Registered: 1525603202 Posts: 3
Me and my sweet boy Romeo were very bonded from the day he adopted me in 2013. He was the sweetest cat I have ever known. I spent every second of everyday that I possibly could with him, even at the sake of my own social life. I didn’t mind though because he was my best friend and I considered him to be my child since I do not have any and never plan to. He was fiercely loyal to me and always wanted to be by my side no matter what I was doing. He would be waiting in the window for me everyday when I came home from work, was in my lap every time he could be and slept next to me every single night for the 6 years I had him. He truly was the best companion a girl could ever ask for.
Almost a month ago exactly, he became very sick and I had no idea it was coming because he was hiding his disease very well. I woke up that dreadful morning to him crying out in pain. He was in the bathroom so I rushed right in to see what was wrong and I found him laying on the floor. I petted him and asked him what was the matter. After a minute or so, he stood up and tried to walk but his back legs became paralyzed and he fell to the floor and cried out in pain again. I will never forget the sound he cried out in, it haunts me. I knew something was terribly wrong so I quickly called into work and rushed him to the animal hospital. I thought maybe he had just hurt his leg and that everything would be okay. I was not prepared for the diagnosis the vet gave me that day. What had happened to him that morning was an episode of saddle thrombus (also known as FATE) which is comparable to a stroke that was the result of a life-threatening hereditary heart disease with no known cure. The vet insisted I rush him to a heart specialist two hours away that was going to cost me at least a couple thousand dollars to see, which I knew I could not afford, which makes me feel even worse. Romeo HATED car rides so I was very upset that that was my only option because I did not want to put him through that stress given the circumstances. I was also given some literature about the condition he was diagnosed with and I was floored after I got home and read it because the vet was not completely honest with me about how serious this was and that the option to treat him was very, very grim. Any treatment that could have been offered to him would not have improved his quality of life and he would have suffered greatly to try. There was only a 15% survival rate but the disease would have taken him in around 6-8 months even if I opted to do treatment.
After I got home and read more about saddle thrombus, I was absolutely devasted. My poor sweet baby. I thought maybe he will be okay, maybe he will pull through this somehow. When we got home he wanted to jump up in his favorite spot in the window to bird watch like he loved to do. I thought well, that is a good sign. Then an hour later, he had another stroke and began to go downhill fast. He couldn’t move the rest of the day because his legs were very sore, so I made us a nest of blankets on the floor and I did not leave his side once. I laid there and comforted him the best I could, offering him food and water, but he was not interested. The next morning, he had what appeared to be another stroke. After that happened, he tried to go and lay under the bed in his favorite spot. I know it took a lot of strength for him to try that given that he could not move at all the day before. I honestly think he wanted to go under there to die. I picked him up and brought him back to our nest and at that time I could see he was breathing very rapidly and I could hear it, I knew something else was happening that was not good. So, I rushed him back to the animal hospital where they x-rayed his chest and informed me that he was in congestive heart failure and his lungs were full of blood making it very difficult for him to breathe. The vet I saw that day was compassionate but more honest with me than the one I had seen the day before, as much as it hurt to hear what he was saying, I did appreciate it. He said to me, “your baby is suffering, I can try to get the fluid off of his lungs and do some pain management for him, but that is all I can really do at this point. If it were my cat that had been diagnosed with this disease, I would want to end their suffering because he will never be the cat you once knew and he will be in a lot of pain to try and save him.” I was so distraught and I am crying as I write this thinking about that horrible day. I opted to end his suffering and it was the most difficult decision I have ever made in my entire life. I sat next to him and held him while he was euthanized until he took his last breath. It was so quick and I couldn’t believe that this was it. The vet hugged me and left the room so that I could spend my last moments with him. I cried looking at his lifeless body and that image will haunt me for the rest of my life. I told him I loved him more than anything and that I was so, so, so, sorry that it had to end this way.
When I got home that day, I couldn’t stop crying, I went into an instant depression and then the guilt and self-loathing began to set in. All of the “what-if’s” hit me like a ton of bricks. I hate myself for not fighting for him harder, even though the treatment survival rate was so bleak and the disease would have taken him anyway in 6 months to a year at most. Why didn’t I see the signs sooner (even though he hid them so well)? What could I have done differently? Should I have listened to the vet about putting him down? Why didn’t I take him to the specialist? Or why didn’t I hold onto him for just a little longer to see if a miracle could have happened? He meant the world to me, he was my everything, and I let him down. I took his life and I have to live with that for the rest of mine. When people who I know mean well tell me things like, “you did the right thing” or “you gave him the greatest gift you could have by ending his suffering” I become very bitter. How dare they say this was a gift and the right decision?!?!? I will never feel like I did the right thing because that decision meant ending his life and the wonderful, loving relationship we had built together. Losing him has absolutely devastated me and when he died, so did my heart. I know I gave him the best possible life he could have ever had but that doesn’t make the pain any easier.
They say “this will get easier with time” but it does not feel like this is getting easier with time. Everyday he's gone is harder than the one before because it's one more day that he's not here. My life feels so empty and purposeless without him. My baby was only 6 years old and was ripped away from me so brutally and suddenly. He did not deserve to go out like that. If he was old and it was his time, I could have handled this pain a little better. But the circumstances under which he was taken from me are incredibly painful. I am absolutely devastated, and I feel so lost without him. His death has traumatized me deeply. Losing him is comparable to the pain of a mother losing her child and I can’t just have another one. He is irreplaceable.
