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Posts: 1
Hi there fellow animal lovers,

My cat died a particularly tragic death, and I cannot stop imagining the horror of it. We came home and found that she had drowned, and it's absolutely haunting me. I keep picturing her struggling and these images just keep haunting me. I'm a wreck because I know she... suffered (to put it lightly.) I can't stop crying and I feel like I'll never be able to find peace because of HOW she went. 

Yes, I know she's in a better place. I know her pain is over NOW, but what about the actual pain and suffering she did before she died?

I keep torturing myself with thoughts like "how long did my poor baby suffer? Was she scared?" What's killing me the most is that she had to suffer and there's nothing I can do to change it because it already happened.

I can't stop these sickening images and thoughts, even though I know that this doesn't help anyone, and it's too late to help her. .

I'll spare you the sadness by not going into detail about the images that keep playing in my mind. But how do I find peace with something like this? I can't lie to myself and pretend she went peacefully, and that'd make me feel like a selfish person -- to pretend that she didn't suffer just so I feel less pain? Where was I when she was in pain and needed to be saved?

Please, can anyone offer me some guidance here? How do I cope with these haunting thoughts and images? I can't seem to find relief from the pain I feel over her having to suffer. The scenes I'm imagining in my head are absolutely horrific. Missing her and going on without her is one thing, but I don't see how I will ever find emotional stability with the way she died.


Posts: 71
Hi, I’m really sorry for the loss of your cat and I can only imagine how traumatised you are. Having said that I do somehow know part of how you are feeling with the trauma. I found my poor cat the next morning, we think he had a heart attack, this was 5 weeks ago.

In the early days I kept replaying what his last moments may have been like etc, I won’t go into detail as I try not to go down that way of thinking.

I don’t think you mentioned how long ago your cat died, is it still early days for you? All I can say is as time moves on I’ve been replaying the last moments less and less and now I’m just missing him immensely.

Also in the early days to stop myself going down that path of these destructive thoughts, I just kept saying ‘stop’ (or whatever word you feel like saying, sometimes just swearing helped) over and over to myself until I could concentrate on something different. Admittingly it didn’t always work, but a lot of the time it did, I still do it now, it’s just forcing your brain to think in a different way.

Sorry if this doesn’t help much but it’s all part of this horrible grief journey we have to go through.

Thinking of you xx

Posts: 2

I cannot offer advice, but currently going through the same thing.

My beloved cat Milo was found deceased on the railway line near our house two months ago. He had been run over by a train and was sadly not in tact. My fiancée retrieved him and he is now home with us after being cremated.

I too think of the horrific way he died. We believe he was electrocuted on the line which killed him instantly and was then run over by a train. But I wonder if he was simply stunned and was then alive when it happened. The guilt I feel is horrific. We had only moved to the house two weeks earlier. I torture myself thinking he was in pain and suffered. I cannot forgive myself and I am struggling to move on.

I hope for both of us we are able to get through this.

Best wishes x

Posts: 1
It seems like you are suffering from PTSD - which is completely understandable. It is real - and there is no telling whether it will fade or linger. Talking about it with people who can empathize is probably a good thing. Honestly, talking to some sort of professional (i.e., therapist) could even help if you find that your suffering hasn't subsided.

The truth is, you don't KNOW she suffered, do you? You believe it. There may be evidence supporting that and/or contradicting that. But it is a belief. 

I'd also recommend listening to Byron Katie's "work" - it's powerful and can help work through this sort of thing. Just google it and check out free youtube vids. No cost. Just relief from suffering.


Posts: 10

I just wanted to let you know that I understand your pain. My cat died in front of me in 2007. I'm not sure what happened, but I watched him go through excruciating pain and it ripped me apart. I felt absolutely helpless to try and ease his pain, and had no indication anything was came from out of the blue. It took me probably 5 months before I stopped crying at random times. When I look back on it, I just have to remind myself that it is not my fault. If I had known something was going to happen, I would have done something to prevent it. I'm sure you would have also.
It may also help to try and think of it from your cat's point of view. I hope this doesn't upset you, but I imagine that, if you're like me, you're prone to thinking that when they were going through this, they were wanting you to be there to help. In all likelihood, though, they were probably more concerned with what was happening at the time. I'm sure it happened quickly, and if cats go through the same thing as humans, just know that when death is approaching, our brains release large amounts of dopamine which promotes peaceful relaxation and euphoria. In addition, if you had been there, what could you have done to help? I wouldn't know the first thing to do if I saw a cat drowning. When my cat was dying, as I said earlier, I couldn't do anything to help. It was horrifying and heart-wrenching. While my boy was going through this, I was breaking down, crying and upset, trying to understand. I couldn't have comforted him and I hope that he wasn't thinking that in that moment, instead of helping him, I was making his ordeal even worse. 
I hope you understand the reasons behind my reply. I know that, with time, you will gain some distance and objectivity, and you will learn from this experience. I had to euthanize my dog last Tuesday morning. I could have attempted to prolong his life, but the quality of his life was poor, and by prolonging it, I would have increased the odds of a similar thing happening to him as my cat. Knowing the pain my cat went through motivated me to be strong enough to make the most caring choice I could at the time. Though right now it still crushes me, I know that I made my decision out of love, and that part of that came from going through witnessing my cat's death. 

