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Just Lost My 21-year-old Cat


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dear those that are grieving and have grieved over your beloved before:

I hope that it is OK to basically purge my story and resultant grief here. Though I have a couple of people in my life who understand, I am still in need of MAJOR support. Thanks in advance for listening...

My 21-year-old cat, Aretha, died almost two weeks ago, November 19th, in the afternoon, here at home. I had made the decision not to euthanize her, and had planned to stick it out with her till the end.

By the second to last day of her life, I had basically become split apart emotionally, spiritually, and physically, not being able to handle hearing and feeling Aretha’s moans any longer, as I was delirious from lack of sleep for 2 and a half days, and I had lost all reason by that time.

Until that time, I was administering 6 meds happily (well, as much as one can), and my cat was agreeing to take them, knowing I loved her dearly and vice versa. Then during the last 3 days, she stopped eating, wouldn't except water even in her mouth injected by syringe (she threw up), and the only thing I could do was continue to hydrate her, which I had been doing for almost 2 years (again, happily) before.

Some friends helped out immeasurably, performing angelic acts of compassion, and hours of selflessness. I don’t think I would have made it through without them. Ironically, those were not my "close" friends, as they had actually abandoned me through this process, saying that they "didn't abide by the decision".

After more pain than I’ve ever seen a cat struggle with, along with my pain about losing her emotionally doubled by experiencing this, I am pretty much emptied out of everything, even after these many days of grieving. I just separated from husband and stepson only a few months ago, and I'm sure this must be compounding the issue, in addition to having no family-of-origin emotional support at all (couldn't tell them my cat died for knowledge of resultant ridicule).

Interestingly enough, two rather big strange coincidences happened at the end, and I am just beginning to get their significance. Basically,a decision I was making was abated by divine intervention. Trying not to analyze but just be grateful for it, through this overwhelming grief.

Though I knew I loved cats all my life, I never knew I could feel this way about someone. This cat was special in more ways that I can even describe. I have grieved so much so far, sobbing like never before in my life, but I'm sure there is plenty, plenty more where that came from. A dear friend did come to my rescue at the end, helping me create a gravesite ceremony ritual for her. It was beautiful, spiritual, and full of respect. I feel much relief now as I write this, but I’m not naïve, and know there will be many more waves of grief to wash over me. I'm beyond exhausted, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and am now hanging by a thread of hope. Sound pathetic I know.

Though weird to some, I'm thinking of getting two kittens I saw at the shelter. I'm told the grief will still happen if I let it, while finding some love (and laughter, as they're 8 weeks old) to accompany me along the journey.

Thank you for listening, and feel free to offer any feelings or thoughts you have as well. The fact that you are on the site indicates you have experienced loss of great enormity as well. Gratefully, Mosiel

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Dear Mosiel,

I'm so deeply sorry for your loss of your beloved Aretha. You tried so very hard on her behalf and I respect that so very much. You are one of very few who it appears believes, like me, in the sanctity of a natural death if possible, whether it works out that way or not in the end. (I've experienced it both ways, with each of my kidlets, respectively, and tried to give them what THEY preferred) It's not that easy to find support for this way of thinking....at least not yet, so I sincerely understand.

Your story about Aretha resonates with me a lot, as it's very similar to my own with my own girl, Nissa, who was almost as old as Aretha (19 yrs, 7 months) when she passed, and whom I fully dedicated my love and care to. (You can find part of my own story here.) It is earth-shattering to lose them when they've been such a huge part of our lives for so very long....often longer than many other/human relationships, and certainly often much deeper and profound as well. There just are no words to adequately describe this kind of loss....and while very similar to human child loss, it's also different and in some ways even harder.

It's more than all right to purge as much, as often and in as many ways as you want to here! That is one of the biggest purposes of these discussion boards, and I'm so glad you did share all that you chose to. :closedeyes: (and don't be afraid to share as much more as you wish!)

