Guilty Feeling or Just Grief?

merlotandasti

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I've posted about my dearest cats Asti & Merlot years ago. Asti passed in 2021 & Merlot in 2016. I still find myself having random moments of an aching feeling when I think of them. Usually I focus on the good times, but recently I get pangs of grief and even guilt when I think of them.

Maybe it's just that I wished I could have done more for them. Or perhaps I feel like I let them go too soon, despite their illnesses and struggles in life. I still try to search for answers justifying their departure, but I think of how strong and loving they were despite their pain. I still wonder if I made the right decision.

Does anyone else ever feel this way, years from their beloved pets' passing?
 

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FeebysOwner

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I think eveyone feels both guilt and grief at times when remembering their cats. Holdiay time probably brings it on more than other times of the year. It is no different than losing a very close human member of your family, as that is what our pets are. I think there will always be times that you will feel sad about them not being with you anymore. :grouphug:
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Tobermory

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You are not alone. I’ll bet most of us here feel that recurring sense of loss and guilt when a beloved fur friend passes, even after a long period of time. It’s probably one of the reasons we find comfort on this site in addition to the advice when our kitties are in need. I know I feel guilt, as if I betrayed them at the end. But one reason is that I couldn’t explain to them why I was making that wrenching decision.

Their lives are so much shorter than ours, so much more compressed. I’d like to believe that they’ve had good lives with me, and no matter how painful it is at the end, it doesn’t change the fact that they loved and trusted us and were loved in return. :greenpaw:
 

Mamanyt1953

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If it helps, I still have moments of grief for the soul-dog I lost 50 years ago. And I still "step over" her when I get out of bed, some mornings. AND there is guilt, that I could not do more for her. This, in spite of the fact that everything medically possible AT THAT TIME was done for her! I think that guilt is built into us, and I also think that most of the time, it is unwarranted. Especially when we have done everything we knew, made the best decisions based on information we were given by trusted sources. Slowly, very slowly, I am understanding that my "guilt" is more properly "regret." It helps, a bit.
 

the spare human

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I feel ya! If I was so damn stupid I could of saved a couple of my adopted love children. I realize that they had it better with me then on the streets. However they still would of been better of with someone mote knowledgeable and experienced. All and all tho I'm still thankful that they got to make me happy. Selfish as that is
 

di and bob

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I still grieve eleven years later.....Not nearly as often, not nearly as hard, but it is still there. I always will, the hardest part of grieving is forgiving yourself. If you have a direct part in their dying, forgiveness is impossible. I went to get the mail across the street, after checking where my little one was, she was far away in the back yard. I was distracted for ONE moment by a car going by, and that is when she must haev raced across the lawn into the street, so full of life and happiness. My whole world ended in that instant, I will NEVER forget those awful sounds, that devastating minute. I have paid a big price over my life. They say that guilt is conceived when there is intent, but stupidity is there too. I had absolutely no intent of anything like that happening, but I still will always hold the guilt. It cost me my world, and almost my sanity.
it takes a LONG time to get through processing your guilt and pain. But eventually, you will, maybe not in the way that allows you to be fully whole again, but to learn ways to live with missing that part of you. i have stood in shoes I would pray that never have to be stood in by anyone else, but I know they will, and that is why I am here to try to make sense of the pain, giving comfort when I can, giving hope that eventually, your good memories will be like a light in the darkness of that single devastating day, because I have stood there......
 
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merlotandasti

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I hate that we all have this feeling, but I find some comfort in the fact that I'm not alone. This site & it's members have taught me so much & given me so much strength throughout the years. Hopefully I can turn my own feelings of grief/guilt into something good in the future.
 

OhYesIndeed

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I have a question for all you good people here. How many of you who still suffer from guilt and grief - years after losing your precious friend - never got a new cat?

It might sound insensitive but all of you are here because you have a special bond with the feline species. My mother never got over the death of our family cat a long time ago and she said she never wants to go through the pain of losing a pet again. But I'm not sure that's the right wait to look at it. If you are cat person you will have a cat shaped hole in your heart whenever you don't have another one of those precious balls of fur in your life.
 
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merlotandasti

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I have a question for all you good people here. How many of you who still suffer from guilt and grief - years after losing your precious friend - never got a new cat?

