I had to say goodbye to my soul mate, euthanasia process was traumatizing and I'm devastated

catxlady

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Hello,
This is my first time posting here and I'm sad it has to be under these circumstances, but I've had the worst day of my life and I'm finding it difficult to cope.
My beloved 14 year old, the sweetest and most loyal girl, had been unfortunately diagnosed with high grade lymphoma. I feel the last months were endless but it all happened pretty fast, as I first brought her to a vet consultation on Aug 13 after a few days with vomits and diarrhoea. She had an exploratory laparotomy (which I was super scared of, but made the decision after reading this was the only way for diagnosing small cell lymphoma which carries a good prognosis). When the surgery ended I was so relieved that she was still alive until the surgeon told me they had to remove a portion of her small intestines that had 2 tumours that were likely to cause an obstruction, and there were many more they couldn't remove. I still had to wait for the pathologist results but deep down I knew the results wouldn't be good.. Small cell isn't supposed to cause masses. In the meanwhile, I was hopeful since her recovery went pretty smoothly.
After a week I received the results and it was large cell lymphoma. I had an appointment with the vet who explained the chemo protocol and I was still unsure but wanted her to get better, so I made an appointment, but the day before she started with the symptoms again and I didn't want to put toxic drugs in her system, that would make her feel worse.
She had been on prednisolone to manage her symptoms, and the oncologist suggested upping the dose. She did well for a while, but I started having second thoughts about the chemo. The prognosis was not good, and I couldn't bare the thought of having her go to weekly treatments, and weekly blood drawings when it would only buy her 4-6 months. I concluded it wouldn't be a good quality of life for her. I wish she could have been around much longer, but not at the expense of her integrity.
Approximately 2 weeks ago she started vomiting and wouldn't stop, I was scared I was going to lose her at that moment but she improved with Cerenia and last week she gifted me an amazing weekend.. She was in such good spirits, it was as if she never had been ill. But then during the week she started going downhill pretty quick and I tried everything to make her feel better, but was only able to briefly relieve her symptoms, it seemed that each time they came back worse than before.
I could tell she was not doing well, and during the last 2 days I felt she was in pain. She would sit down with her ears down, eyes half-closed, she struggled to find a comfortable position to sleep (she lost so much weight, it was painful to watch/feel). I brought my concerns to the oncologist and he said that's not pain, those are the symptoms of her pathology, and suggested upping again the prednisolone. I'm SO MAD. How can you have tumours, a swollen GI tract, constant diarrhoea and vomits and not be in pain?
Yesterday night was awful, she seemed so uncomfortable. She kept going back and forth to the litter tray and at one point she lied down there.. It broke my heart but I knew I had to make a decision.
In the morning I called the vet, after all, everyone agrees this is a peaceful transition. I believe it wasn't and this is where the second part of my nightmare started. The following might be upsetting to some.
He first administered an intramuscular sedative and she started "kicking" with her leg, he said she was fighting not to fall sleep, that this is a common response. She tried to walk and was very wobbly, but managed to step again into her litter box. He waited a bit, picked her up and put her on a table assuring she was out of it. He tried to place the IV to give the fatal injection but mentioned her pulse was really low so he was having trouble getting to her veins. At one point my cat who has supposedly 'asleep' moved her leg while he was trying to get the catheter in, it started bleeding. He had mentioned that if the IV didn't work he could give her an injection and I naively thought it would be another intramuscular injection, so when I noticed this wasn't working, I said "ok can you give the injection?" and he told me "ok I'll have to give the injection to her heart - it might be too much for you to handle, I suggest you step back". It was all so fast, then I realized what was happening.. He gave her an injection right to her heart and it was over pretty soon. But this moment will haunt me for a long time.
I know it was difficult for the vet too, he was his primary care doctor, but I feel he took away 2 things I desperately needed:
  • A peaceful ending
  • Being by her side during her last breath
I have been replaying those last moments in my head, it was horrifying. I can't bear the thought of her experiencing pain or fear during her last moments, and being unable to move. This is just adding to the grief of seeing her deteriorate from an evil desease, and ultimately lose her.

