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My cat died at home with me


HG88

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Hi everyone, this is my first post but I've been to this forum before when I lost my dog and cat a few years ago and found comfort reading other similar stories. Last year around this same time, my Grandma who lived with me died and now on the last day of February my beloved cat died. There's been a death each year, four remain (me, my parents, our boy cat). I recognize several posters here and I have to say I headed right over here the day after my cat died because I remembered this as a warm community with caring dedicated members. I have been reading many stories and feel your pain. 

 

My cat, Althea, originally belonged to my next door neighbors. They had her for five years, first as an indoor only cat, but when they got a boy cat he wanted to play rough with her and she wasn't into that so they let her be indoor/outdoor and it seems she chose to be mistly outdoor at the time. I moved next door in 2010 and on the very same day, this nice and friendly black cat appeared and came up to me. She didn't want food, she just wanted to introduce herself I guess and see who had suddenly shown up at the house which had been vacant a while and was part of her territory. 

 

We immediately bonded, when I look back I'm amazed at how naturally we took a liking to each other. When i met the neighbors, I learned she was their cat, her name was Althea, and at the time I can't remember if they told me her age or I just guessed it but I thought she was like 1-3, I wasn't too sure really and it didn't really matter at the time,. Soon after we met, I don't recall exactly how now, she started staying in my bedroom. She would jump on the windowledge outside and then sit on the window a/c unit and wait for me to let her in, sometimes she would tap on the window. I started to leave her a dry food bowl and water bowl in my room, where I spent a lot of time myself everyday, and she quickly took to the routine and began spending nights in the room, going out in the daytime, varying with weather changes and so on.

 

She always from that first day had a deep love for me, was always cheerful and happy just to be with me, she wasn't into playing, I don't think we ever played for more than a few minutes her entire life with me, it wasn't her thing. She just liked to hang out, sit with me, sit on me, etc. Soon we began a bedtime routine, I'd finish up on the computer and get in bed, she would come up and lay by my pillow and we'd have a really nice time for an hour or so before I was ready to sleep, then she'd go on my computer chair to sleep.

 

The entire time until her last six months, she went outside for the bathroom without ever being made to or told to and without an accident. I should note that she could only go in my room, my family didn't want her in the house, they never considered her their cat, they knew she was bonded to me but still have very possessive ideas of these things. We aleo had an older female cat who could be quite moody and a dog, they grew up together so it didn't seem right to introduce anither cat anyhow. 

 

The neighbors knew all about our arrangement and were fine with it, they could see I took good care of her. And even though I wonder if i did, I suppose the simple fact that she always came back to my room even when she did not need food suggests it is true. 

 

The entire time I never took her to the vet, she never had a single problem that I was aware of, and until a week before dying she seemed to be in perfect health, was agile and able to jump up to my window etc and down without any problems, I'd see her offasionally chasing her enemy cat at top speeds across the lawn and sometimesnstraight across the street causing me worry for her safety, but I wanted her to feel free and make her own decisions for her life, I basically treated Althea just like my friend, not a thing I owned and controlled, I consulted her to see what she wanted to do and tried to make things work in accordance with her wishes. 

 

In retrospect now though as I reflect I feel like I majorly dropped the ball so to speak about six months ago, She had begun peeing on the bed, at first I thought it was because I had been pretty busy at the time in anither room where I worked and that she wasn't able to alert me when she needed to go out. I knew she was older now but though she was only about 12, not 15 which seems to have been her real age. So i figured she is getting old, maybe it's just a bladder control issue but no big deal, so I got a cat litter box for that room. 

 

That caused problems, sadly. I could not breath with the litter in my room (whether entirely fresh or not) and so just as a quick fix solution that I didn't put much thought into, I began sleeping on the couch in the other room. I think that whole time I figured it was just temporary and I'd get a better arrangement sorted out somehow soon. She stayed in the bedroom, I'd go in whenever I had a chance to check on her, interact with her, etc. She never went hungry or thirsty, I'd aurprise her with treats. When I first woke up, I'd go in to see her, same for if I had returned from being away from home for an hour or so. But I am so saddened now to say that I did prioritize my own human activities over her, she would have loved more quality time with me, and I always fully intended on getting to that. See, I really thought she was in perfect health, I fiured we had YEARS left, even anither decade seemed obvious to me due to her regular habits and whatnot, she just seemed like she had years left. My previous cat lived to about age 12 and had health problems going back years, some caused by bad vet prescription meds, so she suffered for years before finally dying. That was my only experience of a cat's old age and dying process, so compared to her, Althea was perfectly fit and healthy. 

