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16 Years Of Billie...


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i was 17 when my sweet little grey fur-ball was given to me. i was out of town, and was surprised by this amazing gift laying in the middle on my TV room. just 5 weeks old and so full of life, i swept him in my arms and felt my life was complete. i name him Billie and he was by far the most loving, affectionate, friendly, vocal, sociable cat i have ever met. people who weren't fond of cats loved him and rightly so, he was just the cutest most precious little thing.

i moved around a lot since high school, and my Billie was there with me every step of the way. i was curious a few weeks back as to how many places this cultured cat had lived in, and i counted: 24 houses, 13 cities and 4 states in 16 years. i didn't think i was capable of loving something so much. i was always so overwhelmed with happiness to see him whether i had been away from him for a few days, or if it was just the next morning - and he returned the love full-force.
the past year i had noticed his age started to catch up to him. he slowed down a lot, lost a little bit of weight and couldn't jump like before. i prepared myself for this and made sure my bed always had a little step stool for him so he could be comfortable with getting up and down. it became second nature to give him a boost on the couch. he'd get on his hind legs and look at me knowing i will help him the rest of the way.
then a couple months ago it became worse: vomiting, diarrhea, extreme weight loss, lethargy, frequent visits to the vet, an ultra sound which resulted with his belly being shaved which made him look so much skinnier...
last month he was diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism and was put on 0.2mg doses of Methimazole twice daily. i was desperate to try anything, but knew my options were slim given his older age. then, i was so happy to see that after 5 days on the medication, my Billie was acting like himself again. he had gained a little of his weight back and appeared to be in better spirits. he was still rather weak since none of the mass really comes back, but he started sleeping next to me in bed, and waking me up at 6:45a every morning to feed him. i did everything to make him happy, and was happy doing so.
last week his progress did a complete 180 and for 2 days straight he stopped eating, his incontinence returned, he was a million times worse than before and i took him to the vet to find out what's going on. they ran his blood-work and they too were astonished to see such a rapid decline in his results just after 1 month. i was assured that i had done everything i could for him, and there is nothing more i could do.
three days ago i lost my Billie. i sat with him in the room watching him unsuccessfully hobble around trying to find a comfortable position against the wall because of his hind leg in apparent pain from the blood-work they just did. he looked emaciated, sad and so helpless. my heart went out to him and i couldn't stop crying. he was always a small cat, but maintained a healthy chubby-looking weight at 9lbs. but i was looking at a 4lbs cat who was hyperthermic, possibly had cancer, and was all around the most sad sight i have ever seen.
he began sniffing around like he was hungry and i just wanted to die. he hadn't eaten in so long, i was not going to let them take him away with a memory of him being hungry so i asked if he could have some food because i needed to see him eat. my vet brought in a bowl and Billie began to eat and i just watched him. he didn't eat much and ended up hobbling back to a corner to lay down uncomfortably. the vet asked me if i wanted his ashes to which i shook my head no right away. then she asked if i wanted to be there when he was put to sleep and i shook my head again. how could i sit there and watch him die? she then told me to take as much time as i need with Billie. i let her know my sister was on the way, and i wanted to wait.
i couldn't get myself to stand up and walk near him. he looked like if i touched him, he'd break. i just watched him and cried. my sister walked in a little bit later, tears in her eyes.. they had let her know what was going on at the front desk. after a few minutes, the vet poked her head in and asked if i needed more time... i said no, i'm ready. i walked up to my Billie and carried him into my arms. i held him tight, then handed him to the Vet who then walked out of the room and closed the door behind her. as she closed the door, i looked at Billie who was looking right at me with big, scared eyes. and that was the last i saw him.
the past three days have been so difficult. i'm blessed to have such a supportive group of friends and family to help me get through this, but nothing can fill this void in my heart.
i have so many questions now that have been tearing me up inside. did i make the right choice? should i have waited and kept trying different things to help him get better? should i have been there when he was euthanized? should i have kept his ashes?
my sister and my boyfriend cleared out my apartment by getting rid of his little box, his food bowls, water bowls, and beds. they did this all very quickly while i waited in the bathroom crying. i found out later that my boyfriend threw away one of his beds that i had in the closet, which had all his little toys in it, some of which i had since he was a kitten. i'm so upset about this and don't know how to react. i know he was just trying to help, and he saw how upset i got when i asked where it was, but i keep having to remind myself that acting out this feeling would be a misdirection of anger and unfair to him. it wont bring Billie back.
i'm just so sad.. i'm trying to stay strong, but i work from home and am constantly reminded of Billie no matter what direction i look. i've allowed myself to break down a couple times and i keep telling myself it will get easier - it's only been 3 days. and, i understand my poor boy is no longer in pain now, so one minute i'm completely fine and logical about it. but then the next i cant stop the tears.
i miss him. so much. i just want to hold him again, kiss him on his eyes, his belly, under his shoulders. i want to cuddle next to him when i sleep. i want to hear his meow again, the loud ones, the cute little chirpy ones, the one where it sounds like he's trying to talk. i want to feel his purr, and hear it again. i miss having him follow me around no matter where i walked. if i worked until 3am, he'd be by my side. if i slept in the middle of the day, he'd be next to me in bed. he always welcomed me at the front door when i walked in. he was always, always there.
and now.. nothing but an overwhelming amount of emptiness..
i lost such a massive part of my life on friday and i have no idea how to deal with it. my emotions are in constant fluctuation. my mind is unable to concentrate.
since i was 17, a junior in high school, i've been blessed with my Billie and his sweet, beautiful heart.
i am now 33, and have never felt so lost and alone.
rest in peace my billie boy, you have brought such happiness to me and all those around you.
5/17/1997 - 11/1/2013





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My dear friend, I'm so sorry to learn of the death of your precious kitty Billie, and I hope you will accept my heartfelt sympathy.

