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My Cat Was With Me Throughout My Entire Adult Life And Now He's Gone

Discussion in 'Crossing the Bridge' started by Cara80, Jun 16, 2019.

  1. Cara80

    Cara80 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    May 4, 2018
    My cat Buddy was born in the fall of 2000, I adopted him as a kitten right after my 21st birthday. We lived in so many states together and he was with me through college, my first serious relationship, multiple breakups, and really loved my partner of 12 years, he was with me to comfort me during my chronic illness and he has been through my side through every hardship and joy the last 18.5 years.

    Buddy was always a pretty healthy cat, but developed chronic kidney disease 2 years ago and IBD a year ago. I had always been able to control his health issues and keep him stable with medication, sub q fluids, a special diet, and supplements. Just this past January he was still in Stage 2 kidney disease, but then about 10 days ago he had what we think was a seizure or possible stroke/blood clot at night. We thought we could nurse him back to health, but after a few days of not recovering, his hind legs were still very weak and we had to help take him to the litterbox every 3-4 hours because he was walking so slow and wobbly. He was still happy, eating well, and enjoying snuggle time, but we were worried about his weak legs. We made a vet appointment Monday and were in shock to find out he was severely anemic and already entering late stage 3 kidney disease and would soon be in the end stage.

    When I talked to the vet Tuesday she said he would need a $250 injection for the anemia, but couldn't guarantee that it would work, and if his anemia worsened or the injection failed he would need a blood transfusion. I spent a lot of time Tuesday and Wednesday thinking about what to do. Even if the injection did help his anemia, he would be in the end stages of kidney disease soon where they finally just shut down. His kidneys would just make him sicker and sicker, once in end stage renal disease he'd need nausea medicine for vomiting, pepcid ac for the stomach acid, medication for mouth or GI ulcers caused by failing kidneys, probably would need an appetite stimulant to keep him eating and would most likely require Sub q fluids twice a day.

    After thinking about everything, on Wednesday night I decided to help him cross over Friday afternoon. Even though Buddy was weak from anemia, he could still enjoy snuggling, being pet and enjoy his favorite treat Fancy Feast pate, which I gave him Thursday night and Friday morning. I wanted to say goodbye while there was still joy left in his life, and not wait till kidney disease made him feel incredibly ill.

    When Friday morning came, I woke up and gave him sub q fluids to help him feel hydrated, gave him his gabapentin medicine in case he was in any pain, and fed him Fancy Feast salmon pate for breakfast. He spent some time on the back deck getting fresh air, then on his heated pet bed he took an afternoon nap. When the vet came to our house to help him cross over, my boyfriend held him in his arms and I kept one hand on his warm furry chest, and stoked his chin and told him how much I loved him, the sedative made him very relaxed and he looked peaceful. I closed my eyes for the final injection that would stop his heart, but kept talking to him, petting him and kissing his sweet face.

    I felt gutted when the vet left with his little body in a basket to be cremated. My house feels so empty, so lonely, and i've went to bed and woken up without him for 2 days now. It's really tough to not see him and care for him after 18.5 years together. I hope I made the right decision, I just didn't know how much time he would have before things would naturally shut down. I didn't want him to suffer, but wasn't sure if he had days left or a month before feeling really sick. I'm feeling guilty that it happened so quick, but my boyfriend and parents reassured me I did the right thing. I don't know what to think, it was really the toughest decision I've ever made
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019

  2. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

    Jan 9, 2018
    Colorado USA
    Hello -

    you took a tremendous amount of time and effort thinking the timing of things through specifically so that he could enjoy his life.

    You did the most compassionate, loving, thoughtful, unselfish thing for your baby boy. You gave him joy, and now you're hurting without him, bless you. He wouldn't want you to have any questions or second-guesses, I promise.

    Hopefully at some point soon you'll be able to look at his life and the memories again, and not just this last event, although in my mind you handled this in a very kind and very graceful manner.

    RIP darling cat - you lived your life to the max, and you fulfilled your catly duty to your human to the utmost of your abilities. :rbheart:

  3. cat nap

    cat nap TCS Member Top Cat

    Jan 31, 2014
    @Cara80...your cat Buddy sounds like such an amazing cat and you have to 100%know that you are an amazing cat guardian, too.

    Please don't feel guilty, or think that you could have made any other decision.
    You put your cat first, and didn't want him to suffer...and now sadly, you have to go through all the grief and pain of missing him. But as @Furballsmom has said, above, ...one day you will look back and just remember all the good memories.

    Try to focus on all those good memories and all those special ones, to help you get through this tough time ahead. I know that it is easier said than done, and know that it is perfectly natural and normal to miss Buddy, and see him in all his old places. His presence, for sure, will be missed, so be gentle on yourself and give yourself the space to miss him.

