Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

Struggling with guilt and grief after putting down my cat.

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by GlutenFreeHagrid, Nov 1, 2020.


  1. GlutenFreeHagrid

    GlutenFreeHagrid PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2020
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    7
    Made the decision to put down my (almost) 16-year-old cat 5 days ago. Wondering if I made the right decision and struggling dealing with guilt and grief.

    My cat Lola had been really lethargic a week before the vet visit, but I’d put it down to old age. She’d also lost a lot of weight, she was painfully thin. We’d changed her diet a couple months before and it worked for a while - she gained weight again and was doing well. But within that week of her being lethargic she lost all the weight she’d gained - it was a really fast transition. She’d also started hiding from us - curling up in tight corners in the bathroom or sleeping outside, but when I did find her she wouldn’t leave me alone. Then one night she suddenly couldn’t lift her head - her chin was on her chest - when she walked. Her steps were all over the place and her shoulder blades were fastened together. I was worried and waited to see how she was the next day. There were no improvements and she staggered more. I was really upset. I figured this was probably the end for her - she’d already started isolating herself so she must’ve known, too.

    I’d been in uni all day so as soon as I got home I rang the vet (around 4pm) and explained her symptoms and that I was considering putting her down. Recently my vet had been really busy so I figured they’d tell me to come in within a couple days, but I was told there had been a cancellation and that I could come in at 6:30 that night. I know it’s selfish - prolonging Lola’s pain is awful - but having only two more hours with her was horrible. It was all such a massive shock. I immediately starting bawling. I would never had thought the morning before that I’d have to put Lola down the next day, and not have been able to spend the day with her either. Her deterioration was so quick. We spent the last two hours in my room together.

    The car ride sucked. She was so anxious, and she hates being at the vet. The worst part was that she started to lift her head - she was looking wildly around. I was sure I’d gotten it wrong and she was fine. I expressed this to the vet who said it could be the adrenaline, and then told me Lola had renal failure. She said that we could get her blood tests and put her on fluids but that it was more than likely we’d end up back at square one, and that if I was thinking of putting her down, she’d agree. The whole time Lola couldn’t stand up, laid on her side on the table which is unlike her at the vet.

    It was so horrible but I decided to put her to sleep. The way she had been walking and moving since the night before looked so painful and she was so thin. She was so tired that she didn’t need a sedative, and was gone so fast. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and I can’t get the image of her leaving me out of my head.
    I don’t know what to do. I keep thinking about how she was lifting her head in the car on the way to the vet, and maybe if I’d left it another day (which would’ve meant I could’ve stayed with her a little longer) she could’ve gotten better. Even when she could barely walk she was still so happy to see me and would practically run over to greet me. It was so sudden, all of it. Even now I can’t get over that she’s gone - she was practically my shadow, she followed me everywhere and would sit as close to me as she could no matter what I was doing. I can’t sit in the kitchen or my room without it feeling empty, or thinking I’m gonna turn around and she’ll be there, but she’s not. And that was my decision - to take her away. I feel like I’ve lost part of myself - I’ve had her since I was 4. She was a constant in my life and it is gut-wrenching knowing she’s not in it anymore. I can’t get over the guilt and the grief. What if I made a horrible decision - what if she could’ve actually been okay, and pulled through? And I only got to spend two hours with her before she left. She didn’t have the last perfect day so many pets get to have, and the drive to the vet must’ve made her so anxious, those being some of her final moments. The fact that she had no idea those were her final moments - she seemed so content to just be with me in my room in those last couple of hours. I miss her so much. I hope I made the right decision. If anyone else has had a similar experience please tell me, and how to get over this guilt and grief and wondering if I did the right thing. Thank-you.
     
  2. Pinto

    Pinto PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2017
    Messages:
    413
    Likes Received:
    471
    Time will heal your grief. Think of the wonderful life she had with you. You made the right decision it’s never easy. xxx
     
    GlutenFreeHagrid likes this.
  3. Kittynanna

    Kittynanna PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2015
    Messages:
    540
    Likes Received:
    741
    From what you described you absolutely made the right decision for Lola, obviously not for you but definitely for her.....

