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I have a 15-month-old boy who is really attached to my cat. It was actually his first word. He loves to follow her around and I can see that there is a bond there. Unfortunately, we have to move and I cannot take the cat with us. I know my son doesn't understand yet, so do I need to even explain to him that she can't come with us? Will he even react to her not being with us?
What a great question. Children certainly do bond with pets and it’s adorable to see them together. The good news is that once you move I would not be surprised if your son does not notice the pet absence as much as you thought.
I do advise letting him know that "kitty" will be living in a new home but I'd keep the conversation brief and factual. Once you move, if your son asks about the cat’s whereabouts, remind him the cat is happy and in a good home. You might want to keep a picture of the cat somewhere to reference if he asks, but he will look to you as a guide, so model that you are coping well and he likely will too!
The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.