I had to unexpectedly euthanize my Tony last night and the guilt is consuming me

UnderneathTheStars

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I don't understand.

My Tony was perfectly fine. He was a good weight, active, eating well, playful, etc. Then, yesterday I woke up and he wouldn't eat. He kept hovering above his water dish trying to drink but he was unable to. He was walking like he was drunk and he was super lethargic and not at all alert. I rushed him to the emergency vet and they did blood work. Apparently his kidneys were failing. The vet said his kidney values, creatinine, etc were absolutely terrible and it was likely end stage. She said she could hospitalize him and try fluids to see if he responds, but that it might give him weeks, his belly was painful when he checked it, and there was no guarantee the fluids would even work. I decided to have him euthanized and I held him during the whole thing. He went peacefully. I can't stand the guilt. I keep thinking about a few things.

  1. I didn't notice any symptoms. Were there symptoms? My spouse says no, but I can't help thinking I missed something. My other cat has cancer but is doing very well. I spend a lot of time caring for her. Maybe I wasn't being attentive enough and Tony was showing me he wasn't well and I didn't notice it? The vet said cats sometimes don't show symptoms until it's severe, but I can't help thinking "what if". What if I had caught it sooner?
  2. I feel guilty for choosing to put him down. I have plenty of money for tests, hospitalizations, medication, etc. I made the decision because the vet said he might not respond and that it might not give him much more time. Also, he was in pain and it made me worry that his time left would have been miserable. I feel awful and like I should have at least tried. My other cat with cancer is still doing well and isn't in any pain and I didn't choose to euthanize her when we found out about the cancer. I could have tried and the fact that I didn't kept me up last night.
 

betsygee

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I'm so very sorry about Tony. Second-guessing ourselves is sadly so often part of the process of choosing to euthanize a beloved pet. We lost a kitty last year to what was probably cancer. My husband and I still talk about it. We could possibly have tried other things, too, but like with your Tony, it probably would have given our guy only a few more weeks and his time might have been painful or with very little quality of life. It's a very difficult decision to make, and it's natural to wonder if we've made the right choice.

You made a loving choice to keep Tony from suffering any more. Very often, there aren't symptoms--cats are so good at hiding their discomfort. And it's possible that he wasn't in discomfort for long, the illness could have come on suddenly.

I know it's easier said than done, but please try to not beat yourself up. You loved Tony and made the very best decisions for him that you could. :hugs: My heart goes out to you and your husband, it's so hard to lose our furry family members.

Rest in peace, little Tony. :rbheart:
 

Mr. Meow

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I'm so sorry for your loss.
The vet is right in saying that cats hide their symptoms. I know it's hard, but the "what-ifs" are what's going to keep you down. Even if you had caught it sooner, the result may not have changed. You loved Tony. He knew it. He didn't want you to worry because he loved you.
I deal with families who lost pets every single day. I can tell you that no matter what decision was made, you would have questioned it. If you tried the treatments, you'd be wondering if you're just making him suffer. But no matter what, the grief you feel is real and it's something that we, as animal lovers, agree to when we decide to bring a pet into our lives. It's unavoidable.
But beyond all of that, you loved him. You loved him so much that you were willing to take all of his pain onto yourself so that he could feel peace. Every religion believes in some type of heaven/afterlife that amounts to paradise. I believe that nothing can be a paradise without having every cat we've ever loved there with us.
Keep the thought in your heart that Tony is happy, pain free and spoiled beyond belief. You spent so much time watching over him, and now I know he's watching over you.
We're always here for you. 💕
 

T.O.

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You did the loving thing. We can be really selfish trying to keep our pets with us. Most cats hide their pain well. They hide it until it’s an emergency. I don’t know if there’s another animal that handles pain like a cat. So of course he didn’t give you warning.
 

Tik cat's mum

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I am so sorry for your loss. But I have to agree with what everyone else has said. Ifs and buts and what ifs go with this choice. To keep him with you for possibly a few more weeks would not have been the right choice. I'm sure Tony would thank you for ending his suffering and not making him have to endure any more pain. Cat's do hide pain well they act normally for as long as they can, you wouldn't of had any sign of illness until when you saw, so please be kind to yourself and remember that. RIP sweet Tony :rbheart:
 

di and bob

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Second-guessing comes with grief. I truly believe you couldn't have picked up on signs earlier because cats are true masters at hiding anything wrong. please don't make his death more important than his life. Concentrate on the happy times you shared with him and how much he was appreciated and loved being in your life. You saw the suffering, the vet has seen this scenario many times and would not lead you wrong. At times like these, when we are so terrified and not thinking straight, you have to rely on their expertise. My vet always would say. "If this was my cat.....", and I appreciated it and learned to trust him because he was o wonderful with my little ones.
Tony is at peace because he held your love. The bond you have can NEVER be taken from you or broken. He shared your life for a while and though he now follows a new path, he will always be as close as your thoughts and prayers, and as you would want for him if you were the first to go, so he wants for you.....
My heart grieves for your pain. Time is the only thing that dulls the sharp edges of grief. So send him prayers of love and gratitude and take one day at a time......RIP sweet Tony. You will be dearly missed, you will always have secure places in loving hearts. May the good Lord bless and keep you, until you meet again!
 

klunick

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So sorry for your loss. We lost our cat to kidney failure last May and there were no signs either. She was fine until she wasn't. She walked into the kitchen when my husband and I were sitting at the table talking and let out a horrible "yowl". When a cat does that, you know there's trouble. Took her to the vet immediately and they said her kidneys were failing and we too put her down. :hugs: to you and your familly.
 

zed xyzed

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I lost my boy to Kidney disease too. I can confirm that they hide it so well. We only found it when he went in for another issue. I am sorry you lost your dear Tony.
 

les26

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So sorry that this happened to you, but you did the right albeit hardest thing to do as a pet owner, and it is very normal that the grief has ahold of you and is playing mind and physical games as it will, that is sadly the way that we must deal with the loss but it will slowly lessen over time. It is so easy to think "I should've seen this" and "I should've tried that" and other thoughts, but we can't see everything and as the others said cats are masters at hiding their illnesses. I thought the same things about our Tuxedo Simon when he got stomach cancer in 2014, I did have him to the vet before that as he was losing weight but cats will do that as they age and the vet didn't think a whole lot of it, but then later it was very obvious that he was sick and it was too late to do anything and the grief and self blame hit me very hard. But he like your little one is fine now, just fine, and when we meet again one day it will be wonderful.

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

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

Mamanyt1953

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Rest you gentle, Tony, dream you deep. Your pawprints are on someone's heart forever.

Oh, my dear New Friend, your questions are the ones that we always have. I can tell you a few things that will help later, if not now. First, one of the most difficult things to spot is kidney disease. And the symptoms can come on VERY quickly, and almost always during the end stage. MOST early-stage kidney disease is caught during a routine check-up. So it is very likely that there was nothing for you to spot until the very end. The second thing is that I would have done the exact same thing. I would have steeled myself to put my precious Hekitty's well-being ahead of my own heartbreak, and not allowed her a long, slow decline with many visits to the vet, uncomfortable treatments, and misery. Tony was well, until he wasn't, and now he is well again. ,

You did the right thing. You held him as he took those first steps through the Gate between This Adventure and his Next Great Adventure, and you sent your love with him to guide his way. Now, from That Place Where All Things Are Known, he blesses you for your strength, and he sends his love, now translated and purified into Love, back to you to walk beside you down through all your days. For Love abides. Always, forever, Love abides.
 
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