I know I probably made the right decision... but I feel terrible and devastated

OhYesIndeed

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Yesterday evening I had to take one of the hardest decisions of my life and end the life of our eldest cat. We got home after midnight from the summerhouse where we buried her next to our two beloved dogs that we used to have. We planted tulips on her grave and left a candle on her final resting place in the dark November night.

We took her from the shelter six and a half years ago. She was the second longest resident there, waiting almost five years for someone to take her. She was extremely fearful or distrustful of people and even most other cats and that was very offputting for most people. To be honest we took her based on the way she gazed at us from on top of the shelves with her bright green eyes.. we had no idea what we got ourselves into.

She turned out to be very hard to socialize. She would hiss, try to hit you and then escape. She wouldn't eat in the beginning because of the stress. It took weeks for her to carefully begin sneaking around the apartment and come to eat when we called her. We took a second cat around half a year later to keep her company. While in the beginning it looked like another disaster in the making, slowly she warmed up to the other cat and they became reasonably close.

It took us almost a year until we could pet her on the head. She didn't know how to rub herself against a person, so she studied what the new cat was doing and thought to give it a try. She run headfirst into somebody's leg and startled both herself and the fortunate recipient of her affection. Day by day, week by week, month by month she became more friendly and accepting of us.

Two and half years ago she suddenly stopped eating and it looked like she couldn't close her jaw. I paid a girl that used to work for the shelter to catch her so we could take her to the doctor. It was a hugely traumatic experience for her and us as well. I was mentally prepared that her time had come but it turned out to be an infection, she got a very strong shot of medicine and already after a few hours back at home she was feeling better and started to eat again.

About a month ago there was a startling change in her behaviour. She suddenly started to come and sit on our laps while purring loudly. We know this is a potential sign of a health problem and then around ten days ago she almost stopped eating. I thought whatever infection she might have had before was back so I tricked her to take her to the vet clinic. Once she was in my lap again I just quickly grabbed her put her in the cage. I was sure it would be a quick visit, another round of blood tests and medicine shots and off to home we go.

But it was bad news, much worse than last time. Her thyroid was very ill. It was a long and complicated name which I immediately forgot. I asked what the treatment options are. The doctor said two pills per day and a mandatory clinic visit every month. She would perhaps gain another year, maybe two at most. I was shocked. You see catching her is a hugely traumatic experience for her (nevermind us), she fights every time like the angriest cat you have ever seen. And on top of that we have never ever been able to give her oral medicine apart from one time where we managed to hide it in food. After that one time she never again fell for it.

I discussed it with my wife and daughter over the phone. We all knew this treatment plan could perhaps work with another cat but not her. We would make her last year a living hell. After my wife burst into tears on the phone I knew we were out of options. I asked the vet if we would have made it to the clinic earlier, if it would have changed something. She said "no", but it didn't make me feel better.

So I betrayed her. I promised her we would be back home in a few hours, that she would be okay. I had to watch her in the eyes and comfort her when they gave her the lethal injection. I completely broke down. A day later and I'm not much better. I feel empty and hollow. I'm a grown man but I have to hold back tears when I think about her for more than five seconds.

I think I ran out of words for now.
 

SpecterOhPossum

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I can't imagine how you feel; I've never crossed that bridge myself.
But you did the best thing, dragging it out for another year in her state would have been ten times harder on you and her in the longrun. She is at peace now; you did the right thing.
 

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I am so so so sorry. I've had to make that decision more times than I have wanted to and it is not easy. I found this quote and have referred to it and it helps a little. So sorry again.
“The choice to break our own hearts to save another from suffering is true compassion”
 

CatLover49

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I am so so so sorry. I've had to make that decision more times than I have wanted to and it is not easy. I found this quote and have referred to it and it helps a little. So sorry again.
“The choice to break our own hearts to save another from suffering is true compassion”
Amen
 

CatLover49

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Yesterday evening I had to take one of the hardest decisions of my life and end the life of our eldest cat. We got home after midnight from the summerhouse where we buried her next to our two beloved dogs that we used to have. We planted tulips on her grave and left a candle on her final resting place in the dark November night.

