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PTSD after having a cat put to sleep

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by Kidlington, Oct 6, 2013.


  1. Kidlington

    Kidlington PetForums Junior

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    Hi all,
    Is it common to have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after losing a cat?
    Six weeks ago, I had to have my cat put to sleep in very stressful circumstances - he fell ill very suddenly, ended up in emergency, vets let him down by not diagnosing, then ended up at another vets I didn't know who were not particularly solution orientated - 6 weeks on I am still having flashbacks, crying miserably about it, and generally wondering if I did the right thing.

    Is this sort of thing common?

    Roz
     
  2. AtticusRavel

    AtticusRavel PetForums Member

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    So sorry for your loss :( I'm very unexperienced and feel always short on words in these circumstances, but sending you a big hug!
     
  3. Marycat

    Marycat PetForums Senior

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    I am so sorry for your loss. What you are describing is very common. I don't think its post traumatic syndrome personally (although I am no expert) I think what you are describing is a very normal reaction to bereavement.Very often we get get through the first few weeks in a state of shock and then the reality of what has happened hits us.Hence the tears and the hurt can strike weeks after the event.

    Please don't feel guilty. You did the best thing for your little buddy.Its the greatest most selfless act of friendship.

    I would recommend reading a book such as 'I lost my best friend today' or calling the blue cross pet bereavement line.They can be a great comfort. Also putting a little memorial together for your pet can be a help.

    You aren't alone. Many of us on this forum understand your pain. It won't hurt forever. You will be able to remember your cat without that intense pain soon.

    Take care xx
     
    kodakkuki likes this.
  4. moggie14

    moggie14 PetForums VIP

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    Oh Roz my heart goes out to you, you poor thing :sad:
    It never gets any easier and I have been through this a few times as I'm sure many others have on this forum.
    It sounds like you had a traumatic time, perhaps you didn't get the information or answers you needed, if it were sudden this makes it worse.
    If you feel it is appropriate there are charities you can speak to that might help, but please don't feel alone.
    Perhaps giving us more details may help everyone on here give you more knowledgeable support, but fully understand if you don't want to speak publically.
    Take care
    Em
     
  5. Quinzell

    Quinzell PetForums VIP

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    I am so sorry for your loss xxx

    I can't really add anything different to what has already been said but you are most definitely not alone. Losing a much loved pet is losing a family member.

    Take care of yourself and know that we are here for you.
     
  6. thatsafunnylookingcat

    thatsafunnylookingcat PetForums Senior

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    How awful for you. I'm sorry for your loss. I do think it is common among animal lovers. You have come to the right place here as it's full of people who will understand.

    When I lost my cat I didn't even dare talk about it with anybody for about a year as I found it too upsetting, so it's good that you have managed to come on here and post. You will find lots of support and advice. X
     
  7. jill3

    jill3 PetForums VIP

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    Hello Roz. Welcome to the Forum.
    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your much loved cat.
    Loosing someone that you love so much under stressful circumstances will for most people have some form of PTSD.
    I lost my Boy cat under horrible circumstances and it left myself and Husband in bits.
    22 months on and I can say it is easier but I will never forget that night:crying: I have just learn't to live with it.
    This forum helped me a lot and so did friends and family.
    It does you good to talk and if you don't have any body that understands there are pet bereavement counselling available that might help.
    Having to make a decision quick when having a pet put to sleep is very hard.
    Afterwards it is only natural to think if you have done the right thing.
    You did the very best for your cat and he would know that.
    If you want to tell us more what happened when you are ready, then we will listen. It really does help.
    I think the flash backs will tend to diminish as time goes on. The reason being you will start to remember him with more of the Happy memories and not the bad ones.
    I hope this has helped.
    Big Hugs xx
     
  8. Staysee

    Staysee PetForums VIP

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    Its just grief, it comes in all different forms cos each person is different, i am very very sorry you lost your cat, its never nice.



    My dad has a form of PTSD so altho im no expert, i can tell you it wont be this your suffering from
     
  9. Jansheff

    Jansheff PetForums VIP

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    I'm sorry you've lost your little one. The loss is always painful, as most of us on here know, but when it's coupled with everything happening suddenly and unexpectedly you mostly likely have shock to cope with as well. I lost both my grandparents very suddenly (not at the same time) and, although I felt very grateful that they didn't have months of suffering like some poor people do, it made me very fearful and insecure for months - I felt like I didn't know what awful thing might happen next.

