How To Explain To Your Child That Your Cat Has To Be Put To Sleep

Cats are a joy to have in the family, but parents know they will not be with the family forever.

Dealing with a cat’s chronic illness is very stressful and taxing on all family members involved. But how do you then build up the courage to explain to your child that there is nothing more that can be done, and your pet cat will have to be put to sleep?

First, do not lie to your child in an effort to spare them from the reality of what is really wrong with your cat. If you know for certain that your cat will be put to sleep soon, do not pretend that the cat is going to make a full recovery from their illness. This will only make matters worse when your child finds out that the cat will not be coming home after all and that you lied to them. Children will not easily forget the deceit, and they may begin to question other things you have to say to them.

Look for an opportunity when you can sit your child down and calmly explain in simple terms what is wrong. If your cat has cancer or some other ailment that cannot be cured, inform them that even though the cat has been very sick lately, they will not be getting any better. Tell them that the treatment that the vet has already given has not worked and that the cat is still very ill. When your child asks about receiving different treatment, explain that all that could have been done has already been done and that the cat will need to be helped to end its suffering.

Very young children do not always understand the finality of death; even when a pet dies, they may wonder how long it will be until they see them again. Parents must gently explain that the cat will not be coming home, but that the vet will put the cat into a deep sleep from which it will not wake up from.
Children who have become especially attached to the pet cat will find it very difficult to face the fact that their beloved cat will die. But parents who are careful to prepare their child for the inevitable will find it easier once the cat has been put to sleep. That does not mean to say that the questions wills top, but it will make it easier if parents have been honest and upfront from the moment they found out about the cat’s prognosis.

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