We took her from the shelter six and a half years ago. She was the second longest resident there, waiting almost five years for someone to take her. She was extremely fearful or distrustful of people and even most other cats and that was very offputting for most people. To be honest we took her based on the way she gazed at us from on top of the shelves with her bright green eyes.. we had no idea what we got ourselves into.

She turned out to be very hard to socialize. She would hiss, try to hit you and then escape. She wouldn't eat in the beginning because of the stress. It took weeks for her to carefully begin sneaking around the apartment and come to eat when we called her. We took a second cat around half a year later to keep her company. While in the beginning it looked like another disaster in the making, slowly she warmed up to the other cat and they became reasonably close.

It took us almost a year until we could pet her on the head. She didn't know how to rub herself against a person, so she studied what the new cat was doing and thought to give it a try. She run headfirst into somebody's leg and startled both herself and the fortunate recipient of her affection. Day by day, week by week, month by month she became more friendly and accepting of us.

Two and half years ago she suddenly stopped eating and it looked like she couldn't close her jaw. I paid a girl that used to work for the shelter to catch her so we could take her to the doctor. It was a hugely traumatic experience for her and us as well. I was mentally prepared that her time had come but it turned out to be an infection, she got a very strong shot of medicine and already after a few hours back at home she was feeling better and started to eat again.

About a month ago there was a startling change in her behaviour. She suddenly started to come and sit on our laps while purring loudly. We know this is a potential sign of a health problem and then around ten days ago she almost stopped eating. I thought whatever infection she might have had before was back so I tricked her to take her to the vet clinic. Once she was in my lap again I just quickly grabbed her put her in the cage. I was sure it would be a quick visit, another round of blood tests and medicine shots and off to home we go.

But it was bad news, much worse than last time. Her thyroid was very ill. It was a long and complicated name which I immediately forgot. I asked what the treatment options are. The doctor said two pills per day and a mandatory clinic visit every month. She would perhaps gain another year, maybe two at most. I was shocked. You see catching her is a hugely traumatic experience for her (nevermind us), she fights every time like the angriest cat you have ever seen. And on top of that we have never ever been able to give her oral medicine apart from one time where we managed to hide it in food. After that one time she never again fell for it.

I discussed it with my wife and daughter over the phone. We all knew this treatment plan could perhaps work with another cat but not her. We would make her last year a living hell. After my wife burst into tears on the phone I knew we were out of options. I asked the vet if we would have made it to the clinic earlier, if it would have changed something. She said "no", but it didn't make me feel better.

So I betrayed her. I promised her we would be back home in a few hours, that she would be okay. I had to watch her in the eyes and comfort her when they gave her the lethal injection. I completely broke down. A day later and I'm not much better. I feel empty and hollow. I'm a grown man but I have to hold back tears when I think about her for more than five seconds.

I think I ran out of words for now.
So very sorry for ure loss....RIP SWEET PRECIOUS KITTY....
 

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I'm so sorry for the loss of your beloved cat. You had gained her trust so hardly and now that she was more affectionate, she had to leave you.

I think that the disease the vet mentioned was the Hyperthyroidism, and it is easily treatable with meds without too much success, in fact the vet told you it would have bought your cat about a year or two.
The golden therapy in cases like this one is the radioactive therapy that is on-off IV shot and the cat would have been cured for good, without the need of pills or mandatory monthly visits.
I'm appalled that your vet didn't mention this possibility and led you to think that the only option was the final injection.

I'm sorry!
Run free sweet little warrior, now you can feel better.
 

Tik cat's mum

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Im sorry for your loss, And I'm so sorry you had to make this awful choice, You did what was best for your girl it sounds like she would of been miserable. You didn't betray her you was trying to comfort her you couldn't see the future. And as for a grown man crying my hubby cried when we made the same choice with our boy Tik he's a 6f 3 ex rugby player it's allowed and normal. Give you and your family time to grieve. :alright:
 

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Many folks that visit this forum, including myself, has had to make that decision more times than they care to remember. I can assure you, It NEVER becomes an easy thing to do! It can, and will make the biggest, toughest, roughest, meanest, old s.o.b. cry like a baby. I know this is true because it's happened to me on many occasions.

