He's gone. So quick. And now the pain and guilt.

sierramist

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jan 25, 2012
Messages
9
Purraise
28
I posted recently about my sweet kitty, Gunter, who seemed to initially have mild problems, but suspected lymphoma:

Cat suddenly sickly after two doses of prednisolone

From an acting normal cat on Friday morning, to letting him go yesterday morning. Two days. And I can't wrap my mind around it.

Saturday evening we took him into the emergency vet after slowly crashing having received prednisolone for just one day. Cerenia and fluids, we'd hoped, would perk him back up, get him to eat. I was convinced it was the pred alone. But 12 hours later, no change except he was now obviously in pain. Didn't want to move much, no interest in food, water, anything. Just laid there, could barely lift his head. So back to the emergency vet.

Blood work was terrible. I can't repeat the specifics but suffice it to say the white blood cell count and lymphocytes was hugely over normal, with various other problematic indicators. The kind vet on call did an ultrasound free of charge, showing the mass in his belly. Two ping-pong ball sized pockets of fluid next to a large solid mass, most likely outside of his intestines but not definitively. She told me this was likely a necrotic, infected mass at this point, and the pred was just enough to knock down his immune system to set it off. "A ticking time bomb," she said.

Options weren't great: 1) Admit him to keep him stable then in 4 days do a more thorough ultrasound with an internal specialist to confirm what the mass is, then start down a road of meds upon meds, or surgery, or euthanasia. 2) Do exploratory surgery right then to potentially take it out, though she estimated a positive outcome is less than 30% and he could die on the table or have a long recovery and still have cancer elsewhere. 3) Give some antibiotics and pain meds and take him home, but prolong his path of suffering just to have a few more days with him before he dies. 4) Let him go right then.

We opted for #4. I held his limp but agitated body and whispered to him how much I loved him and that I was so sorry, and it was over.

I'm devastated. I had no idea just three days go anything like this could happen. And even Friday, after finding out he probably had cancer, I wanted to prepare, to give him the best of foods and experiences before the inevitable occurred. But there was no time.

I'm guilt-ridden. "What if I hadn't given him the pred, would he have had more time?" Probably, though the outcome would likely have been the same. "Why didn't we notice anything sooner?" "Did we make the right decision?" "What if one of those other treatments had worked?" "Will he ever forgive me?" "Will I ever forgive myself?"

Through all of this we've had opinions from three different vets (his regular one and the two separate emergency vets), and none were particularly hopeful. The last and most helpful emergency vet said she would have made the same choice had he been hers, but the sadness, the doubt. It persists.

I have OCD tendencies and I cannot stop replaying things in my head — the normal morning we had on Friday with treats and cuddles, the actions taken since, the moment he left. Then I imagine all the things I didn't or won't see — the doctors treating him and putting him through needles and tests (we couldn't go in until the end because of covid, but he HATED the vet in general), what they did with his body later (we're having him cremated).

I think back to how wonderful he was. He gave literal hugs. Would extend his front legs to be picked up like a child, climb up my torso and rest his head on my shoulder. Would flop down on his belly and splay out his legs to relax. He was a goofy, a character. Loved to play with paper and fabric. Ate like a dog, loved any treats you could give him. Would come flop on top of me every morning in bed. He was my other cat's best friend. They would groom each other, play wrestle, had a real bond. And I can tell he's missed in the house today. We found him as a stray about 9 years go, fully declawed from whatever probably-not-great life he had before. While I'm thrilled to have given him a better home full of love and fun, I'm so unbelievably sad he's gone.

It's just hit me really hard. I know time helps some, but I still mourn every pet I've had to say goodbye to. We have three other babies right now, and that helps too. And they ARE my babies. My husband and I don't have children, or really any close family, so our cats are a huge portion of our lives. So today I mourn him, and doubt my decisions, and cry.
 

daftcat75

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Sep 7, 2018
Messages
8,327
Purraise
15,156
I'm so sorry for your loss. May his memory be a blessing.

The prognosis was never very good to begin with. Pred alone wouldn't have helped for a palpable mass. That would need to be cut out. He likely wasn't a good candidate for that kind of surgery (age, weight, size and location of the mass, the length of recovery period, etc.) And there's no guarantee that that was the only cancer in his body. Cancer rarely stays in one place.

I know you're analytical. But none of the roads taken or not taken matter now. Nothing can be changed. He's at peace and pain-free. It will take time and there will always be sadness. But your relationship with him will transform into one of love and gratitude. Those things that made you smile about him will always make you smile. The pain fades. The love does not.

There is no shortcut through grief. But I did find this very helpful last year when my Krista passed to re-focus all that emotional chaos from doubts, regrets, and emptiness to finding meaning, gratitude for the love and life we shared, and reconnecting with her despite the sudden and jarring change in our relationship.
Urgent Coping Skills for Pet Loss Grief | Center for Pet Loss Grief

And whenever you are ready, we would love to hear more stories and see pictures too.
 