 

That is partly what is bothering me so much now, I had or have so much more love for her, I wasn't done with her!!! I assumed we had many more years and it didn't matter in the grand scheme of things if i focused on human things a bit mire than usual because i always intended on making it up to her fully with quality time together. She woulr just sleep in the room, wake up to eat and drink I guess then sleep more, any time I went in to see her she was happy to see me, loved to have even a brief few minutes of cuddles and stuff, would purr anr give me love bites etc and I was happy to see her too. Whenever she was ready to go out, I oet her out.

 

I'm a smoker so often going outside for a smoke, so she would come up to me to hang out outside a bit in those times, but I made sure to exhale away from her of course. She had other cat friends over the years, most of them stray feral cats who didn't do human interaftion beyond cautiously waiting for food, I remember them going wide eyed seeing how Althea would interact with me. I have no clue if she ever mated with these cata, they were always males, but they were on good terms and knew she was ok with them. Once i was done smoking i'd go inside again. I know some people are understandably weary of leaving their cats outdoors but while i did have concern in the back of my mind I knew our neighbors were good people who knew she was my cat, i had no reason to think shed be harmed by a human etc, and the road isnt terribly busy and as long as she wasnt in mid-chase she seemed to understand she has to be cautious and cant just walk into the road or stand in the road, and besides that there are no dangerous animals really other than a stray dog i suppose. overall i felt like i had observed her to already have good street smarts when we met and I wanted her to be her own person and have freedom. She would return later to my room for the night. 

 

So about a week before dying, I suddenly noticed two things that were totally out of the ordinary. 1) she waen't eating, at all, 2) she wasnt herself at all, she wouldnt turn to face me, she seemed spaced out when she was usually incredibly bright and interactive with me and very into communicating with her eyes and whatnot. I knew something was up. Unfortunately I could not afford to even consider taking her to a vet, and besides she hadnt left our property in a decade plus, hadnt been around strangers, was not used to that sort of place and i felt like with all the testing theyd do without me being there she'd be afraid and lonely and think I'd given her away etc. Even thouh I needed to find out what was up with her health, it didnt seem like taking her to the vet would be a good idea. I thought obviously she's sick with something, maybe it is jist temporary like how we get sick for a few days and then recover. When i get sick I basically act the same way, don't eat at all, just stay in bed till better. So i hoped she would be fine soon, however a day or so passed and she was refusing all food, I tried everything I could find at home that was safe for cats, she refused everything point blank, but still drank water and seemed to have an urge to drink that was unusual. 

 

About four days before death, she insisted on being outside, wouldn't stay in the room nor in the other room with me when I tried to comfort her there. I would describe her insistence to be like a wild animal instinct rather than her usual choice to go outside. She would look at the door with a desperate look like I HAVE to be outside now! So i took her out and though she was weak and tired and had trouble moving around, I put her in the backyard and left her a water bowl and food in case she wanted to eat etc. I had to return inside for half an hour or so, but figured in her weakened condition she'd just hang out there and be fine,p. However when I returned, she was gone! I quickly checked her nearby spots and asked the neighbors and she wasn't there, At this point I'm extremely worried and it was dark out at the time early evening and I spent the entire night until near midday next day outside searching exhaustively with aflashlight, I crawlerd thru our entire crawl space which was accessible and used by her to no avail, I searched the joining neighbors properties and my own innumerable times, I even searched ridiculous impossible places where she'd never been and couldn't get, just to be sure. All the while I was calling her and occasionally crying and getting more desperate and devastated, 

 

I knew she had "wandered off to die" via her instinct, I realized she wanted to go outside so badly so she could have a chance to wander off. I felt so hurt and saddened by this because I think pets become people and aren't just wild animals anymore than we are, She deserves a dignified death if she is dying, not to die alone. And she was so weak, any animal could have killed her, or she might have fallen and not been able to get up, and die in discomfort and pain. It just..., wasn't right at all. And at some point in the night I had a mental visualization spintaneously of her beautiful face slowly closing her eyes - i thought that must mean she's just passed away.

