Jump to content
Grief Healing Discussion Groups

I didn't want her to die like that...


Recommended Posts

Hello all,

My kitty Nina passed away yesterday morning. I'm having a very large amount of guilt because I feel I may have waited too long to put her down and feel it was my fault that she didn't die a peaceful death.

At the beginning of August, I noticed that Nina's belly was very bloated. I took her into the vet and they took x-rays and did some testing on the fluid. They speculated that it was either cancer or F.I.P but the results came back inconclusive. They discovered from the x-rays that she not only had a large amount of fluid in her abdomen but also in her lungs. Since the diagnosis was terminal either way, I didn't feel the need to do any more testing and just decided to take her home and monitor her until it was time.

About a week ago, I noticed she was breathing very shallow. The vet kept her overnight on oxygen and I had them remove some of the fluid from her lungs. They stated that they had only been at 40% capacity before the fluid removal. I took her home last Wednesday and they gave me some diuretics to hopefully ease the fluid build-up in her belly.

Since then, she'd been acting more lethargic but was still up and moving around. I had contemplated bringing her in on Labor Day, but she seemed fine.

Then she woke me up at 5:30 AM yesterday morning from rustling around under my bed. I pulled her out and she wasn't moving. She could not stand or support herself. At this point, I knew it was time to take her in. I contemplated bringing her to the emergency vet, but thought since the vet I take her to knew more about her condition, that perhaps it was better to wait until 7 AM and take her in then. I sat with, comforted her and waited for the hour to pass until I could put her in the crate and drive to the vet.

Only, around 6:45 AM, right before I put her in the crate, she began to throw up and moan in pain. I called my mom immediately on speaker phone and told her as I was trying to comfort my dying kitty, "Mom, I don't think she's going to make it to the vet!" As I was walking down the stairs to the car with her in the crate, she passed before we even got halfway down. Her body apparently just shut down.

I am feeling first, an incredible amount of shock. I've never seen an animal die in front of me before, let alone my sweet kitty of 14 years. And I am so distraught that she had to go through the pain and agony of a death like that. I never wanted it to be like that for her. I always thought I would know when it would be time, and I would have time to say goodbye before she slept. Second, I am feeling extremely guilty because I feel I should have known to take her in sooner so she wouldn't suffer.

I have been so distraught the past two days, I feel like my face has been hit by a bus. My eyes are swollen and nose is red. My co-workers are worried about me. I tried to go into work yesterday afternoon to keep my mind off it, which didn't prove too well. I worked from home today, which proved to be even harder, since she's always cuddled up to me on the couch while I work next to the heat of my laptop. She wasn't there today.

I knew it would be hard to lose a pet, but not this hard. It's proving more difficult than I ever imagined. It was an incredible amount of trauma for both Nina and I to experience her death the way it happened. And I fear it will take a long time to heal from the guilt of not knowing when it was the appropriate time to put her down peacefully.

If anyone has any kind words or advice, I really would appreciate them. Even a virtual hug would help. :) Thank you for listening.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm so sorry about the loss of your kitty, Nina.   Many of us on this forum have lost pets suddenly and so understand how you feel.  To me, it is definitely harder to handle, although no loss is easy.  Some are just easier to accept than others.

Everything you are feeling is the same as most of us have felt.  You need to give yourself time and just accept whatever your feelings are.  Don't let anyone tell you you are wrong to feel that way or that you should feel differently or be over your loss at a certain point.  They did not go thru your experience and so really don't know how they would feel if they did.  Plus, everyone is different.  Just accept that this is how you feel and there is nothing wrong with that.

I think it is common to second guess how and when "the" decision is made.  I know you feel you made it too late, but if you had done so earlier, it's possible you would have felt guilty for letting her go too soon.  Maybe for Nina it was better for her to be at home.  I do understand watching them die in front of you, as I had a similar experience.  My only consolation is that my dog could have died by herself in a cage at the vet's office and for me, that would have been much worse.  I have to say that is about the ONLY consolation.

I'm sure others will post here, and hope that you will continue to post when you are up to it.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Summer, I'm so sorry to learn of the death of your beloved Nina, and you can count me among those who are sending you a virtual hug.

As one who has worked with bereaved animal lovers for many years, I can assure you that guilt following the death of a beloved animal companion is virtually universal, no matter what the circumstances. Since we can choose euthanasia for our animals who are seriously ill and suffering, most of us will feel guilty over the timing of the decision, agonizing over whether we have chosen it too soon, or what can be even worse, too late. I invite you to read an article that addresses this very situation, in hopes that it will help: Guilt In The Wake of The Euthanasia Decision ~ and be sure to follow the links that are listed under the heading Related Articles and Resources too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Summer - my heart goes out to you.   Your Nina was lovely.   The pain of her passing like that is so real I know.   No matter how they go we are overcome with so much emotion and so many tears.   

