Registered: 1539821373 Posts: 2
Hi, everyone. My vet suggested this website for grief support, so here I am. Apologies in advance for the length of this post, but writing it all out helps.
Last week on 10/11, we had to put our beloved cat Uno down. What everyone had thought was just a really bad UTI that kept coming back turned out to be a nasty tumor in his bladder, an aggressive form of soft cell tissue cancer. Unfortunately, bladder cancer often shows up as symptoms of other diseases, so I don't blame the vet for not finding out about the tumor until last week. This whole debacle began the last week of August and it's been a roller coaster of emotion and vet visits and the like. The vet wasn't sure exactly what type of cancer it was and wouldn't be able to know without taking a sample, but she had narrowed it down to three types, all of them with fatal prognoses. The choices we had also weren't great. They could attempt surgery, but there was no guarantee it wouldn't come back, or even be successful because of where the tumor was located. They could try extending his life but in the end, we were told he would only live for a few months at best. The third option was, of course, to put him to sleep, and that was what we ultimately chose. Uno and his two siblings were born in our backyard. I discovered them the day they were born, and raised them since. We wound up adopting all three of them and their mom, who we had domesticated and were taking care of, and for the past six and half years, the four of them have shared their lives with us in the comfort of our home. I think that's what makes this so unbearable. Not only because of the deep bond I had with him, but because he was so young. We've had cats in the past but they both lived to be in their 20s. I've never lost any pet this young before. There hasn't been a day where I haven't burst into tears. His siblings and mom are grieving too, I think. His sister has become really clingy, his brother yowls for him every day and night, and his mom will come to us and jump up onto places she never did before, as if she was looking for him. I added Uno's name to the site's Bridge List over the weekend, and my vet offers a service where they engrave a tag with the pet's name and hang it on their memorial post, which is on property, and I did that too. They also added his picture and a short memorial message to their website. Like with our other pets, we opted for private cremation, but we haven't received the ashes yet. We'll also be getting a cast of his paw print. Everyone says we did the right thing, and in my heart I know that we did. I couldn't subject him to anymore pain or suffering, and it wouldn't have been fair to try and extend his life just for a short time like that. But it tore me apart to make the decision together with my family. I keep worrying he feels betrayed, or sad and upset that we did this to him. I already suffer from anxiety and depression, and Uno and his siblings have really helped with keeping me grounded. I feel like a piece of me has been ripped out. I've been going through this entire week in a fog. Every day feels like it's blended into one long one. I can't believe it's already been a week since he passed. We've had to put pets to sleep in the past, ones who I grew up with, but this was an entirely different feeling of grief and loss. This wasn't helping a pet to pass along from old age, this was losing my baby far too young. I've had trouble adjusting because the house feels so quiet and totally different, almost empty in a way. We used to joke he was actually part dog because he was so lively and vocal (that's a Siamese mix for you). He would always greet us with a trill whenever we came home, and always had to be up in someone's business no matter they were doing if they were sitting at the table. He loved to play chase with me and loved running around with his siblings and playing with the laser pointer. He also loved getting into trouble, but we loved him anyway. Here are some of my favorite pictures of him. He was the biggest of the three and the only one who had golden eyes. He was a handsome, sweet, friendly boy who loved everyone and loved making new friends of all species, and I miss him every day. https://i.imgur.com/Vf3nunz.png - About a week or so old. https://i.imgur.com/5na0h5z.png https://i.imgur.com/TZGzMIW.png https://i.imgur.com/VFBWjGT.png - This is the picture we used for the memorial page on the vet's website.
Registered: 1529423348 Posts: 167
The pain and grief from losing a beloved pet is truly horrendous and beyond belief. I also had to euthanize my cat Karma when she came down with an aggressive cancer. For a few weeks I fought furiously giving her twice daily subcutaneous fluids, administering her various injections, feeding her food and all kinds of supplements through her feeding tube all in vain. When I decided to take the toughest step of letting her go, I was totally crushed and defeated. And then the pain and grief, and the missing that came after that was even more terrible. After 10 months, I'm still fighting the grief and break down in tears every single day. No one that has not gone through such a traumatic experience themselves can ever understand how profoundly heartbreaking it is, and how long the grieving can last! But I think, most, if not all of the good folk here have gone through the same ghastly experience you are going through. The only thing you can do is to accept the pain and tears which will attack you for a long time to come, and just be very patient with your feelings. It may take a really long time to 'come through' the tunnel but I can't really advise on that, since I am still in the tunnel myself. Try to remind yourself that as awful as this grieving is, it's all worthwhile for being to share your life with that wonderful animal you love so much. Most of us here would go through it all over again for our beloved pet in a heartbeat. I know I would, without hesitation, for my beloved Karma cat. Know that you are not alone in what you find yourself going through now. Best wishes to you!
Registered: 1539821373 Posts: 2
Thank you for your kind words, and I'm so sorry to hear about Karma. It sounds like it was a very tough and emotional experience to go through. I'll be sending my thoughts to Uno tonight to let him know to keep an eye out for her, and for all the pets everyone here has lost.
Today wasn't so bad, probably the best day I've had all week, but I think when we go to pick up his ashes it's going to hit me all over again. We tried out a new pet store today and I made a donation in his honor for some litter for the kitties there who are waiting to be adopted. I totally agree, too, about going through this all over again if it meant I could see him again. It's also definitely made me hyper aware of my other cats. Now every little thing that seems "off" to me, I question, even if it's actually not off at all. Here's to all of us here getting through that tunnel and finding peace.
Registered: 1340924276 Posts: 4,779
I know it is hard when we have to make a decision like you did. I also had to let my cat go in 2012. I had to do what was right for him, and for me, it was also a roller coaster. It seemed like he was getting better, and then we would bring him home, just to have to take him back the next day. I know the days are hard, as you come to terms with your grief. There will be good days, and bad days. Your vet was right, this is a good place to come, we all understand how much they mean to us. And we all understand the grief that comes when we have to say farewell to these tender souls. Even now I still grieve for him. not as bad as in the beginning, but, the missing him never goes away. I just live with the belief that one day, when my time on earth is done, I will see my boy again. Until then, I will love the others that come into my life, for I believe that is what he would want.
Registered: 1544566382 Posts: 44
I weep with you. Decisions like this are not easy.
Last month we had the same choice to make. We decided on palliative care, with "when he stops eating" as the "it's time" date. We put him to sleep on December 10th. My boy, my sweet Moody was just over 8 years old. Your story is very similar to ours, we had a small family of a mother cat and 5 kittens in our backyard. Long story short, we ended up with 2 of the kittens (1 disappeared after an unknown critter attacked them, injuring momma and my Moody, momma did not survive to be trapped/domesticated) I know how hard this is to deal with. I wasn't ready to lose my boy, he was just over 8 years old. I have 2 much older cats that I might have been more prepared for. Maybe not, but he was just so young and healthy, until suddenly he WASN'T healthy I'm glad your vet is so supportive. I'm glad you found this website. I'm sorry you lost your sweet kitty. They live so deeply in our hearts, that they're never gone, even when they leave us physically. A virtual hug to you.