 

I was so destroyed by that vision, I felt more sorrow than Ive ever felt in my life, I'm 32 and life has been quite rough in many ways for me, so I'm not really overly sensitive to things or anything, but it pained me so much to think she died alone and afraid etc and that i might not even locate her body. So by the next day I finally gave up and went inside, drank a bunch of whiskey to numb myself, and fell asleep for an hour or so. When i woke up, i felt like that was it, she had gone, i couldnt find her, this was the horrible reality I woke up to, So i went outside to smoke and who is sitting there in one if her usual spots? It's Althea, looking up at me with some sense of humor surely like "so ya do love me eh?" haha. I thought I was still asleep and dreaming ! then thought aurely i'm hallucinating, how can she be right there, i'd checked there and everywhere a billion times over and over and over all night long. She looked fine too, I thought this is a miracle! 

 

And I now think, maybe it was, or if not a miracle as such, maybe it is a testament to our love and deep bond, that she had indeed wandered off to die as per her instinct's urging, but she must have been somewhere where she could see or hear me and it made her summon the strength and determination to come back! even now, a week or more after her death, i still feel a sense of deep joy, she came back for me! I know that is not the case for every cat and I sympathize with anyone who was not able to find their cat, I really do know hor horrible that feeling is because i felt it fully befire going to sleep etc. to be honest, i decided then that if i never find her or dont find her body, i will kill myself, because it seemed too painful to live knowing my beloved friend died alone and afraid because i had left her for half an hour. I didnt even want to live without her being alive with me anyway. Ive organized my life arounf her for years, made decisions based on her, I would think well i can't *go visit out of state friends* because althea wont have anywhere to get out of the elements, wont have a steady source of food, will wonder where I am etc. in all thise years, there was only about two werks total that we did not see each other daily, and during those two weeks i made arrangements with the neighbors and a family friend to check on her in the backyard and feed her etc, 

 

So from then on for the last three days of her life, or really two and a half days, I remained with her 24/7 outside. It was nice weather, comfortable for staying outdoors all day, no rain, no storms, only very slightly chilly at night, a few sweaters was all i needed. We stayed on her favorite blanket from my bed, spread out on concrete patio, and she also would go to some of her spots a few feet away in the plants and grass. Those three days were honestly the best days of my life I think it's safe to say, Oh, she was still deathly ill seeming, I was losing hope steadily of her ever recovering, it seemed quite dire, and I was reading as many websites as possible searching for some kind of clue or lead in figuring out what exactly was wrong with her, She was still weak, at some point she wasnt able to turn her head or neck at all anymore but she could still look side to side with her eyes, was fully conscious the entire time and of her normal senses, which i confirmed observing her reactions to other cats that came and went, she saw them, her friends she just glanced at then knew they were no problem so didnt keep track of them, but her longtime enemy female cat from next door got a final hiss from Althea and later I yelled at the same cat to go away and Althea looked so proud, like she had a moment of pride that she could control her territory still and that I showed no favor to her enemy (who is a nice cat in her own right but i didnt want Althea to think anything like she would be replaced by her enemy etc). I talked to her the entire time, never slept, nor did she at all, and i'd tell her how much i loved her, how glad i was she came to meet me and entered my life and stayed with me, how happy she made my life and how it would have never been that way without her, i apologized for any times i got annoyed with her or ignired her, to these apologies she gave me "slow blinks" which was all she could manage at the time, which i interpreted to mean "its Ok, i love you too" etc. I always knew she was a very smart and empathetic cat, but this conversation made me think she might even actually understand my exact meaning because I really needed some kind of sign from her herself to relieve my guilty feelings for those times id gotten nnoyed or just simply prioritized myself over her. And besides this I repeated all the little pet names and silly songs and neologisms id made up but used consistently for treats and ither code words and whatnot, in the same tones as i originally did, and these changed over time and i remmebered them all and she did too, with subtle body language i knew she understood what i was doing, reminding her of her life, happy days, and by the day of her death it is like she fully got it, she seemed to suddenly no longer be darkly depressed and fading out, but content and happy, in fact i now felt love beaming, gushing from her to me. 