It might sound insensitive but all of you are here because you have a special bond with the feline species. My mother never got over the death of our family cat a long time ago and she said she never wants to go through the pain of losing a pet again. But I'm not sure that's the right wait to look at it. If you are cat person you will have a cat shaped hole in your heart whenever you don't have another one of those precious balls of fur in your life.

It's only been 2 years, but I still feel unready to get another cat. I love them so much, but the pain of seeing them age & get sick is still a lot for me right now. I understand your mother's feeling. One day, I hope I'm ready to take on the responsibility again.
 

di and bob

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I never got another dog after my Yorkie died, he was my whole life and I never desired another. There was never a hole in my life, he will always fill it. I didn’t have a choice when my Chrissy was killed, I already had other cats. And I even resented them for a while. But cats come into your life and your heart without you having much to do with it. Feral/stray dogs just don’t appear in your yard a lot. I think starting to love another cat, sharing your life, causes the healing process to deepen. It brings about a filling of that hole in your life, brings happiness back into your heart. Brings a glimmer that turns into a light in the black hole of grief.
I can still cry 11 years later, I will never forget, always relive, that devastating day. It changed my life and changed me…….
 

I'm John

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Well, having a cat has certainly changed me in many ways. I became more aware of myself and my cats taught me respect and love towards myself. I became a vegetarian.

I am currently not thinking about getting another pet (dog or a cat), although I really love them. Indeed it can be difficult to go through the difficult times with them, but the main reason why I am not getting one now is because I am not decided what I want to do with my life during the next years. I don't want to settle down. I am thinking of traveling, going to university etc. I have to admit that being responsible for someone can be very distressing as well. For example, when Russia invaded Ukraine some time ago, I was really afraid I'd have to run away with my cat, who has lived his whole life in an apartment. I was really worried that he'd be distressed and could pass away from this stress. Luckily, I did not have to flee and this worry never came true.
 

Devia Morgenstern

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The Tika disaster is something no-one in my family will ever forget, even though more then eleven years have past. Don't get me wrong, we've reached the point where we stop cring about it, but the incident's forever part of us. It's become part of our history, part of our hearts, and it's deeply embedded in our soul.
Tika was a precious blue tabby and white bicolor. She was the most intelligent, people oriented cat, and inherited her mothers sweet temperament. I loved that angel with whiskers deeply, and there's no doubt she had an intimate connection with us. Then one day she accidentally escaped outside. Three days later we found her in the garage, severely injured. To this day it's a mystery what exactly happened to her. The wound almost looked as though someone had been trying to do surgery on her. The cut was clean, smooth, and oddly there was no blood. We did everything we could to help her, but sadly when we were finally able to take her to the vets, he said it'd be best to put her down. He believed that even if he performed a surgery there's a chance she'd get infected. I don't think I've ever been more upset, or cired as much then the moment I spent alone saying good bye to my precious girl. To this day I still feel like I haven't fully let go of that connection we had. I can still feel her presence from time to time.
Another loss that's still with me involves Oliva, a stray we took in, or rather, took us in.
She gave birth to a litter of the most beautiful kittens, and I was excited to see that one of them was a calico. But something went wrong, and slowly each kitten developed a respetory problem then their body just...gave up.
The night I went to check on them and found the calico deseased...it haunts me. I'd desperately been hoping she'd survive. I needed her to survive. But I guess life had other plans.
If there's one lesson both experiences taught me it's that when you truly love someone they never really die. They just become part of your heart. The hardest part about grief, I think, isn't the loss, it's that the love, the connection we felt is still there. Our physical body can register the fact that someone has passed, but the heart never forgets. But I also know that somehow it gets easier. New cats enter your life and slowly you heal. But I don't think you ever 'get over it', it's more a process of that love, that loss finds better places to go then stewing in your mind.
 

Alldara

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Grief is not something we just get over or move on from. We learn how to hold it, we learn to give ourselves grace, kindness and gentleness and grief can change over time.

I really like the grief as a button analogy.
Sometimes I do remember things and it comes without pain to the memory, but other times, even a long time later there are regrets, pain or guilt. Especially as science and knowledge advances and we learn more, I sometimes have more guilt. So I think that's normal.
 
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