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Tobster

Kitten jumped out window

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Hi. I lost my kitten very recently and am coping terribly, so I decided to do at least something to honor her. I decided to write a piece of text in her memory, as well as for my own sake.

I recently went through a very tough break-up of a relationship that had lasted for 10 years. I started toying with the idea of getting a cat (as me and the ex had a cat but she stayed with the ex), but acknowledged I was barely in the condition to take care of myself, let alone another living being, so I decided to wait a while.

A few months later, a friend who had gotten a 3- or 4-month (she didn't know exactly) old kitten changed her mind and wanted to give it away, as it was too energetic and playful for her. I decided to adopt it. Took it to the vet's immediately, got it cleaned up and subsequently vaccinated. Thought real hard about the name and finally decided on Zeka (Bunny in my language), as it hopped around a lot.

She was a healthy kitten, the vet said, about 4 months old, maybe 5. She ate like a dragon! At first we had some difficulties with her smearing liquid poop all over the place but a diet change fixed that. I'd yell at her if she decided to do stupid things like chewing cables, knocking over the trash can, scratching the furniture etc. I'd even smack her bottom a few times when she misbehaved, but never out of anger, only when her actions could result in her getting hurt. She eventually started responding to my yelling, and then just saying, 'no' and would back off. She didn't like being picked up 90% of the time, and would bite and scratch until I soothed her with 'sshhh-shhhh'.

She was a little devil, always running around, chasing balls I'd throw, scratching her post, engaging in various mischief, but at least once a day she would climb on top of me just to cuddle. My other cat did this simply all the time, but Zeka did it so rarely that I considered it very special when it happened. She would purr and stretch her paws and they would push into my neck or touch my chin. She was never good at making herself comfortable and I always had to hold a part of her so she wouldn't fall off me. She was also often clumsy, running into walls headfirst or miscalculating jump distances. She liked hanging out on the refrigerator and I turned a blind eye to the fact that she had to cross the counter (where y'know, food is often prepared) first in order to get there. I'd tease her when she was up there, called her dum-dum, and laughed when she tried to catch my hand. I let her bite and scratch me up to a point. She was only playing and I liked being part of that play. She also liked hanging out on the windowsills (5th floor but I have mosquito nets so she was always on the inside). She would follow me around the house and often just sit there looking at me. I talked to her a lot. About anything and everything.

She made her share of trouble however, and a couple of times I considered giving her away to a more capable and patient individual. Sometimes I'd tell her she'd be flying out the window. I'd yell. I'd complain to friends about the poop, the running into legs, the scratching, the early wake-ups. But I'd gotten to understand her better and better during the three-week period I had her, and even though I complained, in retrospect, I would never have given her away. She was mine, or more precisely, I was hers. I grew to love her, even if I wasn't really aware of it. I would never have parted with her.

A couple of days ago, I had company over and we were watching a movie. Zeka was particularly energetic that evening, so I shut the door. She had the bathroom and the kitchen all to herself, and anything she could need. She meowed a bit for me to let her back in as she usually did, but after a while she stopped. After the movie was over, I opened the door but she wasn't there. I looked around the house; nada. I tried kicking her ball around as this would always lure her out of hiding. I shook her food jar. Nothing. I laughed nervously, wondering how I could've lost a cat in this small rented apartment. I checked the mosquito net on the kitchen window and noticed that one side was just a tiny bit separated from the wall. Barely enough for me to fit my hand through, let alone a kitten her size, but separated nonetheless. I refused to believe that she could've fit through there. I removed the net, looked down but saw nothing. I decided to go downstairs, bringing her food jar so as to lure her to myself with it.

So out I went with my friend and started shaking the jar and whistling. I honestly thought she would come running. Then I heard my friend say "Oh... Oh no...". I looked over and my gaze landed on a small shape lying very close to the building. My gut squirmed. I bolted toward it. It was her. I bent down to check if she was alright. There was foam coming out of her mouth and she wasn't breathing. I panicked. I called out her name a few times. My arms went numb. I called a few emergency vet numbers, but as it was late only the 4th call got through. I explained the situation, barely controlling my sobs. The lady on the other side of the phone said that I could try massaging her chest but that it was a long shot. That I did, and I felt her broken bones. I saw for the first time the puddle of blood she was lying in the middle of. I called her name again. I screamed in agony. She was dead. She was my little friend and she was dead.

