Jump to content
Grief Healing Discussion Groups

Lost my little heart, my cat Leia to cancer

Leias mum

Recommended Posts

It is now almost two weeks since I held her for the last time.

My little heart... I called her that, my precious Leia. She was a beautiful cat lady, my first. I dreamed all my life, from a little girl, of getting my own kitty. in 2011 it was finally time. She came from an abusive home, had been left outside in the late fall cold, as the previous owners moved house. In November she had jumped into a car, luckily the man that found her took her in and called a volunteer shelter. The next morning she had given birth to a single kitten.

The family that took her in kept the kitten, and January 28, 2011 I got to take my lady home.

She was so easily scared, everything made her jump, but still, she loved so much. She would follow me around, talking, purring (she had the weirdest loudest purr I've ever heard!) and as soon as one sat down she would climb onto my lap. She even loved all friends and guests that came to the house. Hated other cats, and most of all dogs, but humans... despite all the horrors that must have happened to her... she loved us unconditionally.

Years passed, I met my now husband and moved to a house out in the countryside, he had five cats, and I came with my Leia and my other fluffy love, Pip. Imagine my surprise when Leia suddenly didn't mind all those other cats! Well, she beat them, casually, to show who was old lady boss, but then she would go to sleep with another cat back to back. I was so happy.

But it only lasted a year and a half. Everything was perfectly fine until her last two weeks... She seemed to have a bit of a sneeze, but she sometimes had, and she had been checked out previously, and had just some hereditary trouble with her nose and eyes, nothing to worry about according to the vets. I was worried, and was going to take her to the vet... but then the weekend came, and she wanted to go outside... and she disappeared. I spent 24 hours walking and calling for her... we had just given up as the sun was going down on Sunday afternoon, when she came running across the front yard! I was the happiest I've been in my entire life!

After this she looked and seemed better for a few days, but then it took a turn for the worse. She started drooling. The Saturday came and she slept almost all day, then woke up, didn't want to eat more than a few bites. On Sunday she woke up mid day, and started bleeding from her mouth... I panicked. The bleeding stopped, and she wanted to go outside. I walked with her, she seemed happy, even mischievous trying a bit of a hunt. She went back in, and  gave her some extra tasty cat food, which she gulped down... but started to bleed again. I didn't want to believe she was so sick... my little baby. The vets out here are closed on weekends, and I didn't want to stress her with a two hour drive to the nearest city vet, so we opted for next morning at our local vet. I sat with her in my lap all evening and all morning. She seemed so happy, purring away, still wanting to eat and all. But I knew. I didn't want to but I knew. 

We called the vet at 8 am Monday morning, they took her in for examining, and I went home to a worried wait. At 2 pm they called and said she had an aggressive cancer tumor that had eaten away the bone in her face. The upper jawbone and cheekbone on one side was gone! They did not even want to wake her up for us to say goodbye, said she was in too much pain. I could not believe it. My little love, my fur baby.

An hour later, we could come back, and collect... and empty cage, and a cardboard box with my little heart inside. I BROKE. We buried her with the other cats and kittens that my husband and his parents have lost over the years in the woods behind our house. I wrapped her in one of my favorite sweaters, so she can have her mums love around her for all eternity now. I cried for a week, still crying while typing this. I still see her around the house, coming around a corner or sleeping on the couch. Mostly I get it wrong, it's one of our other cats... but sometimes, just sometimes, I think it's her, telling me she's still by my side. 

I am sorry for writing an entire essay... I just... love so much... anything less felt inappropriate. She deserves her story told. I am currently on sick leave from work, burned out. This was the last nail in the coffin. Can't function, all is pain. Keep showering the six cats I have left with love, but feeling guilty over every little second I did not give my little heart.

But maybe she knew she had this ticking bomb inside of her, maybe that is why she loved so much. Or maybe her time was up. No one knows how old she was, according to the vets, she could have been anything between 8 -18, or so.

Wherever she is, I hope I will get there some day.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a beautiful picture of your precious cat!  I can see why you loved her so much.  I am glad she had you to love her and give her the good life she deserved.

Nine years ago I lost King George, my cat.  He was 19 and thought he was God's gift to the world.  He was my little greeter.  Whenever I'd get home from work, he'd greet me.  He had some stuff coming out of his sinus through his eyes and I took him to an emergency vet out of town (our vet is only here on Wednesdays) as I didn't want to wait. They charged a fortune and I don't think they really looked at him.  They sent me home with some antibiotics, and when it ran out, I got a refill.  Still he wasn't any better.  He had lost weight and slowed way down.  I took him to my vet when he was here, and he said he had cancer.  He showed me where it came from the eye clear into the roof of the mouth.  He said to imagine the worst head cold I'd ever had, multiply it by 1,000, and that's how King George felt.  I had him put to sleep.  It broke my heart.  I was so angry for the emergency vet, because of them my cat suffered needlessly that last month of his life.  Had I known it wasn't something he'd get over, I would have had him put to sleep them.  

I was very touched by your sharing you put your favorite sweater around your cat so she could have your love around her.  That was a great idea, one I wish I would have thought of when I buried my pets.