Mamanyt1953

Rules my home with an iron paw
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Oct 16, 2015
Messages
26,227
Purraise
48,382
Location
North Carolina
Rest you gentle, Gunter, dream you deep. Your pawprints are on someone's heart forever.

Even if the prednisone knocked his immune system down, it may well have saved him from days, weeks, of hiding suffering. Cats are such masters at that. The important thing to remember is that you were with him every step of the way. You made the best decision for him. You did not allow him to linger in pain, not understanding. You are a hero, and his angel. Pure, plain and simple. And he knows that now, from his spot in That Place Where All Things Are Known. And he blesses you for it. His love for you, now translated and purified into Love, he sends back to walk with you down through all your days. Because Love abides. Always, forever, Love abides.
 

Tik cat's mum

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jul 20, 2019
Messages
1,940
Purraise
5,841
Location
UK
I'm so sorry for your loss, Gunter already knows there is nothing to forgive. You made the decision to end his suffering. Unfortunately grief brings the ifs and buts, that's why your second guessing yourself. But from what you have said I believe you made the right decision and broke your own heart doing so. In time you'll be able to see that leaving him in pain wasn't a choice. RIP sweet Gunter :rbheart:
 

di and bob

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
13,625
Purraise
17,177
Location
Nebraska, USA
It all comes down to one fact, you couldn't let him suffer. It is always better a day too early than a day too late. You had absolutely no control over the events that happened, guilt comes from intent, and you had no intention of anything but to help that precious little one.
9 years ago you saved him. You gave him 9 years of unconditional love, everything he wanted. Now there is a huge hole in your life and your heart, both will take a long time to fill. Try not to dwell on the end, it brings nothing but more heartache and changes absolutely nothing. Instead, try to celebrate having him in your life, on what he taught you, on what he so freely gave you, his love. To have never met him would have been unthinkable, he gave you so very much. The bond of love you have with that sweet boy will forever be as close as your thoughts and prayers. Nothing can break that bond, it is spiritual, so eternal. And love brings the fact that he would want you to go forward into life and find happiness once more, live life as it is met to be lived, not mired down in perpetual sadness and tears. Live as you would want him to live if you were the first to go, he wants no less for someone he loves so much. But this all takes time and a lot of it. Surround yourself with people who support how you feel, take care of those remaining little ones who are in your care. None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow, they need you more than ever now. Let them fill that emptiness with their own love, fill your time with caring for them, it helps to keep busy and let time soften the sharp edges of grief.
My thoughts and prayers are with you all, words cannot take away your pain, but it helps to know there are others out there who have been through the pain of loss and have come out the other side. Somehow you will find the strength to go on, you will find that strength knowing he is at peace because of your love......RIP dear Gunter. You will be dearly missed, you will always have a secure place in loving hearts. May the good Lord bless and keep you until you meet again.
 

briannathecatmom

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Aug 2, 2021
Messages
19
Purraise
32
Hi there. I lost my cat yesterday and I too have been struggling with feelings of guilt. Though my cat was sick for about a month, it felt so sudden. It was hard to have him fade away in my arms and afterwards I hyperventilated and wondered if I had done the right thing by putting him to sleep. But I also know cats are some of the strongest animals and they hide their pain so well so it can be so hard to know just how much they’re suffering. But I think the best thing we can do as cat parents is love them enough to let their suffering and pain end. Please know you did the best thing for you and your cat and even though it doesn’t feel this way right now I promise you you’ll heal from this and be able to smile and laugh about the memories shared. All my best.
 

dustydiamond1

Minion to Gypsy since October 2016
Top Cat
Joined
Jan 24, 2017
Messages
7,248
Purraise
21,339
Location
Central Illinois, USA
:grouphug2::alright:So very sorry for your loss. He is watching over you and will meet you at the Rainbow Bridge one day.🌈💝
Sometimes the greatest gift of love we can give them is an easy release from fear and suffering.
You did the best you could do for him, please don't punish yourself any further. Your other fur babys (and spouse) are also upset and need a calm and reassuring vibe from you now. :grouphug::angel:
 

les26

Sylvester's daddy
Top Cat
Joined
Nov 19, 2015
Messages
1,927
Purraise
3,637
Location
Emmaus, Pennsylvania
I am so sorry that you lost your little friend, just think had you not taken him in 9 years ago, he most likely wouldn't have lived as long and certainly not had a great life but with you he did! The grief has ahold of you now and is playing mental and physical games but that is normal and will fade with time, just try to ride it out and it will disipate with time. You did all you could do, sometimes no amount of medicine or medical help can help, it is sadly their time to go but you will see him again down the line and it will be wonderful again....