I really hope this helps you. Just hang in there.

Posts: 154
You absolutely should seek professional help from someone in your area. You need to find someone who deals with grief, especially in regards to the loss of pets. THey are out there, I assure you! A quick Google search will yield you some results, or you can call mental health professionals and ask for their help.

You have experienced a trauma, and you will not heal unless you get help with it. You will wear a groove into your heart and your soul and you will destroy yourself. Trust me. You need to get to someone and talk about it and let it out. Revisit it in a way where you can get around it. I will never say "get over it because we don't get over things. We learn to move around them and move on.

Please find someone to talk to about this. And please be gentle with yourself. This is a very delicate and terrible time for you, and you need help and love and care.

Posts: 3
My family's neighbors moved in about 3 years ago, and they brought a cat named Moses.
I am posting here because his death is eating me alive...there are no ordinary cats but there are a few that are extra-extraordinary, and Moses was one of those, endearing himself to every single person that met him. His original family lets their cats go in and out as they wish and that's how Moses met and was loved by so many on the street, he was so mellow and filled to the brim with pure love and goodness, he was so caring of a cat for lack of a better word, he cared about all his friends. 

I think he really just wanted a space and person all to himself as his house was so chaotic and overflowing with animals and people... Little by little Moses' brother and littermate found himself a new home, across the road and a few houses down and Moses would go visit him. Finally for sweet Moses, he also won over their hearts as well and they were taken in and doted on extensively by the new people and hardly missed by their original owners.

The new people still let them out and in as they wished, so Moses would still come back and visit all the friends he'd made. One of these friends was right next door to the new people, a widower and kindhearted cat lover who is also very hard of hearing, but a huge cat lover that leaves food out for strays year round... 

One day several months ago Moses suddenly went missing. Nobody could find him, everybody kept hoping he was ok. Everyone assumed he'd made some new friend none of the rest of us knew of, and maybe they had made him an indoor cat. We prayed that nothing had happened to him.

Then one day last week the elderly widower went out to his garden shed that he'd not had open since his fall cleaning.. and there he found Moses. He'd most likely been hanging out keeping his friend company on a sunny Fall day, and took a nap in the shed, and had been unwittingly locked in there for months.

I am so crushed. What happened to him and the untold horrors of dying a long, slow, cold, lonely, torturous and painful death for such a sweet kindhearted joyful little soul is just more than I can take.  I have a beautiful picture of him napping with his head on fresh picked summer peaches and he looks like he is smiling. Poor Moses, I keep thinking why didn't I know to check sheds in backyards? Why did Moses have to die such a horrible way?

I wish he could have been mine but he was my best little friend and my heart is just broken and every day I am crying, it's haunting me in the worst way and I don't know how to make it stop.

Thank you for listening, if anyone reads this.

Posts: 167
This is really a terrible tragic tale. The thought of poor Moses locked in the shed and dying that way is just too horrible to imagine. The pain you feel will be all the harder to navigate as few of your family and friends may understand the depth of your grief. We all came to this place to try to find some comfort and salve for our pain, and it really helps to talk to people who understand your pain and have also been through it themselves. There is no good way for a cat to die, because it will hurt like crazy for us that love them.

Posts: 3
Thank you Karmacat for your kind message. It's relentlessly haunting me what he went through before he died.. who knows for how long... It probably sounds extreme but I am thinking of it every time I feed my own furry guys, give them water or open a door for them. Rationally I know Moses is no longer suffering now but just the edge of the thought of what happened has the tears streaming down once again. I'd give anything to be able to go back and think to ask everyone to check sheds and garages.
What's worse is that so many were out calling for him, and he very likely could hear his name, but nobody could hear him. My heart just aches knowing what a good boy he was and how desperate and panicked he must have been for so long. Life can be so beautiful but also unbearably cruel and rotten.

Posts: 171
Wow that is so sad and tragic.  My heart aches for you and for poor Moses.  I just tragically lost a pet and I keep going over in my head how I could have prevented it, how much I want to go back and change every thing, I can't stop crying either.  I keep seeing the event over and over in my head and am so mad at myself.  I hope it's ok that I talk about my grief also, I don't want to detract from what you are going through, just want to let you know that someone else is feeling some of the same things.  My thoughts are with you and dear Moses.

Posts: 171
To Kendralovescats

So sorry for what happened to your cat.  I too am reliving the tragic loss of my kitten every day and the images keep playing over and over in my head, the only way I stop them is to become engaged in something that briefly takes my mind off it.  Losing a pet this way is traumatic so it's understandable that you are going through what you are going through.  What happened is an unfortunate accident, we do the best to protect those we love but can't be there at all times.  My thoughts are with you.

Posts: 3
Katkat Thank you for your kind message, I just now saw it... I am sorry to hear you too are experiencing a kitty loss and grieving for your little one. You should definitely talk about it, I am grateful I found this thread to be able to get it off my chest as well....Some regrets are so difficult to carry. I sure wish I had a time machine for us both. Animals are so forgiving of us humans, I hope we can forgive ourselves the way they would, for not being able to change things. My thoughts are with you too <3
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