It has been two months since I chose to euthanize my sweet cat, Kenzie. I keep thinking the loss will get easier with time, but I’m still struggling. I keep recounting the decision over and over again in my mind and I can’t help but regret it and worry I made the wrong choice.
Kenzie was only 8 years old. She snuck out of the house on Fathers’ Day and wound up spending the night in the garage. When I found her in the morning, she was walking with a limp in her hind legs and having very labored breathing. We went to the emergency clinic since it was a Sunday. They ran x-rays and bloodwork but couldn’t find anything conclusive and sent us home with pain meds and told us to follow up with our vet. Some of the numbers on the bloodwork were strange, but they couldn’t make sense of it.
We went to our vet for more bloodwork and another set of x-rays, this time focused on her chest. It showed that her heart was enlarged. The vet said she would need to send it out to be analyzed for more conclusive results. By this time, she was doing much better so I didn’t feel it was necessary at the time. And she did recover from her ordeal and was acting like her normal self at this point. I thought she recovered and was fine.
About a month later, she stopped eating completely. She had diarrhea and vomiting. She was hiding and very lethargic. The vet thought the best course of action was to analyze the x-rays from the month before. They came back showing congestive heart failure. Bloodwork showed liver enzymes a little high, but nothing crazy. They couldn’t pinpoint what was going on. At this point she said much more intensive tests or hospitalization were needed for a diagnosis.
Kenzie rapidly declined. She still wasn’t eating a thing. She had stopped purring. She collapsed trying to come up the stairs and needed to take breaks to make it across the living room. She spent her last day laying in the closet looking completely miserable. She didn’t show any interest when I came near her. I made the decision to end her suffering and she was euthanized that afternoon.
I guess what I’m struggling with the most was how quickly it all happened and not having a conclusive diagnosis. I feel like I didn’t push the vet hard enough to see her again, to run more tests, to look at all options. I didn’t want to put her through the trauma of more tests but maybe I should have. What if it could have been treated? I’m still agonizing over websites googling her symptoms. All the traits for advanced hyperthyroidism fit. What if it was as simple as that and if it had been caught sooner she could have been treated and would still be here? I should have gotten a second opinion and more bloodwork. I let her go too soon without fighting for her to stay. At the time it felt like a kindness. I was sparing her more vet appointments and stress. And she just seemed so weak and tired. But why did I let her go without fighting just a little harder? What if I would have realized months ago something was wrong? She had some mild symptoms for her regular checkup in April but the vet didn’t think anything of them and neither did I at the time. But what if that was the beginning of whatever was wrong? In retrospect it all fits with hyperthyroidism and if it was treated early she might still be here. Could it be that simple? Why would we miss it?
I’m just missing my girl and torturing myself for not trying harder to save her and not paying more attention to her health before it progressed so severely. Does anyone have any kind words to help me get through this?