 

It was almost a feeling that reminded me of......well, to me it seemed like Althea had always loved me and considered me her only one, and I think she knew i loved her all along however i think she may have felt rejected in recent times due to how busy i had been with human things, and also because i had stopped sleeping in the same room so sadly we had not been having our bed time routine. I think she really may have thought like, maybe he doesnt love me anymore? but searching for her all night, then taking very good care of her in those last three days and talking to her as i did seemed to prove it to her and this had a rejuvenating effect, its hard to rationally explain it in any other way. Yes, she was very near death, but the whole dark, depressed, faded and fading aura she had that werk suddenly changed and to me she appeared not much different from the last nice interaction we had just prior to when I niticed she wasn't eating, ole but sort of glowing and normal looking etc. I managed to get a picture of her in this super lovey state of mind too, I'm so thankful of that because Inhadnt taken any new photos in two years and lost many old photos I had on a failed harddrive and old phone, her smiling pic is now my desktop picture on my ipad, i doubt ill ever change it!
 

So when she was like this, it reminded me or made me sort of think she was sort of blushing or, it's like she was now so overwhelmed with love from me, that it really made her well, blush, like she's in love and felt the same love from me, it really was probably the most beautiful thing i've ever experienced and i could feel it vividly in my heart. and even though i absolutely hate myself for every little time i ignored her or got annoyed, and so badly wish i could redo it or have more time to make it up to her, i can admit to myself that i did take as best care as i could in those last three days we spent outside. There were mosquitos and ants etc, i trief to keep them away without bothering her. I kept her water fresh and moved near her so she wasnt too incinvenienced getting up or leaning over to drink. I kept the sun off her, covered her a bit at night when I got a but chilly n thought she must be too having not eaten in days, we even watched a Bjork concert together and please believe me, she watched and listened attentively and seemed moved by it. As a side note, inwas introduced to Bjorks music at age 20 and had always returned to it once in a while for special occasions, i found it always made me feel very....spiritually reoriented back to a loving perspective on life, healthy and like aware of the bigger picture interconnectedness and meaningfulness of everythng especially relationships to other living beings. It was deeply inwardly rewarding for me to then find myself sitting with althea in the quiet night watching and listening to the same songs that had always given me an uncanny sense ot reassurance and spiritual safety, like all is well, all is full of love, everything has a deep meaning and purpose, learn the lessojs in life by being open to them emotionally, dont close yourself off just because of ignorant macho stereotypes prevalent in society! we also listened to other music that i know shed remember from times spent in my room. At times she would whimper, not in pain but almost like she was also overwhelmed emotionally, I would start sobbing basically and she would whimper and shake a little, it was distinct from the noise she made indicating pain when she tried to move, yet it was a sound i'd never heard before from her. 

 

I really feel almost like I've lost my wife or daughter, I think we had a love very much like that, that's what i meant by Althea beaming and gushing love for me, it was like she didnt realize I loved her THAT much and she was like Wow! and deeply overjoyed or something, I've also been thinking, what if cats have long term life long memory recall, but have no idea humans do too? so when i reminded her of each year by saying the names and songs and so on from those times, it vividly showed her i not only remembered them but wanted to remember them together in those final moments with her, i wanted her to know that i loved every moment of my time with her all along, that i cherished those memories too, that they werent just good times for her but aleo for me, that her joy was also mine. I had been so mortified at the thought of her dying alone like a wild animal, entirely focuser with fear on her symptoms of impending death etc, that all my efforts in those last days were aimed at keeping her focused in a mental world of her personhood and life meaning, reminding her of her name, talking to her just like another person, saying things as lovingly as possible, etc and away from her symptoms of dying.

 

