask for Obi and call Grady Obi....

I'm sorry for your loss!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Providence on

I recently went through this with my son. Although he was older ( 8), he took the death of his guinea pig very hard. For us, we had a picture framed of him with his guinea pig, and he put it next to his bed. We told him that Max is always with him and that he is in his heart. We used the analogy of the wind. We can feel it, but can't see it. He understood.

We will be getting him another guinea pig, and he is excited to have another one. He misses the squeeking and whistling the most.

I had a cat from when I was 4 to 18. She always slept with me. I know how hard it is not to feel them with you. I would give her a stuffed animal for now until you are ready to have another animal. I can say that I took care of my cat when I was very young. They are probably the easiest to take care of, and having them as kittens is a good way to let your little one grow up with it. This will be her cat.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

I'm sorry. It happened to our beloved dog when my older son was 5.

There's a movie "All Dogs Go to Heaven" (I think that's the title), but I don't know if that would just cloud the issue for her at this age.


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