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Posts: 1
I had my cat, Gizmo - my best friend, my constant companion for 18 years - put sleep this afternoon and though everyone around me says it was his time, I can't stop doubting my decision.

He began having constipation problems about six years ago, but always managed to have a bowel movement after straining for a while.. We'd gotten used to this. When it got especially bad we'd give him coconut oil or pumpkin. But on Wednesday afternoon, no matter how much he strained, he just couldn't seem to go. He was throwing up non-stop, leaving puddles of diarrhea everywhere, growling, and drooling. He refused to eat, though I offered him more than one brand of food. (Gizmo was normally a ravenous eater, so I knew this was a bad sign). I'd never seen these behaviors from him before

My husband and I rushed him to the ER where they did an X-ray and said he was just constipated. They sent us home with Lactulose, but he just couldn't keep anything - including the medication - down. He spent all of Wednesday night vomiting and having diarrhea. At one point, it got so bad he would just grunt and poop all over himself while lying on his side.

We took him to our regular vet on Thursday. They did blood work (which looked perfect!) and administered an enema before sending him home. Once home, he managed to have a bowel movement (though he had to strain quite a bit) and regained his appetite. He didn't eat much, but I was still encouraged. My husband laughed because he'd never seen someone get so excited over cat poop before. I kept him in the bathroom overnight with a blanket, some food/water, and a litter box so I could closely monitor him. He didn't look happy, but I figured after two vet visits and an enema, he needed some quiet time to recover.

This morning I found him in the same position, looking absolutely miserable. I couldn't convince him to eat, though he did use the litter box to pee and have more diarrhea. I scooped him up and brought him to bed with us. Leaving him in the bathroom just felt wrong. He had slept in my arms every night for 18 years. I had no idea this would be the last time I'd ever drift to sleep with my arms wrapped around him.

By 11 AM, he still looked awful. He barely acknowledged me, wouldn't purr, and still turned his nose up at food. I even offered dry food, milk, and tuna (he wasn't allowed these foods because he had problems with bladder stones). I took him into the bathroom to potty and after having more diarrhea, he threw up what little food I'd coaxed him into eating for me. He seemed so listless - I couldn't stand to see him suffer like that. I also didn't want him to end up with hepatic lipidosis. I decided I wasn't going to wait for him to get any worse. We arranged to have him euthanized

My husband and I spent the next hour with him on the bed. We opened the curtains so he could enjoy the sunshine one last time.. Then we took him to the vet and said our goodbyes. He passed peacefully. Somehow I managed to hold it together until they injected the final shot. I lost it then, and have been crying nonstop since. 

My husband and mom have assured me I did the right thing, but I can't stop thinking... What if he just needed more time? What if tomorrow would have been a better day? What if he would've gotten his appetite back? I didn't want to wait for him to get any worse, but did I give up on him too soon? 

I loved (love) this cat with every fiber of my being. He was more than a pet; he was my feline soulmate. We spent every moment possible together. He followed me around the house like he was my shadow. I've never experienced grief like this. Not even when my own father passed away! 

I'm afraid I made a horrible mistake and essentially killed my best friend. I feel as if I betrayed him. I didn't want to put him through more vet visits. I didn't want to see his vomit up massive puddles of bile anymore. I didn't want to watch him have painful diarrhea. I'm afraid after 6 years of battling chronic constipation, the muscles down there had just quit working. It was like he just didn't have the strength to push anymore. But his blood work was perfect? 

I know this is long and I apologize, but I'm beside myself with grief. I've never cried so hard in my life. Everywhere I look, I see reminders of him. His pee is still in the litter box. His special wet food is still across the hall (we just stocked up on it). His fur is still on my clothes. He was a truly one-of-a-kind creature and I just don't think I'll ever recover from losing him. Especially since I made the call to end his life. I can't forgive myself for not trying harder. It all happened so quickly, I barely even had time to process it

Can anyone please offer some advice?

