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Posts: 2
Hi All,
I just registered here and am hoping I can find some other things I haven't thought of to help. Thank you for reading, My cat Hope, literally the most stunningly gorgeous calico/tortie mix I've ever seen, died 4/24 and I am having a difficult time with the way she died.

She picked me out when I was 10-she turned 20 the week before she died and I just turned 30. Shelter cat, alone in a cage at 6 weeks, 1.7 oz. She has been my girl my whole life, and while our family has had many other family cats, she was my cat. She has lived with my parents since I moved away for college and my mom noticed she was having trouble urinating, having two or three drops. She thought she had a UTI and took her to the vet (the ones we've used sinc before I was born), and they gave her some medications to try and help her bladder work. She still could not urinate so they put her under general anesthesia to put in a catheter, a surgery which she survived and I felt we were out of the woods (I was still 500 miles away at this point), while putting her on Valium and several other meds at the highest dose to relax her bladder. She had no physical blockage. She was still unable to go on her own after taking out the carh and putting it back in, but still aware, alert, and purring. I was terrified that the meds wouldn't work and that she was going to die without me there, so I took off work and drove home straight to the vets office, where she recognized me immediately. Her kidney values were checked and somehow she went into kidney failure really quickly, where sub Q fluids would not be enough to give her a good quality of life re: the vet.

I stayed with her with my parents for hours in the ICU, left to go home on 4/23 (which I now feel extremely guilty because I could have had 2 more hours with her but wanted to let her rest and I was exhausted form 500 miles of driving), and we got news that out of the blue her kidneys were failing and she still could not urinate. The next day, 4/24, I went to go be with her all day and hold her-she ate some monkey grass outside, purred, seemed happy, but then her bladder started to fill and it was hard as a rock. She kept trying to go potty and could not-she would leave my lap and walk over to try and at one point just laid down in the litter. Our vet told us that there could be a miracle but she was getting sicker and sicker-my mom said she saw it in her eyes but I'm not sure she was ready to go. She was moving less and less and still trying to go to the litter box. I wanted Hope to live, but if not, to go on her own time and did not want to make a decision to put her to sleep since hours before she was purring. Two of the vets said they hadn't seen something like this is 30 yrs of practice and seemed to think she must have had a mass pressing on her spinal cord causing the nerve to not work. I asked about everything-bladder surgery (they said she was too old but I should have insisted on it), taking her home to die (vet said she'd just be numb), but I did not ask about exploratory surgery or insist on getting an MRI / hours away. I expressed multiple times that I wanted her to go on her own but either the vet or my parents (because I don't ever remember saying okay to this or maybe I didn't fight back hard enough) said she couldn't stay overnight and we shouldn't take her home with pain meds so she was given the injection in my arms. I saw her slump over with the propfol and just wailed until they took her away because I couldn't open my eyes. I thought that it would be traumatic for me in the end but I didn't want her to look for me or know I wasn't there and thought since I was there at the beginning, I should be there at the end too.

My understanding is that without being able to urinate, toxins would rather quickly build up in her blood or her bladder would explode, and even if she was able to urinate, her kidney function was so low (they said she'd be on dialysis if she were a human) that "quality of life" was in question. I know she was old but I'm worried I didn't fight enough for the surgery or having them manually express her bladder one more time (I didn't think about asking that), or that they somehow thought I decided on euthanasia, which I would hate myself forever had I made that decision (please don't preach to me about it-this is my experience). I'm also worried that she wasn't as sick as the vets thought or in pain and that was her response to meds or if more time had passed a miracle would have happened, or I should have just taken her home myself on pain meds so she could die at home instead of on my lap on a tile floor. I'm thinking about emailing our family vet to ask him some of these questions so I don't hate myself with the things ive thought of or that maybe he has something helpful to say--vet has know me since I was born. He seemed to really be pushing the injection and I wanted anything else, of course, while she was still feeling okay.

My god this is long. God bless you for reading this. Has anyone had a cat who had a mass on her spinal cord or unknown freak illness? Should I have done things differently?


Posts: 22
CallieandHope, I am so very sorry for your loss.  Hope was and always will be, your special girl, and though you may not feel now that this was the right thing to do, it was the most humane and peaceful way for her to leave this life.  She did not feel pain and she was with you, her first love and whom she most wanted to be with in this world.

I lost my boy, George, just 3 weeks ago, he was 13, and I miss him so much.  He too, had kidney failure, and it was so sudden that I couldn't believe how fast he started to change, one weekend he was purring and nudging me to get up out of bed, the next day it was like a toxic bomb went off inside him, and he couldn't recover.  After just a week of waiting for his blood work results, I had to make the dreaded decision, because he was suffering (he couldn't eat or drink without pain because he also had mouth ulcers), one I go over in my mind many times. 

I agonized over not taking him home with the options of giving subQ fluids and force-feed him, thinking maybe he would have gotten better, back to the way he was, but then I still see the pain in his eyes and the weak sound of his cries.  George slept with me every night, with his paws around me, and it felt wrong to go on without him.  He wanted nothing more than to be with me every day, laying on my chest and this is how I held him at the end.  
 I had so much guilt and anguish, so I did call the vet a few days later, and she said, same as your Hope, that he would have been on dialysis if he was human, and even if I continued treatment, he would not have improved much.  
Perhaps talking to your vet will help and provide some reassurance for you.  

No matter what choices you would have made, Hope was at the end of her long life - 20 yrs is amazing - and you tried everything you could at that time.  Try not to blame yourself - believe me, I have done the same - it just was not in your hands anymore. 
Take one day at a time, the grief and hurt is real, a sad journey we go through even though we don't want to.  We never want to let go.
I pray that your heart heals and you can remember Hope as she was in good health, all the years of love and joy that you had with her, and also know that you will see her again one day.


Posts: 2
Thanks so much for your message; I appreciate it. I wish I was older so I wouldn’t have to wait so long.

Posts: 92
I dont have much to add beyond what georgesmom said, but I want you to know that I read your post. My heart aches for you and I'm sorry for the loss of your beloved kitty, Hope. ((hugs))
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