    Remember, too, that Buddy would not want you to be sad for too long, and know that your bond could never be broken.
    Run like the wind, sweet Buddy, and look in on your guardian, and the family, from time to time, making sure that she's doing well. :rbheart::hugs::hugs:
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019

  4. Maria Bayote

    Maria Bayote Mama of 4 Cats, 3 Dogs , 2 Budgies & 2 Humans Top Cat

    Jan 15, 2018
    I am so sorry for your loss. Your post made me sob real hard. Gosh, if there is only a way that I at least could alleviate your pain I would do so. But grief is one of the hardest emotion to go through, and again, I am sincerely sorry that you have lost your most beloved Buddy.

    You gave him the best life you possibly could give and for that he is eternally grateful. I hope you find strength and comfort to the thought that he is now free from any physical pain he endured due to his sickness.

    Until you meet again.
    KittyCatCove, Leomc123, will2002 and 6 others purraised this.

  5. di and bob

    di and bob TCS Member Top Cat

    Dec 12, 2012
    Nebraska, USA
    Of course you did the right thing, and it was evident by how quickly he passed, he was ready to escape what was coming.....
    When living becomes a struggle, when there is no cure or return to having no pain, when the future holds endless meds and Dr.s and treatments, it is time. Somehow you found the strength in your love to end that struggle, and he thanks you for that, now you took on his own pain as yours and your broken heart. Of course you hurt right now, and it will hurt for a long time. You lost someone dear to your heart, who shared your life journey for a long time and who is now gone from your presence. But the bond you formed with that sweet boy can never be taken from you. "Death cannot take that which never dies" and you know your love is spiritual, so eternal. He will be forever as close as your thoughts and prayers, and that place in your heart is his and his alone. He would never want your to be sad because of him, just as you would want for him if you were teh first to go, so he wants for you. That is love.
    My heart goes out to you, I know how much this hurts and how long it takes to get through this. I pray your precious memories can bring you comfort, he is at peace now, secure in your love. None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow, so live your life in joy and happiness, he lives on through you now and would be at peace knowing he left you with happy memories, and the capability to love again because of what he taught you, to spread his legacy, not dwelling on the sad end that was just a moment in his wonderful life. Although the days will seem long and unending to you, for him eternity is but a fleeting moment until you meet again.....RIP precious Buddy. You will never be forgotten, you will forever have a secure place in loving hearts. May the angels accept you into loving arms, goodnight, sleep tight, precious boy!

  6. les26

    les26 Sylvester's daddy Top Cat

    Nov 19, 2015
    Emmaus, Pennsylvania
    I too have tears welling up in my eyes as I read your post, he was a faithful companion and you two went through so many things together over the years it is hard to know that it came to an end, but for 18.5 years he had a WONDERFUL life and he had you, he was a very lucky cat and loved you as you loved him, neither has any regrets, it is always so hard to have to "play God" with these things but you did the right albeit most difficult thing, he would've just declined more and more and the ending might not have been so peaceful.

    The grief has ahold of you now and will cause you many problems, it will make you anxious and depressed, mad and sad, it will make you second guess what you did, "maybe I should've done this or that", but it is normal and if you face it and deal with it eventually it will fade away and you will be able to deal with things clearer. But the love that you had and the memories will NEVER fade away, as long as we keep them alive in our hearts and memories they are never truly gone, and we will see them again someday and it will be wonderful.

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

    I am sorry you lost your little friend, I hope that your heart heals a bit more each day, God Bless........:alright: :grouphug2: :rbheart:

  7. betsygee

    betsygee Don't believe everything you think. Staff Member Moderator

    Mar 17, 2013
    Monterey, CA, USA
    It’s so hard to lose such a beloved companion, especially when you have to make the decision to help them pass. I know how devastating it is, especially the first few days. :hugs:

    My thoughts are with you and I’m very sorry for your loss. RIP, little Buddy. :rbheart:

  8. Cara80

    Cara80 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    May 4, 2018
    Thanks for all the kind responses. I feel like Friday after Buddy left us, there was a sense of calmness. I was at peace knowing that he led a very long, full life and earlier when I asked my Vet if he was in pain she said no, but that he was probably feeling very tired and weak from the low red blood cells. It was comforting knowing that he left this world without feeling pain and was surrounded by the two people he loved the most.