Posts: 17


Almost all the people that came here have experienced what you did.  My best advice is to don't take it so hard and do not blame yourself with guilt.  I know that is easier said than done but you will eventually feel better than you do right now.  The first week after I put my boy down was horrible, but day by day the sun will still shine and life will progress.  How you deal with it is up to you, but do you think that Gizmo would want to see you depressed and broken?  I'm sure he wouldn't. 

I have found that a bond with an animal can literally surpass those with other humans, and that is what makes it so hard.  That was your boy that was always there for you and always happy to be around you.  It's devastating when it happens as we all know first hand. 

I know it's hard but try to find positives in your life.  Even though Gizmo won't be around your life is not over.  This can go one of two ways. Either you find peace with your decision which will take time or it can depress you endlessly.  How you choose to live your life moving forward is up to you.

I know that my boy would want to see me happy and life my life to the fullest.  I gave him the best life that I could and I'm sure you did the same.  You, like I, made a decision that was gut wrenching but made the most sense in a worsening situation.  If you didn't make the decision there was a very high chance that Gizmo would've been in pain and not living a quality of life that was enjoyable. 

I too questioned myself at first but I was able to find peace with the decision.  Do I know if I did it at the exact right time?  I'll never know, but I know that the decision that I made was 100% out of love for my boy.  I never wanted to see him die but death is a part of life that will come for everybody. 

I just hold out hope that I'll eventually be reunited again one day.  Maybe it won't be an actual after life, maybe it will just be memories in my head when it's my time to go but at least they will be comforting.  He gave me the best of his life and I gave him mine.  I've made the decision that I will keep giving the best in my life to everybody else.  I hope that you can make a similar decision. 


Posts: 16
Thank you for sharing your story. It parallels some of what I went through with my Pumpkin before he passed. I haven’t let myself reflect on it in depth much lately. I think I needed to.

It’s been over 9 months for me now. The guilt doesn’t plague me the way it did in the beginning, but I felt like it would never go away. I still wonder if I made the right decision, but of course we can never know for sure. I think I’m at peace with that fact now. I felt it was necessary to beat myself up over it for a while. Eventually I just felt completely exhausted though, and that led to me realizing that Pumpkin wouldn’t have wanted me to pity myself over his loss. He only ever wanted to comfort me, so at some point I decided that I would do little things to comfort myself. That’s helped me. These things include sleeping with a pillow I associate as being his pillow, wearing his cat tag on a necklace and kissing it occasionally, and just laying and imagining him walking over my body like he used to. I can still feel the pressure of his paws on my legs and chest; memories can be powerful.

I have only had 3 dreams about Pumpkin that I can remember since he passed. They were very soothing. I hope you’re blessed with many dreams of your Gizmo. Just to feel them in your arms again is just amazing.

Please don’t apologize for sharing your story, however long it may be. I’m so glad you did. Thank you, and take care <3

Posts: 640

I don't agree with Bodelli above who advised you "not to take it so hard". I think you should take it exactly as you are taking it.

This is a tragedy for you.  If someone wasn't traumatized by what you have experienced, I would be surprised.

I am very sorry you have had this experience. 

I also have experienced trauma with regards to euthanasia and pet loss.

Peace to you,


Posts: 17

Hello Stephanie,

By try not to take so hard I didn't mean to brush it off.  I am just trying to give words of encouragement to stay strong.  She asked for advice from people who have experienced this and that is my best advice.  Maybe my wording should've have been a bit different, but I in no way am trying to advise to brush it off or not take as serious. 

What I meant by don't take it so hard is to not blame herself.  She seems like she did the best that she could in the situation and gave Gizmo an excellent life.  She should not blame herself for trying to make the best decision as possible for the circumstances that she and Gizmo had faced. 

I see people posting here that feel broken for months or even for life.  I wish that there was a way for them to feel better about the loss that they have suffered but everybody deals with it in their own way.  I am just trying to provide optimism and hope if possible. 

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