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Old 21.05.2015, 17:58
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Time for family cat to go to heaven, should kids attend?

Hi,
One of my cats is 20. She is dying. I have had her at the vet many times over the last 5 months. She had to get teeth removed, the wound never closed, she has a raging infection in her mouth, nose and eye ( which no longer opens due to swelling). The vet has tried everything but the antibiotics are not doing any good. She is too frail for surgery and her kidneys are failing.

It has taken me quite a while to accept this is the end of her life. I had hoped she would just die peacefully one night but it's getting to the point where all lounges are covered in sheets which I change each day due to the amount of exudate. She has a very poor quality of life and due to her malodorous state ( infection) she is difficult to be close to for any length of time.

My question is as follows; the vet has offered to come to our house to put her down. I have a 7 and 8 year old. I have never had to put a pet down before. I am seeking views on whether the kids should be there to see the process, to pat her and be a part of her last moments or should I attend the vet alone and just tell them after? I am really in 2 minds. I think death is a part of life but I don't want to freak them out? I have not discussed with them about being there ( so I don't know their views yet) but am also wondering if I should just give them the choice or as the mum, make the decision on their behalf?
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Old 21.05.2015, 18:03
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Re: Time for family cat to go to heaven, should kids attend?

Definitely have them present. My eldest found her cat barely alive under a bush outside our building a few years ago. My wife brought her and the cat to the vet who said he'd probably been hit by a car and tried to crawl home and there was no hope to save him. My daughter spent his last moments with him and although she was deeply upset, she said it really helped. She was around 9 or 10 at the time I think.
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Old 21.05.2015, 18:03
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Re: Time for family cat to go to heaven, should kids attend?

I am so sorry that your beloved cat is so ill, but it seems now is the time to let her go.
This isn't really what you asked, but as a former cat owner and always cat lover, for your cat's sake I would ask the vet to come to your home. Speaking from experience, this is the kindest thing for your cat.
As for having your children around, I am not a mum so wouldn't pretend to know what to suggest. I'm sure others will have some good advice for you.
Hugs.
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Old 21.05.2015, 18:06
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Re: Time for family cat to go to heaven, should kids attend?

I think you should make the basic decision as mum - you know if your kids are likely to handle it, and also if the vet is likely to be sympathetic which could make a big difference.

If you decide yes, I'd still give them the choice individually, it isn't something I'd push on them.

Hope it goes OK.
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Old 21.05.2015, 18:12
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Re: Time for family cat to go to heaven, should kids attend?

As a kid I attended the Final Moments of one of our cats (she was 17), and am glad I did.

Later, when the Dog met the same fate, I am very sad that my mother took the dog while I was not there


One day granny and granddad will die too..

Death is part of life. I'd let the kids be there too - it is their own personal loss as well.
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Old 21.05.2015, 18:13
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Re: Time for family cat to go to heaven, should kids attend?

I don't have pets but have kids...I suppose I might ask them if they want to be present or not. Explain what is going to happen and see what they say. I think kids can handle death much better than we think or give them credit for - if that makes sense.
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Old 21.05.2015, 18:25
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Re: Time for family cat to go to heaven, should kids attend?

Our son who was 11 at the time chose not to be present when his beloved cat had to be put to sleep but he gave her a big cuddle beforehand and then we went out of the room and my husband stayed with the cat and the vet.
The cat was very sick and he understood why it had to be done but he preferred not to be there.
He had already lost his two grandmothers so he was no stranger to death.

Explain the situation to your children and see how they react. They are still quite young but they may wish to be there with her right to the end.
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Old 21.05.2015, 18:33
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Re: Time for family cat to go to heaven, should kids attend?

As an adult pet owner, I've still got these decisions to come, but as a child, I remember that when it was time for the family pets to go, we said our goodbyes at home and then my father took whichever pet it was (dogs/cats/rabbits) alone.
For me, at the time, it made no difference where the goodbye was - once the animal left, then he was gone for good.
That's how it was done, then - plus I seem to remember that a couple or so times, it was in the morning, and we had school. My father did the deed, and then went into work late, so it wasn't an option, either.

If the vet is coming to your home, then the considerations are different - as are the times, but ultimately you're the one who has to decide, as you know your children and how they may react. Maybe give them the choice, if you believe they are able to decide for themselves.
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Old 21.05.2015, 19:04
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Re: Time for family cat to go to heaven, should kids attend?