    Now your left with all of these natural feelings (I have been there too), Lola she knows nothing of this and is now free of her suffering, I have no magic words, only that time really does help you accept.

    You need to remember that prolonging the inevitable would have been for your benefit....not Lola’s, you did what had to be done, her deterioration deemed the decision necessary not you.

    Your bound to miss her because she was such a big part of your life, but knowing you did the right thing will eventually be a comfort to you I’m sure.

    Take care X
     
  4. ChaosCat

    ChaosCat PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2017
    Messages:
    6,519
    Likes Received:
    28,305
    So sorry for your loss!
    It’s never an easy decision but from what you said it would indeed have been cruel and selfish to prolong her life.
    You decided for her best out of your big love for her. There’s always a feeling of guilt with that, but please be easy on yourself.
    It was your last act of love.
     
  5. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    26,293
    Likes Received:
    41,669
    I’m sure it was the adrenaline and anxiety of the car journey that was driving Lola’s behaviour to lift her head and look around.

    It really does sound like you made the right decision to let her go before she suffered but to question that decision is absolutely normal, in my experience.

    Give yourself time to grieve. It will get less painful.

    So sorry for your loss :(
     
    LinznMilly and GlutenFreeHagrid like this.
  6. Orla

    Orla PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2015
    Messages:
    1,582
    Likes Received:
    2,542
    So very sorry for your loss, but it sounds like you did the right thing in not prolonging her suffering. It sounds like she was very loved and had a lovely life until she became unwell. Cherish those moments x
     
    GlutenFreeHagrid likes this.
  7. Bertie'sMum

    Bertie'sMum Obedient Cat Slave

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2017
    Messages:
    4,243
    Likes Received:
    10,581
    "Weep not for me though I am gone into that gentle night.
    Grieve if you will, but not for long upon my soul's sweet flight.
    I am at peace, my soul is at rest, and there is no need for tears.
    For with your love I was so blessed for all those many years.
    There is no pain; I suffer not, the fear now all is gone.
    Put now these things out of your thoughts, in your memory I live on.
    Remember not my fight for breath Remember not the strife.
    Please do not dwell upon my death, but celebrate my life"


    Copyright 1992 Constance Jenkins,
     
    GlutenFreeHagrid likes this.
  8. vivien

    vivien PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    Messages:
    10,502
    Likes Received:
    10,222
    I am so sorry for your loss. I lost a 4 year old cat to renal failure. The black and white girl in my avatar. To cut a long story short, she went into vet hospital and on a drip, but as soon as she came off the drip she went downhill again. The vet thought she was born with defective kidneys and caught a virus. I was devastated. The grief you are feeling is perfectly normal. And even years later you will feel a pang of grief. I still get very upset when I see my Mikki in pictures. I lost her 8 years ago. They always leave a Mark on your heart.
    Here is a poem hopefully it will help you heal a little.

    Viv xx
    C64764E5-FC21-41EC-AA4E-61E041E41E18.jpeg
     
    GlutenFreeHagrid likes this.
  9. NFC slave

    NFC slave PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2017
    Messages:
    721
    Likes Received:
    1,104
    You had a choice between her physical pain and your mental pain, and you loved her enough to ease her suffering but cause yourself pain. No pet can wish for a better owner, one who will ease suffering when the time comes. It is always so very painful to have to say goodbye to someone we love, but the memories we are left with will, in time, be valuable to you. Be kind to yourself, cry, scream, do whatever you have to, but know that you gave your cat the best of lives and your final act was through pure love.
     
  10. Arny

    Arny PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2017
    Messages:
    1,420
    Likes Received:
    1,941
    I'm so sorry for your loss.
    It really does sound like you did the right thing for Lola.
    It's completely normal to feel the way you're feeling and only time will help.

