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Posts: 2
2 days ago I took my 15 year old cat to the vet...I noticed he had a ruptured anal gland abscess that was pouring pus and it was very painful and he kept licking it nonstop. I thought I would take him to the vet and it would be a fairly easy fix. The vet took blood work and probed the abscess which gave him so much pain he was screaming. It was so so difficult to witness. The vet came back and said that his blood work was surprisingly good other than his thyroid was very abnormal and he had lost a ton of weight since his last visit a year ago. We knew he had hyperthyroidism but it was untreated due to the fact that he would absolutely not take the pills. She said that between his enlarged heart and high blood pressure from the hyperthyroidism and the fact he had lost most of his fat and muscle that he may not make it out of the surgery that he needed to cure the abscess and even if he did it would be a long recovery especially since he refused to take pills.
We made the decision to euthanize him. She took us to a room and we kept him in the cat carrier thinking this was temporary and that once they were ready to euthanize we would get to spend time with him holding him and saying goodbye. I talked to him through the bars of the carrier and told him I loved him but he was so miserable and scared being at the vet. Then the vet came in and said she was taking him and was going to sedate him to make it easier to find a vein to inject the lethal drugs. I still did not understand that this was the last time I would see him awake. She just took the carrier from me and left.
When she came and got me for the euthanization he had a gas mask on and was already unconscious. They told me I could say goodbye and talk to him and pet him. It felt so wrong though...I did not know I was going to have to say my final goodbye when he was unconscious and could not hear me. The last faces he saw before the gas sedated him was of the vet and the vet techs. The same people that Just a little while ago were causing him so much pain and he was fighting with. I immediately broke down...I knew it was too late to go back or do anything differently. It was such a shock. I wanted to be the last face he saw and just let him know I was there and loved him and that it was ok. I sobbed into his fur long after they gave the lethal injection, I just kept telling him I was sorry and I loved him. I have so much guilt with how it all happened.... I had no idea I was not going to get to hold him again before he was unconscious and couldn't see or hear me. I hate that his last conscious moments were with strangers that he associated with pain and fear. I'm upset with the staff that they let it happen this way and with myself that I did not take him out of the carrier and love on him. I know I did the best I could at the time, with not understanding the process but I just hope he knows I loved him. I have so much guilt and cry all the time.,,I wake up in the middle of the night sobbing, racked with guilt and wishing I could go back and do it differently. He was with me nearly half of my life and I feel like I did him wrong at the end.

Posts: 2
We laid him to rest last night...I am hoping it helps to give me some closure.

Posts: 22
I am so very sorry about the loss of your beloved kitty.  These decisions are never easy to make but I think you made the right one.  Recovering from that surgery would have been next to impossible.  You really did the humane thing.
I don't think your vet handled it right.  She should have explained that when she brought him back to you that he would already be unconscious.  This really is not ok and I can see why you would feel upset about this.  You have every right to raise this issue with the practice, either by calling and asking to speak to the director or writing them an email/letter.  They should have explained in detail what was going to happen next.  My only advice would be to wait until you can be rational and calm so that you can choose your words carefully, explaining what went wrong and what changes they should make in the future so that other pet parents do not suffer this extra sadness that you did of not being able to say goodbye when kitty was still awake.
Having said all this... your cat's last awake moments were when he was relaxing into a calm sleep state.  He slowly became less stressed as his body relaxed.  And they do say that when they are in this state, before the lethal injection is administered, that they can hear you.  He knew you were there with him.  And he also knew how loved he was, after he spent so many years in your care.
I hope you can find peace in your heart as you grieve.  I am glad you were able to lay him to rest.  Take your time, and take extra good care of yourself in the coming days/weeks/months.  You have friends here in this forum.
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