I am so sorry to read about your feline friend. It is NEVER easy to say goodbye no matter how old you might be. It sounds like you are making a caring and compassionate decision for your furry friend.
As others have posted you know your kids best. How have they handled sad situations in the past? I think talking with them and giving them the option might be a good avenue to start.
I don’t know what kind of relationship you have with your vet but if it is a good one perhaps you could also see what your vet might advise. No matter what I would urge you to have the kids spend some time with your feline pal prior to the departure.

Sadly I’ve been around for more animal euthanasia than I might like. If you haven’t been present for it before I would urge you to speak with your vet about the whole procedure beforehand so YOU know what to possibly expect. It can be helpful so if the kids are present and have any questions you aren't taken back or unsure of what is happening. Again vet can be helpful here * Normally a line is started and the animal is given heavy sedation medication which pretty much knocks them out and then the euthanasia solution is administered which will stop the pet’s heart. Most of the time it is a very calm and quick process.*

Two thoughts: (1) If possible PLEASE don’t use the term put to sleep when talking with your kids. While most folks mean well…. to a young child the idea that someone in the medical field or a doctor can give you a shot that will put you to sleep forever and you won’t come back can be upsetting and scary.-- I can give you suggestions or ideas if you need them to explain the situation--

(2) If the kids don’t want to be present for the procedure perhaps you would consider staying with your friend until the very end? Again, it can be a hard thing for the humans left behind but to your furry friend who has spent so much time with you, loves you, and trusts you, staying with them to provide comfort and love for the final moments is a priceless gift.

Know I will be keeping you and your family (human and furry) in my thoughts.
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Old 21.05.2015, 19:15
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Re: Time for family cat to go to heaven, should kids attend?

Hi,
I will definitely be there for her regardless of what happens with the kids. I am likely to cry quite openly as I have found myself crying every time I go to the vet because I know it is coming. it's so hard to decide, today is the last day you will live. I will never see you again. Are you able to give the tips of what to say other than the term " going to sleep"?. Many thanks
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Old 21.05.2015, 19:22
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Re: Time for family cat to go to heaven, should kids attend?

20 years old!! What a wonderful life your cat has led.

What to say to your children is a difficult thing. What about mentioning the "Rainbow Bridge" story?

My thoughts are with you, too, at this sad time.
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Old 21.05.2015, 19:33
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Re: Time for family cat to go to heaven, should kids attend?

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Hi,
I will definitely be there for her regardless of what happens with the kids. I am likely to cry quite openly as I have found myself crying every time I go to the vet because I know it is coming. it's so hard to decide, today is the last day you will live. I will never see you again. Are you able to give the tips of what to say other than the term " going to sleep"?. Many thanks
When we had to put our beloved ferrets to sleep a few years back, my son wanted to be there with us.

My son wanted to be sure that our ferret didn't suffer during the procedure. But he also had to be reassured that the shot our ferret got was a special one, and that it wouldn't happen to him when he goes to the pediatrician for a vaccine!

My son also had some very down to earth questions about what would happen to our ferret's body afterward. And where it was going, body and soul.

It's not easy to answer these questions, especially when you're grieving yourself... But I think kids have to ask them to understand what is happening.
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Old 21.05.2015, 19:40
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Re: Time for family cat to go to heaven, should kids attend?

Not sure about being present or not. Ask them and see how they react.

Personally I do not agree with all the 'going to heaven' thing- and prefer the truth about 'dust to dust'.

Don't delay- and yes, getting the vet to come to your home is the very very best 'present' you can ever give to a pet in distress at the end of its life. I feel for you as we had to go through this a few weeks back with one of our beloved dogs- it is so hard. The sooner the better. Thinking of you.

All animals cadavers are cremated here- either in a communal cremation with other animals- and you don't get the ashes back. Or private cremation which is very expensive and you get ashes back in a casket. For me personally, money is much better spent on the vet coming to your home when the time comes- and/or give moeny which would be spent on private cremation to a pet charity or animal rescue.

Last edited by Odile; 21.05.2015 at 22:09.
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Old 21.05.2015, 20:58
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Re: Time for family cat to go to heaven, should kids attend?

We have gone through this situation many times with dogs, hamsters, budgies over the years. With my kids always having lots of family pets they knew the circle of life thing and were always well aware that sadly our beloved pets will never live as long as humans.

If I had the job of going to the vets when the time came, they did not come but we always buried the pet and usually grew some flowers over the spot. I know that that is not allowed in Switzerland but maybe you can plant a shrub as a memory for your pet and then the children have somewhere they can go to for the difficult sad time that follows.