As things go, her death seemed actually to have gone quite smoothly, she seemed to know exactly when it was coming and she had a last change of position and wanted the sun off her so i got an umbrella and held it over us. she lay on her side on the blanket, i laid next to her looking in her eyes and gently petting her while talking soothingly to her. I could not prevent myself from crying even though i wanted to be like stoic and positive for her and reassure her it's Ok, but maybe she understood my tears were just part of the emotions involvef in us parting and hopefully it didnt make her afraid. But at some point i just knew her breathing was about to stop, and it did, at which point her neck and head craned back really far and her trachea seemed to pop out oddly, almost like it snapped out or soemthing but im not sure what that was, and then her head returnedto normal position and i could feel her heart very slowly gradually wind down until i felt no pulse, then she had anout five or six agonal breathing coughs, but i felt she had left her body or lost consciousness at some point maybe the cardiac arrest point, but i had the feeling this was just a body doing the agonal breathings, my family memeber happened to see her at that exact moment, i quickly said shh shes dying right now!!!! and they started to argue the point, i couldnt beleive it!!! but its because they saw the agonal breathing coughing, to someone who hadnt been there the entire time she looked fully alive doing that, but because i had been looking in her eyes etc and feeling her heart, i knew she had passed. I took a photo a few mins later, I just had to remember how beautiful she looked even after dying, and she looked nothing like she had recrntly, she looked young again, it's kind of weird to see, besides looking fully alive and conscious still even though she couldnt have been. I was actually superstitious and couldnt bury her for days, I kept thinking i saw her breathing ever so lightly, but then i tested it looking at a still photo and saw the same visual hallucination of breathing, which i now think was simply an expectation of sering breathing coupled with the design of cats hair, and then also wind creatisubtle perceptible movements and also bugs that had already begun to find their way to her body. I'm still feeling superstitious and keep trying to look for her spirit, or wonder is she here? if i dont see her, does she think im ignoring her? if i feed her enemy cat, will she take it badly? etc. i know, it's a bit irrational but i can't not wonder. Also for the first few days, since I hadnt slept in at least four or five days since it alll began, I was hallucinating her presence all over the place, all it took was one vague visual clue and id see her hair patterns n think it was her body in random poaces curler up sleeping, Like a turned over plant pot had dirt ridges and my mind saw it as her curled up in one of her spots as id seen her so many times before. At first i couldnt go back in my room at all, it was so achingly sad not to have her in there anymore, but now ive actually been taking some comfort being there and feel....not like a living presence, but something there, maybe it's just the memory and i feel i'm keeping a happy memory alive by purposely being in there, but my eyes are still trying to make out her form in any kind of shadow or light from the window, sometimes i swear i see her form in liek a glowing sort of aura, but then my vision will retract and it will seem ti just have been a visual illusion based on the lighting and my imagination, it's hard to say, i wish I could just happily think shes always with me in spirit but im too skeptical by nature to just think that without wondering if its just wishful thinking etc. I'm also completely torn on afterlife beliefs, i'd love for rainbow bridge type things to be real, i want to continue my relationship with that soul whether it's her coming back as a cat, human, or anything eventually when I die, i just know we weren't done yet!!! we both had so much more love for each other and I was taken by surprise at her dying, i know she had a better death than a tragic accident and I deeply sympathize with you who lost your pets that way, ive been reading many stories for days now feeling the immense love you all have for your pets like me, really getting inti the stories and feeling your suffering, because i knew that when I was ready to write my story you would do the same for me.

 

I love this forum and think it's the best way to approach all the related issues. I just...l can't really talk to my family about this muvh. to be frank, they hatednthe fact that I even had Althea, i believe their crude notions of ownership and possession of a pet made them unable to see that it doesnt matter who bought althea or however they originally got her, you know, because Althea herself definitely chose me and wanted to live with me to her dying day! the neighbors fully understood this and I took her round before she died to say goodbye, she got it, she was glad to see them too. A touching moment happened there, I had to bring some stuff back to my house first so asked them to stay with her while I do that. When i returned they said as soon as you got up to leave she was trying to get up to go with you and looked for you like he's leaving?????? :sad: i found that very touching, of course that's when i carried her home to begin our three days outside.... 

 

I loved Althea more than I think I've loved anyone, i still love her that much and never want that love to fade or be forgotten. I learned so many profound life lessons in those three days and folllowing her death. I realized she was like a teacher and even in dying and death she kept teaching me the most profound lessojs that have reoriented my whole understanding of life and what matters. and while i value the lessons, i have to admit when im feeling very depressed simply due to missing her and the shock of her dying at all, i start to severely hate myself for prioritizing my own interests over her in her last six months and entire life, because the love i felt and feel for her has shown me that all that othet stuff doesnt even matter, it was all meaningless stupid stuff compared to this vivid real love from a living being, and i'm so full of regret for not soending as muvh time as possible with her, i feel like i took her being there always for granted and now she's gone forever and it hurts so much and i feel like such a bad person and like i let her down. I know this is contradictory, on the one hand i know thankfully i was able to give her a "good death" and make her feel loved and happy about her life, i know i took great care of her in her time of greatest need, etc but on the other hand, i honestly think its unforgivable, even if she forgave me, that i ignored her or took her for granted and was so stupid not to realize how amazingly special the relationship wae. i want to go bafk in time so badly just so i can maximize every moment and not take her for granted. i would never have done any career type things this year and last if i had any clue she was dying or about to die!!! i wouldve made each day like the last three!!! it's really been haunting me, i can't seem to not think that way when the sadness of missing her overwhelms me. I still dont really want to live life at all without her now, it feels wrong, it's like i want to die and find her if there's another side, but then i'm worrying what if she's reborn as a human or another animal and we will cross paths in future, if i die now what will happen then? etc. I just feel like my heart has gone, someone so special who loved me unconditionally from the first day to the very last moment... has d i e d. Not just gotten sick or lost and will return in a few days! she died, her healthy little body that i cared so much about everyay, died, it's so upsetting and gives me a feeling of fear, im not sure what this is exactly, but it seems to happen when i dwell on the reality of her physical form DYING, i just cant believe it really happened, i keep hoping its all some sick dream and ill wake up and everythings back to normal. I have to stop now, i'm sorry fornthe length of this post but once I open up about this it all pours out.

