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I had to have my 16-year-old cat Max put to sleep yesterday morning and miss him so much.  I also feel very guilty that I was impatient with him at times when he meowed a lot and required so much care.

He had gastrointestinal lymphoma and bladder thickening and it was the bladder thickening that became worse in recent weeks and ended causing him a lot of pain.  He was on biweekly chemo pill, which I gave him at home and required other medications, as well as I.V. fluids several times weekly.  The pain and discomfort was pretty well controlled until a few weeks ago when it gradually kept getting worse.

I loved this cat so wanted to do this and take on the financial costs but then my other two cats and dog have have had problems and required a lot of home and vet care.

Of course none of this was Max's fault but I was exhausted, haven't slept well for a year, etc. 

He was a wonderful pet and I wish I could focus more on the good memories.

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I am so sorry for your loss.  When we are newly grieving we go through all of the regrets and what ifs in an effort to find a different possible outcome as this one is too hard to assimilate, it's a process that takes time to sink in, let alone begin to adjust to.  I don't know of many pet owners who would go through all that you did, incurring the expense and work to care for him, so try to be forgiving of yourself and patient/understanding with yourself as well...you deserve a medal not self berating. :wub:  My Arlie (dog) had lifelong Colitis, as did my son's dog that lived with me 1/2 the time.  I'd get up at 4 am to cook for him before starting my day, it'd take about an hour, he couldn't tolerate antibiotics and only one dog food but only half his food in that; as he was a big boy (110-140 lbs in adulthood) he consumed 4 cups/day, so half of that in cooked food.  Had him on probios and SAMe and Milk Thistle, as well as fish oil...he got cancer and his liver shut down.  One of the hardest things I've ever been through, then I lost 25 year old Kitty just a few months later.  :(

Right now is the shell-shock time, the recent memories of his illness are very prevalent in your mind, obscuring everything else, but the time will come when that will fade a bit and you will remember the good memories.  
http://media.wix.com/ugd/0dd4a5_e934e7f92d104d31bcb334d6c6d63974.pdf
https://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 hope this brings you some comfort and peace:

 

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KayC,

I really appreciate your kind response.  It's very helpful too, incredibly so.  I intend to re-read it and checkout the links and video.

 

Thank you so much for taking the time.  And you certainly sound like a saint...a wonderful pet owner.  I'm very sorry for your loss, too.

 

Janice

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Janice, thank you, I do wish you peace and consolation going forward.  The good memories that bring you pain right now will bring you a smile someday.

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Thank you.  Now I'm feeling much worse again.

I was going through my history tab looking for some articles for my job and came across my e-mail to the vet about Max, as well as searches on his bladder thickening.

I go a little crazy when my pets are so sick and in his case, I knew he had gotten a lot worse but over the week before his death, kept giving him meds, fluids, etc. somehow thinking everything was the same and if I tended to him enough, he would be okay.  Because I had it in my mind he was okay, I think I got too impatient with him, yelling at him to be quiet when he meowed a lot, etc.

He used to keep me awake at night even before he was sick, coming into my bedroom, meowing, etc.  So I got into the habit of not letting him sleep with me.  I would kiss him goodnight in the living room and give him love there but when he was sick and wanted to come into my bedroom, I kept the door closed.

It wasn't just him, one of my other cats awakens me constantly and I was exhausted, which is also why I kept the door closed.

I know it sounds terrible and feel horribly guilty about it.  I just kind of kept telling myself he would be okay and didn't mean to let him suffer, but I know he did.

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It's not horrible and I hope you can let go of the guilt.  We NEED our sleep!  If we don't take care of ourselves we can't properly be there for THEM!  The same is true for children.  I had to learn this early on in life and it is NOT selfish, it's a requirement.  My Kodie sleeps in a crate in a back bedroom.  During the daytime he has free run of the house, but I NEED my sleep to function!  He doesn't have a problem with it, although sometimes I wish I could sleep with him, maybe someday when he's past the puppy stage.

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  • 1 month later...

