This article may include affiliate links. If you make a purchase, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
The loss of a beloved cat, dog, or other pet is always a difficult time, and it can be even more confusing for children. It’s important for the whole family to grieve in their own way, but for children, talking about what’s happened and being open and honest is a vital part of the grieving process. Depending on the age of the children, they may not fully understand what’s happening, but they’ll almost certainly feel sad, confused and sometimes even angry about the loss of their fur-friend.
Finding creative ways to help children grieve their loss can help enormously during the grieving process, so here are a few ideas for children of all ages:
Creative Ways to Help Children Grieve the Loss of a Pet
- Draw a picture of your cat, and display it in your child’s chosen room.
- Frame a photo of your child (or children) and the cat. They might want to keep it by their bed, or in the lounge room – somewhere where they can look at it and remember the good times
- Write a poem about your cat – it can be funny, rhyming or more thoughtful and serious in style.
- Donate money in your cat’s name to your favourite animal rescue organisation.
- Hold a memorial service in your garden. You could plant a flowering tree to remember your cat by, choose a memorial stone to put in the garden, or light a candle, and have every member of the family say a few words about him. Create a place where the family can come to sit, relax and remember your cat whenever they want.
- Make a photo album of your cat, or a collage or photos to hang on the wall.
- Get your children to write your cat’s life story from his point of view – this is a lovely way to remember his life and emphasise how important you all were to him.
- If your family has musical talent, why not write a special song about your cat?
- Create a memory box – your children can decorate the box themselves and put mementoes such as photos, a lock of fur, their brush, their favourite toy etc. inside it.
- Decorate a plant pot with craft supplies and paint, and plant a special plant or flower to grow in it.
- Using clay (or coloured play dough) make a sculpture of your cat.
- Write an ‘acrostic’ about your cat – put the letters of his name down one side of a piece of paper, and write one word or sentence to describe him that starts with each letter.
- Make a scrapbook that contains photos, drawings and anything else that you can remember him by.
- Use your cat’s favourite blanket to make a stuffed toy for your child, depending on their age they can get involved in the process of making it.
- Name a star after your cat – you get a certificate confirming your star, which your child can frame and hang in their room.
- Purchase a piece of memorial jewellery that you can personalise with your cat’s name or engrave with a few special words.
May the pets you have lost, remain forever in your heart!
How have you helped your children cope with the loss of a beloved pet? What other creative suggestions do you have to help kids cope during the grieving process?
Image: FED x via Flickr
GLOGIRLY CATS says
What beautiful ways to help not just kids, but anyone through the grieving process.
Aimable Cats says
Misty died when I was 8 1/2. We buried her in the back yard and made a cross for her. (Shortly after that, we got Samantha.)
Sylvia van Bruggen says
What a wonderful post. I have always made donations in the memory of the pets that passed over, and poetry.
Tenacious Little Terrier says
Great ideas. We have an art therapy workshop here for people who are grieving pets.
The Swiss Cats says
Those are lovely and thoughtful suggestions, for kids and for adults as well. We agree with Layla, the most important is validating their feelings. Purrs
Ellen Pilch says
THose are wonderful ideas and many of them can be for adults as well.
Cathy Keisha says
Great post! You left out an important way: rescue another cat to steal your child’s heart. TW coped with the loss of her families first cat by snuggling with a neighborhood stray cat.
We are just not pet people. Our daughter had a hamster – and you know how they are: not very long-lived. We did the burial and funeral in the backyard. I do like your creative ideas for “real” pets like cats and dogs that truly do become members of the family.
~Visiting from AtoZ
That is a terrific post and some really good ideas. I think the memorial service is a great idea. I remember once when we had a fish die and one the kids that hung around the barn was with me when I found it and she insisted that we have a funeral for it. But those were all good suggestions.
the PDX pride says
Those are all awesome ideas! Our Mommy had a woofie sister growing up, and she remembers grieving after her Trixi died. The librarian, who was also a close friend of her parents, gave her a great book to help. It’s called The Tenth Good Thing about Barney. It’s a really great one about remembering what made the pet special.
Rachele Baker, DVM says
This is a nice post, Tracy. I agree that talking with your child about what has happened and being open and honest is very important. And I like your ideas on how to memorialize a cherished pet.
What great suggestions. It’s so hard to lose a beloved family member, and these are wonderful ways to help little ones cope with the grief. Thank you.
I love this post! It is hard to loose a pet, but it is even harder when you are a child that is still forming an understanding of death. I lost several pets when I was a child and it was horrible every time. I like the idea of writing/singing songs about your pet. I’ve always been a singer, so I did that a lot as a child.
Sharon Seltzer says
Great post . Creating a tribute to a pet that has passed is a wonderful way for a child to remember the animal and start to feel the loss. Thank you for discussing this important topic.
Layla Morgan Wilde (Cat Wisdom 101) says
Kids all grieve in different ways like adults and it good to provide options. In the grief counselling I’ve done, the most important thing is validating their feelings and assuaging guilt. Sometimes before a pretty pet pic is drawn, a scary/ugly monster comes out first as emotions are expressed. Pinned this.