I hope she didn't feel any pain, I would never be able to forgive myself otherwise
 

Meggo

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I'm so sorry for your loss. That really was a traumatic experience and I'd feel the same way in your position. It might help to just remind yourself that you did the right thing and you made that choice because you loved your cat and you didn't want her to be in pain. If her pulse was too weak to use for an IV it's unlikely she was aware of what happened and she wasn't in pain. Try and take solace in that. Take care of yourself.
 

di and bob

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When you go through something monumental like this, it IS devastating and crushing to the soul. The pain is equal to the love.
I am a nurse and want to assure you the kicking, and the movement of the leg when he tried to insert the IV, was completely involuntary and related to the stimulation of the muscles, first with the medication and then the needle, she felt nothing. Every living creature fights against death. Their bodies take up a reaction to the sensations and many systems and feelings begin to shut down. It is nature's way of being merciful. When cats are at the point of setting/sleeping in the litterbox (very common) they are at that point and are becoming disoriented and becoming desensitized. The injection into the heart muscle is actually the quickest and most merciful ending, it is instantaneous, and does not require the medication to first flow through the weakening veins. She carried your love with her, just as you still carry hers within you. She was never alone, and never will be, love is spiritual so eternal. Her love will always be joined to your soul, and she will always be as close as your thoughts and prayers. She is at peace, free from the horrible cancer that ravaged her tiny body, you did everything you could with what you had, and more than most. Try not to dwell on the end, it brings nothing but pain to an already hurting heart. I know that it's impossible right now, but try to concentrate on her wonderful life and what she brought to yours. To have never had her share your life's journey would be unthinkable. Though the pain you are going through now is all consuming, don't let it taint what you shared with that beautiful little girl. That is so much more important in the scheme of things.
Time is the only thing that helps with matters of the heart, eventually it will dull the sharp edges of grief and you will begin to live again in a world that keeps on going though yours has stopped. None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow, so go on to live your life as you would want for her if you were the first to go. Her love is safe, it is secure. It will never be replaced, other loves will be added to reside next to hers and strentghten it even more. You feel alone in your grief, because you love her as no one else can. What you shared is private and personal, and can never be duplicated. Right now keep busy and try to do things that help you to feel better about yourself. Give a small donation of cat food and litter to your local shelter or food pantry, and do it in her name.
My heart breaks for your pain, I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers. You are not alone, we are legion, all drawn together by our love for these amazing creatures. Take care of, and be gentle with yourself, we are here if you need to talk. It all takes time, one day at a time......RIP sweet little girl. You will be dearly missed, you will always have a secure place in a loving heart. May the good Lord bless and keep you, until you meet again!
 

betsygee

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I'm so very sorry for your loss, and for the trauma of her euthanization. Chances are, as others have mentioned, your beloved kitty was having involuntary muscle spasms and was not feeling pain.

You did everything you possibly could to give her a good quality of life until it just wasn't possible any more, and clearly she got as much love as any kitty could hope for.

My heart goes out to you and I'm glad you came here for support. :hugs: What was your sweet girl's name?
 

Mamanyt1953

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Rest you gentle, Sweet Friend, dream you deep. You walk in someone's heart forever.

di and bob di and bob explained the process, and reactions so well that there is nothing more to add, other than I am so sorry your last moments with her were marred by this. However, now, from her home in That Place Where All Things Are Known, she knows how you tried to stay right at her side, and indeed, you were there for as long as she could have be aware of you. Rest assured of that. And I will tell you the deepest Truth I know, that love never dies, it only changes form and continues on, now translated and purified into Love. That Love she sends back to you now, to walk with you down through all of your days. Because Love abides. Always, forever, Love abides.
 
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catxlady

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I am a nurse and want to assure you the kicking, and the movement of the leg when he tried to insert the IV, was completely involuntary and related to the stimulation of the muscles, first with the medication and then the needle, she felt nothing.
Thank you, that brings some kind of comfort.

She carried your love with her, just as you still carry hers within you. She was never alone, and never will be, love is spiritual so eternal. Her love will always be joined to your soul, and she will always be as close as your thoughts and prayers.
This made me tear up, it's so true and beautifully written, thank you. Thanks for taking the time to write such a thoughtful message.

I am a nurse and want to assure you the kicking, and the movement of the leg when he tried to insert the IV, was completely involuntary and related to the stimulation of the muscles, first with the medication and then the needle, she felt nothing.
Thank you very much. Her name was Nati and she was one of a kind, we shared a special connection I know I won't have with anyone else.