You and your family gave that fine old Lady Cat six and one half years of love and care that she likely never thought she would experience. You made all of her many problems yours, and did your very best to take care of them, and that tells me that you and your family are a very good, special kind of folks.

Now she can rest peacefully for ever more. Thank you, and yours for taking care of her.
 

di and bob

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Trust your vet on the advise he gave you, they have experienced much and know approximately how long a cat has. You alone know how traumatic vet visits are for her, and how hard it is to give her meds. You did right by not making her time left on earth one of pure hell.You somehow found the strength through your own love to end her misery and a condition that would get nothing but worse and bring about continuing misery. You took on her pain as your own grief. Don't second guess yourself and think of all those should haves, could haves, they bring nothing but pain and change nothing.
Taking that sweet girl into your home and giving her love is all she could have asked for. She is at peace,secure knowing she is loved and will be held securely in your hearts. Love is spiritual, so eternal, it will always be with you, "Death cannot take that which never dies" She now follows a new path, one that will forever parallel your own. You will be blessed for giving her a home, you did so much more then anyone else did for her, be proud of your care for her, I know she is so very proud to have known you and your family. It takes a long time to heal a broken heart, but it does come, one day at a time.....
I know it made me feel a little better to go to my local shelter and make a donation in my own girl's name. It helps you feel a little better about yourself, and Iknow it is something she would have approved of. I still go a couple of times a year and pay for the adoption of the cat that has been there the longest to hopefully make it easier for someone to give them a home.
You need to grieve now, but you know she would never want you to grieve overlong. Your sweet girl would never want you to lose the joy of living and the wonders and happiness it brings. Just as you would want for her if you were the first to go, that is love.....take care.....RIP beautiful girl. You will be dearly missed, you will forever have a secure place in loving hearts. May teh good Lord bless and keep you, until you meet again!
 
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OhYesIndeed

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It was not hyperthyroidism because I would've recognized that name, it was another, longer word but for the life of me I can't recall the name. I was just too shocked to register the details.

Everyone else: thank you for your kind words.

Our other cat is a bit stressed and confused, wondering where her friend went... so we are already discussing the possibility of adopting another cat. I will try to hang on for a few days, hopefully my mental state will improve.
 

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Imagine if you had not taken her from that shelter when you did, she would have passed years ago, you gave her a chance when no one else did, you did the best that you could with what you had at the time, you have no regrets and neither does she, she understands the situation and has no ill will towards you but thanks you for helping her out of her pain riddled body, she is fine now just fine, and when you see her again down the line she will say "thank you for what you did for me".

The grief has ahold of you and will play mental and physical games for quite awhile, you just lost a part of your family so it is devastating, but will pass with time. I found the herb Holy Basil to be helpful and the homeopathic remedy Ignatia Amara also.

I am almost 59 years old and a grown (well, physically, maybe not mentally!) man and have been crushed and shed many a tear when we have lost our little friends. It shows you are a caring person, just let it out, it does help.

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

betsygee

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I've had to make that decision, too, as many of us here have. It's awful to do, and so common to second-guess ourselves. Just please remember, you didn't betray her--you gave her the absolute best care you could and in the end, you made the decision that was best for the cat she was.

RIP, sweet girl. :rbheart:
 
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OhYesIndeed

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I think that the disease the vet mentioned was the Hyperthyroidism, and it is easily treatable with meds without too much success, in fact the vet told you it would have bought your cat about a year or two.
The golden therapy in cases like this one is the radioactive therapy that is on-off IV shot and the cat would have been cured for good, without the need of pills or mandatory monthly visits.
I'm appalled that your vet didn't mention this possibility and led you to think that the only option was the final injection.
I think you were correct, but I think she might have used the word "thyrotoxicosis" which is the same illness as I found out.

It seems that the radioactive iodine treatment is indeed a safe and effective treatment option, but unfortunately because of the stringent rules around radioactivity no vet clinic in my small country offers this service. I spoke to a specialist in the field of radiology who said that he has heard that human clinics have done this treatment to pets at times, but those are special cases and it is very expensive and even if I'd have pet health insurance, it might not cover the cost.