Always sad to make the decision - one of the worse feelings in the world when this happens.
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Old 21.05.2015, 21:17
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Re: Time for family cat to go to heaven, should kids attend?

We have the choice of the "pet bin" in our village or cremation. I would like to have her cremated as the idea of her going into a bin is just too sad. Has anyone cremated a pet in Switzerland?
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Old 21.05.2015, 21:27
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Re: Time for family cat to go to heaven, should kids attend?

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Hi,
I will definitely be there for her regardless of what happens with the kids. I am likely to cry quite openly as I have found myself crying every time I go to the vet because I know it is coming. it's so hard to decide, today is the last day you will live. I will never see you again. Are you able to give the tips of what to say other than the term " going to sleep"?. Many thanks
It is so very tough to make the call but I think as you have found your way to this point--- that in your heart you know it is time because the bad days out number the good, quality of life isn't what it should be, and with wounds that won't heal and infection there is a great level of discomfort. By choosing euthanasia you are giving your friend the gift of a painless end.
I'm not sure if this is YOUR first experience with a furry family member passing but if it is of any comfort I will tell you from experience that they my physically leave your life but their spirit will be with you always!

About two years ago we had to deal with the euthanasia situation. I simply told my son (then age 6) that our dog was in a lot of pain, that there was nothing more we or the doctors could do for her. I explained to him that we were going to see Dr. XXXXX (who he knew) and that the vet was going to give our dog a special solution that is only for animals and that it would make our dog really calm and tired, and then our dog would get another solution that would make all of her pain and suffering end. Finally it would make her heart stop and she would die and that she wouldn't be coming home with me later that evening.

I came across a few links that might be of help to you and your family: http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotion...pet_death.html

http://kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/ho...elatedArticle#

Continuing to send you thoughts of support..........
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Old 21.05.2015, 21:32
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Re: Time for family cat to go to heaven, should kids attend?

We had to put our dog Bruno to sleep three years ago and had him cremated. The vet arranged everything and we got the ashes a week later. I think it cost CHF300. Best of luck, it's very hard but you're doing the right thing for your beloved pet
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Old 21.05.2015, 22:18
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Re: Time for family cat to go to heaven, should kids attend?

I'm so very sorry, Aussie.

In addition to the very good advice you have been given about talking to the children to determine if they want to be there, another thing to think about is whether the children being there, and possibly being upset, will make the atmosphere more stressful for your cat. If so, perhaps having the children say goodbye before or afterwards might be best. For your cat's sake, it is best that all around her remain calm.

If you have not had to do this before, do talk over the process with your vet so that you can assess the possible effect on your children. Sometimes there are muscle spasms, and when death occurs there is often a loss of urine - do you think the children will be upset by this?

Whatever you decide, preparing your children is important. Here is a good article from the Ottawa Humane Society that might be of help:
http://ottawahumane.ca/your-pets/petdeath.cfm

I've had to say goodbye far too many times, and no two times have been alike. So my advice boils down to - listen to your heart, follow your instincts.

Again, I am so sorry. This is the hardest part of sharing our lives with a pet.

May you and your children find strength in the coming days, and may the memories of all the good times you and your cat have shared bring you comfort.
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Old 22.05.2015, 00:52
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Re: Time for family cat to go to heaven, should kids attend?

My beloved Saturna died a few years ago. I got her cremated and her ashes came back a few weeks later in a simple wooden box.

I wrote her name and birth and death dates on it.

Being a silly soft lump of a crazy cat woman - i kept the box on my coffee table and talked to her for a month or so. She now is on a bookcase. But still in sight.

At the time i think it was around 200 francs.

I always thought to take her to a place where she used to live and roam. But it has since been tarmaced over. So i guess she'll stay with me.
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Old 22.05.2015, 09:16
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Re: Time for family cat to go to heaven, should kids attend?

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All animals cadavers are cremated here- either in a communal cremation with other animals- and you don't get the ashes back. Or private cremation which is very expensive and you get ashes back in a casket. For me personally, money is much better spent on the vet coming to your home when the time comes- and/or give moeny which would be spent on private cremation to a pet charity or animal rescue.
When my beloved Susie was put to sleep, I asked my vet to arrange a private cremation for her, which he did. Her remains were returned to me a few days later. The fee was minimal. I had respected and loved her in life, therefore there was no question of being separated from her by death.
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