My Gb was euthanized on May 26........it was a traumatic experience for me as once they took him in at the ER i never got to hold him again - tho 48 hours later I was able to kiss him goodbye.  .   We here all know.  And we know the pain and tears linger.  You have come to the perfect place to "talk".   Our gang here enfolds each  other in their pain of loss.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you everyone for your support. I tried going in to work this morning, but turned around about 2 blocks from my home because I forgot my phone. Then I got all the way to work and realized I had forgot my laptop. So I stopped by my bosses office and told him I was just going to work from home again today. I am definitely still not emotionally ready to physically be in the office yet, around coworkers with whom I would rather not see my cry. I guess the universe was trying to tell me not to push myself too hard and take the time I need to heal.

I bought a plant today with lots of colors that reminded me of the different colors in Nina's fur. I also booked an appointment with a pet psychic in California next week where I am hoping to connect with her. I hope she is able to validate that Nina knows that I am sorry.

I still can't get the images and sounds out of my mind from her passing. I never realized it would be so traumatizing.

She died in my bedroom and I still have not brought myself to sleep in there yet. I've been spending the past two nights on the couch. I did manage to go out to dinner with my boyfriend last night without breaking down. He knew well enough to be sensitive to my emotions and not talk about it much.

I am just emotionally drained and stress is starting to build because of all the personal/professional responsibilities that I have been putting off.

I read your article Marty and I do feel like I should punish myself for a while because of the guilt I feel. I am trying to forgive myself but I feel it may take a while.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I understand, Summer ~ and I hope you will take all the time you need. While you are doing that, I also hope you'll try some of the exercises mentioned in the article. Remember, too, that our animal companions are the most forgiving creatures on earth (which is one reason why we love them so much). I hope that, on some level, you know that Nina has forgiven you already, and she is waiting patiently for you to find a way to forgive yourself ♥   

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Summer Sun,

I am so sorry for the loss of your Nina.  She is a very beautiful cat!  Your plant was a great idea and she would have loved the fish dangling from it. 

Many cats just crawl away and die somewhere, my Autumn did that, so I never even knew where her remains were.  It's very possible that as traumatic as her death was, she may have preferred it that way to dying at a vet.  My cats aren't fond of going to the vet or car rides in general.  So at least she died at home in a familiar setting.  It is you that is going through the pain now, while she is at peace, and I'm so sorry, because I've lost animals too many times and will again.

You gave her a loving home for 14 years and that is what she remembers most...your love and the comfort you provided for her over her lifetime.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm so sorry that Nina had such a difficult end, but know that you made it better by being there for her. As much as I feel that pets are like people in many ways, I don't think they hold grudges or blame us when we have a hard time letting go. It sounds like you took very good care of her, medically and spiritually and all she would do is thank for that. *hugs*

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Summer Sun, what a gorgeous furbaby you had!  My heart goes out to you in your loss.  Believe me, I know exactly how you are feeling.  I had to have my cat Spooky put to sleep after having been mom to him for 21 years.  I also wrestled with the decision of when to have him euthanized.  In my case it wasn't really an illness, but rather, very old age.  I finally made the decision to do it when he couldn't stand up at all, and he was declining almost by the day for awhile before that.  Like others have said, we all go through some form of guilt with regard to our beloved pets and whether we did the right thing or did we do it at the right time, etc.  Your precious Nina was meant to go at the time she did.  If you had made it to the vet, you still might have ended up feeling guilty, maybe telling yourself that she shouldn't have died in such a clinical place.  (BTW, my mother's name was Nina.)  I felt guilt because for awhile before I had Spooky euthanized, I knew I would have to do it soon so I tried to distance myself from him by at times ignoring him, thinking it would hurt less after he is gone if I distance myself from him.  I now felt like I let him down in the end, and I think my grief ended up being worse because of that.  Summer Sun, from what you wrote, if appears to me that you did all you could for her.  You were a loving mom to her for 14 years, and that right there shows the extent of how much you cared about your Nina. I hope you take some measure of comfort that she is at peace now.  I know that right now nothing anyone says will ease the terrible pain you are experiencing, but just know that we are here for you and understand your pain since we have and still are experiencing that same pain you are now going through.  Blessings to you!

~ Mia ~

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...