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My 6 year old cat died 9 months ago and it still feels like it was yesterday


CatandDog

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I had to put down my best friend, Roxy, in June of last year (2020) and I still feel intense grief and sadness when I think about her. She was only about 6 years old and seemed perfectly fine until suddenly she wasn't. I noticed she didn't seem like herself when she was cuddling on my chest one day and just seemed too mellow and almost limp, like she was too tired to hold her head up. I had my dad take her to the vet, thinking maybe at worst she had pneumonia or something similar, and I headed off to work for the day. During my break, I called my mom to see what was up with Roxy and by the tone of her voice I knew something was wrong. She had a large tumor on her heart, fluid in her chest cavity, and something-likely a tumor- in her abdomen. It was a death sentence. She had days to live and it felt like my world came crashing down around me. How could she have been so sick and yet appear completely fine for so long? The days leading up to her final one were full of a sense of foreboding doom for what was to come. How could I say goodbye forever to my best friend when we should have had so much more time? It felt like we were connected, two pieces of the same soul who had found each other somehow. She didn't like anyone in my family besides me and she would lay on my chest and look into my eyes it was like I could feel her love for me and I felt like nobody could understand me in the way that she did. Maybe it seems silly to have such a deep emotional connection to a cat but it really felt like we were almost the same on the inside. The day we brought her to the vet for the final time, it was pouring rain. I remember thinking that it was fitting and that maybe my emotions were so strong the universe was feeling them too. When it was over, she was so cold all I wanted to do was keep hugging her, hoping she would warm up but I knew she wouldn't. I didn't want to leave her there on that cold metal table, I didn't want to leave her alone, I didn't want to go back to my empty room where she wouldn't be waiting for me on my bed, but I did. It feels like a part of me went with Roxy when she passed and I feel like there is no way of getting it back. I have been struggling with depression and anxiety ever since she passed and when I feel really bad all I want to do is have her laying on my chest with my hand on her back, and I know it would make me feel better and comfort me but I can't, and I will never be able to have that again. Even though it has been 9 months I still can't talk about her without crying and I still have nights where I cry for hours over her. I don't know what to do, or how to even start moving on because I still feel so lost without her. She was a once in a lifetime cat and it crushes me that I had to lose her so soon.

uHuOFonbSfNDf-HerhH5wY_Y27pewIaKzbOM3W_52C_JnIzSSwszLAv9ipXQwrTQu3vORVIKKtEgcjpeRYCGojp_Txp5o3PelzNQLvTflT_Qt3_XjMBbsIwvz5YyzYbnQrAU_bC-Here is one of my favorite pictures of her, she's on the roof hoping I'll let her in through my window

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CatandDog, I relate to your story so much! I just posted a long account of my cat's death last night, it's quite long but you might like to read it to see how I had a very similar deep emotional connection with my cat as you with yours. 

 

I don't think it's silly at all. I have honestly never bonded with a human being as deeply as my cat, nor felt such a strong love for a human, even my immediate family and so on. I think it's partly because I did not choose my family, I was born into it. However my cat chose me, she came to see who had moved next door back in 2010 and it was a kind of love at first sight. I noticed before she died, when I took her to say goodbye to her original family next door, the father petted her head, but quite roughly without intending to be rough, it was just his way. I realized then, maybe my cat took to me so quickly because I was gentler with her, more sensitive, and aware of those subtle differences and she simply preferred me. 

 

Either way, or for whatever reason be it big or small, we shared a deep bond from that day until she died with me and I really believe our love peaked with her death. In a way it was very beautiful, I have never experienced anything like it, even though I also had a deep bond with my previous cat (and dog, and grandma...). This was even deeper though, so of course losing her has been devastating. I know what you mean when you say you feel like a part of you died when she died. I am having trouble fighting off thoughts of self-hate for all and any times I ignored her or got annoyed with her etc. I know she forgave me, but I cannot forgive myself if that makes sense. It feels... selfish even more for me to just go on living. 

