Whisker was a cat and he was awesome. He was so large and so strong that he could reach for the handle and open the door. He was just like the velociraptors from Jurassic Park – only more dangerous to asthmatics. I took pride in my responsibility of feeding him, and in return he’d sleep on my pillow, hunt mice and sharpen his claws on the new couch. I’ll never forget the day I was about to top up his bowl with a fresh can of jelly meat and realised that the bowl was still full of yesterday’s food.
I started calling out his name “Whisker? Whisker?” But I was met by silence. There was no pitter patter of his paws on the lino. So I did what any teenage boy would do, I made myself some toast, watched TV and forgot about it until the next day. When the time came for me to feed him on day three, he was nowhere to be found.
I walked into the lounge and asked where the cat was. My dad looked over at me and then darted his eyes towards my mum as if to say, “Whose job is this to say something?” After a bit of eye contact duelling between them, my dad said, “Whisker died the other day. I didn’t know how to tell you. Sorry. Also, can you clean out his food bowl? It’s starting to stink.”
That’s how not to tell your child their beloved buddy has died. So, how do you do it?