 

thank you so much anyone who reads this, please pray for Althea and if it's what she wants and God allows it, send her back to me!!!! i can accept she died, if she'll come back refreshed inna new body, ready to pick up where we left off and have years more together! the thought of life now just going on without her ever coming back is a very cold and lonely thought and seems to just empty me out, like all life drains from me thinking of it. Also if anyone is interested I can send you the picture of her smiling on the day of her death and the photo of her soonnafter death if youre interested. 

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Here is the "smiling" pic I mentioned, a few hours or less before she died, do you all see a "smile" too? I don't want to be delusional about how she died, but I knew her and at the moment of pic i felt she was beaming love to me as best she could in her very weak and stiff condition, she could not turn her head but if you see her eyes are looking to the left where I was standing, I see the same Althea as always when she was resting contently and happily, she also understood to some extent that my ipad is some computer like gadget because I'd shown her before, so maybe she understood i was taking her picture. 

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Thank you, KayC. I have been reading some of the articles. One difficulty for me is that even before anyone close to me died, I already had serious depression and troubles in life in terms of mental health and substance abuse disorder that still persists steadily. I don't think it ever really impacted my relationship with my pets anymore than regular, everyday things we all do but can't involve our pets in etc. I would be depressed in general but being with my pets it would sort of level out at least and usually I'd feel good. with them, looking back it seems like they were the good times, now they're gone except for my family's boy cat, he's great and we are good friends but he's not a companion like Althea was for me. My relationship with Tom is basically just about play, I'm the youngest and fastest human he can have fun with here so that's my role I guess.

We also have birds, finches, and there's been losses there too naturally and unnaturally. We have a very large roomy cage for them, take good care of them etc but you know how birds breed, so sometime last year there was like 30 of them, all happy and getting along fine, I would bring them outside etc, I recognized them all individually, anyway my dad got mad at me for not sweeping up the seed one day and without warning, released all but two outside before I had even woken up that day. I found that pretty shocking and sort of psychopathic to be honest and was convinced they'd never survive outdoors, it was summer time so the elements might not do them in but surely lack of food, cats, etc. As it turns out some months later I heard that several streets away a woman had seen a group of finches in her tree, so it was nice to know they were still together and surviving and maybe enjoying life in freedom. Also lately I've seen some small birds I never saw here any other year, too small for sparrows yet definitely not these finches, it makes me wonder it they were able to breed with other birds and they are the offspring, I'm not sure how all that works though.

From that first batch of birds, my stepmom had handfed and raised one of the babies that fell out of a nest and the parents seemed to leave it to die (though usually they are excellent parents); she became very close with this bird and named her Daisy. She was quite a bird, totally trusting, would have time outside of her personal cage when someone was there to keep an eye on her. She played hide and seek with us, she would fly over when called. She had no idea she was a finch, was afraid of the others. Anyway, raising Daisy was sort of how my stepmom was dealing with Grandma's death, which had happened right when she was still handfeeding Daisy. A few months later when Daisy was more grown and in this habit of having time outside her cage etc, I had her for the day while my parents were away for the day. We had a nice day, basically i'd just bring her around with me in my daily routine and she liked it. An hour before they got home, I put her (in cage) in living room and then went to sleep in my room. I had a dream that Daisy had flown outside and was up in a tall tree, I was calling for her with Grandma (who had died before this...) and then my step-mom came home in the dream, and grandma warned her saying you need to be more careful! but she dismissed it like oh, it's fine. Then I woke up. I had also been sensing a sort of imminent disaster related to her being out of her cage, but got dismissed any time I mentioned it. Anyway about a few days later, I was busy in my room, with headphones on. I suddenly heard something even over my loud music, took them off and listened. It was my stepmom screaming and intensely sobbing. Tom our boy cat had run in the room where Daisy was flying around, and he just ran thru and wasn't going for her at all, but afraid that he was my stepmom ran in there after him thinking Daisy was still on the far side of the room, and accidentally stood on her instantly crushing her. She was beside herself obviously, it was a total accident but the writing was on the wall, basically. Even my dad felt bad but I think he and I were sort of glad it wasn't one of us who stepped on her, because we'd have got crucified, you know, but I did certainly feel the loss, by that time Daisy was definitely a personality in the house and I interacted with her all the time etc. I was kind of mad that it happened at all but didn't say anything.