 

It's very sad what happened to Roxy, the uncertainty of life, never knowing if a sudden illness or disease or accident can take it all away from us, or take us from others. My boy cat has a heart murmur, I was the first to notice it myself one day soon after we got him, I was just playing around with a sthethoscope I found, and heard his heart was not like other cats. I don't know when his time will come, but he's a unique and funny and smart little guy, he's been sad over my cat dying, he knowd she's gone but doesn't seem to grasp what death is for a mammal, he has only ever killed bugs, I don't think he sees them as sentient beings and people like another cat. 

 

Anyway, my thoughts and sympathies are with you tonight, I feel like we are sharing a very similar pain, perhaps we all are. I think the measure of our pain, is the remains of our love, in other words we are suffering from their loss so badly because we loved them so deeply. I would not want to redo my life and Not-love my cat, so in a way I have braced myself to suffer their loss. I think it must make our souls ever deeper or something in the end, it has to have some deep longterm meaning, I can't stand to think everything is just random nature, accidental, meaningless, etc. I will fight to find the meaningfulness of these experiences until my dying day. 

 

 

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Wow HG88, thank you for your beautiful reply. This is my first time on a forum like this so it really means a lot to me what you wrote. I read your story about Althea and there were so many feelings and thoughts that I related to, some of the ways you described your bond with her brought me to tears because it was so similar to how I feel about Roxy. I relate so much to your feelings of assuming that we have more time than we were actually given, and having so much more love and time to give that we're unable to. 

One of the things that scared me the most after hearing of Roxy's diagnosis was that I couldn't remember the last time we laid in bed together with her on my chest because I had always taken it for granted. I had assumed I would have months, years even, to prepare for her death when in reality it had been a sudden surprise. I thought that I wouldn't be able to have one last true cuddle session with her because she was loopy from getting fluid removed from her chest and she was acting like almost a completely different cat. I think 'nice' would be the last word used by someone to describe Roxy. She would bite and scratch your legs when you walked past her on the stairs, bite your hand if you pet her the wrong way, scratch you if you picked her up wrong, and was over all just a mean cat to everyone including, to a much lesser extent, me. But in her last few days it was like a fight was taken out of her. She just seemed too tired to care if you pet her, or hugged her, and if I carried her to my bed and put her on me should would stay. But in some way it didn't feel right to cuddle with her unless she came to me because I knew she would never let me carry her around or hug her if she wasn't feeling sick. The day before she died, I was laying in my bed and tried calling her by whistling like I used to and I think she knew I needed her because she came waddling into my room (she was quite a fat cat) and jumped up onto my bed to cuddle. It was like she could read my mind and knew what I needed her to do before she passed because she laid on my chest and we cuddled and I can now look back on the last time we shared a moment like that because she knew I needed it. 

In so many ways Roxy helped me as a grow up. She was there with me through middle school, High school, and my freshman year of college and was always a source of comfort for me. I can't help but feel guilty for leaving her while I was in college and I keep thinking about how she must have felt while I was gone. How can a cat fathom what college is, how could she understand that I wasn't leaving her because I wanted to but because I couldn't take her with me. I had so many plans for after college like bringing her with me once I got an apartment, and making memories with her as I grew older but it feels like she'll never understand because she died before I reached a point where I could bring her with me. I feel so guilty for leaving her while I was in the dorms and I know there was nothing I could have done differently but I can't help but think of all the time we could have had. I miss her so much and I wonder if she missed me in a similar way while I was gone.