I, too, did not have very much support and so can relate to that aspect of your story as well. Neither did I have any family-of-origin; none really left and even had they been, no understanding at all would have been forthcoming, regardless. So I'm glad for you that you at least had ONE friend who came through for you when you needed it, for Aretha's burial ceremony. It's very special when you can find support of that nature.

I have just passed the 15th Month mark for my girl's transition, so am more than familiar with how lengthy the grieving process can be....and have suffered more than enough already with the snide judgments from others for this length. I am not one to rush through grief and leave stones unturned, to resurface later as unresolved, so I stand by my personal decision, even if it leaves me more alone than others. My losses, and my furkids, deserve each and every tear that falls, for as long as they are to fall. Therefore, I also think you're one of very few who has a more realistic outlook on the grieving process and I commend you for that, too.

For me, I cannot adopt or rescue anyone else yet, but then again, I'm fortunate to have a couple of feline girlfriends who visit me regularly (neighbours' cats), so for me that's good enough for now. It leaves me to rest in pretty much ONLY the more joyful parts of such a relationship, rather than having to begin my usual worrying and fretting over care. I'm just plain not ready and still too emotionally and spiritually exhausted to begin again and know myself well enough to KNOW I'd also be constantly comparing (as I still do with these girlfriends), which I believe just isn't fair to another being. And there are other reasons as well. However, each to his own in this, as the emptiness can simply be too much for some to handle. As is said, whatever works, works.

I'm beyond exhausted, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and am now hanging by a thread of hope. Sound pathetic I know.

No, it's not "pathetic" at all. I'm only NOW just beginning to reclaim a tiny bit of hope, after all this time, grief work and a newer form of therapy I've recently started. For much of the time before now, I've been simply wishing to die, so I could go and join my girl and my guy, to finally rest with them in peace and lack of worries. Heavens...it's only been just under a couple of weeks for you! How much can you realistically expect from yourself so soon??? I truly understand, as much as I possibly can without actually being you, how completely draining such care giving and deep dedication can be when the 'object' of your love is no longer there to keep you going. We play many, many roles to our furchildren to a huge extent, when we stick by them in the way you and I have, and only those of us who have gone this far truly know how it is, both during and afterwards. In fact, I've only yet met 2 other women who've understood on this deeper level after they lost their own furbabies. We lose so much more than 'just' them. So please know my heart understands.

Hoping I've been able to be of some help to you,

((((Hugs)))) and my utmost sympathy for your great loss,


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I'm sorry about Aretha....it's so hard to lose these little critters. I lost two of my black labs to cancer and I do know how that feels. When Emmie Lou was on her last legs, I got Sadie Mae for Emmie to train, which she did beautifully. Labs are such loyal dogs. Well, now, Sadie Mae comforts me since my husband died. She cuddles up with her back against mine at night and it really is so comforting. They become so much a part of the family and their love is so unconditional. You have so much going on in your life that maybe two new little babies will help you. It certainly helps me. I hope things go better for you.

Karen :wub:;)

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moseil by all means please do not think your reaction to your precious Aretha's death is pathetic.

When my sweet beloved Nvwati passed away in Sept. it felt like my heart would explode.

What a gift that you got to share life with Aretha for 21 years! WOW!

I have been gifted with the opportunity to gift people with free forever online meorials if you are interested you can contact me and I will set you up.

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Some 20 years ago I had a cat who developed leukemia. I elected to let him die naturally in the peace of his own home. It was a very emotional experience for me. So when Sheeba got sick this year I decided to go the other direction. The vets never did decide what her sickness was. Diabetes, liver problems, kidney problems. She had puncture wounds on every leg from I.V.s and down her spine from blood draws. Her body tempurature was always below normal. When I got off work at 9pm I would stop by and visit her in her metal cage, the lights were always on, she wasn't improving. I finally made the decision to euthanize :( . This was an equally emotional experience for me. My personal opinion is you did the right thing for Aretha.

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