Anyway, I picked up Daisy's body, which had, I'm sorry if this is graphic, colorful guts strewn out from the crush, with her eyes still open, and cleaned her up and made a little coffin for her and buried her under a religious statue in the garden that belonged to my grandma, I had a sign saying Daisy, the rain washed the ink off. It seemed symbolic.

Well anyway, after my dad had released all the other finches, interestingly enough, the two that remained and never left the cage were the original female who i called the grandmother, and her eldest daughter, they basically started the whole family going, the grandmother's mate died as soon as the babies were born, I found him on the cage floor breathing heavily, gently stroked his feathers and when I went in to inform family, he had died by the time I returned. That grandmother bird raised three babies entirely alone, they would escape from the cage once able to fly when I'd put seed n water etc in each time and I'd return them and the grandmother always looked like "thx, sorry!" and idk I'd like to think she understood all along she has a good home here, that's why she didn't even think to fly out when my dad released them. They were also outside nearby when Althea was dying and they knew something was happening. I hope I didnt disturb them because they saw her go from living to dying and then covered and wrapped and placed in a box etc. I think they went kinda quiet watching it all unfold at that point but I was distracted by my grief and didn't think to bring them in in case it disturbed them. Originally my grandma just had two male finches who obviously did not breed, she mistakenly thought one was female and just infertile I guess, but when the older male died, it didnt seem right to leave the other alone, so we went to many pet stores looking for a female finch, very few stores had any at that time, and that was the grandmother bird, the remaining male must've been so thrilled to meet a female that he spent his everything and died etc, we never really realized they'd just keep breeding after that... theyre happy though and all get along fine. Ah, i left out part of this story. At some point we gave our friend a male and female finch for his daughter to raise, after Daisy had died and the others were released, he ended up giving them back because his daughter had lost interest and their cats were obsessing over the cage, so from that one male and the three females, they repopulated back to where they're at now, I haven't counted but dozens! all healthy happy and full of personality. That male bird is like Mr Responsibility, he builds all the nests, protects and feeds the babies, takes nesting material right from me and goes to town. I missed the cacophany of bird sounds when they all got released. Suddenly it was two quiet and sad females etd, so for their sake I'm glad they got their family going again, but I admit it probably seems crazy having so many birds.

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I'm sorry to go on endlessly about my birds! I had just read the article about multiple losses etc so was thinking about it all. Losing my cat Althea is still the #1 loss for me, pretty much anything else I'm doing day to day now is just to relieve my mind of comstantly missing her, so even typing up the long history of our finches was a nice distraction. 

I was reading a lot of Quora question/answers today on ghosts, dying process experiences etc and now I'm wondering if Althea's spirit is still here somehow, mostly because I'm worried that if she is, and I am not able to perceive her, will she feel ignored? I guess it's a bit superstitious though to think that. 

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Wow, I fell asleep on the living room couch early this morning. When I woke up I was still very tired and dazed and had this notion that Althea was in my room, just sick or not feeling too well, so I left the living room and enterer my room, "Althea? Altheeea? where the heck where are you?" and got as far as looking arounr my room confused, certain I'd left her in there and she wasn't outside, and then I remembered she'd died and was buried right outside. This is the longest I've done that yet, usually I catch it within a second or two, here it didn't dawn on me till I couldn't find her. I'm going back to sleep. 