I think the thing that hurts the most is the suddenness of it all. In October 2019 my family put down our 17 year old cat, Snowbell, who was technically my cat that my parents got me when my sister was born but in reality she was the family cat. This may sound somewhat morbid but I think the last five years of her life we thought each one would be her last. She would seem like she was struggling a bit and we would say, "oh I think this year might be it" but somehow she carried on. Her liver was failing and we had to buy her special medicated food but we knew it was only a matter of time and sure enough she stopped eating or drinking and we knew it was time. Putting Snowbell down seemed like the only right thing to do and it truly felt like it was the right time for her. She had lived a long, happy life and now she was old and would start to suffer soon if we didn't end it when we did. I cried when we put her down but it was more of a sadness from all the wonderful memories I had with her. I knew it was the right time for her to go and it brought me comfort that we gave her a happy ending that she deserved. With Roxy, though, it feels like an awful plot twist in some drama. Her death wasn't beautiful, it was a tragedy and I feel like it changes the whole plot, so to say. I thought I would get to see her grow old like Snowbell and it kills me to know that I will never know what she would be like. It like I didn't only lose the present Roxy, but I also lost the future Roxy and all the plans I had that had her in them. 

I didn't expect to write this much as a response to you but I feel like when I start talking about Roxy I just can't stop, I get so caught up in remembering her and just spill everything out. Thank you for your response though, it really helps to read other people's views on where our pets go and also how they feel. I guess it makes me feel less alone with my overpowering emotions regarding Roxy.

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I am so sorry for your loss!  It's the hardest thing in the world to go through the loss of our companion and devoted family member.  I miss mine so much, it's been 14 months since I lost Kitty (25) and 1 1/2 years since I lost Arlie (soulmate in a dog).  I lost Miss Mocha (cat) nearly five years ago and never found what happened to her, I know she would never run away and assume it was a cougar since no remains were ever found.  We were a family of four and now they're all gone.  We have every reason to believe it will continue as it always had...until it doesn't.  The ache inside our hearts comes out in heaving sobs, eventually settling into a grief/weight we carry inside of us all of the time.  I lost my husband almost 16 years ago, he was way too young, it was sudden/unexpected.  I have learned to coexist with my grief, it is a part of me and always will be.  Life is never the same again, never again can we take this for granted, or have that innocence again.

http://www.griefhealing.com/comfort-grieving-animal-lovers.htm

I hope this brings you some peace and comfort...

 

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You're welcome, CatandDog, and I was glad to see you could relate to my story. I read every word of your reply. Something I've come to believe from reading many stories on this forum is that our pets must have a very similar notion of death and parting with their loved ones as we do. Some people say animals have no concept of their own mortality, I think that's BS, they definitely do once they become sick more than ever before. It's like something within tells them it's coming.

And many stories relate things very similar to how Roxy came when you whistled for her and she sat on your chest like old times. It's like they also understand and value that last moment of normalcy with their loved ones or their main person, it's like a reminder of all the nice times they had when perfectly healthy. I think they have the concept of wanting to leave on good terms with us, when we ourselves understand they are leaving. I realize now reflecting back that Althea had been trying to get my attention more and more, which I just thought was no different from her usual way, but she was just trying to get me to slow down with my own life and have some moments with her and we definitely did and then of course in our last three days together. I think she knew she was dying and was trying to tell me, but I didn't get it or I understood she was sick suddenly but hoped for recovery, but she knew, she just held out long enough for me to understand fully so we could part on good terms. It's really a beautiful thing, even though the loss is so hard to handle it makes me think life is deep and meaningful in the end, why would we develop such bonds of love with animals if life has no deeper meaning or purpose, if we are all just our bodies which die? It all leads me forcefully to the conclusion that we are all souls in bodies, the love is from soul to soul. 

I think Roxy must have understood that you had gone away for some important purpose in your life when you went away for college. Yes, she may not have understood the specifics of that but maybe she just knew it was something you had to do for you and your future happiness, and because she loved you she understood completely. By the way, my previous cat Kitty had a personality like Roxy, fiercely independent and could be quite moody and didn't think twice about scratching or biting if improperly handled or whatever. One time I was trying to get her used to being outside, she had been indoor only for years but would gaze longingly out the window so I thought if I can get her used to it (she was deathly afraid if brought outside suddenly) then each day I can bring her out and stay with her a while etc. Well on one of these first excursions outside, we were just on our front lawn alone and she was loving it, rolling around and smelling everything, but then I had no idea two friends had walked to see me that day and suddenly appeared coming up the drive. I said hold on, just stay there a sec while I bring her in, but she absolutely freaked out once I picked her up, just because they were closeby otherwise I could pick her up fine, and she tore my hands and arms up like crazy, she was a strong muscular fat cat that vets used to assume was a male due to her bulky size and thick neck etc, so she had her full sharp nails and the strength of an animal twice her size, just holding onto her as she squirmed violently with every ounce of her being and scratched me up was tough! She did not go outside again in that house at all, went back to her window routines.