    For most of my cats I've had time to prepare, even if it were just a week in one case but my dog suddenly had to be put to sleep last year.
    It was a day my mum was at work and an morning when I cleaned out my other animals so I hadn't paid him much attention.
    When I came down from cleaning he was reluctant to move and could barely stand so I took him to the vet and even there there wasn't really any indication he wouldn't be coming home.
    As the day went on the vet was finally able to pinpoint an issue and took an ultrasound scan, still he was optimistic that their may 'just' be a blockage.
    Once he opened him up it was sadly clear he had pancreatic cancer and we made the choice to go and say our goodbyes without waking him up from the anesthetic.
    It still hurts me over a year on that he was taken so quickly and that I wasn't there for him during the morning, although realistically it wouldn't have changed the outcome, and that he spent his last hours at the vet.
    The more time has gone on the more I've thought about his lovely life as a whole rather than focusing on his last moments.

    I hope in time you'll be able to do that too.
    Be kind to yourself and take care.
     
    GlutenFreeHagrid likes this.
  11. GlutenFreeHagrid

    GlutenFreeHagrid PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2020
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    7
    Thank-you x
     
  12. GlutenFreeHagrid

    GlutenFreeHagrid PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2020
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    7
    All of your replies have been so helpful, thank-you all so much. Your kind words have truly made me feel better (and get a bit teary-eyed). It means so much. I’m so sorry for all of your losses too, your pets sound wonderful. Hoping soon I can look back on mine and Lola’s life and think of the good things. Hope you all have an absolutely lovely day, thanks so much for helping me xx
     
    ChaosCat likes this.
  13. tyg'smum

    tyg'smum PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2018
    Messages:
    467
    Likes Received:
    1,136
    Please don't feel guilty. It would have been unspeakably cruel to keep your poor girl in pain any longer - instead of which you gave her the final, greatest act of love that is possible.
     
    LinznMilly and GlutenFreeHagrid like this.
  14. Charity

    Charity Endangered Species

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    23,758
    Likes Received:
    68,927
    I'm so sorry for what you've been through. It is the most awful decision we all have to make but let me tell you, you did absolutely the right thing. From what you describe Lola was very sick and very tired and you gave her peace and freedom from pain. She would not have got any better, I've had several cats with kidney problems and there is no cure.. Please dont feel guilty, you were very brave and your vet would not have agreed to put her to sleep if he/she had felt she could be helped with medication for a while. Grief takes time to heal and one day you will remember all the good times you had rather than her last moments, if you feel you want to speak to someone further, The Blue Cross and Cats Protection have a pet bereavement service. Take care of yourself and Sweet Dreams Lola xx

    LDP02REMEMBRANCECAT_2048x2048.jpg
     
    GlutenFreeHagrid likes this.
  15. GlutenFreeHagrid

    GlutenFreeHagrid PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2020
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    7
    This is Lola. Her and my dog Jess were best friends. She loved to sit and sunbathe in the garden most days. Thought I’d share some pictures x
    28086615-B951-4F13-9834-AFE1095F6298.jpeg 1F63F6E8-4516-4488-BE9E-6E76ACE7F5BE.jpeg 1D45955D-B720-4584-9847-5A705B2281B1.jpeg CA5F3E88-0918-4BDB-BFDC-1488CF384AA5.jpeg
     
  16. Charity

    Charity Endangered Species

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    23,758
    Likes Received:
    68,927
    Lovely photos, very pretty girl
     
    GlutenFreeHagrid likes this.
  17. GlutenFreeHagrid

    GlutenFreeHagrid PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2020
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    7
    She was, thank-you x
     
  18. ChaosCat

    ChaosCat PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2017
    Messages:
    6,519
    Likes Received:
    28,305
    Aaawww, such a gorgeous girl!
     
    GlutenFreeHagrid likes this.
  19. GlutenFreeHagrid

    GlutenFreeHagrid PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2020
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    7
    Thank-you! X
     
    ChaosCat likes this.
  20. tyg'smum

    tyg'smum PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2018
    Messages:
    467
    Likes Received:
    1,136
    Such a pretty - my first cat (ie after I'd left home) was a tortie-and-white, and I've had a soft spot for them ever since.
     
    GlutenFreeHagrid likes this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice