View Full Version : Getting rid of family pets

haley's mom
09-17-2008, 07:28 PM
My DD has recently had sinus surgery and we must now get rid of our 3 cats. My DD is 5, we've had 2 of the cats for 3 years and the 3rd cat for 2 years.

Do I tell my DD the truth that we had to get rid of them? Do I lie and say they ran away? What is better.

Any advice on how to help my DD deal with the loss?

09-17-2008, 07:32 PM
I think you should tell the truth. If you can tell her you found them a nice home, she will feel better than thinking of them as runaways, maybe out in the cold with no food/water, and constantly hoping they'll return.

09-17-2008, 07:52 PM
I agree with PP, tell her the truth ... because the cats were making her sick you found good homes for them.

Assuming you know the new owners of the cats, perhaps you could get a few pictures to assure DD of their (the cats) happiness?

We had a cat disappear about 12 years ago ... just never came home, I (and the kids, both in their teens now) still wonder what happened to the cat.

I often look to the field behind our old house and wonder what happened.


09-17-2008, 08:11 PM
I think you'll be ready to tell her when you're ready to change your terminology. Right now you still feel like you're "getting rid of them." Definitely tell her the truth, which really is that the cats will be happy in their new home. I think that sometimes as parents, we're so busy worrying about our kids that we forget to deal with our own emotions. :grouphug:

09-17-2008, 08:15 PM
Depending on your child, I don't know that I'd tell her she was the reason the cats had to go, kwim? I know my oldest would feel horribly guilty if she thought the cats had to leave because of her. I think I'd phrase it somehow that some families can't live with cats because it's not healthy for them and your job is to protect her and that means finding the cats a nice new home. Kinda shift the blame to the cats but let her how they will be loved by someone else.

Disney Brat
09-17-2008, 08:23 PM
We had a similar situation happen to us just over a year ago. We have a Chinese Crested who is hairless, so DD had no problems with her asthma. We decided to get a boxer puppy. Things were fine for a few months, but she kept haveing continual building of asthma symptoms, eventually causing her to be hospitalized. It was told to us it was the dog, and he had to go. We told her why he was going, and that we would find him a great home. We found a couple that already had a boxer, and he fit in very well with them. They said we could visit whenever we wanted to. She was a bit upset, but understood and was very accepting of it. She was 4 at the time. She is 5 now, and still remembers Mater, and is still fine with it! HTH

09-17-2008, 09:07 PM
Please don't tell her that they ran away. She will constantly be wondering why they ran away and why they didn't want to live with your family anymore. She may expect that they may come back. I am sure if you explained about allergies and that it wasn't her fault or the cat's fault the cat's were what was making her sick. Make sure you find a good family for the cat's to go to and assure her that they will be well taken care of and happy. Kids understand a whole lot more than adults give them credit for.

09-17-2008, 09:53 PM
Please be honest with her. We recently had to get rid of our dog, and we allowed our DD7 to participate in finding a new family. When we dropped the dog off, she gave the new owners the information about the dog. To this day (6 months later) she still ask, and I email for updates.

If you were to go the route of not telling her, eventually someone will let it slip, and having your daughter find out later would make things harder.

I hope all works out well.

09-17-2008, 10:32 PM
Is it possible for any family to take them in? Then she could still see them.
Yes, she needs to be told the truth and maybe even let her help *interview* the people who will take them.
I have a friend who had to get rid of their dog because it was biting the family..everyone but the youngest... That child has taken it so hard because they didn't prepare her for it. The dog has been gone since June and just the other day this poor child thought she saw someone walking her dog (same type of dog) and came home in tears!!

09-17-2008, 11:23 PM
Don't lie. :sad2:
If you tell her they ran away, she will always worry about what ever happened to them. You owe it to her, to explain how things happen sometimes....and you owe it to the cats, to find them a caring home. Actually, we just adopted a cat from the humane society, that was taken there because their young daughter had developed an allergy as well. She's 4 years old and sooo sweet.....;)

haley's mom
09-18-2008, 05:18 AM
I think all of you have made me realize what I have to do. I was worried about telling a lie, my DD is very perceptive.

We tried to find family to take them, with no luck. We have tried to ask friends, co-workers, etc. No one is interested.

We are going to take them to a place called foster cat. They provid foster families for cats while trying to find them new homes.

I will get DD off of the bus today while DH takes the cats and drops them off. I will explain to DD about allergies (both hers and mine). While my allergies are not affected, I will try to take some of the blame also.