    It does get better with time and eventually you'll be able to look back and remember your cat's life and how much love you shared. Right now you can only remember his death, but the pain and memories of the awful events will ease and his life will be what you remember most.

    Maybe when you feel up to it you can tell us a bit about your cat, what he was called, how long you had him, how cute he was and what made you love him so much.
     
  10. Jiskefet

    Jiskefet Slave to the Hairy Hikers

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    It sounds like a very natural reaction to suddenly and unexpectedly losing someone so dear to you.
    To some people it will seem strange you feel such overwhelming grief over a cat, but I can tell you that many of us have been there, and we fully understand you feel totally torn apart.

    The flashbacks are very common, too. It is stress as well as bereavement, but I wouldn't say it is a stress disorder, it all seems a very natural reaction to me.
    You are allowing yourself to experience your stress and grief, and properly mourn your beloved cat. A stress disorder usually occurs when people cannot do that and lock the memories away, because they cannot handle them. That way, they will fester in their subconscious and trigger a disorder.

    I know it is extremely hard to go through this process, but you are on the right track, you are allowing yourself to feel your grief and distress, which will, in fact, protect you from a PTSD.
     
  11. denflo

    denflo PetForums Senior

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    I'm so sorry to hear of your loss, however, what you are experiencing is grief. It is a very individual thing, we all cope in our own way, crying is a totally natural reaction. It's almost a year to the day that I lost my Den and I still cry for him, not as often as I did, but he's still there in my mind (and heart of course), at least once a week, I find myself quite emotional. Don't expect too much of yourself, it hurts when you lose a friend, but it does get better and you will learn to deal with it in time. I can't say it ever stops hurting, but you will get through it and in time find that the gaps in between the tears will increase. For now, just allow yourself to go with it.

    RIP Little boy x
     
  12. lostbear

    lostbear Bear right at Newcastle . . .

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    Give yourself time - as much as you need. You may come across people who say stupid things like "It was only a cat", or "What - are you not over that yet?". Take no notice of them. Love is love, and you have lost a beloved member of your family in very distressing circumstances. You will be upset for a long time, and TBH, you will never get over this - but you will come to terms with it. You will never forget your little cat, either, and nor should you want to.

    It will do you good to talk, and remember all of the wonderful times, and the love you shared. You will realise that you did the best thing. It is never easy - never - even when we know that it is the only option for the sake of our darling pet. But you put your baby's needs before your own. If only everyone did that.

    God bless.
     
  13. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    PTSD is a reaction to a traumatic experience and I certainly believe that I suffered/suffer from it after I had to have my horse pts.

    She meant the world to me and it was a traumatic and devastating night.

    So, yes, I would say that what you are experiencing is certainly a reaction to losing a much loved pet, in a very upsetting way. It's bad enough to have to have an animal pts, but when it happens in an emergency and in a traumatic way then I think it can be harder to process for some.

    I am so sorry for your loss but hope that you can come to terms with it in time. Ultimately, I know I made the right decision for my horse and end her suffering, but I was powerless to save her.

    Your cat was obviously very special to you and although it is a cliché, time really is a great healer. The pain never quite disappears, but certainly reduces over time.

    Take care x
     
  14. Charity

    Charity Endangered Species

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    I am so sorry about your puss, they are all so precious to us. Don't feel bad about the time it's taking you to grieve. I think the more traumatic the circumstances, the more difficult it is to come to terms with and can take a long time. Also, if things didn't go as they should have or you feel more should have been done, this makes it worse. I have lost two this year in situations which shouldn't have happened and although the clarity of those two days has dimmed, the pain and injustice of it all remains. We probably all look back and think, if only I had had more time to understand what was going on and more time to make that final decision but we rarely have. Time will help the healing and there will come a day when you can look back at the good times you had together rather than dwelling on the end. Talk to someone who understands - a friend, a pet counsellor. I found making a pet memorial helped. It's five months since I lost Yoyo and six weeks since losing Maisie and I still cry when I think about what happened to them. Take care.
     