Two weeks ago, I did a trial run with another cat from the humane society. I thought maybe it will help me get through this. His stay lasted one night and I had to return him the next day, I felt terrible about it but I learned that I am not at all ready yet to open my heart again, what remains of it anyway. It made me very sad and bitter to see the new cat in Romeo’s space, rubbing the edges and corners of things as he always did, trying to mask Romeo’s scent, erasing what traces I have left of him in this sad and empty place I live in now. I found myself comparing the new cat to Romeo and I knew that this was not fair to the other cat and they deserve someone who can fully love them. I know that one day I will have another cat but it might be a while. I know that before that can happen, I have to work through this trauma and make peace with this horrible pain and self-hatred I am feeling. Professionals say the grief takes longer when it was your first, they were young, and it was sudden and unexpected-my situation fits all of that.
I need support right now because the grief of his loss has been hitting me hard the past few days.
Registered: 1523877484 Posts: 17
Hi Kittylove, I am so very sorry to hear what you are going through with your baby. I had to put my Dooley dog to sleep almost a month ago. I understand your devastation. I lost my older brother unexpectedly when he 33, later my father, and I have also dealt with some other major life loses. The pain does not go away, but the space around it gets bigger, our bodies way of coping. I can tell you that I think of my boy almost every minute of the day and I still cry. But I've learnt not to dwell on my sad thoughts all the time. Don't get me wrong, the thoughts are still there all the time but they way I deal with them has changed.
Sending hugs to you, Fi
Registered: 1525636983 Posts: 3
I've been beating myself up the last few days, thinking I should've seen something sooner or done something differently for my boy. I get some comfort knowing I did what I did out of love for my baby, reading other people's stories has helped some too, knowing I'm not the only one blaming myself.
I'll still have guilt over not being able to save him despite it being virtually impossible to do so but I need to accept what I did, didn't do, saw and didn't see, we all do. For days I've been thinking "I want my baby back" and there is no getting him back, I can only try to cherish the time I had with him and let myself feel all the pain for his absence. I found some relief, after taking the time to let out the pain, in writing down my memories of him, things he did, times we spent together, toys he liked, etc. In writing about my boy I find it helps me 'save' a part of him. I have other cats and they are not my Loki I can't help but notice the differences and it isn't fair to them to compare them to him. I also took some pictures of places that some of our memories happened but I didn't take pictures of at the time. I'm not ready to create a memorial or album but I want to have as much 'ready' for when I'm strong enough to try that. Obviously when you are ready you won't be looking at another cat through your love and grief for Romeo. One day you will be ready to let another cat in and I can only suggest you not try to think about that too much but take care of yourself and try to find some peace in your memories of your sweet boy. Sorry for your loss.
Registered: 1516890861 Posts: 92
Oh my goodness. I don't know if my words will help, but I want you to know I read your post & I feel your pain and am so sorry for the loss of your beloved Romeo. I can tell he meant everything to you -- I feel the same way about my baby. Truly sorry for the loss of your loved one and I hope you are able to find some peace soon. ((hugs)) to you.
Registered: 1524963064 Posts: 11
I know what everybody is feeling, it is really terrible to lose your beloved pet, they are more than a pet they are for sure part of your family, and I think the only people that understand our feelings are the ones who love our pets like we all do, Most people tell me to get over it, but molly was the greatest thing that ever happened to me, and her sprit will live in my heart forever, and I do believe in miracles, I talk to my molly everyday and I know she can hear me, I keep telling her I LOVE HER SO MUCH!!!! its been about 2 months since she left this earth but she will always be in my HEART. God Bless everybody
Registered: 1526908242 Posts: 7
I am crying from reading your story about your cat. I have been feeling so guilty. Three days ago, I had the vet euthanize my cat. My 14 yr old cat, Baby, white with blue eyes. 14 yrs old and was gasping for air. I rushed to the vet who gave re him oxygen and stabilized him. He had congestive heart failure but looked good. At that moment, I made the decision to put him down since the vet.said she.had to take the liquids out and go to s cardiologist. With oxygen he looked good. As he stared up at me she gave him a shot and in 2 seconds his head dropped to his paws. I am torturing myself with guilt and can't stop crying. He could have lived years with medicine. I shortened his life. I fully understand how you feel. but with these feelings, we can make ourselves sick and depressed. I can't even grieve since the guilty feeling is worse and not healthy.
Registered: 1525603202 Posts: 3
I want to thank each of you for reaching out to me with words of kindness and your relation to my own grief. It has been a difficult two months for me since losing my baby and the guilt for my decision to end his life will always be there. I have to tell myself that I am not moving on from him, but rather going on. As hard as it is, we must have compassion for ourselves as we did for our babies. Continuing to live is not betraying them and it does not make us love them any less to go on. I think I have been compartmentalizing my pain a lot here lately, it has almost made me numb to the sadness, and that makes me feel bad. I feel like when I am not sad, something is wrong with me. But I have to keep reminding myself that grief is exhausting and there is nothing wrong with coming up for air every now and then, otherwise we will suffocate.
Registered: 1523877484 Posts: 17
I understand what you are saying completely. Sometimes when I have gone through a loss, I feel guilty when I am not feeling the intense pain. But I have learned that the grief is still there, we just occupy the space with other things for a time. So every so often, we will still have moments that are just as painful when we remember our lost loves. Take some time to be good to yourself.
Registered: 1516890861 Posts: 92
Thank you, kittylove. Now your response just helped me. I appreciate the kindness here. May God Bless us all