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klw51907

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Posts: 5
 #1 
What do you do if you think you were responsible for the death of your cat (best friend)? He was 13 I've tried every way possible to tell myself I would never hurt him but, I think something I did inadvertently killed him. I don't know for sure because it all happened so fast but, he started having severe trouble breathing and I took him to the vets he had fluid built up on his chest and his heart was beating irregular. I did ask the vet (not naming them because this isn't about that) to do tests and they said try giving him this diuretic and bring him back Monday (this was Friday morning) for tests. They were short staffed because covid so I think that's why they didn't do the tests. I truly wish I would have pushed much harder for the tests. He only got worse, I called the vet back Saturday on his emergency number asked if I could bring him back because I didn't think he'd make it. He told me I had to wait until Monday for tests or take him on a 45 minute drive to the closest er vet clinic. We had no options I couldn't wait until Monday so my husband and I tried to get him to the er clinic but, he didn't make it there. Heres where I'm worried I could be responsible. I was trying to clean our bath mat with diluted bleach water in our tub a few days prior to when he started showing any signs of difficulty breathing. I just let it soak a bit in a shallow amount of diluted bleach water. I had our windows open and the exhaust fan in the bathroom on as well as our air purifier but, we do live in a small apartment. I didn't even realize maybe that could have caused it until after because I had done that same thing every so often before. If I would have thought of it I would have mentioned it to the vet but, I just never thought of it. The vet said he thought it could have been his heart but I also read that inhaling the smell of bleach can cause pulmonary edema (fluid on the heart) and rapid heart beat. He didn't have rapid heart beat though just the fluid on his chest. We have another cat who is 11 and she is fine. I'm so beside myself to think I may have been the cause of my really good boys death. How do you live with yourself if you believe something you did caused one of your best friends death? I just don't know what to do. I just feel so horrible, I always said I'd protect him and I feel like I hurt him. My husband believes without a doubt that the timing was a coincidence and our oreo just was sick and we didn't know it. He says that the water was diluted and the house was not closed up and he never went near the bathroom during that time but, still I can't help but wonder what if that was what caused it. It's an awful feeling because we both loved that cat so much as if he were our child.
Heidi4907

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Posts: 39
 #2 
I'm so sorry. I lost my best friend cat 8 weeks ago today. It still hurts, and the grief has gone through many different "stages." Numbness, shock, guilt, panic, depression, etc.
I really can't imagine you caused this; probably what you read was about inhaling pure bleach from the container. I also think that right after the death of a pet some of us try to think there was a way we could have prevented it, like it makes us feel we have more control than we really do. 
I hope you'll forgive yourself. Grief by itself is already hard enough, but guilt frequently factors in. 
klw51907

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Posts: 5
 #3 
I'm very sorry about your loss of your best friend as well. I understand that it's a really hard thing to go through. My husband kind of said the same that he would have had to have his head right over the bottle to inhale enough it would have hurt him like that. We look back now and realize he wasn't eating quite as much as he used and he did go off by himself some but, honestly we thought he is 13 he's just getting older. He was still with us a good amount of the time though and was still a pretty social happy guy so we just thought he is just getting older. We had no idea anything was wrong with him and the whole think was just a shock. The worst part is that we are moving out of state in little over a month because I'm going to grad school for art so I can teach it. Losing our buddy is going to make it harder for me to be motivated but, my husband is trying really hard to help. Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm sure in time it will get easier.
Heidi4907

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Posts: 39
 #4 
I also realized later that my big boy Coco wasn't eating as much for a few weeks, but he was an overweight guy and I thought the batch of food may not have been as tasty. He was about to turn 13. I think there was probably some understandable denial on my part, as I was so absolutely in love with him, and yes, he was getting older. He slept in my closet a few times, which is not a good sign, but overall he seemed great so I didn't think much of it. Lots of play, bird watching, racing around, etc. Cats are very good at hiding their pain. His diagnosis was advanced cancer, which somehow caused his abdomen to fill with fluid. I don't know what was going on with him exactly. I had him for 2+ weeks following the diagnosis, so there was a short period of time to say good bye. But the loss was painful beyond belief. At 8 weeks I'm doing better. The first month was so painful. His absence is enormous. He had a huge personality and presence. I think I bonded with him more strongly than I ever had with my previous cats, which is saying a lot. It takes time to heal. From my experience that's all there is. And not blaming yourself. You loved him. You were lucky and so was he. I'm glad your husband is a good guy.
Take care. And really, forget about this bleach business. Just grieve.
P.S. I worked at a pet hospital for 4 years. There was lots of bleach splashed around!!
klw51907