  15. Kidlington

    Kidlington PetForums Junior

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    Thanks everyone.
    I know this is part of grieving but waking up reliving each minute is a bit draining to say the least.
    I think it probably is because it did happen quickly, and my faith in vets wasnt' great before - it certainly is non existent now.
    Regular vet failed to notice how ill he was, then 24 hours later I took him back and they said they didn't have a blood machine working, so I then had to hare around in a panic to get him to another emergency vet - and I wasn't very happy about some of the things that happened there....
    I'm still waiting to hear back from vets about what their explanation was for missing the diagnosis -
    it is painful.
    I just wonder if there should be some independent vet advice helpline out there to help people in these situations.

    Roz
     
  16. lilythepink

    lilythepink PetForums VIP

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    Hugs. Its very hard parting with or losing any pet, even when its very old or sick and the warning signs have been there for some time.

    So sorry you had such a hard experience re this. I don't have a lot of faith in vets either from having our dog PTS 25 years ago.
     
  17. Aeschylus

    Aeschylus PetForums Member

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    So sorry to hear of your loss. It sounds like you did everything you possibly could, and of course a pet is someone you love as a member of your family; it's very natural to feel profound grief in these circumstances.

    Whether it's PTSD... well, to get a diagnosis you'd need to see a doctor or psychologist. No one here can diagnose you, and no one here can rule it out either. There are forms of trauma that aren't well-recognised (another example is when trauma happens in childbirth), so I don't think anyone can say it's definitely not PTSD. Definitely see your doctor if you aren't coping, but also allow yourself to grieve in whatever way you need to grieve. Sometimes you need to keep talking about it, and I think people here will understand.

    I do hope you feel better soon.
     
  18. Jiskefet

    Jiskefet Slave to the Hairy Hikers

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    For what it's worth, I think we should differentiate between post-traumatic stress and PTSD. Post-traumatic stress is a normal reaction to a traumatic situation, it only becomes a disorder when you cannot talk about your feelings or face the memories and push them away into your subconscious, where they may start to haunt you and define your reactions in totally unrelated situations.

    Which does not mean you should not seek help if you feel you cannot cope with the stress. By all means do, if you feel you need it. The trauma of your loss is very real, and so is the devastation you feel.

    But I don't think you need to be afraid you will lose the plot and suddenly black out or turn on some shop assistant because they use a word that reminds you of the vet.....
     
  19. Ianthi

    Ianthi PetForums VIP

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    I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your cat and given the circumstances you've described above, I'm not at all surprised you found it traumatic. Firstly, have you been to see your doctor? You do need some help to see you through this extremely difficult time.

    I take it you've (rightfully) submitted a formal written complaint to the practice(s) concerned? Now very important-have you requested/ been given copies of the Clinical Notes and all tests carried out, if any? I would urge you to obtain these as quickly as possible (go in and demand them-you're entitled to copies of everything- an don't be fobbed off with excuses about 'printers not working' or 'computer systems being down', say you'll wait) as it's not unheard of for these to be self-justifying works of 'fiction' when a complaint has been lodged against a practice.(Ideally it's best to request them at the time) Meanwhile write a detailed log of events ie vet visits including witnesses etc. It is possible to submit a complaint to the RCVS as well, should be unhappy with the outcome at the practices.

    You need 25 posts in order to be able to PM members here so once this achieved (keep posting!) I'll see if I can help you more. Best to keep it out of the public domain for now.
     
  20. Kidlington

    Kidlington PetForums Junior

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    Hi Ianthi,
    Yes I have the records - we got those straightaway - they did miss the diagnosis - the vet at the time was delayed by an hour because she was doing an emergency C section so I suspect her mind wasn't on the job.
    They also didn't tell us something crucial from an earlier blood test, which affected the way the emergency vets proceeded.

    I'm not expecting to get anywhere with them - I would also like to tackle the other vets who treated him as there were some things I was very unhappy with - but I don't really feel brave enough. We were basically pushed hard to have him PTS after less than 24 hours of him being on fluids and he wasn't given pain medication until I insisted. It was all very difficult to understand what was actually going on.



    Thanks for everyone's kind words. I was thinking if I am going through this, and this is going on at vets all over the country, then there must be a lot of very upset people everywhere.


    Roz
     
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