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Bastet

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Posts: 9
 #1 
I have just lost MY cat. He was 18 years old. And just as many people say...he was really fine and healthy until he wasn't. Which happened more or less a week ago, when he started hiding, having difficulty breathing and eating less. He stopped doing many things he always used to do. I feel so bad thinking I could have done more for him...
I didn't take him to the vet, as I felt that he wouldn't make it, and even if he did, he always got so nervous there that I feared that the vet would put him down because he was 'too old' (there is no such thing as a too old pet. They should live forever). Besides, I didn't want him to die in a place which smelled like disinfectant. I knew the final moments were near, and I wanted to comfort him as much as possible, keeping him in HIS home, surrounded by all his familiar smells, his favourite food and the people who love him.
But he decided to leave us at night, and I wasn't right next to him, I feel so terrible that I wasn't holding him and kissing him and telling him how much I love him...
I know he had a good life, a happy and healthy one...he was truly loved and adored. I hope he knew that. I wish I demonstrated him enough, although I now think it was never enough...not enough hugs and kisses and 'i love you'.
It is still so recent that I am only beginning to feel his loss. I have been crying for the last few days and I will be crying for the next ones. But some things that I try to keep in mind to try to go on with life: that he has had a full, rich, healthy and long life, that he passed away in HIS home, surrounded by love, and that he will never suffer.

I'm sorry for any mistakes I might have made writing this, as English is not my mother language.
Derby

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Posts: 12
 #2 
Bastet

Your English is excellent. I'm very sorry about your little fellow. It sounds as though you loved him very much. The guilt seems to be a very common reaction, but every decision that you made was with his comfort in mind. Good luck to you over the next month or two. It is a very difficult and unpleasant thing to get through.

What was your cat's name, and what did he look like? Did you adopt him as a kitten?


Bastet

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Posts: 9
 #3 
Derby:
Thank you so much for your words. Yes, guilt...I fear it might never go away. I wish we could somehow read their minds or fully understand them in some way.
His name was Chicho. He became a part of the family when he was a kitten. He wasn't adopted, one of my brothers found him in a shop. At that time there weren't so many adoption centers in Spain, or at least in my town. But that doesn't make me love him any less! Anyway, a few years later, 4 or so, my brother moved to another city but Chicho remained with us. It's not an amazing story, but it is our story 😊
I'm trying to focus on the everyday little things he used to do, like waiting next to the door when I came home from work or whatever (my keys are kind of noisy, I think he heard me even before I took the lift. Or when he sat right next to mine while me or my mum were having breakfast. Or how he liked to sniff any food we had on our hands or on our dishes, making 'funny faces' if he didn't like it or trying to lick it if he did...he liked to lick bread, not eat it, just lick the outer part. I have so many good memories! I would love hearing things your cats or any of your pets liked doing, I think it could help us keeping the memories of the good times alive. It doesn't take the pain away, but it helps me remember him with a smile (well, right now it's more remember him without crying desperately, but when time passes I hope these little things will bring a smile).

I would like to honour his unconditional love by doing something simple yet beautiful and meaningful. I think it's too early and I need to cope with the terrible loss, so I haven't thought of anything yet. I would appreciate if somebody could give me some ideas over the next few weeks.

I will try to post some pictures of Chicho (pronounced with /i/) later, or tomorrow.

Finally, I want to send all the people who might be going through a similar situation a collective warm hug.
Derby

Registered:
Posts: 12
 #4 
Bastet

Yes, please post some pictures of Chicho. I would love to see him. I lost my own boy 64 days ago. It has taken me the whole 2 months just to start feeling normal again. I know what you mean about wanting to do something to honour his memory. I found that there were a couple of things that I did that helped me; at least temporarily:

i) I wrote down everything I could remember about my life with my cat. All of his little habits and personality traits. Every day I have added something to this document. It is now about 35,000 words long, and I am still adding to it each day. No-one else will ever read it, but I found that it helped a little because it made me think about his happy life as a whole instead of concentrating on his end. I know that I am going to forget some of these little things unless I write them down.

ii) I made a scrapbook that has hundreds of his photos in it, from the time I adopted him in 2008 until the end in 2017. It is a nice memento of him to have, and it is interesting to look through the book and see how he changed over the years.

It is going to be a tough time for you. If you are anything like me, it will take 6 or 8 weeks for the tears to stop coming.


