My son killed a kitten

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

My 4 yr old son killed one of our kittens yesterday. He said that he didn’t want him anymore. He wanted 4 cats, not 5. He’s had this thing with the number 4 for a few weeks now. He put a pillow over the cat and jumped on him. He is a very happy boy and we are a very loving family. We also love our pets and treat them like family. I stay home with him all day, so I don’t think he would have an attachment disorder. My husband and I are very worried. This is the first time something like this has happened. What should I do? We are just watching him closely now. I might also add that my husband is bipolar and has adhd. He has never hurt an animal because of it though.

A: This must have been a very difficult thing for you and your husband to cope with and it is certainly worthy of concern. This would be the time for an evaluation by a psychologist or psychiatrist to determine if your son simply used poor judgment, or if he needs to have treatment.

The fact that he has loving, concerned parents is the central ingredient in helping him. It is clear from what you have said that this is the case. The evaluation will help. I would look for professionals in your area that specialize in working with children.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Sep 2011

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2011). My son killed a kitten. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/09/01/my-son-killed-a-kitten/