    We had lost another cat over 2 years ago that was close with Buddy, and we waited too long to help her cross over. She was all skin and bones, her fur was a spiky dry mess, she couldn't groom herself anymore, smelled terrible, didn't recognize us anymore and had labored breathing. When we finally arrived at the Vet that day to say goodbye, it was awful and in a state of panic because we were so scared of seeing her get even worse before they could get the sedation and final injection in. I vowed to never again let an animal get that sick. Our poor cat, she didn't get to enjoy her last meal, or last day in the sun, we couldn't love on her and tell her goodbye because she was so out of it. Her last days, hours, minutes were filled with fear, confusion, pain and didn't deserve any of it because she was such a wonderful companion for 16 years.

    I will tell you that the amount of pain, grief and regret with her loss was magnified at a level nowhere close to what we've been dealing with after losing Buddy. Buddy's death was kind, dignified and peaceful, and that's exactly what he deserved.

    Still though, we're missing Buddy so much. What's funny is that we aren't just sad, but my boyfriend and I were talking about how boring our house is without him. Each morning i'd wake up and find him to say good morning, he'd rub up against me, sometimes follow me into the kitchen while I made coffee, or into the bathroom while my boyfriend was brushing his teeth. On days my boyfriend had off, he would bring Buddy to sit on his lap on a rocking chair by the window while we'd have our morning coffee. We'd give Buddy his breakfast, then his blood pressure medicine and steroids for his IBD. Most of the time Buddy would then spend the day with me on his heated pet bed that we placed on the couch between the two of us. Once my boyfriend came home from work, Buddy would walk on the couch to my boyfriend's side for chin scratches, then walk over to my side for some more love. We had our routine at night to give him sub q fluids, and he was always so patient. Afterwords, he would walk to the bedroom to wait for us, and wouldn't lay down to get comfy until both of us were in the room. This wonderful routine is now gone, and there's all this empty time and space in the home :(

  9. cat nap

    cat nap TCS Member Top Cat

    Jan 31, 2014
    I wish life was not such a 'learning curve', at times, but it is, isn't it?
    Condolences on the loss of your 16 year old cat, too, @Cara80 .

    It seems like we just run out of time with our animals. (or seem to make the best decisions we can, at the time, but then look back and question if we could have done better, or did all we could, or wish we could do things again.)

    Sadly, all we can eventually do is accept the situation, and re-adjust our lives to it.

    Buddy sounds like he was an 'equal opportunity' love bug, and affection-giver. :greenpaw:
    It almost sounds like he had to make sure that both his favorite humans received all the affection, love and attention they deserved. Making sure that both received attention equally.:bluepaw:
    (My 2 cats seem to alternate days, in paying attention to various humans, or choose a certain week, but not equally, or on the same day.)

    There is a song by Garth Brooks called 'The Dance', and the last line, always gets to me..."I could have missed the pain, but I'd of had to miss the dance."
    I hope that quickly in time, both your hearts heal, and that space is filled once again.:hugs:
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  10. Cara80

    Cara80 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    May 4, 2018
    Thank you cat nap. I guess even in negative situations there's something to be learned, Buddy had a graceful exit because I learned from the previous experience of what not to do. Now that Buddy is gone, I may decide to foster some Senior cats for a short time. I figure with the experience Buddy gave me in learning how to medicate and give sub q fluids, I could help out some other cats from the shelter.

    I don't know how long it will be till i'm able to bond with a new cat, but fostering might be nice for a little while till i'm ready to adopt again
    KittyCatCove, betsygee, Mamanyt1953 and 2 others purraised this.

  11. cat nap

    cat nap TCS Member Top Cat

    Jan 31, 2014
    I never thought of fostering. (for myself, I think it would be hard...not to bond with a new cat). But yes, you do have tons of experience in medicating and caring for a senior cat with an illness.

    Did you get Buddy and your girl cat as kittens?
    edit: Sorry, dumb question....it's actually in the first line of your thread. yikes...my memory is shot.

    Actually, what my real question should have been, is how you managed to get Buddy up to 18.5? It must have been a combination of good genetics, food, love, and the extra care you gave. Plus, he does sound like he didn't mind getting medication, or pills.
    (my rainbow cat Spotty, hated taking pills, and syringing him was difficult. He also had CKD, diagnosed from age 13, and passed away at age 15.5. Along with CKD he had HCM...heart enlarged on left side, but no meds were needed at the time.)
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
    KittyCatCove, Mamanyt1953 and Furballsmom purraised this.

  12. Cara80

    Cara80 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    May 4, 2018
    I know what you mean, I bet it's tough to return the cats after fostering but some only need a home for 1-2 weeks and there are older cats that just need a short break from shelter life.

    Buddy was a kitten when I got him, my little girl was a year old but was always very petite and only weighed 5 lbs most of her life, people always assumed she was a kitten even as a 10 yr old adult cat lol

  13. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

    Jan 9, 2018
    Colorado USA
    :heartshape: :rock:
    Mamanyt1953, les26 and cat nap purraised this.

