Wow HG88, thank you for your beautiful reply. This is my first time on a forum like this so it really means a lot to me what you wrote. I read your story about Althea and there were so many feelings and thoughts that I related to, some of the ways you described your bond with her brought me to tears because it was so similar to how I feel about Roxy. I relate so much to your feelings of assuming that we have more time than we were actually given, and having so much more love and time to give that we're unable to.
One of the things that scared me the most after hearing of Roxy's diagnosis was that I couldn't remember the last time we laid in bed together with her on my chest because I had always taken it for granted. I had assumed I would have months, years even, to prepare for her death when in reality it had been a sudden surprise. I thought that I wouldn't be able to have one last true cuddle session with her because she was loopy from getting fluid removed from her chest and she was acting like almost a completely different cat. I think 'nice' would be the last word used by someone to describe Roxy. She would bite and scratch your legs when you walked past her on the stairs, bite your hand if you pet her the wrong way, scratch you if you picked her up wrong, and was over all just a mean cat to everyone including, to a much lesser extent, me. But in her last few days it was like a fight was taken out of her. She just seemed too tired to care if you pet her, or hugged her, and if I carried her to my bed and put her on me should would stay. But in some way it didn't feel right to cuddle with her unless she came to me because I knew she would never let me carry her around or hug her if she wasn't feeling sick. The day before she died, I was laying in my bed and tried calling her by whistling like I used to and I think she knew I needed her because she came waddling into my room (she was quite a fat cat) and jumped up onto my bed to cuddle. It was like she could read my mind and knew what I needed her to do before she passed because she laid on my chest and we cuddled and I can now look back on the last time we shared a moment like that because she knew I needed it.
In so many ways Roxy helped me as a grow up. She was there with me through middle school, High school, and my freshman year of college and was always a source of comfort for me. I can't help but feel guilty for leaving her while I was in college and I keep thinking about how she must have felt while I was gone. How can a cat fathom what college is, how could she understand that I wasn't leaving her because I wanted to but because I couldn't take her with me. I had so many plans for after college like bringing her with me once I got an apartment, and making memories with her as I grew older but it feels like she'll never understand because she died before I reached a point where I could bring her with me. I feel so guilty for leaving her while I was in the dorms and I know there was nothing I could have done differently but I can't help but think of all the time we could have had. I miss her so much and I wonder if she missed me in a similar way while I was gone.
I think the thing that hurts the most is the suddenness of it all. In October 2019 my family put down our 17 year old cat, Snowbell, who was technically my cat that my parents got me when my sister was born but in reality she was the family cat. This may sound somewhat morbid but I think the last five years of her life we thought each one would be her last. She would seem like she was struggling a bit and we would say, "oh I think this year might be it" but somehow she carried on. Her liver was failing and we had to buy her special medicated food but we knew it was only a matter of time and sure enough she stopped eating or drinking and we knew it was time. Putting Snowbell down seemed like the only right thing to do and it truly felt like it was the right time for her. She had lived a long, happy life and now she was old and would start to suffer soon if we didn't end it when we did. I cried when we put her down but it was more of a sadness from all the wonderful memories I had with her. I knew it was the right time for her to go and it brought me comfort that we gave her a happy ending that she deserved. With Roxy, though, it feels like an awful plot twist in some drama. Her death wasn't beautiful, it was a tragedy and I feel like it changes the whole plot, so to say. I thought I would get to see her grow old like Snowbell and it kills me to know that I will never know what she would be like. It like I didn't only lose the present Roxy, but I also lost the future Roxy and all the plans I had that had her in them.
I didn't expect to write this much as a response to you but I feel like when I start talking about Roxy I just can't stop, I get so caught up in remembering her and just spill everything out. Thank you for your response though, it really helps to read other people's views on where our pets go and also how they feel. I guess it makes me feel less alone with my overpowering emotions regarding Roxy.