Bastet

Registered:
Posts: 9
 #5 
Derby:
I have made the arrangements to post some pictures, I have to wait for the emails yet (I have followed the instructions on the web page, I hope it works).
I'm sorry I didn't ask you about your story earlier! Please, forgive me...what was your baby's name? Cat? Dog? What did he look like? What is your (yours and your little one's) story?
I love both of your ideas. The first one I will do, tomorrow morning I will search for the perfect notebook. I don't want to wait until the pain goes away, I don't want to forget any little thing. It might be hard not to cry at first...but I think it's a healing activity in the long term. I will definitely also make some kind of photo book of Chicho, that is a good idea too, but I will take my time first. Or maybe have a portrait of a photo painted...we will see, first things first 😢
I have been thinking about donating his stuff to a shelter, so animals who haven't had a good life yet can have a part of him to help them. I'm not ready to do that for the moment, but maybe in the next few weeks I will be able to.
You have written quite a book! I'm sure it's really special. If you feel like it, when you are feeling sadder than usual or just because...you could share a little piece of the writing, over here or privately, I think it could be nice to share the happy, funny or just everyday things, because when we come here looking for comfort, advice or help...most of us ( me included) mostly write about the sad things, the final moments...why not share little pieces of happiness and remember our little ones with a smile? Even if it's with tears running down on our cheeks at first...

Yesterday I did the candle ceremony (offline, because it is held at 4 am at my time zone). Oh, did I cry! I left the candles burning at the end, and I fell asleep. I don't know for how long, but when I woke up I felt kind of at peace, I don't know how to describe exactly. The little candles were still burning, I blew them and went on sleeping. Despite all the crying, I think it helped me. Today I haven't been crying as much as yesterday. I've noticed I'm starting to grow a hate feeling against the world, like rage, I'm not sure. But I'm definitely much more easily irritated by people. Like I don't want to talk to them, don't want them to ask me silly questions and such.

Hugs
Derby

Registered:
Posts: 12
 #6 
Thanks Bastet

My Charlie was a grey and white tuxedo cat. Very handsome. He was 13 years and 2 months when he died. He was my friend for 9 years and 2 months. Charlie was a very loving companion, and life seems quite empty without him.

That is a great idea about having Chicho's portrait painted! I never thought of doing that. Yes, I experienced a bit of that rage against the world, just for a day or so. Perhaps that is part of the healing process. A strange part. But mostly it has just been sadness and depression and remorse and guilt and tears. Getting better slowly though. I will take your advice and post an extract from my 'book' at some stage.

Best wishes
bulldogmitch

Registered:
Posts: 2
 #7 
A joy shared twice a joy, a sorrow shared is half a sorrow. We've all been there...Allow the grieving process to take it's normal course. Embrace the horror. Don't bottle it up inside. Time really does heal most wounds. Most professional grief counselors think memorializing you deceased love ones is a really good idea.
Bastet

Registered:
Posts: 9
 #8 
Derby:
Oh, Charlie must have been quite a gentleman! You got to spend a lot of time together, so I bet you had a strong friendship, just like Chicho and me. That leaves a huge empty space, indeed...😢
I can relate to all the feelings you listed. Today I have been feeling less anger than yesterday. I met a neighbour in the lift and I told her about Chicho...and I also told my dance teacher (they must have clearly seen my zombie face because both asked if I was ill). They both gave me some nice and comforting words about how awesome and longer Chicho's life has been, all the love and care he received. And...they are right. My numb mind doesn't see that right now, all of the bad feelings are occupying most of my mind. But I think the good feelings will win the battle in the end. I want to believe it.

Bulldogmitch:
Thank you for your words. They are really beautiful. I will write them in Chicho's notebook. And yes, I guess the grief must take its course...I don't want to rush. Writing here and reading yours and other people's words gives me some peace. Tomorrow morning I'm starting to write a notebook describing everyday things Chicho and I did, his likes, his dislikes, just our story (just like Derby suggested). I can't wait to start, but in scared at the same time. I'm not sure why.

Finally, here are some pictures of my angel:

http://www.petloss.com/mbphotos4/chichoplaya.jpg

http://www.petloss.com/mbphotos4/chichoestudiar.jpg

http://www.petloss.com/mbphotos4/chicholeoncito.jpg

I LOVE YOU, LITTLE ONE

In the next few days I intend to give a little background on these pictures. ( I hope the pictures work)
Derby

Registered:
Posts: 12
 #9 
What a beautiful boy. He looks very contented in those pictures, Bastet. I would like to hear the background to the photos. You have the zombie face - that is quite funny. That face might be around for a while because it won't feel right to smile or laugh for a long time. I'm glad you're going to write in a notebook all about Chicho. If you would like some ideas about what kind of things to write about, here are the titles of the chapters of my own notebook:

Events leading up to my adoption of Charlie and Stella, 2008
The early days - 2008 to 2011
Descriptions of coats, claws, whiskers, pads, eyes
Tails
Eating habits / Diet
Charlie’s regular choking, hiccupping fits
Vomiting
Eating grass and other plants
Drinking
Picking up the cats and holding them
Weight gain and weight loss
Personality and temperament
Habits
Purring
Sleeping arrangements
Toilet
Vocalising
Lap sitting
Playing
Charlie and Stella - interactions
Sleepless nights when Charlie wanted to go outside
Inside the house
- In the kitchen
- the spare bedroom
- the bathroom and ensuite
- the hallway
- the living room
- the bedroom
Outside
- in the back yard
- on the front steps
- in the garage and under the house
- out on the driveway
- on the nature-strip and at the top of the driveway
- on the roof
- further afield
Trips to the vet
When visitors came
Charlie’s flea treatment debacle, 2008
July to August 2012 - Charlie’s has big problems
1 January 2013 - a very close call
2011 to 2014 - the rotten cat next door
November 2014 - Charlie gets mixed up with another cat, and I get virtually no sleep
2013 and 2014 - the horrible woman next door
17 June 2016 - Charlie goes missing for 17 hours
The final months of Charlie’s life
November 2016
December 2016
January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017
June 2017
July 2017
August 2017
September 2017
The grief

Bastet

Registered:
Posts: 9
 #10 
Derby:

Wow, I really REALLY appreciate the info about the chapters!!! Because this morning I wasn't able to write a single word. I didn't know where to start. And I started crying and all I could think about was: my poor baby, I miss you so bad!! I will try again at the weekend.

I'm writing about the background of those pictures tomorrow. I don't think it's a good idea to do it now, it's almost bed time here in Spain and I don't think I would be able to sleep after. It's hard enough to do even trying not to think about the loss...

How was your day? Did you write anything today? Oh, and I would like to know more about your story (you&Charlie's). Did you write a post you could point me to so I can read it?
Bastet

Registered:
Posts: 9
 #11 
On the first picture we were at the beach. This particular picture was taken about 10 years ago. My parents bought a flat there (it's about an 8 hour drive from where we live) and every year Chicho went there once or twice a year for about a month, with my parents and me. The flat has a balcony ( I don't know if that's exactly the word), and he looooved to spend time outside, up on the table. He could see the sea from there...
Derby

Registered:
Posts: 12
 #12 
Good evening Bastet

I hope that you are not feeling too bad tonight. No need to rush your writings. Just do it when you feel up to it. It you are like me, once you start the words will flow easily and you will feel a little better for a while. I am still writing a short chapter every night. It is starting to get to the stage where I am having to think hard about a new subject because I have covered a lot of stuff already. But it is amazing what little things you can remember when you try. Tonight I wrote a chapter about Charlie and Stella and their interactions with each other. They were the best of friends, and I loved to see them grooming each other. They made me laugh because those grooming sessions would always end in a minor spat when Charlie had a little nip at Stella's legs to assert himself over her. Poor Stella has been a bit lost since Charlie died. She has been crying a lot and I have been giving her much more attention than before.

Thanks for your description of the first photo. It is interesting that Chicho was the kind of cat who liked travelling in the car. I couldn't even take Charlie for a 5 minute trip to the vet without him crying loudly. Did you ever take Chicho to the beach while you were at the flat? I often wondered how my cats would have reacted if they'd seen the sea (they never did see it, of course).

We had a big thunderstorm here last night. It is nearly summertime here in Australia, and last night was filled with lightning and loud thunder. Stella hid under bed as she always does when thunder comes. I couldn't help remembering how Charlie would always sit bravely outside with me watching storms as they passed. It really is a big hole in my life now that he is gone. I had him for 3357 days, and he has been gone for 68 days now, so it is still relatively recent, even though 2 months have passed.

How have you been getting on over the last couple of days? Has your mood changed at all, or are you still mired in grief?


Bastet

Registered:
Posts: 9
 #13 
Today wasn't an awful day. I didn't have to work, so I got some time to settle my head. Though I still can't believe he is gone.
Oh, those grooming sessions must have been so funny! I'm sorry for Stella...I would do the same in your situation, spoil her and stick to her all the time.
Well, I don't really know if he enjoyed it, but he never ever cried in the car. We stopped every few hours, gave him water to drink, etc. He always travelled in his hmm case? Little plastic cage with a handle to carry it (sorry I don't know the word). We put one of his towels (yes, he had his own towels) to act as a cushion and so he could smell something from home during the trip (so he felt calm and safe). In the last few years we stopped taking him to the beach flat, because he got sick during one part of the trip (which has many curves), he opened his mouth and he started salivating (I always travelled on the back of the car, by his side and cleaned his mouth and tried to calm him). And so whenever my parents went to the beach house, I stayed home with Chicho. Oooh, we had so many good times...I spoiled him so much! He used to sleep on my belly, with his hands on my chest, when I watched TV on the couch. He only did that when we were alone at home. If there was someone at home, he would sit or lie down on the couch by my side, or put his hands on my lap...I should write that on the notebook.
Oh, and we never let Chicho out, so he didn't feel the sand under his little paws. He hated going out, he was so scared of noises. He hated storms! Whenever there was a big noise, like fireworks or thunders, he went to any of the most quiet rooms in the house, which were my room and one of the bathrooms (in fact, whenever he wanted to stay calm, far from noises, noisy people, like when family came over to have lunch, for example, he went to my room to sleep. My baby.
So you are in Australia! My mum has some relatives there 😄 you are starting summer, here in Spain it's already cold. I wish it rained, because it's been a dry year, but it seems we have to wait some more.