IMG_0337.jpg


Thanks everyone for reading, thanks to those who took a moment to reply, it means a lot. I always tried to stay away from pet loss forums bc just the thought of losing my girl was unbearable, but it is incredibly helpful to have someone understand what you're going through. So thank you from the bottom of my -currently shattered- heart
 
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catxlady

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Oops just realized that this
Thank you very much. Her name was Nati and she was one of a kind, we shared a special connection I know I won't have with anyone else.
was actually a reply to
My heart goes out to you and I'm glad you came here for support. :hugs: What was your sweet girl's name?
My brain is still no functioning properly :disappointed:
 

betsygee

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Oops just realized that this


was actually a reply to


My brain is still no functioning properly :disappointed:
It's okay. We totally understand about being in shock from the loss of a beloved companion. I know what you mean about the special connection. My first cat was like that for me. I've had seven other cats since then and have loved them all dearly but there's always that one that stays in your heart in a different way.

She died 11 years ago and I still think of her. But I have to say, it is true that time heals all wounds--or if not heals them, it makes them less deep. I think of her fondly now and am so glad I had such a heart connection with that beautiful furry little being.

Rest in peace, sweet Nati. :rbheart:
 
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catxlady

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Her ashes arrived a few hours ago, I'm heartbroken.
Sometimes I think I'm doing better but then I see her scratching post or her favorite toy and I break down.
I keep wondering if I acted too soon. She had episodes where she was not feeling well and eventually improved, what if I didn't give her enough time? I know how it was going to end but the oncologist said she would have 2 months with prednisolone and I put her down only one month after receiving the diagnosis. She was vomiting daily even with Cerenia but maybe I should have tried something else, a different approach, idk. We tried fluids, antibiotics, dexamethasone, probiotics but maybe she needed something else.
Now her sister (litter mate) is looking for her everywhere, I'm so sad I couldn't save her. I really wanted them both to live long happy and healthy lives :( I was looking at pictures and 2 weeks pre-symptoms she was acting and looking pretty normal, what did I miss? I read it usually evolves from IBD to lymphoma but she never showed any IBD symptoms. But she also didn't have an ultrasound until everything started. I'm sorry I'm rambling but I have so many regrets and it hurts that no matter what I can't bring my baby back
 

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I think we all tend to examine every ,” what if?” I think it just part of wanting them to have stayed. Just recently I lost my 14 year old cat to cancer. Like you, I waited, hoped, enjoyed the good days and knew the end would come. It did and I had to choose too. This cat had first been bonded with my only child. I lost my child first. With both, I did the ,” what If?” But with our girl Smokey, I knew that there really was no long term way to save her. My daughter taught me that our loved ones try to stay for us. Because I watched her and she only left when I told her it was “okay to go home” I knew that I had to set our Smokey free too. It was not easy. It’s never going to be any easier to make decisions like that except that I know to make them stay for us is not best for them. We give them thier freedom to be whole again on their new path. They do not totally leave us. We give them a part of our heart and they give us a part of theirs. I think the pain is from our hearts bonding for eternity. They are growing together so that we can recover. The scars remain but two hearts together now beat as one. You gave Nati the most unselfish gift anyone can give. You let her go and set her free. Bless you. I would wish for someone to care that much about me when my time comes. She loved you as you loved her and I know she would not want you to suffer as you did not want that for her. She will be there watching over you. She is able to dance among the clouds and has them as soft beds. She can watch the birds from above and can fly far beyond them if she wishes. She is not the cat you saw at the end, she is the joyful happy cat you knew. You gave her that. Thank you for loving her so much. You are not alone. She is watching and we are here for you too. I’m glad you decided to post. This is a place where we all know what a brave snd kind thing you did. You chose her over yourself. :grouphug2:
3774CAD8-5C45-4D80-85F1-B05A0CEA287E.jpeg
 

CindyH66

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what a beautiful girl you had there ! reliving the events of that day and all the 'what if's ?" wont change it, only prolong your pain and serves no real purpose .I read Di and Bob note and couldn't have said it more beautifully . I am a nurse as well, and it was spot on, I had to send my baby I had for 14 years over that rainbow bridge this past summer during an emergency trip to the vet due to a saddle thrombus ( blood clot ) she was crying in pain and in so much distress she actually bit me when I tried to help her ( yes, my sweet baby who didn't have a mean bone in her body !) her name was Bella and I think I cried more over her passing than I did some of my human family members !! it was traumatic for my husband and me. I wonder so many times ..did she know I had to do it ? My vet had sedated her so we could discuss my options (none, really) before the final injection; He had trouble with vein access as well as the clot affected blood flow; I remind myself, what I did , I had to do .. it is what LOVE does . we wouldn't be in this much pain if we didn't have this much love in the first place. Picking up her ashes was so upsetting to me as well. I got a necklace on ETSY .. its a locket with paw prints on front. says ' forever in my heart" you can get name engraved on back . you can even put a little of the ashes in it.. and she is always with me that way.:redheartpump: I didn't put any ashes in mine . I didn't want to disturb them. I had saved a swatch of her fur , and instead put her fur in it.:whitecat: It is strangely comforting , for me anyway. I pray your will find strength and healing in the days and weeks ahead. The loss of a pet is unique pain that some dont quite get. Here , on this site.. you find friends who get it.:alright:
 

di and bob

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I have read it many times, and after not being able to give my sweet Burt a peaceful end, I believe it to be true. "It is better a day early than a day too late"......Try not to dwell on the end, it changes absolutely nothing. You were near and that is all she ever wanted. She is a beautiful part of your past now, she is honored that you love and miss her after her passing. She lives on through you now, in your heart and in your treasured memories......
 

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I was also a nurse and sat with many over the years as they moved on. It was mostly always with it not looking and sounding peaceful from our view. I also say that it is purely a physical reaction that bodies do as things cease. And also with a couple of my own loved pets, not always looking peaceful from what I was seeing.
I remember experiences of those who have been seen to be gone then returned, people who have said they could see while floating above the scene of their passing and how they felt peace and not their body. So I anyway think that is what happens. I've at times sensed spirits passing, being in peace.
I think she was feeling nothing and gathering all your and her love and only feeling that.
You gave her peace and the stopping of suffering. "It is better a day early than a day too late" says it so well. She would be thankful you cared for her to help her be free.
I still miss my dog from when I was 8 years old. I never have felt a connection like that since, but the pain lessened and it's such a wonderful memory- feeling that more than the loss. I've had many other connections not the same but still sooo wonderful.
My thoughts are with you.
 

klunick

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I'm so very sorry for your loss, and for the trauma of her euthanization. Chances are, as others have mentioned, your beloved kitty was having involuntary muscle spasms and was not feeling pain.

You did everything you possibly could to give her a good quality of life until it just wasn't possible any more, and clearly she got as much love as any kitty could hope for.

My heart goes out to you and I'm glad you came here for support. :hugs: What was your sweet girl's name?
I had one cat do that during the euthanasia process. I thought something was going wrong. catxlady catxlady I am sorry for your loss but be comforted in knowing that we have all gone through the same thing and it's never easy even though we know it's the right thing to do. :redheartpump:
 

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I'm so sorry for your loss...

I just wanted to say, that my family knows this experience all too well.

Our cat Ivan had the same diagnosis, same prognosis, same difficulties. It was awful watching his health decline and see the pain he was in

We, too, decided that euthanasia would be the more human option. My mother, who herself is a nurse, was the only one who went with him to the vet.

She described exactly what you described, and she also said it was quite traumatic 😔

But the important thing is that your cat was able to spend her final moments with you. Of every veterinarian I've spoken to, they all say it makes a WORLD of difference for the cat to have a loved one in the room at the time of departure...

Again, I'm sorry you had this experience
 
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catxlady

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It seems that after the site was down the other day, some messages were deleted. I still had my last reply in my clipboard so I'll add it again as I really want to express my gratitude towards everyone who took a moment to read this and reply:

Just recently I lost my 14 year old cat to cancer. Like you, I waited, hoped, enjoyed the good days and knew the end would come. It did and I had to choose too.
I'm so sorry for your losses. I said to my therapist that she was like my child, and he mentioned that some time ago he read a book about grief and it said that losing a child is the single most difficult thing one can experience. I believe it must be incredibly hard to lose an actual child, my heart goes out to you. Thanks for your words, they are really comforting.