  14. cat nap

    cat nap TCS Member Top Cat

    Jan 31, 2014
    Huh, ...I didn't know that about fostering. That sounds very good.
    lol...wow...5lbs... I hope she managed to keep Buddy in his place, then.
    Because my female cat is also smaller than her male brother....about 10lbs versus 14 lbs...but she is the boss, and can whack her brother whenever she wants. Girl cats are tough.

  15. Mamanyt1953

    Mamanyt1953 Rules my home with an iron paw Staff Member Forum Helper

    Oct 16, 2015
    Havelock, North Carolina
    Rest you gentle, Buddy (and Sweet Sister, too), dream you deep. Your pawprints are one someone's heart forever.

    Eighteen and a half years! What a remarkable journey you shared...but where there is love, an eternity is not long enough, is it? I applaud your decision to help Buddy shrug off that heavy coat of flesh and fur before his life became an utter misery to him. I also understand your inability to let Sweet Sister go until you had given up hope for her...that is all too human. Both of these cats were lucky to have you in their lives, just as you were lucky to have them. And because love does not die, only continues on, still Love, those babies are with you now and always. Love abides.

    I wholeheartedly support your thoughts on fostering. What a lovely and loving way to honor both Buddy and his sister!
    KittyCatCove, cat nap and les26 purraised this.

  16. Cara80

    Cara80 Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

    May 4, 2018
    Hi, i'm sorry I missed this question yesterday. Buddy used to be a bit chubby and I didn't always feed him the best food, so I think he just had good genetics. Buddy was always a real calm cat and loved meeting new people, so I think being low stress may have been good for him. The vet we took him to was really amazing at managing his multiple issues, so she deserves so much credit for keeping him healthy (I need to contact her and thank her, but it's too hard right now). We couldn't pill Buddy very well, so the vet wrote prescriptions for compounded liquid flavored medicine, the dosages for his meds were tiny, around .4ml-1.25ml.

    I'm sorry about your angel kitty Spotty, it really is amazing though that you cared for him and managed his conditions for 2.5 years!!!
    KittyCatCove and cat nap purraised this.

  17. Rini

    Rini TCS Member Adult Cat

    Mar 5, 2018
    Al Yannah
    I don't do well in these threads, too emotional for me, but I do want to offer my condolences. I'm truly sorry. Buddy will be with you forever. And he was so blessed to have a caretaker who loved him so much for so long.

    They never really leave us.
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  18. cat nap

    cat nap TCS Member Top Cat

    Jan 31, 2014
    No worries, @Cara80 ...I think I snuck that question in, while we were each typing our responses (and only to make up for that kitten question, which you had clearly answered, already...:doh::oops: ) (Thank-you for your comments about Spotty. I actually didn't have to do half the things that you had to with Buddy, since Spotty seemed to do well on the vet prescription food, called Hill's K/D, although he didn't really like the taste, and did lose weight. So I, ...probably like you did as well, found out about the Tanya CKD site, from reading threads on TCS, and tried so many different cat wet foods, in order to get him to eat more. He was slowly declining, but the last month was the hardest.)

    You are so right, that having a good vet helps alot, although I do think that it depends more upon the cat, and yes...how relaxed they are.:)
    I'll remember that info about the 'compound liquid flavoured medication'.
    That seems a lot more sensible, than pilling and chasing the pill down with a syringe of water. :think:

    I should apologize to you, for asking so many questions. Don't feel you have to respond, or even contact any vet, now. I'm sure she knows how hard it is.

    Just take time for yourself, and also your boyfriend, to re-energize.
    I forget how exhausting, and such an emotional roller coaster, it all feels like when we lose our beloved animals.:alright:
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  19. Leomc123

    Leomc123 TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Oct 1, 2018
    I feel your pain , my condolences for your loss. The first day and the morning after when you wake up and realise they really are not there when they have been there time and time again for so long is the second hardest thing when they are gone.
    les26, cat nap and KittyCatCove purraised this.

  20. KittyCatCove

    KittyCatCove Daddy of 3 Adult Cat

    May 8, 2019
    Me right now... :bawling::bawling::(:(

    I'm very sorry for your loss. Be assured that Buddy had a great life with you, you did everything you could for him and made his last days very comfortable. He definitely did not suffer. You are a great cat mommy! :heartshape::bouquet:

    I also have a cat named Buddy with stage 1 kidney disease. He's also on gabapentin to prevent his seizures. He's been doing great lately, he's had no seizures for 3 months, he's eating well, healthy bodyweight, playing and very active... knock on wood.
    les26 purraised this.

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