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Posts: 5
 #5 
It sounds like your coco and my oreo could have been good friends. Oreo also had a huge personality, he loved his windows open when it was nice out and if it was cold for a while we would sometimes crack a window just a little for a small amount of time so him and his sister cat tonks could get at least a little air. When it was nice and all the windows were open he'd run around almost roaring/barking. I don't know how else to describe it. In our apartment theres this counter/desk attached to the wall(our complex gets a lot of college students). Well he started laying under there more often which I guess is like laying in the closet. I guess we were in denial as well because like you with your coco we were just so in love with our oreo and hoped we had a few more years at least with him. I had a cat that lived to 20 before him that was diabetic (I gave him shots and everything). Your absolutely right I just need time. It's just so much harder when it's so unexpected and they are still a little young. My husband wonders if oreo maybe had cancer to but, we just don't know because it all happened so fast. Thank you again for the kind words. I hope you can find some happiness again to without your little coco. We at least still have oreos sister cat which helps. We are giving her extra love and maybe someday we will get her a friend but, not yet.
Suzie

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Posts: 1
 #6 
I lost my baby 1 week ago today due to breathing issues as well. He was 10. I too feel an enormous amount of guilt. That I didnt act quickly enough...that I didnt do enough. He died before his vet appt as well. My heart goes out to you- and if it helps, I dont believe it was whatever you used for cleaning. I think you did everything you possibly could to save him. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.
Heidi4907

Registered:
Posts: 39
 #7 
KLW, I loved this: When it was nice and all the windows were open he'd run around almost roaring/barking. What an image! Coco was very vocal, and one of the things I miss is talking to him all day. He usually answered. Every night, a few minutes after we went to bed, he would get one of his white "mousies" and carry it around while meowing. The meows started at a normal pitch and ended very high pitched. It would go on for a minute or two. Yes, 13 feels not old enough. Coco was probably days from his 13th birthday. I've had a couple who lived to 19 or 20, with lots of nursing, but also lost an 8-year-old to pancreatic cancer. After that happened I told myself to be happy for any cat who makes it to 12, which doesn't quite work, but important to remember. There are several stories on this site of cats who were very young, 3 years, 6 years, who died of natural causes, as well as accidents. Anything can happen. I still have Coco's littermate-brother Grover. Three days after Coco died Grover was diagnosed with pancreatitis. I thought the symptoms were about him grieving for Coco, but unfortunately we're dealing with this now too. He's on Prednisolone and doing pretty well, improving, but I don't know what to expect in the future. When I captured the two of them as kittens, outside in 2007, we already had 3 older cats. Grover bonded with the cats and Coco claimed me. Coco would get very jealous when Grover was next to me. He'd give Grover the dirtiest look, and also hump him, which is a cats way of demonstrating their power. My bond with Coco was much stronger, but I love Grover. He's an adorable guy and is spending more time with us now. I'm glad you have Oreo's sister. It helps, but the absence is still everywhere. It is so hard; you're only in the first few days. Thank you, too. What helps the most is feeling less alone.
Suzie, I'm no expert but think fluid build-up is common with cancer. It can cause pressure on the lungs or heart, affecting breathing. I wish cats would let us know when they're not feeling well, but in the wild it's too dangerous to appear weak, and our fur babies continue with this behavior. I'm so sorry for your loss, and I hope you'll forgive yourself. Looking back, my cat was showing subtle signs, but at the time I felt not enough to warrant a vet visit, which was so stressful for him. So I've had guilt too. If you search "Guilt" on this site you'll find it's very common. 


klw51907

Registered:
Posts: 5
 #8 
Suzie, I am very sorry for the loss of your kitty as well. 10 is kind of young for a cat but, I can only imagine that they had either a heart issue or some kind of cancer (not that I'm a dr). I've had a lot of people tell me they lost their pets to the same symptoms and they had tests and knew it was cancer (most of them) and or heart issues. It's very hard when it's so unexpected. I only wish I had saw the signs and been able to do something more even if it was to help him not go through so much pain. Maybe there would have been a medicine or something that would have helped with his pain and manage the symptoms I don't know. It's just so sad how well they hide their pain from us. Thank you so much forr your kind words. It really does help.
klw51907

Registered:
Posts: 5
 #9 
Heidi,
That part about coco running around with his mousie in his mouth meowing then getting more high pitched is adorable. Yes when ever Oreo would run around roaring it was quite awesome we would actually encourage him. We'd say things like go get em buddy and is that right? Because the more we did the more he'd keep it going. I'm starting to realize that we just didn't know anything was wrong until it was to late to help him. I just wish I had known sooner so even if he didn't have long he could have been in less pain for the time he did have. He was kind of a pretty intelligent cat, sometimes I thought he understood us at least to a point with how vocal he was and when we talked to him he would wiggle the end of his tale. I've never had another cat that did that with their tale. I understand the stronger bond thing......I know you are supposed to love them equally but, I did always feel a slight more bond with him than with our girl kitty tonks just because she is my husbands girl (a daddy's girl) and he was a mommas boy but I love tonks very much and we have grown closer. It's almost like she has know I've been sad and has been sticking closer to me now more than ever. I think she also misses his companionship as well. We had plans to go visit some family out of town and usually we only go a couple days because of them. We would leave lots of food and water down. Since he passed we don't want to leave her alone so we found a hotel that allows pets and she is coming with us. Thank you again for all your kind words it's been helpful.
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