I went upstairs to wash my hands. I got a shoe box, got back downstairs, and put her in it. I cried the entire time. I punched a nearby tree a couple of times. I left her there as I wasn't sure if she was a health hazard; I feel so guilty about this, leaving her outside like trash, but I honestly didn't want to make a bad situation worse. I wanted to do right by her so the next day I called a friend and he helped arrange a funeral for her. We had her buried at an equestrian club, in between some bushes. Before the burial, I opened the box. She was so stiff and her little paws were so small. I put her favourite ball in the box, along with a few other things from my desk that she liked to knock around but I'd never let her. I called her name again and patted her on the head. She did not wake. I knew she wouldn't, but I hoped beyond hope. I cried. We stuck around while she was being buried. Then we left. A part of me stayed.

I feel so guilty about her death. I keep thinking that if I'd done anything different, this wouldn't have happened. If I'd chosen to rent a different apartment, if I hadn't closed the door, if I had let her play with a bag she seemed to really like... If not guilty, I am definitely responsible for the death of my little friend. People have told me it was a tragic accident. That there have been many cases like this. That I'd done everything I could've done to make the little critter happy. That she was just too energetic, inquisitive, and fearless for her own good. I understand all of this. Still I feel that I was responsible for her well-being, and now I am responsible for her demise. I am paying for it with a painful physical reaction to this stress (high fever and stomach cramps), but it is not enough. I cannot escape the guilt. I cannot escape the sight of her body in a puddle of blood. That of her blood on my hands. The stiffness of her tiny corpse. The fact that I will never again hear her distinct meow. She will never wake me up. I will never see my friend again. A precious, tiny life, extinguished. My dear little Zeka, gone.

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I am so sorry.  It is a tragic accident.  Clarifying...they had mosquito net instead of a stiff screen on the windows?  This could have happened to anyone, I'm just so sorry.  There have been many people that have lost their pets to accidents...I am one, although it was 21 years ago with my dog.

It's not the method that killed them that is of issue so much as that it WAS an accident and you are feeling terrible about it.  :(  

I remember reading these stories... https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2016/10/pet-loss-curious-cats-get-killed-in.html

I hope you will read these articles:

http://media.wix.com/ugd/0dd4a5_e934e7f92d104d31bcb334d6c6d63974.pdf 

http://www.pet-loss.net/guilt.shtml

When our pets die, it's common to feel guilt as part of our grief.  They belonged to us, we felt responsible for them, just as we would a child!  But it's important to understand that we never intended this, we loved them so much!  I hope you will find it in your heart to forgive yourself.

I also want to leave you with this...I don't know your beliefs but I totally believe we'll be together again.  I hope you find comfort in this thought as you view this:

 

 

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You are right, it is a screen, it's rather sturdy. I didn't realize there was a difference as we use the same word in my language for both.

Thank you for your words. I have seen your posts on other pages and have already gone through both of the articles you suggested. I don't feel any better, unfortunately.

I wonder if I'm ever going to be able to have kids after this sort of experience...

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It takes time to process all this.  Read the articles again periodically, let it sink in, bit by bit.  I remember I felt horrible when Fluffy died...I'd brought him and the cat to the vet and when we got home, I opened the van and he jumped out, and we took the cat carrier out and were administering medicine to the cat (no easy feat), and when I was done, I left the kids off and closed the van and drove back to work...not knowing Fluffy had snuck back into the van, he was being real quiet because he knew he wasn't supposed to get back in.  I worked in the office of a mill and there was lots of dust so I always kept the windows rolled up, it was mid-summer and hot.  I came out of the office that night and opened the door and he rolled out into my arms stiff as a board.  It was like slow motion out of a horror movie!  I screamed, everyone was gone, I ran in and called the vet and rushed him down there.  What did I think, that he was going to bring him back after seven hours?  

it was an accident.  Yes I thought of all of the "I should haves..." but all of the shoulds and what ifs in the world weren't what happened.  We learn from our mistakes, but honestly, it never occurred to me that he'd sneak back into the van, he'd never done that before.  Did he bark, did he cry, did he try to get my attention when he was suffering, all while I was four feet away on the other side of the wall, working, unsuspecting?  The vet said it would have reached over 140 degrees (likely much higher) and that his brain would have burst.  (Did I need to know that?)  My poor baby!  He was the best little dog in the world!  It cut his life way too short.  I remember that evening all too well.  It was our 20th anniversary and I remember telling my husband I wasn't happy with our marriage (it ended three years later).  My daughter had a date and spent the night sitting on a curb, crying, while her date tried to comfort her.  My poor son left alone to deal with his misery?  What a mess!

I don't know how, but somehow we survive even the worst.  I see you as a caring person and I hope you won't let this stop you from having children one day.  I know you will check the screens.  Have you called this to the landlord's attention?  It does seem like an owner issue, not that it will help you, but perhaps someone in the future.

