Registered: 1552801370 Posts: 2
This will be a long post but I ned to get it out. My beautiful cat died yesterday and I am still reeling. I got him from the Humane Society in Orange County 10 years ago. I went in to get a dog, and I found him as they were closing. He had been in the shelter for three months and was scheduled to be euthanized the next day, because no one would want a black cat. I didn't want a cat! But I couldn't let him die, so I took a chance and took him home without even an opportunity to play with him. My first apartment didn't allow cats so he was my fugitive. Since then, he lived with me in 6 apartments across three cities in North America (LA for 3 years, Vancouver for 6, and recently to Montreal). We drove cross country with him in the captains chair (and later his sister cowering in the back seat). He was with me through so many heart breaks, he learned to come when called, do tricks for treats, and even learn to walk on a leash. In many ways he was the dog I was looking for initially all along. The past 2 weeks have been brutal. He has diarrhea so I took him to the vet, and they said it was a matter of using probiotics. They worked for a time but eventually stopped. Then about 3 weeks ago his appetite went down, till he topped eating Tuesday the 5th - I made an appointment for the next day. When I took him in they said to go to the ER. I took him to the ER and they put him on IV's for the night with an ultrasound the next morning. The next morning they found lumps in his intestine and needed to run more tests to find out the specific type of cancer. The tests proved indeterminable. The vets I spoke to in Montreal were all French, which is not my native language, and I feel much got lost in translation. in the meantime, my friends in LA hooked my up with their friend, who happens to be a world famous specialist and has personally helped my friends' pets through their cancerous diseases. The local vets told me he would die that day; or they would run more tests for the type of cancer, and possibly do chemo or invasive surgery. The specialist in LA said that was all bullcrap, and to put him on steroids until we could wean him off and put him on CBD, but that there was no guarantee it would work considering his advanced condition. We opted to do the steroids, and antibacterial as the local vets recommended. They also suggested a protein shot, which we checked with the specialist and he said ok. The next day my cat was vomiting, and it turns out the "protein" shot was actually chemotherapy. The vet clinic says that yes it is technically chemo but they don't classify that because it has different side effects as "regular chemo". They refused to apologize, and the specialist told me we would have to keep him alive (20 days) for the chemo to run its course before we would implement the next stage. My cat came home on Friday. Saturday he seemed to regain an appetite. But it all went downhill from there. I was force feeding him chicken broth, pedialyte mixed with water, green tea, and cooking chicken, salmon, tuna, lobster, crab legs, sardines, heating up canned food (all in line with what the specialist told me to do). Nothing was appetizing to him and I had to use a syringe to make sure he got his liquids. Finally on Tuesday the specialist told me that we would give him another day and see if that changed, and if nothing did it would be time. Wednesday came around and while Calcifer was still alert, he wasn't eating. I made an appointment to have an at home euthanasia on Sunday. It was a terrible choice to make, but it brought some comfort knowing we would have a few days together. I spoke to two specialists. One told me Sunday was no problem. One told me I was crazy and to do it Thursday night. I told myself the Thursday person was just selfish and trying to do it on their own schedule. Thursday night Calcifer notable regressed. (I know it was that night because I took several days off work to take care of him and be with him for the final days). He had trouble walking and started meowing. I gave him some chicken broth and he seemed to improve slightly. I called the at home services and said he wouldn't make it to Sunday; and asked them to come Friday instead. They said yes but couldn't come before 6. Friday I woke up (I had spent the past two weeks downstairs on the fold out couch with him, where he likes to sleep) and he was under the couch. He was weak and not moving. I called the at home service and they couldn't come earlier. I gave him some chicken broth because it worked the night before; but it seemed to make it worse. He started yeowling. I called my vet and they said to bring him in. I called a taxi (sooner than walking to my car) and I ran outside with him in his favorite blanket, thinking he would be too weak to move. But he started struggling so I ran back inside and put him in his carrier, which he hates. And I sang to him and put my hand through the barrier, and I spoke to him the whole way. But when I got to the vets office, he had already passed, and I'm not sure when exactly that happened. I feel like a GARBAGE HUMAN BEING for putting him through stress, anxiety, and pain in his last few moments. I feel like I made a mistake listening to the specialist and not the vets. I feel like I made a mistake listening to the vets when they said it was a probiotic issue. I feel like I made a mistake when I hung up on the vet who told me to euthanize him sooner. I feel like a made a mistake when I rushed him into a carrier instead of holding him as he passed. I feel like, I let him down, over and over and over, when he has only supported me and been a comfort me to me throughout the years. I feel like I failed as a pet owner when it truly mattered. I feel like I let him down, and I didn't live up to my end of the bargain. I feel like he only held on another week to let me come to terms with his passing, and instead of being ok with it, I hung on too long and made it worse for him. I wanted it on my terms, and not his, and I made it worse for him. I don't think I can ever really forgive myself. I just miss him, and I want him back, but no other animal will be like he was ot me. And i don't deserve one who would.
Registered: 1539391042 Posts: 43
Gentle. Be gentle with yourself.
We are not all knowing or all powerful. We are just human beings. All that you can ask of anyone, including yourself, is that they do the best they can and act out of love for their animal. There can be no doubt that you loved Calcifer, and if you had known what the right thing to do for him was, you would have done it without hesitation. Even the vets didn't agree on what the right thing was; how could you have known? You loved Calcifer without demanding that he first be perfect. He loved you back exactly the same way. Calcifer may not have died in your arms, but he died near you and smelling you. He got to spend those last few days with you and have your full attention. That is a tremendous gift for you both, as was the extra lease on life you gave him. Black cats are the best. If you stay on this board long enough, you will see that everyone -- *everyone* -- feels guilty, regardless of the circumstances of their animal's death. That is because we would make their lives, and their deaths, perfect if we only could. If you feel that you must punish yourself by never having another cat, it will not help Calcifer. It will hurt you, and it will hurt some cat in a shelter for whom you are the only hope -- just as you were for Calcifer. Be as forgiving of yourself as you would be of someone else that you loved, if this had happened to them. Big hugs.