Hugs
Derby

Registered:
Posts: 12
 #14 
Hello Bastet

How are you getting on today? I think that you are still in the first two weeks? I found that the first two weeks were almost unbearable, the next six weeks were unpleasant. I am up to Day 70 now, and am just starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. Still missing Charlie very much though.

It sounds like Chicho was a pretty lucky cat to live with you. I can see that he did have his own towels from that third photo. And I love the second one where he is sound asleep next to your computer. Lying on the mouse cord. That is a great picture. Yes, Charlie didn't mind fireworks either. The last few years I just stayed at home on New Years Eve, and at midnight Charlie and I would sit on the front steps and watch the fireworks go off while poor Stella was hiding under the bed. What do you remember about the day you first met Chicho? If your brother found him as a kitten, then it must have been in 1999 or 2000. That is such a long time ago now. But that just makes it worse because you are so used to having him around. I only had Charlie for 9 years, but I can hardly even remember what I was like before I adopted him.  
Bastet

Registered:
Posts: 9
 #15 
Derby:

The last days have been weird. I don't feel angry anymore. Instead, I can't believe Chicho is gone. I'm not doing it on purpose, though, I can't help it. I mean, for example, whenever I come home, I still shake my keychain so my keys make noise (used to do that so Chicho got happy to hear me), when I get in, and I don't see him by the door, I still think: where will he be? Sleeping in his chair? (The one in the third picture) in the couch? And then my mind takes some seconds to come back to reality...the same happens while doing other things. I still think about him as if he was still alive. It's really heartbreaking.
I don't really remember the exact day, well I have some images in my mind, but I don't remember exactly what day it was, or much things about it. But I remember he was a tiny ball of fur, I remember him walking on the big black couch. I don't remember his age at that point, i think it was maybe 3 or 4 months? I hadn't even started university. Yes, I think the more time and things you share together, the bigger the void. That doesn't mean a short time won't leave a huge imprint, though. It happens with people, too. 9 years is a lot of time to share magical moments, too. I feel you, I really do. I can't remember what my house was like when Chicho wasn't in the family.

I love the second picture. I don't remember the year exactly. I was studying for a big test I had failed, I had to re-take it in September. So it was summer. He loved to step on my laptop, or on any of my books and papers. And I loved so much when he did that!! That day, I stopped studying to take pictures of him and pet him. I took so many pics, all so beautiful...

I don't remember when I took the third picture. I always took pictures of him, I always thought: oh my god, he looks so great! I must take pics! It was at home, he was on his chair (one of those office chairs, with wheels). It is (yes, it still is there, and still has a couple of his towels on) in the living room, in a corner, next to the window. There, the sun rays enter through the curtains in the afternoon. He loved to take naps there in the sun. From that corner, he saw all the living room.

How are you and Stella doing this week?

Hugs
Derby

Registered:
Posts: 12
 #16 
Good evening Bastet

Hope you're getting along OK. Yesterday I bought a book on how to get through grief, and that has been quite helpful so far. I have been reading it today. Stella is doing very well, thanks. It was raining today, so she came up onto the bed and lay beside me and we had a siesta.

I went to the supermarket and got upset about Charlie while I was there. Supermarkets always seem to do that to me now. I don't know why - it seems a strange place for that to happen. And I hate it when I get home and he is not at the back door to greet me. He was always there, without fail. You have left Chicho's towels on his chair, and I have done the same things with Charlie's bed. It is still there on the floor in the middle of the living room. Stella used to lie on it next to Charlie, but she hasn't gone there since he died. I suppose I should think about throwing it away, but I haven't had the heart to think about that yet.

It took me a couple of months to accept the reality that he is gone forever. I have accepted it now, but it still feels very bitter. One day he was there; the next day he was gone. It makes me wonder what it is all about. The time when he was alive seems like a golden age now, although it didn't seem like that at the time. Charlie disappeared for 17 hours in June 2016, which was unprecedented. I was lucky there, because for the last 15 months of his life I appreciated him even more than I had before. Now he is a finished book, and I have to put that book on the shelf (according to my new book). Easier said than done though.

What news from sunny Spain today? Was Chicho a very talkative cat? Did he have a sound that he made when he was especially contented? Did he like being stroked on the stomach? Both of my cats loved that. I knew when I'd done a good job in stroking Charlie's stomach, because he would dribble on the bed and leave a big wet patch there!

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