Your sweet beautiful cat had a good home and lots of love and that is their greatest need.  I know it hurts like the dickens and I wish I could say something that would comfort you.  I have no doubt you will be with her again.

I hope you will view this, the Rainbow Bridge:


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for your reply, your kind and thoughtful words KayC.

So sad to hear you too lost your fur baby in this horrible manner.

I find that no matter how I twist and turn this, I don't think I would feel any less hurt, or guilty, if things would have ended in another manner. The vets say that even if I would have taken her to them right as she started to show any kind of symptoms, there would have been no difference. She would have had to be put down soon enough anyway. And had I come in a month earlier, when she seemed perfectly healthy, they would not have caught it. Apparently this was a very aggressive fast growing tumor... The ones that appear in cats faces/mouths often are, from what the vets, as well as my internet searches, could tell me.

I can't help but feel that there must be some sort of purpose for them to hang on, stay with us for the time they do. When Leia disappeared that weekend before her last, I had to go through the pain and fear of perhaps never seeing her again. So her last week on this earth, she was showered in love, as much as I could give her (while still going to work in the daytime). Perhaps, this was so I could love her a little bit more before she left.

Perhaps, with your King George, you were meant to have those last weeks, even if he was in pain. My Leia did not even show her pain until those last days. Perhaps, she did not mind it as much when she had a warm lap to sit on, and hugs, pats, and love. Perhaps, like us humans, they rather live with the pain for a while, so they can stay with their loved ones just for a little bit longer, before it's time to go.

One thing that always wrecks havoc with my mind, is that when a human is suffering, we allow them to struggle to the very end, because we trust in them and their bodies to know when it's time to go... but with animals, we lay those decisions on ourselves. Not only does this leave us wondering forever if we made the right choice, in the right time, but also we have to carry the guilt of being the one to decide when a loved one - albeit "just" an animal - dies. It's one of those things that, when you think of it, how can any choice be the right choice. We can only hope that they will forgive us, whether we were too hasty, or too slow to let them go. We did everything out of unlimited love.

Not that any of this makes me less sad... at all... but it feels good to put words to all these feelings that swarm in my head like 10.000 angry bees.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All I know is, King George loved me and deeply appreciated any attention or touch, even if it brought pain, such as what I had to do in those last days.  I'd give anything if I could have spared him that.

It's very hard to lose a loved one, be it person or fur baby.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My dear, I'm so sorry for the loss of your beloved Leia. Making the euthanasia decision is probably one of the hardest decisions you'll ever face, and I've yet to meet an animal lover who did not feel guilty afterward. So many of us have been where you are now, and we know how much it hurts.

I am hoping this article will bring you some comfort: Pet Loss: Guilt in The Wake of The Euthanasia Decision 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi---- I have tears reading about your lovely and loved Leia.   She stayed with you as long she could.    I remember my vet telling me that about Gb back in May. I had been  told by the specialty ER docs after 48 hours that  he had no quality of life whatsoever.   And I know it was with love I let him go - even tho it hurt.  .   We love them so and miss them since they mark our hearts with love.  And your vets were wise not to wake her to spend precious time in pain.  She is watching you I know .

Write as much as you want -- all the essays you feel like.  This is a wondrous group who totally understand the loss of a companion.   And it takes much time and many tears.

I love how you wrapped her in your sweater for burial.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was crying my eyes out as I read your story about your precious Leia (and what a beautiful name for a beautiful cat).  I am so, so sorry that she had to suffer so much, and you right along with her.  She sounds like she was a very loving cat despite the abuse she had suffered.  She just knew she was in a home where no harm would come to her, and it is obvious that you did provide her with the love she deserved so much.

I lost my beloved Spooky a few months ago, also having had to make the heart wrenching decision to have him put down.  After having been his mom for 21 years, he had just gotten too old to enjoy life anymore and he was suffering so I had no choice but to make that horrible decision.  I am still grieving because I loved him so very much, but I know I made the right decision.  You have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about.  You showered Leia with all the love you had to give, and for sure you are doing the same with your remaining furbabies.  If Leia seemed at times to be her "usual self" and doing all her purring and seemed happy, how were you to know she was so sick.  She knew without a doubt that she was so loved by you.  We as animal lovers know that animals have so much more intuition than humans do, so even if you weren't able to cuddle with her as much as you would have liked, she knew -- the bond was there, and that never changes.  

I was so close to my furbaby Spooky and he to me, that we knew each other like a book.  He was my feline soulmate.  I believe, and I'm sure others here do also, that human to animal bonds can often be even stronger than human to human bonds.

I do think the vets did do the right thing by not waking Leia up since she was in so much pain.  Waking her up again for you to say goodbye would not have made it any easier for any of you, and no amount of last moments with her would have ever been enough.  That is how I felt about Spooky.  After they gave him a sedative before the final shot, I just kissed him and told him I love him forever and walked out of the room, crying my eyes out, I just couldn't bear the pain of the final goodbye.  To love much is to hurt much.


~ 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...