Choosing euthanasia for someone you love so much is one of the most difficult decisions you'll ever have to make, and I think it is only human to have doubts about whatever decision you made: Did I do it too soon? Did I wait too long?

I invite you to read through some of the threads in this forum, so you'll see that you are not alone in this struggle. See, for example, Put Our Sweet William to Sleep Yesterday -- Now Second-Guessing

I'm reminded of an article I read some time ago entitled Our Unrealistic Attitudes about Death through a Doctor's Eyes, in which the author writes,

The family may ask me to use my physician superpowers to push the patient's tired body further down the road, with little thought as to whether the additional suffering to get there will be worth it. For many Americans, modern medical advances have made death seem more like an option than an obligation. We want our loved ones to live as long as possible, but our culture has come to view death as a medical failure rather than life's natural conclusion.

I hope you will come to see Billie's dying as the conclusion to what I'm sure has been for him a truly wonderful life.

I also hope you will take comfort in knowing that you made the right decision out of your deep and abiding love for him, resisting the urge "to push [his] tired body further down the road."

I do understand that by deciding that he needed your help to die, you ended his pain, only to begin your own ~ but you are not alone. Please know that we are here to walk with you as you learn to shoulder all that pain.

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I am so sorry for your loss. I few years ago I had to say goodbye to my "King George" who was 19 years old, and it will haunt me always. We never forget those last days with them. You did everything you could, and old age just comes for them way too soon for us. You are wise to realize that your BF was just trying to help, and not to lash out at him. In the end, whether we keep their stuff or not, it doesn't bring us comfort because what we really want is them. I don't think there's a one of us alive that have second guessed ourselves afterwards, that is just natural...but please believe me when I tell you, there isn't anything you could have done, if there was, the vet would have told you.

I am just so sorry.

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"i have so many questions now that have been tearing me up inside. did i make the right choice? should i have waited and kept trying different things to help him get better? should i have been there when he was euthanized? should i have kept his ashes?"

Billie's your cat and you did what you thought needed to be done. How anybody else answers those questions is irrelevant.

I am so sorry for your loss.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am so sorry! I am going through this now. Liilypuss was diabetic, diagnosed in March or April. I have been giving her insulin twice a day. Wednesday she did not come up from downstairs ready to eat anything in site..I went down to find her soaked in urine and starring into space. I ran her over to the vet and she is still there. Today the vet called and said there is no hope. I have to say goodbye tomorrow. I am torn to pieces. I feel as you do, losing a big part of me. I know it is the right thing to do as I do not want her to suffer anymore, but I feel like my world is coming to and end. I am as sad as I have ever been. You have a partner in your suffering..and understanding. What ever you choose it will be the right thing for you. I have said that to myself. Right for you and your friend.

Kim (mik)

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  • 3 months later...

I am so sorry itaa. I am reading this getting flashbacks of my situation, and know you are not alone. We lost our girl on Sunday, and I was not home when it happened. We had a very similar bond to you and your boy, and that's a very big deal. I had grown up with tons of animals, and none have ever stolen my heart like her. I am three days later, and I still dont have the energy to throw away her litter box. We leave her pet fountain running because I dont think we can handle the silence it will leave once it's gone.

One of the best things I have done so far that I didnt think would help would be to look at pictures and videos of the happier times. My husband and I laugh about it and talk to her in the house like she's there with us. We are not used to not having an animal in the house... when we started dating we had a cockatiel named Rosie who always cheered us up when we got home, then we got Kitty who always greeted us when we got home (having the two of them at the same time was wonderful). We lost Rosie a few years ago. While we are done grieving over her, we still talk about how funny and awesome she was, and we know it will be the same with Kitty. Maybe this might help a little too.

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  • 1 month later...

It is fine the way you "ended" things. You say you saw Billie's eyes for the last time being carried away and you not there. But ask yourself.

Were you "yourself" at that moment? No! You wer in a panic and grief stricken. From that position you were making your decisions. Even regardingi the ashes. When we are in a panic and grief stricken we are not "ourselves". Ask yourself if you were expected to be acting 'normal' under these circumstances. Acting as if it was just another day, another event. No big deal. Of course you were not expected to act like it was any other day, any other event. To some extent you didn't know what you were doing. And that is the truth. You did not make any cruel decisions about Billie. Billie was not alone. Bille was with the vet. Billie was in the room over. You were close by. There are people who are so overcome with grief and fear that they drop their pets off and run out the door. They are terrified and can't even be in the building when the euthanasia takes place. That is not the case with you. You were present. You handed Billiei to the vet. You were there.

As for all the items missing that belonged to Billie, you have every right to miss those items. If you get our feedback I am sure we would all love to hear how you are doing. Peace and love to you. My heart truly goes out to you. Sent with love.

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