I think it will take time, but hopefully, she will understand that the cats will have a better life in a different home. Due to allergies, we have to keep the cats closed in the basement all day while we are at work and at night. The only time they are allowed upstairs is in the evenings. During which time we eat dinner, clean up, do homework, etc.

Thanks again.

09-18-2008, 05:25 AM
I hope it goes well, we had to do similar with our cats due to asthmatic DD, her dad is asthmatic but dog-triggered. She was upset but happy when they had new homes (even wrote a letter for the adoption centre telling them what the cats liked) two of ours went to a farm, one to a guy who lived over the street (bizarre as we took them to an adoption centre 2 towns over but a guy i grew up with and lived over the street ended up with one!) and the oldest one went to an older lady who'd had her cat put to sleep but didn't want a kitten over again.

My daughter now accepts she can't have cats or dogs and we're a reptile house- they're asthmatic friendly and turtles & lizards are great fun to watch!

09-18-2008, 05:28 AM
Definately tell her the truth. I am sure it is going to be extremely hard on the entire family for the cats to leave. All you can do is hope you guys can find them a great home.

09-18-2008, 06:28 AM
is there any way you can wait until she comes home?? Seriously, my friend did
just that, had her dh bring the dog back to the breeder while her dd wasn't home. I am telling you (I know every child is different, but) this child is not over it. Please let her have a proper good bye with her cats.

09-18-2008, 08:32 AM
is there any way you can wait until she comes home?? Seriously, my friend did
just that, had her dh bring the dog back to the breeder while her dd wasn't home. I am telling you (I know every child is different, but) this child is not over it. Please let her have a proper good bye with her cats.

I agree 100%! I remember getting home from school one day and our dog, Max, was just poof! Gone! Granted, he was nutsy, but to a first grader, he's just a wonderful dog! With no warning, my parents "sent him to a farm" (yeah, right) and I still think about that day.

A GREAT point about the cats having a better life - focus on that a lot - and let her say good-bye, or something. At the very least, give her a heads-up that the cats won't be home when she gets home.

09-18-2008, 09:37 AM
another thing is to take a picture of her with each cat.
I started doing this as our cats were sick and we had to take them to the vet *one last time*
It is very sad, but my kids treasure those pictures.

09-18-2008, 09:42 AM
TELL THE TRUTH!!! When I was a kid, I was told my dog ran away. I was so devasted when it happened. Then one day, years later, my mom and I were talking about the dog. It actually came out that he died. I was more upset that my parents lied to me. Even though I was about 7, I could have handled the truth if presented properly(ie: got sick and went to doggie heaven) All those years I felt like I wasn't a good pet owner and that was why my dog ran away! Now I can't have dogs because my older son is allergic but we have two shorthair cats(he's allergic to long hair cats). I know that I will always tell my kids the truth about their outcome no matter what it is that happened.

09-18-2008, 11:53 AM
We had a similar situation with a dog that my daughter was very attached. I think she was about 7 at the time. We told her and then gave her some time to love the dog and say goodbye. It took about a month for her to be ready and then she helped deliver the dog back to the breeder. She helped pack his favorite toys and snacks and took lots of pictures. If you don't want her to go this place, maybe she could help pack a bag with thier favorite toys, snacks, etc. This meant a lot to my daughter.
Today, she is a teenager who still treasures those pictures and memories. She carried around a picture of that dog in her backpack, the car, and on vacation for at least a year. I was so glad we gave her a chance to say goodbye as she wrote a lot about in her journal at school that year. She still loves animals intensely, so it worked out OK. She understands that pet ownership is a blessing and sometimes its hard to do the right thing when you love them soooo much.
Hope this helps.

09-18-2008, 12:01 PM
I also agree with telling her the truth and letting her be as involved as she wants to be. We had a similar situation when our son was little with a boxer puppy. His asthma was so bad, that we were told to go home and start making our home as allergy free as possible. Our older children were upset at first but we explained the medical side of it, how important it was for us to this for Zack. We took the kids when we went back to the breeder and she showed them where Stormy would be sleeping and how many friends she would have while she was waiting for a new home. We still have her picture in the curio cabinet. The kids still talk about her to this day.


09-18-2008, 12:02 PM
One more thought. If you still plan on taking them to the place before she gets home, have you thought about having a note from the cats to her with some pictures or something. Let them 'help' tell her that they love her but need to go to a new home and its OK.