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Bruisers_dad

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Posts: 12
 #1 
Before i tell my cat's story, I first want to say thanks for this site, it has been very helpful. For all of you who have lost your little friends, I offer my deepest condolences, and as this site has proven, you are not alone in your grief.

I took some students to volunteer at a cat rescue shelter, and there was one cat who they couldn't allow to roam with any other cats. Bruiser had tested weak positive for FIV, and since they weren't sure if he had FIV or not, they wouldn't let him near any cats, whether they were positive or negative.

So here's this huge, 17 pound, blue, handsome fellow trying to play with his toy by himself in this cage, while dozens of other cats at the shelter were able to leave their cages periodically and roam. When they told me he was there almost a year, I knew I had to save him, even though he would tense up whenever I tried to pet him. I knew i could work with him and give him a better life. They had no idea what to do with him; at least he'd have some freedom with me.

He came home and was a very nervous guy. Although he trusted me fairly quickly, It took him months to get enough courage to even leave my bedroom, then more time to go down stairs, and meet people, etc. His skiddishness was slow to go away, and was always a part of him, but what a different guy he became over the years. His remaining nervousness became a kind of funny part of his dorky personality, making him all the more fun to have as my pet. He became so much more confident, fun, playful, verry talkative, and the most loyal cat I've ever had. He absolutely LOVED me and didn't mind giving others a cold shoulder if i wasn't around. He made no doubt that he was my boy.

He slowly developed respiratory problems in the past year, and at the end of August it started getting very bad. The medicine that once used to help him only improved him a little bit to the point where he was stable, but still not himself. Finally, last Monday,
he jumped on my bed, as he did every morning before he was sick, to tell me to feed him. I wasn't ready to get up yet, so laid with him and pet him, played with his ears while he purred, and had optimistic feelings that he was feeling better, even though he still looked tired and not quite himself.

When I finally helped him off the bed and fed him, for the first time he didn't finish his food right away; instead he walked away, a rarity, even when sick. A few minutes later i brought his bowl to him and, though he did finish, something wasn't right. A little while later I gave him a toy with treats that he normally liked to swat around as the treats fell out. He swatted it a few times, got one or two treats, and then gave up. From that moment, his health went down quickly. He laid all day, looking very uncomfortable, at times wheezing, depressed, and becoming unresponsive to normal stimulation. Having worked with animals, i knew he was starting his final run, and it already wasn't pretty. I wasn't about to fool myself into thinking a 4th refill of medicine was going to help much, and I wanted him to die with dignity. That night, i made that awful decision to make sure my little buddy wouldn't suffer.

While I don't normally get so upset, sentimental, or, emotional, I have had much more difficulty with this cat's death than any animal I've ever had. I would even say it's been more difficult than some family who've died. The house is so quiet, dark and boring. It's been a week now, and I hate being home.

My biggest regret is that I didn't take his body for burial, nor did I get his ashes. I'm feeling guilty about that. He should be in his spot by the window. Now nothing is there but the image of him in my mind. Not just there.. I see him everywhere. It is very hard.

Seeing him get sick quickly, and having to make the decision to put him down, was and still is heartbreaking. However, I am so glad he came into my life and had over 10 years with me. He saved me more than I saved him. As I told you many times that last day we had together, when I knew you'd be leaving me after all these years: We made a great team, little buddy, and I won't ever forget you. Rest easy, Bruiser boy.
Raychel

Registered:
Posts: 26
 #2 
Hi Bruisers Dad

What a lovely and sad story about Bruiser. He sounded like an amazing cat!

How lucky he was to find a loving home with you. I know what you mean about how Bruisers passing has affected you deeply. I’ve lost 7 of my fur babies in the last 16 years and each one is just as painful as losing a two legged family member, if not more. They give us such joy on a daily basis, and when they go it is so very painful.

Please don’t regret not taking his body for burial or cremation. Bruiser had gone. Our bodies are just the vehicle we used to live our life in, he didn’t need it anymore. The most important thing is that you rescued him and you became part of each others family. The fact that you still have his image in your mind is something you will have forever.

The decision we make to put our pets down is such a hard one isn’t it? But we do it with immense love for them even though our heart breaks. It is the final act of love we can do.

I, too, am just over a week after losing my cat, Matrix. He was 11. I keep thinking I hear him and see him for a fleeting moment and then, it’s like a punch in the stomach.

Thinking of you. RIP Bruiser.


Bruisers_dad

Registered:
Posts: 12
 #3 
Thank you for your response. You are right about his body, and I've fluctuated between telling myself that and feeling guilt about not taking him. I needed to hear it from someone else.

I'm sorry to hear about Matrix. I know what you're going through. The simple fact that you are on a website like this is proof you gave him a loving home and happy life. RIP little guy.

The interesting part of this to me is that, for 3 years, I worked as a veterinary assistant and I held many animals as they took their last breath. In every case, I knew it was the most humane and peaceful last moments for the animal, and never was it a difficult process, believe it or not. It was part of our duty to help these suffering animals. Not being the owner makes a whole lot of difference, though, because making that decision for your own animal is a whole other stab to the heart.
Simones_Dad

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Posts: 8
 #4 
It's never easy when we loose our little ones. I lost my little girl Simone last Thursday and like you the house has a different feel to it. Not just empty but more like lifeless because the little one isn't walking around it making sure all is well.

As for not taking Bruiser's body, Raychel is right, our bodies are just the vehicle. What matters is what lives on in your heart and your memories. Bruiser had a great life with his dad and you can be proud of that.

If you don't already have pictures of Bruiser around the house, do yourself a favor and put some up. I had one of those older digital photo frames sitting in the closet that I picked up at a garage sale this past summer and was wondering what photos to put on it. As of Sunday evening it's now sitting in my living room with photos and videos of all my past little ones. Even photos that were taken with a film camera from long ago I scanned and put on the memory card. For myself I find it very calming watching a slide show or a small video of my little ones in their happy moments. It brings back the good memories that I had with them.

R.I.P Bruiser, and Bruiser's Dad you stay strong as Bruiser is no longer in any discomfort nor pain and will always be keeping an eye on his dad to make sure that all is well.
Bruisers_dad

Registered:
Posts: 12
 #5 
I don't have photos around the house yet, but I did spend time to create a video tribute with music on my phone. You're right, it does offer some comfort. One feeling that I'm noticing is that, at the beginning, his photos seemed so real and 3D, like he was there in real life. Slowly, I sense them becoming more 2D. I guess it's natural, and it's not all the time, but I'm not sure I like it. Maybe it's still too early, but I guess I'm not ready to commit to him being memories and photos just yet. But I'm thankful that it seems my grief is natural and healthy.

I'm sorry to hear about your little Simone. I hate to hear about anyone losing a pet. They are the one thing in this world that are 100% good to us, and to have to make that awful decision which takes their lives seems so unfair and wrong, but we know how necessary it is. RIP Simone, your dad surely loves and misses you. Say hello to Bruiser for me.
iheartdierks

Registered:
Posts: 20
 #6 
RIP to Bruiser..he was a special boy.  It sounds like you were a great dad and he was lucky to have you! I'm in the same situation..it's been 12 days since I lost my little guy. I have had several other pets pass away in the past and it never hit me like this. I work from home and he usually was in my office most of the day and it is so lonely. I have memories of him everywhere and it's so hard. I had my boy almost 9 years.  Hang in there.
Bruisers_dad

Registered:
Posts: 12
 #7 
You are all so kind to offer support like this, especially while going through your own pain. iheartdierks, I'm sorry about your little guy. You had a lucky 9 years, and so did your boy. I wish we all didn't have to meet like this, but as i said before, the fact that we are all here on this site is proof enough for me that there were some very special, happy animals that lived their lives to the fullest, while providing us all joy, love, and companionship beyond which we could probably ever imagine.
iheartdierks

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Posts: 20
 #8 
Thank you. I agree that everyone has been so supportive and understanding. It has helped me so much to visit this forum. Stay strong everyone and look for signs  sent from your little one!
twinkiesmom

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Posts: 839
 #9 
Bruiser sounds very special. I often wonder just who is the rescuer, I think they rescue us too and fill an empty space we didn't even know was there.

As others have said, don't regret that you did not have him buried or cremated. Many times I could not afford to do that either. What counts is the life the two of you shared, so many special times just being with each other. He is with you still, in your heart where he will remain forever.

I hope you will come back often. There are so many wonderful people here to offer comfort and support. There are many parts to Petloss, a chat room, a candle ceremony on Sunday and Monday as well as many others. Please take care.

RIP Bruiser

Hugs,
Marsha
Bruisers_dad

Registered:
Posts: 12
 #10 
I look for them. But as of now the house is lifeless. It used to be that I'd wake up in the morning, or come home from work or wherever I'd been, and there'd be some little mess. Maybe it'd be litter, or fur, or some cabinet would be open due to him looking for food.. whatever it was, the house seemed to be alive. Now that Bruiser is gone, the house seems dead too. Everything is exactly as I left it. I hate being home, and especially i hate my house during the times he would be most active - coming home and waking up in the morning.
Simones_Dad

Registered:
Posts: 8
 #11 
Yep it's the same with me. No little one in the house, just myself now and that is a little overwhelming at times. Just looking at the spot were her dishes were makes that area of the kitchen seem sooooooo much larger and empty. Guess that's why I've left a lot of her bigger stuff around in the various rooms. Not quite ready to put them away yet.
Bruisers_dad

Registered:
Posts: 12
 #12 
I got rid of most of his big stuff the day he died, before I took him to the hospital. I'm glad i did, I would not want to see his bed and scratch post, but it is so much emptier without them. I would have much more difficulty getting rid of it now compared to when he was still there. His water dish is still in there, and so is the litter box. Can't touch those just yet.

Even after a long, stressful day, I used to have something to look forward to getting home to and free my mind of everything. Now i dread going home.
Bruisers_dad

Registered:
Posts: 12
 #13 
I wrote earlier about the house being lifeless. I'm always looking to the areas where Bruiser would make a little mess, like outside the litter box, on the couch, by his dish, etc. Since he's been gone it's the first thing I do when I come home, and I haven't yet broken the habit of saying hi to him when I arrive home.
Yesterday, after being away for 2 days, I came home and when I walked past his litter box I looked down as always, expecting to be saddened by the cleanliness and tidiness in its surroundings. But this time I saw something that still has me perplexed... a small patch of Bruiser's fur. It was lying directly in front of the opening to the box. Other than a broom being in the vicinity (but not directly above or beside,) I have no explanation for how it got there. There was no fan on, ac was shut off, and it was my first pass by the box as I had just arrived home, I can't see how I could have created enough of a stir. While I've been getting used to being a bit sad every time i come home, that little patch of fur gave me a little bit of a smile. Not so much that I think it was a "sign"...I really don't believe in that, but the house temporarily felt alive again, and fittingly it was a part of my little buddy that made it feel that way.
Raychel

Registered:
Posts: 26
 #14 
How nice that you got a surprise reminder of your little buddy that caused you to smile. I’m like you, I don’t believe in signs but regardless, so special.

Although we still have our dog, Tess, not having our cat Matrix around has very much altered our family. As soon as I got home from saying goodbye to him I washed and put away his bowls and packed up his food to give to our neighbours. Not because I wanted to forget him, but because I couldn’t bear to look at his water and food feeders, knowing he would never use them again. I still find myself staring at the empty space where they use to be.

You will know when you are ready to remove Bruisers things. For me I have to do it straight away, for others it is different.

But one place they will never be removed from is our hearts and memories. They will be there forever.

Think of one thing each day about Bruiser that makes you smile...
Bruisers_dad

Registered:
Posts: 12
 #15 
It's been 3 months now and everyday I think about my Bruiser. I say hello every time I arrive home and can't help but see him lying in his many spots around the house. Sure do miss that little guy.
buddy2k

Registered:
Posts: 103
 #16 
My Lilly has only been gone since Saturday, and my heart just aches so bad.  When I open my eyes in the morning the first thing that hits me, is that she is not there to smile at me & greet me.  The house is so quiet. She had a huge presence here.  We still have her brother Sam, and he is missing her too - it's sad.  I know in time it will get easier.  They are all so special to us.  I can just imagine how much you miss Bruiser.  We are lucky we had them, but it's so hard without them.
goofygirlinva

Registered:
Posts: 1,191
 #17 
Bruiser's dad, I an so sorry Bruiser is gone. I can empathize with you - our homes are so different without our beloved ones around, regardless of whether you have additional pets to care for. It's just different. The energy is different. The routine is different. Everything is different.

My Squeeker passed away Memorial Day weekend two years ago, so he has been gone for 1 1/2 years. I still say goodbye to him whenever I leave the house. He lived with me in two different places, but my current house is where he spent the most years with me, so I consider it his home. I always make sure I tell my cats goodbye and that I love them every morning when I head off to work. I always include Squeeker in my goodbyes and I Love Yous because this was his home, and he will always be part of the memories of my life in this home. So I include him in my daily routine, even though he isn't alive anymore.

Hopefully things will get easier as time passes. You'll always miss him, but hopefully it will get easier to carve out a new life without him as the days, weeks, months go by...

Hugs,

- Kelly

Angel Blackie's mom
Angel Squeeker's mom
Bruisers_dad

Registered:
Posts: 12
 #18 
Buddy2k and goofygirlinva, thank you for your nice words, and I am so sorry about the loss of Lilly and Squeeker. It's really unbelievable and amazing the impact our pets have on our lives. It really is a comfort to hear other people's stories, and to know that this feeling of loss is not just mine. Our pets were lucky, and we were even luckier.
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