When we moved to a new place, which is when I met Althea, I would take Kitty out separately at night time, just me & her, and for some reason she was much better with it then and we had some amazing times together, just an hour or so a night, she stayed closeby, didn't want to wander just loved to feel the fresh air and textures of the ground and grass. There was even a stray feral cat I was feeding who wasn't into human contact but it's like he felt a bond to Kitty, so sometimes when we were outside he'd come over and they'd just lay together about five to ten feet apart, just sharing the same space and acknowledging each other. It wasn't a mating thing either, he seemed to know she was uncomfortable if he got too close, so he was happy just to spend the time laying near her. This has to be some kind of soul connection too, she hated other cats by default, didn't even really ever warm up to our boy cat Tom who came near the end of her life, but with this feral cat they had a bond like old friends meetin again in their old age.

He stopped coming by too, so I assume he died, but funnily enough an imposter took his place, a lookalike who must be his son, and he seems to have inherited the same exact cautious yet trusting way of seeing me. They both understood or understand that I'm nice and will feed them if they're hungry, they know I have cats who come right up and sit on me, yet they will never let me get too close. They even wait in the same spot for food, it's weird. The father cat probably had a gruesome end though, shortly before he stopped coming here, something or someone had slashed half his face off, literally just showed up one day with the skin torn off half his face and a big gash wound. There was no hope of catchin this guy to get him any help, so had to just let it be. He was so damn tough, he recovered, the wound healed partially and did not look infected or anything, but he was much more fearful of everything at that point, which makes me think a human did something to him. That sort of thing makes me really mad, I'm a guy and I think if I ever found out a guy intentionally harmed one of my cats, I would absolutely get revenge, and probably dish it out ten times worse too because that's just how it makes me feel. Wouldn't involve police, or at least not till I get arrested for kicking his ass, but it would be worth it to me. Our pets aren't just animals we keep around and feed, I really believe now that they develop a full sense of self, have personalities just as much as we do, likes and dislikes, have memories of their entire lives and cherish the special relationships they have with us, and they want to live and die on good terms with us, it's important to them personally, like how Althea came back for me! 

So I fully understand how you are feeling, CatandDog, but we have to realize we were their chosen special friend above all others, any regrets or guilt we have were probably not things they even considered at all, they had nothing but love for us, so you can take some comfort in knowing that you and Roxy were friends to the end and hopefully will meet again someday, you know. 

 

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I understand!  I feel like a Mama Bear when it comes to my kids & animals.  I had a neighbor tell me once (with no provocation) that if my dog ever came on his place, he'd shoot him.  I told him there was no call for that kind of talk as I'm a responsible pet owner and keep my dog fenced and on leash, tell it to those who let theirs roam.  I told him I wouldn't even think that if I were him because it would not bode well!  He could take that as a threat or not, but I won't be bullied or ran over by anyone!  Then I told him that all pets get loose some time or another and the kind thing to do would be to help look for them or contact me, that my dog was my child, you do NOT threaten him, especially since he's a gentle soul that never hurt anyone.  Said neighbor has since moved, thankfully, and all of my neighbors look out for each other, there was no provocation for his idle threat!  

To me, there is nothing worse than someone who would abuse an animal or a child and if they'll do one, they'll likely do another, they're monsters.  I wish our laws were different and they'd protect the animals, to me they are NOT a "piece of property" worth $100 recompense, but they are our lives and worth MY life being laid down for them!  In fact, I DID risk my life for my Arlie, if you have read my story here...

Here is the story of our journey through cancer...

 

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