"Their last breath on Earth is their first breath in Heaven" :rbheart:

I am sorry for your loss, I hope that your heart heals a bit more each day, God Bless......:alright: :grouphug2: :rbheart:
 

ColoradoCat

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Dec 18, 2020
Messages
85
Purraise
112
I'm so, so sorry for the loss of your sweet baby. He sounds like he was a wonderful kitty. Reading your post, it sounds like he was really quite sick and that there wasn't much anybody could do for him. I completely understand the second-guessing, but as much as it hurts, I think you made the right decision letting him go. He's now free from pain and waiting for you just over the Rainbow Bridge, and I'm sure that he's incredibly grateful to you for saving him and giving him the life he had. RIP sweet Gunter.
 

Antonio65

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Messages
4,444
Purraise
6,640
Location
Orbassano - Italy
There's nothing I can say but you did what was right for Gunter and that I'm so terribly sorry for your loss. There is never enough time to get ready for this moment, one day, one year, is always too short.
I know you are in pain and feeling guilty, it's normal, but please know that Gunter has already forgiven you.

RIP Gunter, you will be missed.
 

njg55

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Dec 11, 2014
Messages
76
Purraise
47
It all comes down to one fact, you couldn't let him suffer. It is always better a day too early than a day too late. You had absolutely no control over the events that happened, guilt comes from intent, and you had no intention of anything but to help that precious little one.
9 years ago you saved him. You gave him 9 years of unconditional love, everything he wanted. Now there is a huge hole in your life and your heart, both will take a long time to fill. Try not to dwell on the end, it brings nothing but more heartache and changes absolutely nothing. Instead, try to celebrate having him in your life, on what he taught you, on what he so freely gave you, his love. To have never met him would have been unthinkable, he gave you so very much. The bond of love you have with that sweet boy will forever be as close as your thoughts and prayers. Nothing can break that bond, it is spiritual, so eternal. And love brings the fact that he would want you to go forward into life and find happiness once more, live life as it is met to be lived, not mired down in perpetual sadness and tears. Live as you would want him to live if you were the first to go, he wants no less for someone he loves so much. But this all takes time and a lot of it. Surround yourself with people who support how you feel, take care of those remaining little ones who are in your care. None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow, they need you more than ever now. Let them fill that emptiness with their own love, fill your time with caring for them, it helps to keep busy and let time soften the sharp edges of grief.
My thoughts and prayers are with you all, words cannot take away your pain, but it helps to know there are others out there who have been through the pain of loss and have come out the other side. Somehow you will find the strength to go on, you will find that strength knowing he is at peace because of your love......RIP dear Gunter. You will be dearly missed, you will always have a secure place in loving hearts. May the good Lord bless and keep you until you meet again.
I lost a cat just a few days ago, and I recognize everything the person who started this post is saying. The responses have helped me as well, so thanks everyone for your comments.
 

LizaS33

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Sep 15, 2021
Messages
21
Purraise
57
I also lost a dear baby last year, and am still battling to get to terms with it. I have only started to forgive myself, the guilt and the ifs and the buts have been haunting me since. The fact that you are battling with guilt is just a testament to the fact that you were the best furbaby parent ever. Please forgive yourself - you definitely did the best that you could. Your furbaby has already forgiven you - I can only believe that he has total understanding wherever he is now.
 

di and bob

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
13,625
Purraise
17,177
Location
Nebraska, USA
The guilt is the worst, it is ALWAYS there no matter what. It is a part of grieving, it is because not one of us is perfect. There is always SOMETHING that we dwell on that we wish we would have done different.......
 

klunick

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
3,678
Purraise
10,014
Location
Solomons Island, MD
The one good thing about guilt (at least for me) is that it makes me strive to do better. Over a year after losing my two, I still have guilt about some things. Fed all dry and no wet. No vaccinations. No vet check ups until sick (which was too late in one case and the beginning of the end in the other). Guilt is what is pushing me to do better with Boone and Gracie. I don't want the same things that happened to my other two to ever happen to Boone and Gracie. I might not be perfect (but who is) but I am doing my best and that is better than before so I am content.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #18

sierramist

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jan 25, 2012
Messages
9
Purraise
28
Thanks so much, everyone. It’s taken me a while just to get up the strength to read this thread and your replies. I appreciate the support so much. :redheartpump:

Here’s a photo of my sweet, huggable, box-loving lump. Miss you, boy.

E009B424-232C-49C8-80BE-5D0E030A6F41.jpeg
 

catsknowme

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
Messages
10,812
Purraise
5,532
Location
Eastern California,USA
Gunter was very handsome and very blessed to be yours. You loved him enough to end his suffering even though it meant the start of pain & heartache for you; sometimes "true love is letting go" and Death comes as a friend. Our last gift to our loved ones is an easy passing. Indeed, Gunter was truly loved. {{{Hugs}}}:alright::grouphug:
 
Top