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Posts: 4
I have been reading this board for about a week now and finally got the courage to write my own post. I can't even explain how much it has helped me to know people have experienced what I am now experiencing and lived to tell about it. This Saturday I have an appointment scheduled to put down my 15 year old cat, Elvis. The depth of the pain I am experiencing is indescribable. Honestly it's shocking. I mean I always knew I would be devastated at the loss of a pet, but I have just never experienced some of these emotions before so I had no basis for comparison. I have had a lot of human loss in my life and I thought it would be very similar, but it's just not. I think I am pretty expressive and let myself feel things, but my goodness I don't think I have ever felt this much physical pain from heartache. It's deep into my core. This was not an easy decision to make, and I have been crying constantly since I made it. Still I keep trying to remind myself that the most important thing to me has always been to have Elvis pass at home. This cat hates the vet than any other animal I have ever had in my life. It causes him massive amounts of stress and I just did not want those to be his last moments. And as things have declined and as I have read more and more online, I feel like in order to give us the best chances of that happening, we needed to be proactive about it. I read so many heartbreaking stories of people who wanted to do it at home but then it didn't work out for all kinds of reasons. I keep trying to remind myself of that, but I am overcome with guilt. Elvis still eats and drinks, and he still loves me and is by my side at all times possible. But over the past year he has declined and we have had multiple emergency trips to the vet. But each time they said he was healthy and blood work was always good. More recently, he had an accident where he peed on me in bed. We took him in for another visit, and everything came back great, but the vet was concerned about a brain tumor because of twitching. Then he started having more accidents, and now we have to take him to the litter box at night so that he pees in there. He doesn't seem to poop in the litter at all anymore. He sleeps most of the day and is more lethargic and he is way more vocal than he ever was when he is awake. He doesn't move as well as he used to, but doesn't seem to be in pain. I don't know. I cannot get over the feeling that I am doing this too soon and that I am depriving my baby of moments in his life he still wants to have. It sounds crazy and I know I am putting my own feelings onto him, but whenever he seems to be happy I feel like I am taking more of these moments away from him. I feel like he will be angry with me and feel like I am letting him die. I don't want to let go of him, but I can't let him suffer and I know I won't be able to live with myself if we ended up at an emergency vet visit where we had to make a decision. I find myself begging him for forgiveness and telling him how much I love him. He is everything to me and I am so beyond devastated.

Wow this turned out to be a long post! I feel better having gotten it all out even if it does not get read. Here is a post I wrote about Elvis on instagram that I think shows my feelings for him:

In February 2003, when I was 21 (!!!) years old, I adopted a little kitten who came to me in a little box. I already had a name picked out, Elvis of course, but I had no idea how this cat would live up to the name and truly be the king. I didn't imagine this cat would be by my side for several graduations, break ups, moves across the country, and even deaths. For every single heartache and happy moment. Every Christmas, every 4th of July, every time I was home sick. Despite his hatred of being hugged evident in this pic, Elvis slept on me (not with me, on me) almost every night for the last 15 years. On Saturday, Elvis' journey with me will end right here at home while he sleeps next to me, but my journey with him will never end because he's in my heart forever. The pain of losing a pet is more terrible than I could have ever imagined. To all you pet owners who've been through this and still gave your heart to another pet, you inspire me! To everyone else, if you know someone who is losing a pet, the pain is so real, give them your love!

Posts: 43
I am sorry that you are going through this. I just put my dog down a month ago. The days leading up to the vet visit were horrible, with every moment being categorized in my head as "the last time" and a sense that I was betraying him. Although he was 14 1/2, had three different progressive diseases, could no longer take walks, play, or control his bowels, he still loved his food and treats and he was still good natured and affectionate. I did take some videos of him with my phone because whenever he was asleep near me it was easy to imagine that everything was all right. I made myself watch the videos many times, which showed how difficult and painful it had become for him to stand, walk, or lay down. They did a lot to help me be sure that this was the right decision. There is no good choice on timing. You will feel that you either did it too soon (if there is any quality of life) or that you did it too late (if there is no quality of life) and brought him unnecessary suffering. Most people say it is better to be an hour too early than a minute too late.

This is really going to suck. The depth of your pain is a direct reflection of the depth of your love. The stress of guilt, grief, and loss can make you physically sick. Be gentle with yourself, sleep if you can, eat right, exercise, take some time off from work. You can always find people who understand what you are going through on this board.

Take pictures of Elvis while he is still with you. One day you will be glad you have them.

If you didn't adore Elvis, you wouldn't be worried about his quality of life and you wouldn't be struggling with this terrible decision and your own loss. Elvis knows he is loved, and he is a lucky cat to have had a person who thinks he is the Best Cat in the World and puts his interests above their own.


Posts: 4
Thank you so so much for your response. it means so much and made me feel a lot better. I totally agree with you that this period seems particularly terrible. It feels like I am waiting for death almost and yes everything is "the last time." But I am trying to be grateful that it has been a peaceful week and we have made him as comfortable as possible. It's really hard when they are still having good moments.

I'm so sorry about the loss of your dog. I was afraid to take pictures because I was afraid they would remind me of this sad time, but I started taking them last night after reading your post and I found them surprisingly comforting. I am glad they have brought you comfort too.

Posts: 1,191
Hi Nicole,
I am so very sorry you are going through this. I put my beloved kitty Squeeker to sleep about 1 1/2 years ago after a valiant fight against cancer.

I actually scheduled the in-home euthanasia appointment and then canceled it because it looked as though he still had some fight left in him. In reality, I canceled the appointment because I was not yet ready to let Squeeker go. We had a couple more weeks together and then it became very clear that he was ready to go. So I rescheduled the appointment, and this time I knew I was doing the right thing. On his final day I let him out in my back yard. It was a beautiful sunny day with clear skies and moderate temperatures. Squeeker used to absolutely love to spend time in my back yard, but this time he found his way to my Hosta garden and hid underneath one of my larger Hostas. He was telling me he was ready to go, and I understood it loud and clear. So I brought him back inside, gave him some pain medication to help him relax, and put him in his favorite cat bed in the sunniest place in the house. And then I waited for the vet to arrive.

In the end, Squeeker was definitely ready to go, but he held on for at least 10 minutes after the vet gave him the final shot. His heart just would not stop beating. I think it was his way of telling me yes, he was so very sick but he did not want to leave me. So I told him, through my tears, that it was OK to go, that he needed to go because his body was so frail from the cancer and that, while I would miss him so very much, I loved him and it was OK for him to leave and find the path to heaven ahead of me. And once I told him these things, his heart finally stopped beating and he was gone. 

Anyhow, sorry for my ramblings. The reason I'm telling you this is to let you know you are not alone in wondering if you are doing the right thing. I had my doubts about whether it was the right thing, so much so that I actually canceled the initial appointment and then rescheduled it at a later date. In the end, I knew I was doing the right thing because Squeeker was ready to go and he let me know this in a few different ways. I did not want him to suffer any longer, so I made that final decision out of love, just as you are doing with Elvis. And like you, I was very fortunate to be able to find a vet to come to my place to help my beloved friend and companion pass away in a relaxed, comfortable way in the place that he loved and knew as his home. 

Hugs and peace to you as you go through this journey...

- Kelly
Angel Squeeker's mom
Angel Blackie's mom


Posts: 43

Saying a special prayer for both of you tonight.

Posts: 13
I was thinking about you and Elvis today at work and hoping you had a wonderful day together. Sending lots of love.

Posts: 4
Hello everyone, sorry for my delay I feel like I've just gotten my head clear enough to type. Your words have meant so much to me! So much comfort in this difficult time. It's been very difficult I cannot lie. Last night I think I just went into denial for a little bit because the thought of it being my last night with elvis was seriously too much to handle. We have been fortunate to have had a good week with him and shower him with love. I held him while the vet gave him the sedative, which of course made him more agitated and he required a second. Although this sounds awful, it was just SO elvis it gave us all a chuckle. I held him and pet him through it all which was very peaceful. The vet checked him before and told me his breathing was labored, and they wouldn't have been able to notice that at the vet's office if he is in distress there. He really was thorough and helped ease the guilt so so much. But now we are dealing with the loss. Everything is just so empty without him and I thought I prepared myself but it's still shocking how I think of him with almost anything i do in the house. My husband and I are both a mess and I just keep having thoughts where I am expecting him to jump on the bed any minute. It hurts.

I am so sorry for the loss of each of your pets as well. In all of your posts it just exudes that you loved your pets and carry them with you. We miss them so much.
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