I tell you what I learned along the way. I had a cat who was diabetic, had CKD, also treated for hyperthyroidism. She had been abandoned at an apartment complex and I took her in. She was probably already a senior but I wasn't sure. After I'd had her about 5 years, I got the chance to go on an island vacation for 3 weeks, all paid. I was a little worried because my cat had been peeing on the bed and needed insulin twice a day, but I found a pet sitter to care for her. Had a great time. About 3 weeks after getting back, she started losing weight rapidly and threw up dark red, grainy vomit. Where she used to love having her belly rubbed and being close to me, she would move away when I touched her stomach and started hiding under the bed. That was the beginning of the end. She would spend more time in intensive care than at home. And then, 4 months after my vacation, the attending vet at the specialty hospital called and said, "You really need to get here now and let her go." I could tell he was a little angry, thinking I'd kept her alive for far too long. The back story of course, is that the internist had been feeding me false hope day after day until I got that call. I drove as fast as I could to say goodbye. My takeaway? Had I known my kitty was only going to live for a few more months, I never would've gone on vacation. I felt robbed of the three weeks I could've had with my sweet girl. I'm still learning and trying not to do regrettable things, obviously not very successfully since I'm here in this forum.

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Melonfarmer, (((hugs)))

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The guilt I felt after losing Rocky was awful. I did so much research on pancreatitis and bought food and probiotics and supplements hoping to cure him. Gave him is meds around the clock and got test after test done. The cost was nothing to me. I just wanted to save him. He was only 12 and I still feel like I missed out on so much time that I could have had with him. Most of the time I had him I was in an awful marriage and my ex did not like cats, so they were not allowed in our room. Plus, he had a huge dog that ruled the house so Rocky and my other two cats mostly stayed upstairs or away from the dog and my ex. Plus, I went away for work a lot leaving him for two weeks at a time and then coming home. I know he was always fed and cared for while I was gone and I always made sure to give him attention when I was home. But it wasn't what it should have been. I'm so thankful my 3 cats had each other. He always loved me so much despite what I put him through. When I was going through my divorce I had nowhere to keep them and I could not stay at where they were with my ex so it was awful. I would go over everyday and make sure they were ok but I feel so guilty about them just staying upstairs hidden from a big dog and my ex. I really had only two good years with Rocky since my divorce, and it so wasn't enough. My feelings of guilt and sadness are overwhelming to me. I wish so bad I could take back those wasted years.  I'm so sorry for your loss Janice. You did your best and Max knows this. He would want you to not feel bad at all. If you don't take care of yourself you can't take care of them. My heart goes out to you. It hurts.

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@RjmI can so relate.  My Arlie died at 11 1/2 and I'd hoped for 14, but cancer smashed that pipe dream.  He had to stay in a pen while I was at work and (long) commute, I would be gone about 11 1/2 hours/day.  I'd take him to a friend's house so he could run/play with his dog a couple of times a week.  Two years before he died I had a fence built.  What a life changer that was!  He now had the choice to run in the yard and I'd leave the pen open so he could go in his doghouse any time he wanted.  I put a rug on the front porch so he could lay on it and watch what was going on outside.  He loved it!  I so regret that I didn't have it built sooner.  I did have one year I was out of work and home more and another year I had three day weekends, and then I retired six years before he died, so thankfully I was home with him all the time then.  He loved going to the park or walking the trails, I wish I could have done it every day, but at least I walked him twice/day every day.

I am so sorry for what you and Rocky went through with the bad marriage, that must have been hard.  Been there.  It's peaceful being alone even if sometimes I wish I wasn't.  At least no controller or drama or dealing with their wrath.

Did you read the articles listed above?  If not, I hope you will, maybe one a day since it's a lot.  

It's hard forgiving ourselves for what we consider as a letdown but it's important to work on it.  At the time we are caught up in the moment, doing what we have to do and trying to make everything work, it's later we can see with a better perspective but when we're in it, it's like we don't realize how hard it is for them.  

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