It does seem like a nightmare when something like this happens.  In time the emotion with the memories begins to subside, you remember but it's more like a movie you once watched.  You remember the feelings you had but you no longer have them with the same intensity that you did when they occurred.  You continue to miss the pet you lost, to remember them, but the emotion does eventually subside a bit, I don't think we could handle it if it didn't.

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8 hours ago, kayc said:

... it never occurred to me...

This is exactly it. You think you've covered all bases, but there's a good chance you didn't think of one or two things at least. I am so sorry about your baby. People sometimes tend to trivialize pet loss, but they're usually people who'd never had one. I understand you.

I realize it takes time to feel better. I feel guilty for even making it slightly about me. I feel guilty that I know I'll eventually be better. I feel like I don't deserve to be, even though I know that's unreasonable. I keep blaming myself even though I know that's unreasonable as well.

The landlord is unreliable so it's probably no use calling it to their attention. I will mention it, however. Either way I'm not getting another cat, not while I'm in this apartment at least. Maybe not ever.

In my high school years I had to endure the suicide of a girl whom, at that point, I'd spent most of my life thinking as a soulmate. That was about 12 years ago. Even now I still get moments where I think about her, my knees go weak and tears start coming. I know it'll be the same with Zeka, and somehow I'm fine with that. We had 3 weeks together, but those 3 weeks with her were so eventful that I'd never want to forget them.

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Grief IS about us..they are okay now, but it's us left with this pain.  We sorrow for the pain they went through, how their lives were cut short with us, we miss them horribly!  We can know things with our head but our heart feels what it feels.

I'm so sorry about your other loss, we here lost someone to suicide this week, another one several months ago, and I lost yet another many years ago, it's very hard.  We keep wondering why but never get an answer, we wish we could go back in time and do something but don't know what.  My husband said he attempted suicide when he was young, I'm glad he wasn't successful, we never would have known each other!  I can't imagine my life without him in it, it would have been so empty.  Even though he's been gone 13 years now, I still have the knowledge that I was loved, the memories, the comfort and encouragement he brought me will last a lifetime.

I hope you will consider adopting again when you have a safe place for them.  Maybe your landlord will fix it, that remains to be seen.  

No one should ever trivialize loss.  We get very attached to these little ones.  When I adopted my dog, I found out they lied to me about his age, breed, weight, AND he had Kennel Cough and Acute Chronic Colitis!  The Colitis is for life, I have to cook for him.  When grown he weighed 140 but he's lost down to goal weight of 110 and maintained it over a year.  I called the rescue I got him from because they weren't supposed to adopted out sick pets, and they said I could return him for a refund within two weeks.  They were cold and callous and didn't care what they were doing.  As if I'd give him back to those people!  It wasn't even a week and I already loved my dog.  It was a county adoption, not a private rescue, big difference when government is involved.

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Thank you, KayC. Your words and compassion have helped a lot. I'm already feeling a bit better, becoming functional again, and even managing to feel guilty for feeling better. I have contacted the landlord about the screen, he sounded sympathetic and said he'd come look at it one of these days. A friend has offered me a kitten from his yard (he has like 7 outside and 5 inside), but I told him that I don't feel up to the task right now. The kitten is beautiful and very friendly, it headbumped me the first time we met. But things still need to heal and I need to stop second-guessing whether I should have a kitten at all, and that will take time. Thank you again.

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Just try to understand that this is not your fault. 

It's not too hard to replace screens, BTW, I've done it in my patio door.  I'm sure the frames vary, but they usually pop out with a spring loaded pin holding them in place, remove the spline, put the new screen in, put in new spline, trim the screen, you can get it at any hardware store.  Some will even place it in for you if you bring the frame, although I've found I do a much better job getting it taut if I do it myself.  It usually lasts for years, I get the heaviest duty not the cheapest.

When you are ready, you will know.  (((hugs)))

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1 hour ago, kayc said:

When you are ready, you will know. 

Yes, Kay ~ exactly. I think it's a mistake to rush into adopting another animal unless and until we feel ready to do so. The newly adopted one deserves to be loved for its own sake, and not as a replacement for the one we've lost. Still, some people find that getting another kitty or pup as soon as possible is the very thing that helps them heal. Like everything else in grief, it all depends on the individual. Tobster, I too am so very sorry for the pain you're feeling in the wake of this tragic accident ~ but just as Kay has said, accidents do happen, and clearly this was not because you set out to bring any harm to the one you dearly loved. Please don't confuse holding on to guilt as a way to hold onto your kitten. Instead, focus on holding onto the precious memories you made with her and the love you shared with each other ~ and rest assured that letting go of your guilt is the healthy thing to do. 

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