Putting down pets and children

Discussion in 'Pets & Animals' started by spludgey, Sep 21, 2021.

  1. spludgey

    spludgey Member

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    I've found out today that my 15 year old cat has at least two large cancerous tumours and has months left at best.
    Obviously I don't want him to suffer and if he's in pain, I'll have him put down rather than prolonging his suffering.
    While very sad, that part is also very straight forward in my mind.
    What's not straight forward though is how and when I tell my 4 year old son. I want him to be able to grief, but I don't want him to get scared.

    I'm sure that unfortunately many people on here have gone through the same thing. What did you do? How did it go?
     
  2. Patak

    Patak Member

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    Sad about your cat, I did look at this to see how you were going to put down your children:)
     
  3. power

    power Member

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    *disclaimer i don't have kids.

    firstly I'm honestly sad to hear about your cat, in lieu of children I have cats and when they leave us they leave a big hole.

    If this was me I would make the appt with the vet, in home might even better. On the day, discuss it with the kids and tell them how sick the cat is and that they are very sick and in pain and are not going to be able to get better and so the vet is going to come or you are going there to end their lives so they don't have to suffer. The words you use can be important but being kids it needs to be very clear the animal will die, "put down" always feels very much like the animal is being disposed of but that's me, it's too abstract a term when talking to children.

    I found it very comforting to be with my cat when he passed (who am I kidding I bawled my eyes out), I feel like if your kids are up to it have them there so they can see the animal go to and know they aren't suffering - you will both be very emotional but it will give them good closure if you think they can handle it. They get to say goodbye and it's not a mystery to them that happens in some abstract disconnected way.

    that's my 2c.

    You may not want to think about after but, you will want another pet, and kids bounce back from death quicker than you - consider adopting an animal in need of a home.

    Be prepared for questions about cremation, payments and all that stuff beforehand so you can focus on the animal and your family.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
  4. JSmithDTV

    JSmithDTV Member

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    Holy shit man... read this thread title and thought WTF? :lol:

    Ok, got it now... yeah it's not an easy thing.

    When I was a kid my Grandma's cat suddenly went from being old, to young again... whatever silly explanation I was given, I didn't buy it and from there my parents explained death. It's not an easy concept to grasp and I doubt children will understand it fully, even after it's explained to them, for some time.

    Have a little funeral, allow the kids to say goodbye to their pet... then leave it 2 - 3 months and get a new one. This way they will have some grief and miss the old cat, otherwise if the cat is just replaced suddenly, they will ask questions anyway.

    Good luck with this. :)



    JSmith
     
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  5. T1tan

    T1tan Member

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    Hey mate, no idea on the kids. One thing I can say though, make sure you're there when the process is happening, don't wait out because it's "easier" - I'm not targeting that statement at you but more as a general awareness for the thread. The last thing loved ones should see are the ones they love.

    Good luck and warmest regards.
     
  6. scips

    scips Member

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    Hard at 4yo, but imo power is right on.
    Explain to kid that cat is sick and in pain and that because you guys both love the cat the best thing to do is take him to the vet to stop his suffering.
    Let him say goodbye to cat, then even tho its fking hard and tragic, he needs to see the body afterwards. (even if hes not there for it, you should be)
     
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  7. slavewone

    slavewone Member

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    It never gets any easier. Doesn’t matter how many.

    The immediate last time, our poor baby ate less and less and we had plenty of time to explain it to kids and for them to process it. We then let the kids nominate a favourite place in the garden (there was only one) and all took part in burying her.

    Now she has a shrine. I am dreading ever moving. But I won’t leave her, I don’t care how weird it may be.
     
  8. mesaoz

    mesaoz Member

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    In a weird way this is probably the perfect opportunity to teach your kid about the natural process of death.

    Beloved pet has lived their full and happy life and is ready to carry on to the next chapter, whatever that might be according to your belief system.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
  9. Gibbon

    Gibbon grumpy old man

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    We had to put down one of our dogs when our son was about 4 ... I think. To be honest there's a fair chance he won't really "get it" at 4yrs old. He might. Our son sort of did, but I think it depends on the individual kid.
     
  10. JSmithDTV

    JSmithDTV Member

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    Agree, he won't... but it's still important to be honest and open with them about death. When this little fella gets older, he will remember this and one day realise what it all meant. That past perspective can really help IMO... YMMV.



    JSmith
     
  11. Gibbon

    Gibbon grumpy old man

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    Yeah, we sat our son down, and explained what was happening, and that the dog wasn't going to get better, and it was the best thing for the dog, etc etc.
    I doubt he'll get scared though, because I don't think at that age they understand the finality of it. Ours didn't get scared, he was thoughtful, and a bit sad, but not scared.

    EDIT: We sat him down a few days before, so he had time to process it (as much as he could). I don't think the pet suddenly disappearing is helpful. I know sometimes that's not possible though.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
  12. BitAddict

    BitAddict Member

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    I was about 4 or 5 when my parents put down our dog - the old man never bothered to tell me and then my cousin who was probably around 15 at the time came around and said she was sorry our dog died - I remember running around the house calling out for the dog, looking for it - so yeah, here's how not to do it? :Paranoid:
     
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  13. rickbishop

    rickbishop Member

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    Slightly different, but our old staffy died a couple of years ago, and for about 6 months afterwards, our son would randomly ask where she was.

    What helped in the end was watching the Bluey episode called Copycat, and explaining that our dog was like the budgie.
     
  14. oculi

    oculi Member

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    At 4 I wouldn't be mentioning the put down part, had our 18 year old cat "put to sleep" recently, the kids saw it have a few siezures which wasn't ideal, they thought it was funny until I explained what was going on.

    Had the deed done while they were at school (hard to do that these days) told them the cat died that day when I picked them
    up and they cried a bit, buried the cat under a plant. Got a rescue kitten a month or so later which is the usual deal with cats.
     
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  15. JSmithDTV

    JSmithDTV Member

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    Euthanasia is a difficult topic for a 4 y/o, as is death... but I feel just a simple discussion that the animal is deceased is enough. Explaining why the Vet would kill your animal and then explaining death will be too much to absorb IMO... keep it simple.



    JSmith
     
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  16. Tinian

    Tinian Member

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    To a three year old: Explained that the pet in question was in a lot of pain, that the pain only went away while the pet slept and that it would soon get so bad the pet wouldn't ever wake up again. So be extra nice in the short time left and it's ok to feel sad, but also happy that the pet is no longer in pain. Remember the good times.

    Answer questions as they are raised.
     
  17. OP
    OP
    spludgey

    spludgey Member

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    Thanks all, and yes, perhaps I should have used an Oxford comma in the title!

    I'll introduce him to the idea, while the cat is still around now.

    I can finally see the appeal of being religious as it absolves you from having to teach your children about the harsh realities of life.
     
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  18. JSmithDTV

    JSmithDTV Member

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    Indeed, what a cop out... telling your kids the cat has gone to live with sky fairies. :lol:



    JSmith
     
  19. rickbishop

    rickbishop Member

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    Kids aren't stupid, they can handle the concept of death, and it's something they've gotta deal with.
     

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