:sigh:
 

Antonio65

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unfortunately because of the stringent rules around radioactivity no vet clinic in my small country offers this service.
My country isn't small but it seems it has the same rules as yours.
I didn't know, I can't believe, that there is another dumb nation like mine on this planet.
Due to these rules, no vet clinic offers this service over here either. That's why I had to take my cat abroad to have her treated with the radio iodine. And it was effective.

it is very expensive and even if I'd have pet health insurance, it might not cover the cost.
Yes, it might be expensive, but the cost of the pills of methimazole and the monthly blood works to see how things are going and if the therapy needs an adjustment over 12-14 months will match the cost of the radio iodine treatment.
The difference is that with the pills you have the vet bills spread over a wide period of time rather than paying it all together.
 

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

Never mind the "shoulda coulda." What you did was make the best decision you could possibly make with the options available to you. That is ALL WE CAN EVER DO. Ever. Sorrow and grief are fine, but guilt has no place in this. And you did NOT break your promise to her. You did bring her, not just "home" to bury, but Home. And now she dances on sunlight in a Place where there is no pain or fear or illness at all. Her only sorrow is your sorrow, and her greatest joy is knowing that you WILL meet again. Until that day comes in the fullness of time, dance on, Sweet Girl, dance on! You were loved, you had a home, and all will be well.
 

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

Never mind the "shoulda coulda." What you did was make the best decision you could possibly make with the options available to you. That is ALL WE CAN EVER DO. Ever. Sorrow and grief are fine, but guilt has no place in this. And you did NOT break your promise to her. You did bring her, not just "home" to bury, but Home. And now she dances on sunlight in a Place where there is no pain or fear or illness at all. Her only sorrow is your sorrow, and her greatest joy is knowing that you WILL meet again. Until that day comes in the fullness of time, dance on, Sweet Girl, dance on! You were loved, you had a home, and all will be well.
Rest you gentle, Sweet Friend, dream you deep. Your pawprints are on someone's heart forever.

Never mind the "shoulda coulda." What you did was make the best decision you could possibly make with the options available to you. That is ALL WE CAN EVER DO. Ever. Sorrow and grief are fine, but guilt has no place in this. And you did NOT break your promise to her. You did bring her, not just "home" to bury, but Home. And now she dances on sunlight in a Place where there is no pain or fear or illness at all. Her only sorrow is your sorrow, and her greatest joy is knowing that you WILL meet again. Until that day comes in the fullness of time, dance on, Sweet Girl, dance on! You were loved, you had a home, and all will be well.
And I definitely second that my thoughts exactly.
 
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OhYesIndeed

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I realized I hadn't posted a picture of her. Here you go, this is from our old apartment, less than six months after we got her and before the second cat joined our household to keep her company. We usually kept our daughter's room closed but sometimes it would be open and she'd sneak in there to have a nap on her bed.
 

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Hey. It seems you and I have a lot in common. I too had to say goodbye to mine last week. Mine was also a difficult cat. And I still have unexpected bursts of crying-my-eyes-out when a particular kind of thought crosses my mind. I also know about asking for the vet for confirmation and it doing nothing to help things. Heck, I even relate to how things moved forwards since the diagnostic. I fretted about some hair stuck in another cat's mouth, but when this... thing happened, I initially thought it must have been nothing, even took a couple of days before I even got to the vet, and I feel.... so... guilty.... I also undestand this:

So I betrayed her. I promised her we would be back home in a few hours, that she would be okay. I had to watch her in the eyes and comfort her when they gave her the lethal injection. I completely broke down. A day later and I'm not much better. I feel empty and hollow. I'm a grown man but I have to hold back tears when I think about her for more than five seconds.
Oh I get this way too much. Knowing I lied to her right until the last moment, promising her that we'd be together 'after this'. I keep thinking about it, and it keeps breaking my heart. And I wished I could tell you something to make you feel better but I think nothing can erase this.

