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MaineCoonMom

Two years later, I can’t get over the loss of my cat

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Hello,

It’s been two years, but the emotions and memories from the horrible night I lost my sweet big boy are still as strong. I blame myself for everything — being too lazy and proud to bring him to the ver for a nail trim, instead hoping to do it myself later; giving him his shot when I was tired; letting him stand on the table when I knew the shot stung and he’d take off right after; not having a rug on the slippery kitchen floor to help him gain footing; waiting to bring him to the vet because I wasn’t sure how serious it was; not telling the ver the specific details and impact of his fall, but just that he fell; letting them get me to leave him with them and wait outside, and not being with him the whole time; letting them stand around and ask what to do with this “old” cat versus make it clear from the first second he was strong and healthy and needed every and any extraordinary measure; not insisting they continue to work well after he collapsed and they nonchalantly said his heart stopped. Every second of that night was my beautiful 17-year-old boy struggling to stay with us, and every second of that night was me and everyone else failing him.

How do I get past this? How do I convince myself I SHOULD get past this? How can I trust myself again to care for and protect another animal after I failed the one soul in my life who needed me the most?

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@MaineCoonMom  I am so sorry for your loss.  I'm not sure I agree that you were guilty of anything but loving your cat...if the vet should have been able to save him and didn't, that is on them, but it's also very possible that because of his age, he wasn't able to make it.  17 years is up there.  I've had 25 dogs and cats and of the 24 who have passed I only had two that made it past 17 and that was quite phenomenal.  We are hardest on ourselves, going through all of the "what ifs" as a way of finding a different possible outcome, only there isn't any.  It is grief speaking.  This is a very normal grief response.

I hope you will read these articles, I've found them very helpful.  If you can think of a way to honor your cat rather than berating yourself, that would be more productive...even giving another cat a home and doing differently anything in which you feel you need to improve upon.  Tell your can you love him, perhaps he can hear you, so much we don't know about the beyond, but I believe their spirits live on and they get a new body and we'll be reunited someday.  I talk to my dog all the time, he was my companion and perfect dog for me, I talk to my cat too and tell her I miss her and her sister.

http://media.wix.com/ugd/0dd4a5_e934e7f92d104d31bcb334d6c6d63974.pdf
http://www.pet-loss.net/guilt.shtml
http://www.griefhealing.com/article-loss-and-the-burden-of-guilt.htm
https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2019/08/pet-loss-when-guilt-overshadows-grief.html

https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2017/07/pet-loss-when-guilt-goes-unresolved.html

I want to leave you this video in the hopes it brings you some comfort and peace.  

 

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Thank you for your kind words and insight, @KayC. You're right about the "What if?" scenarios playing and replaying, and how ultimately these cannot change the reality of the situation, but I have to—and do—own my part in the events as they unfolded that night, especially since my cat was exceptionally strong and kitten-like, even at his age. (For example, still swatting his toys up and down the hall daily, jumping from perch to perch to check on the world through his windows, knocking items off shelves nightly to wake me because he was "bored," etc.)

Still, and again, there is nothing I can do now to change that eve.

Thanks for reminding me that honouring him is the best use of my sorrowful energy at this point. I light a candle on the anniversary of his passing and, just this year, took the day off on his birthday to go over cherished memories of his life.

I'll read the articles you suggested—thank you, again—but at this point, I'm just hoping one day, I'll get the chance to apologize to him, whether I'm forgiven or not. (And knowing my stubborn boy, he'd make me work for any hint of forgiveness. 🙂)

Thanks again, and best to you and your positive survivor spirit (24 goodbyes to dogs and cats, wow! And so sorry...)

 

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17 hours ago, MaineCoonMom said:

And knowing my stubborn boy, he'd make me work for any hint of forgiveness.

I love this!  And it's true, cats have a different nature!  :D

I do hope you will read the articles, again and again, until their message sinks in.  It helps.  You are not alone in what you are feeling.  I would have given my life for Arlie, if only I could have.  But then he'd have needed a different mom, and that's tough, they deserve the best.

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Awww, Hon. He was 17. They don't get much older than that, and sometimes things...just happen. I had one that age, and he was fine...until about two weeks before his euthanasia. He was 'throwing clots' whatever that was, and in pain. 

I could blame chemotherapy for my husband's death. He was fine until then (but - he had cancer!) His treatment was more uncomfortable than his cancer had been. I had another cat treated for cancer - I regret it to this day. Her cancer wasn't painful - her treatment made her last six weeks mostly miserable.

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@ipswitch  Thank you for this post.  I lost a 45 year friendship over a person judging me for not traveling 2 hours away every week to get a B-12 shot for my dog, who had inoperable cancer, his liver was already shut down.  I provided him hospice and took care of him the best I could and had him put to sleep before he reached the point he couldn't walk, I did not want him to suffer unduly.  We all have to choose how we do this the best way we can and deserve supportiveness and understanding, from ourselves and others!

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Hi, 

I think it’s normal for our emotions and memories of our furry friends to remain strong. I lost my beautiful ginger tom of 18 years in 2017, and to this day when I visit my mum’s home I give myself a moment to find his old blanket and cry into it as I had no siblings and grew up with him from the age of 4. He was a significant constant for me throughout childhood. I felt guilty for ever leaving home as he passed a week after I moved out. 
Two years later and my partner and I got two little kitten brothers. This Friday night just passed we lost one of them at just over 1 years old. Even though they had been road savvy and mainly exploring fields out back he was hit by a car out front. We live next to a road which is meant to be 30mph, but a lot of people come through at much faster speeds, so we knew there was a risk, but relied on the fact that the cats would have natural survival instincts and we’d seen other cats in the neighbourhood that look happy and healthy so that convinced us it’d be fine. Now I’m feeling guilty and thinking should I have kept them as indoor cats or even got them at all. I always thought that keeping them indoors would be cruel, especially as they became naturally curious of the outdoors as they became older. I haven’t stopped crying and I’m really struggling to eat and sleep at the moment, but I’m desperately trying to stay strong for his brother to keep him company and make sure I help him through his grieving process too. I don’t think you ever truly get over a death of a pet, as they are family members, you just learn to adapt to life without them over time. I’m just thankful that his brother is okay and here to keep us company, and to live in a time where I can take loads of photos and videos that I can keep, look at and watch on my phone. 
You can never blame yourself, although it is part of the grieving process. Just bear in mind that 17 years is a grand age for a kitty cat, you will have been doing a lot of things right for them throughout that time! 

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@catsareeverythinginlife I am so sorry for your loss.  Sometimes it feels we're damned if we do, damned if we don't.  We have reasons for everything we do and try to do our best.  I adopted a couple of cats that had spent their life before me outdoors and were used to coming and going as they pleased, they'd be unrelenting and very vocal if not able to go outside.  One lived to 25, the other I never knew how old she was but I had her for 10 1/2 years and I do know she was an adult when I got her.  Sometimes it is luck of the draw.  I know Jackson says to always make them indoor cats (My Cat from Hell) but then I thought, he hadn't met Kitty.  She was used to ruling the roost.  Coming from Portland, she was very street savvy, but she spent her last 13 years with me in the country, much more protected traffic wise but with cougars, foxes, raccoons etc. outside.  I didn't let her out at night.  In spite of my vigilance I lost Miss Mocha, her sister, in June 2016, I believe to a cougar in broad daylight.

Thank you for your comments to the other person.  I know we are hardest on ourselves but must find a way to forgive ourselves and that FEELING GUILTY does not MAKE us guilty except for loving them with all of our heart.

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