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It must have been tremendously hard on you when your dad released your birds, especially without discussion prior and out of anger.  We cannot act on an animal's behalf coming from a place of anger!  They don't deserve that.  I really understand your upset.  Depression and anxiety both run in my family and I know the deep pit it can hurl us into...yes, animals are wonderful at balancing us and getting our heads out of the pit.  If not for my Kodie (puppy), I don't know how I would have handled this year...I think my son realized that when he sought him out and brought him to me (with permission).  He has given me incentive to try my best to take care of myself (I'll be 70 next year) so I will be around to take care of my Kodie all of his life (his lifespan potentially 16 years).  

The early days are the roughest as the triggers keep coming, the memories never leave us but when we forget and then remember they're gone, it hits us like a ton of bricks all over again!  Gradually it begins to sink in, they're not here anymore.

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Thank you for reading and understanding, KayC. It was very hard, I'd seen all of the birds since they were babies when it was just their mother raising them. I knew the songs of the males, I easily recognized each female even though female finches tend to look very similar. At the end of the day, a cage is a cage so I hoped maybe that initial excitement of being freed into a summer day was an exciting peak of their lives that would somehow make up for what must be a hard life outside if they are still around. There was little hope of getting them back. It left the remaining grandmother and eldest daughter sad, imagine the commotion and cacophany of all those birds, then suddenly just two quiet females wondering where everyone went! My cat Tom also noticed and would lay near the cage, he wasn't even witness to them being released so he must have struggled to understand. They are happy though now they've built up the family.

Recently I noticed one of the newer baby birds, not quite a baby, he was ready to leave the nest, but he had grown up with his leg caught in the nesting material and over time it must have got completely knotted in there, so I found him hanging upside down from the nest, I tried to gently free him to no avail, and it was a bit difficult to manage myself and no one else was home but my dad, who is usually not very hands on to say the least, but he actually did help and got scissors and carefully cut just above the leg to free him from the nesting material, with extreme trepidation I would say, he didn't want to harm the bird, maybe this was his way of apologizing because it did cause quite a problem in our already troubled relationship. You know fathers and sons, there can be a lot of difficulties, but I appreciated the help and so that bird is free now, unfortunately it seems his leg may have just stopped working when it was already stuck, I know we didn't harm him though, but his dad who I called Mr Responsibility in the above post, who I otherwise call Mr Cheeks due to his most vivid of all cheek colors, and several others take good care of him, protect him, he's still stuck staying on the bottom of the cage (it has a floor not just bars) and they still feed him. It's really amazing how good these birds are as parents, I was told that a group of finches, males and females, would absolutely never get along together, but there's never been a problem. (There was one time, one of the first eldest daughters kept having territorial disputes i suppose with the grandmother! they fought a bit but seemed to have ironed things out since, heh). 

Thank you for reading though, I know I tend to write a lot, I just can't seem to leave out the details of it all. I remember you from past times I have visited this forum, I really like to see your posts and always feel deeply for you, it takes a great loving heart to not only post here in times of immediate crisis but also to be there for others over time. I love to see your Arlie, I've honestly never seen a dog quite like him, in terms of how happy and smart he looks, I can tell he was very special. I do tend to drift away from the forum as time goes on but I hope to see that Kodie is doing well for a long time.

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Ahh, thank you.  I just posted Arlie's stories on the other thread & responded to your post there.  

Your personalized attention to your finches reminds me of when I was young and raising carrier pigeons, it's been so many years ago but I still remember how much enjoyment I got from watching them!  They all had their own names, like yours, and their own personalities.  They mate for life and are monogamous, but we did have one that was gay and one that was a Don Juan, so that must be generally speaking rather than all inclusive.  It was so relaxing to watch them, their beautiful cooing and I loved how the males strutted and puffed up to get the females' attention.  They were very clean and smelled sweet, unlike the chickens we had.  They also seemed very intelligent.

Kodie got a rawhide chew 1 1/2 weeks ago from a neighbor and it made him very sick, I was worried he had an obstruction, it can cost thousands for surgery/care so I was prepared to rush him in if necessary but wanted to see if he could heal on his own first so I fixed him a bland diet (rice, chicken, pumpkin, chicken broth mixture) which I fed after a 24 hour fast to let his digestive system calm down (he actually had to go through that twice) and now he's back on normal chow and doing well.  It really scared me!  I'm so attached to this little guy!  The two dogs are very different and so is their care, they both brought their own unique traits to me, and I've loved them both with all my heart, even though I continue to love, miss, and grieve my special Arlie. :wub:

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