I got a necklace on ETSY .. its a locket with paw prints on front. says ' forever in my heart" you can get name engraved on back
That's such a nice idea! Sadly I was so shocked that I didn't even ask for a paw print or a fur clipping, I regret it so much. I'm still thinking about getting some piece of commemorative jewerly like you did.
I'm really sorry for your Bella, I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to face such a sudden event.

"It is better a day early than a day too late"
Thanks, I try to think about this quote whenever I start having second thoughts about the timing I chose. It's still hard but.. one day at a time

I think she was feeling nothing and gathering all your and her love and only feeling that.
That would be so nice and I really hope so ❤ Reading about those experiences gives me some kind of hope that her last moments weren't of pure fear, I hope she felt all my loving

I am sorry for your loss but be comforted in knowing that we have all gone through the same thing and it's never easy even though we know it's the right thing to do.
Thank you, this week has been one of the worst of my life but I'm glad I found this place, and people who understand.

I appreciate everyone's words more than I can express :hearthrob:
 
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catxlady

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I'm so sorry for your loss...

I just wanted to say, that my family knows this experience all too well.

Our cat Ivan had the same diagnosis, same prognosis, same difficulties. It was awful watching his health decline and see the pain he was in

We, too, decided that euthanasia would be the more human option. My mother, who herself is a nurse, was the only one who went with him to the vet.

She described exactly what you described, and she also said it was quite traumatic 😔

But the important thing is that your cat was able to spend her final moments with you. Of every veterinarian I've spoken to, they all say it makes a WORLD of difference for the cat to have a loved one in the room at the time of departure...

Again, I'm sorry you had this experience

It's a cruel disease indeed, I'm sorry your Ivan had to experience it :( and I'm sorry the euthanasia didn't go as planned for him either, I'm still shocked when I think about it. I really wasn't aware that this could happen. Thanks for your words, the pain is somewhat more tolerable when other people can empathize with you. Hopefully our babies are playing together in Heaven, free from this horrible disease ❤
 

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I'm so deeply sorry for what you have witnessed during the euthanasia of your Nati.
Usually it sould be a peaceful, painless and easy process, but in my experience it rarely happened.
I had to put to sleep several cats and also a very young kitten, but I fail to remember a seamless euthanasia. And even when they went fine and without too many hassle, the experience is truly shocking, devastating and they haunted me for weeks or months.

It wasn't your fault, and maybe it wasn't your vet's fault either.
You did what you could to help Nati, and this is the only thing that counts. She's fine now, much better, and she hasn't forgot you.
She'll keep walking by your side and stay with you forever, until one day you will meet her again, never to part.

RIP Nati
 

rockitorknockit

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It's been almost 3 weeks since your original post, catxlady. I am wondering how you are doing today?

I found this thread at the top of the "Grief" section of the forum... I clicked on it for two reasons.
1, The last experience I had with having a beloved cat euthanized also felt traumatic and devastating to me, and
2, While not at this point yet with Oscar, I've started having thoughts and fears about it due to recent health issues coming to light, and knowing that one day - maybe years from now, I hope - I may have to go through this again, with the cat I truly consider my soulmate.

I don't have very much of anything helpful to add. I just wanted to say that I relate deeply to your experience and pain over the experience and loss. For me it has been paralyzing terror, endless questioning, intense guilt, utter helplessness. That said, I also found a lot of value in the responses others shared here. It has all made me cry - for you, for myself, for life being as it is and that death has to happen.

December 2017 was when I had to have my Vincent euthanized. The pain of that experience and loss feels just as poignant now, but my ability to shift perspectives on it has changed in ways I did not fathom it could. Now I am able to more fully accept that it was the right choice. Now I have less fear that he was in pain during the moment of it. I even wonder if I would have opted to do it sooner had I understood better then what I do now, and been able to discuss it properly with the vets.

When Vincent was passing, the last thing I said to him was thank you - for letting me be the one to make this choice, for trusting and loving me me, and for teaching me so much. I wish these were lessons I did not have to learn, though.

I am sorry for what you went through. I am glad you shared. Let us know how you're doing with it at this time?
 
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