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I feel guilty about the death of my cat


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For nearly 8 months I have felt nothing but guilt over my cat’s Buttercup, death. I didn’t cause his death but in my sadness over potentially losing him I had only prolonged it.
My first mistake was not giving him put down when the vets told me to. My entire family left the decision up to me and I know it should be but I just could not handle it. 
My second mistake was at the time I was pet sitting and didn’t take the opportunity to spend more time with him. The family offered to get someone else but I refused so I only got a few hours a day with him.

  My final mistake was on his final night I just went to bed instead of been by his side. He died alone, in pain and in the dark all because I couldn’t stay by his side and help him rest.

In the days that followed I thought about suicide twice and only didn’t because I was afraid I would die slowly from the wound.

To this day, almost every night or time that I am able to just think I get flashbacks to the week he died and Barely am able to hold back the tears

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I am very sorry for all you are going through, for the loss of your Buttercup (he is beautiful), and the guilt you've been carrying.  I am very glad you didn't commit suicide.

I'm well acquainted with grief, the hardest two losses, however, have been that of my sweet husband, and my "soulmate in a dog," Arlie.  I lost Arlie August 16, that after losing Miss Mocha (cat) three years before), and then Jan. 6 I lost Kitty, she was 25.  Arlie had cancer, it wasn't treatable, it was too far gone when discovered.  For the next month it wasn't too bad but then he went downhill the next month and ten days until his death.  Knowing when to have him euthanized was hard...you think, "I could have him another week, another day," but then you think, maybe I should have ended his suffering sooner.  In the end I think it was the right time though.  Just before he died, he made the trek down the street to see his beloved Sammy, went through the motions of trying to play with her (in slow motion), and slowly made his way home.  You can read about my journey with him in Living With Loss in the pet section.  I also have Memories of Arlie and Memories of Kitty.  Little did I know that our family would dwindle to just me.  I miss them more than anything.

You could not have known that Buttercup would die that night.  We are living our lives without the benefit of foreknowledge or the power to make them better as we'd like to.  Just because we FEEL guilty does not MAKE us guilty of anything.  It is something grievers go through...all of the "whatifs" in an attempt to find a different outcome, but there's only one outcome, and that's the one that happened.  We all do the coulda, would, shoulda, but the truth is, at the time we're doing our best, we're human, we're not perfect, but we love them perfectly.  Ask Buttercup, I bet he'd tell you how happy he was with you if he could answer.

It helps to write a letter telling him how you feel, ask his forgiveness for any shortcomings you feel.  Read it aloud to him.  Allow yourself to experience his answer.  And forgive yourself.  Holding onto guilt will not bring you closer to him, knowing the peace that comes from his all encompassing love will.  Know that your love IS "enough" and that continues long beyond the boundaries of death.  We all have some regrets.  I remember how frantic I was to keep Arlie eating because I knew once he stopped that'd be it.  One morning (I cooked for him because of his Colitis) I fixed his food and called him inside to eat.  He didn't move out of his doghouse.  In my desperation to keep him alive, I tugged him out and brought him in the house to eat.  I've regretted doing that ever since.  I've thought about how I would feel if I was dying with cancer and only wanted to be in my safe place where I'm comfortable and can be alone...only to have someone force me to move.  I still regret it.  I'm so sorry, Arlie, and I've told him so.  He knows it.  He forgives me.  It's harder forgiving myself.  But I know I loved him more than anything in the world and would have done anything within my power for him.  And he knows it too.  He doesn't blame me for the cancer, the pain, the suffering...even the damned vet hurt him at the end!  They under-anesthetized him and his final shot was excruciating...I've never seen such a distressful look on his face as then, it breaks my heart and it haunts me.  But I know he doesn't even blame me for that.  He thanks me for giving him the best life I humanly could.  I look forward to being with him again.  My heart is broken still, these 8+ months later.

And Kitty, her liver and kidneys shut down.  First sign she was sick was on Christmas...the next day she ate so I thought she was better.  She gradually stopped eating, I took her to the vet, and brought her home to be buried next to Arlie.  The hardest thing in the world.

Here are some articles I hope will be of help to you:



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I so appreciate your comforting words, dear Kay, and I hope that you, Matt, will take them to heart. I also want to add that, if eight months later you're still feeling "nothing but guilt" at the death of your beloved Buttercup, it's time for you to consider seeking the support of a qualified grief counselor ~ someone who can guide you back toward a healthy existence and a life that is worth living. See Seeing A Specialist in Grief Counseling: Does It Matter? and What Is Complicated Grief?  ~ and be sure to follow some of the links listed at the ends of these articles too. 

Your Buttercup is beautiful. Perhaps the best way you could honor the joy she brought to your life is to live a good and healthy life in her honor now. ❤️

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