For me, I keep thinking I messed up, I jumped the gun, decided too fast. Also, my Sueño (avatar pic) also had this problem taking pills so... I know by now this advise is kind of pointless but, what I did was pulverize the pills, dissolving it in water (and a bit of yogurt or milk - I'm sure people have already told you about the ones with no lactose) and using a syringe to shove it inside her mouth... yeah, my arms did not appreciate her trashing. I had to wear my thickest coat every time I had to do this. The same with the syrups that kept her well. But yeah, it was supposed to be a temporary thing, that's why one does it. Living a whole year like that, with that stress... one can only hope the guy gets used to it enough to just accept it but, still. I get it. It's a "d*mned if you do, d*mned if you don't" deal. And it's *our* responsibility to decide for them. It's just too unfair.

If I'm writing here is because, solidarity, first... but also, I get the impression it's more useful to me to stop fighting it. Letting myself wallow in the hurt at least let's me get it out of my system. I find those little moments of solitude to hide and let me feel things that I wished I wasn't feeling. At least for me, the worst is the guilt; and trying to overcome it can hurt more than just accepting I might be a little guilty, yeah. At some point, trying to forcefully forgive myself is making it worse, and I also try to distract myself (some TV shows have helped me process things). I don't know if any of this is helpful... honestly, I don't know if I'm in any position to offer advise right now. But we can exchange experiences, I hope. I mean, if you yourself have any advice, I too can use tips of things that help.

Anyways... I hope you feel better. Try and get some rest.
Virtual hugs for you and the family.
 
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OhYesIndeed

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Hey. It seems you and I have a lot in common. I too had to say goodbye to mine last week. Mine was also a difficult cat. And I still have unexpected bursts of crying-my-eyes-out when a particular kind of thought crosses my mind. I also know about asking for the vet for confirmation and it doing nothing to help things. Heck, I even relate to how things moved forwards since the diagnostic. I fretted about some hair stuck in another cat's mouth, but when this... thing happened, I initially thought it must have been nothing, even took a couple of days before I even got to the vet, and I feel.... so... guilty.... I also undestand this:

For me, I keep thinking I messed up, I jumped the gun, decided too fast. Also, my Sueño (avatar pic) also had this problem taking pills so... I know by now this advise is kind of pointless but, what I did was pulverize the pills, dissolving it in water (and a bit of yogurt or milk - I'm sure people have already told you about the ones with no lactose) and using a syringe to shove it inside her mouth... yeah, my arms did not appreciate her trashing. I had to wear my thickest coat every time I had to do this. The same with the syrups that kept her well. But yeah, it was supposed to be a temporary thing, that's why one does it. Living a whole year like that, with that stress... one can only hope the guy gets used to it enough to just accept it but, still. I get it. It's a "d*mned if you do, d*mned if you don't" deal. And it's *our* responsibility to decide for them. It's just too unfair.
I've been thinking alot in the past few days about what I could've done differently . If there is a way I could've made the therapy work. If it were my other cat then the answer is a definite "yes". She is a very gentle soul. But our eldest cat remained a feral cat at her core, at least when she sensed danger. Perhaps I would've forced the first pill down her throat, but she would've just never trust me again, or least for a long time period. She would have stayed under the bed, not come out to eat and moved around only when we were not about. The vet didn't offer the option to go with the special diet, but as I understood reading about it on the internet it is not suitable for cats who are finnicky eaters. She would need constant portions of special food and even once eating something else would ruin it. Unfortunately she has always been extremely picky about food. You'd think a cat who has lived on the street and in the shelter would be happy with any food, but you'd be wrong. On top of that there is very little evidence about the efficacy of these nutritional treatments. Whether they work at all remains an open question.

So yeah, I've run different scenarios through my mind and I always end up with the same result. I did the only thing that was kind to her. All other options would've caused immense stress and suffering and they would've still most likely failed. If only the radioactive iodine treatment was readily available in my country... but alas.

I've already accepted that she was much more than just a pet. It will probably take months, maybe years for the pain of losing her to subside. But we have to move on and think about our other cat, who has become very sad and confused. I think she now understands that her friend is not coming back. She is so used to the company of another cat that she will get a new friend soon. I can't let her be sad for long.
 
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