Registered: 1519627411 Posts: 4
I had to make the choice to put my cat Sasha down Friday afternoon. Ironically, it was the day of the 17th anniversary of my adopting her as a kitten.
She had diabetes (insulin controlled) and asthma. She had three close brushes with death in her life (the first at age 11) and bounced back every time. She'd also had some illnesses related to the diabetes in the last year, only to bounce right back. I KNOW for all these reasons and her age it shouldn't have been a surprise. But it happened quickly. I realized Thursday morning she didn't eat on Wednesday overnight. Sometimes I could not administer insulin right because she liked to eat overnight for some reason. Also, my vet had always said too err on the side of high with her blood sugar rather than give insulin on an empty stomach. (A couple of those close brushes with death was low blood sugar). So he told me if it was around 170 - 200 to wait until the next twelve hour reading. With her sugar a little high, she always drank water more than a healthy cat would. Thursday evening I discovered she wasn't drinking water either - at all. I suffer from immune system issues - one of which is chronic fatigue. I had just had a week and a half flare where I was sleeping on average 18 hours a day. Sasha had a weird habit of pulling out her fur when I was having a flare - and I noticed bald spots on her. She vomited a hair ball on Wednesday. Then I started noticing on Thursday she was having dry heaves. I then happened to catch her straining in the litter box (to poop). I had just completely cleaned out her litter box on Tuesday night - seemed as gross as it always was. I mistakenly thought 1)her hair missing and my flare, 2) her vomiting the hair ball and 3) the straining meant she might have a hair blockage. I called the vet on Thursday afternoon - the only opening they had was at 4:30 on Friday. in the meantime, Friday morning, things fell apart. Sasha was a loud cat normally - her meows became very quiet. She still hadn't drank water AND she started hiding - totally not like her. And kind of whining, if you will. I held her all day (tried to get into the vet earlier unsuccessfully), gave her massages and just loved on her. Note - she was still jumping up, sitting in the window sill but I still pretty much knew. It was a roller coaster at the vet. They first did blood work which showed some abnormalities but the vet seemed hopeful about putting her on maintenance medications. Okay. Then I asked about (what I thought was) the blockage. I gave them permission to do an x-ray. The vet seemed totally different after that. It turned out her stomach was totally empty and she was dehydrated (I think that was visible from the blood work). She said her kidneys were small and round and was in early kidney failure. By then it was closing time and she said if I took Sasha home and she wouldn't eat - it would be a painful death by Monday. She asked if I wanted to put her down right then. I was thrown by her earlier comments about maintenance meds and didn't know what to do. They are open on Saturdays and I asked if I could take her home (Friday night) to spoil her and they seemed to discourage it. I know it's normal to question oneself in what feels like "Playing God" but Sasha was walking all over the room - I'm sure she was masking for me but I said to just go ahead and do it. They reinforced my decision and I kissed my baby until she passed on. Did I mention I was more bonded with this cat than any other pet in my childhood (she was really my first "adult pet" that was only mine)? I have grieved the loss of my parents who were both 59, 9 months apart in 2006, had a relationship end that left me grieving and that so far, Sasha's death is the worst? I haven't eaten but a piece of toast since Thursday night, I haven't slept more than 2 hours at a time since Thursday, I'm having anxiety attacks (haven't had those in 25 years). Sasha was with me through my divorce, a bout with cancer, both parents dying, the end of another relationship, and more (it's been a crazy 18 years). I just realized I have never lived alone (at least had a pet) my entire adult life. The quiet is deafening - and I like pretty quiet surroundings! I cannot bear to pick up her belongings...some need thrown away, some donated, and keeping some if I do get another cat. I've caught myself looking for her, calling for her, thinking I see her (before I realize). I can't get another cat yet - Sasha really was special. She converted a couple cat haters. She loved going to the vet and they loved her (a couple of the workers from there added me as a Facebook friend over the weekend because they really loved her) - everyone liked her - I'll be comparing new kitty to her - I know I will. I just don't know what to do about this deafening silence. There isn't anyone who can come stay with me either. Any ideas? I'm sorry this is so long but it was cathartic to write it.
Registered: 1518291226 Posts: 18
I am very sorry for your loss. It's clear you loved Sasha very much. I think you did the right thing for her. Kidney failure in a 17 year old diabetic cat - there is no good outcome. You saved her from a few days of suffering. I know what you mean about the loneliness and empty house. My dog died a couple weeks ago and even with my other dog still here, the house is just not the same. I can feel myself slowly getting back to normal, I'm sure you will too.
Registered: 1515548302 Posts: 123
Hello Annabelle, Your message is absolutely heartfelt !! I feel your despair. I am so thankful for this Forum to share Our Losses during this difficult period. The bond that We have toward our pets is very strong. Do allow yourself to grieve freely and know in time the ache will minimise, all in time. At the moment your emotions are very raw and very real. Sasha, 18y, remarkable !! She had lots of Love in that time frame.Hope You find solace on the Forum, know you are not alone. As a Comfort, the lighting of candles keeps the memory alive. Take Care Annabelle, Sherry/Perryxx
Registered: 1519627411 Posts: 4
Thank you for your kind responses. I'm finding it a little easier every day. I finally slept last night and ate earlier tonight.
It is so nice to have this board to talk to folks who understand.
Registered: 1474686617 Posts: 14
Animals love us unconditionally. No questions asked. They're always there for us to comfort us in our times of need as well.
Sasha lived a good long life. Treasure the memories.