Lost in grief and consumed with guilt...

Whether a cat dies, is lost or stolen, or must be placed in a new home, this is the place to gather together to give and receive love and support when you experience the loss of a beloved cat.

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Member Since
Purred: Wed Aug 6, '14 2:11am PST 
Hello all,

I've written you all a book. If you're not big on reading you may want to stop now.

Only 36 hours ago I had Flo put to sleep. She was young, only 4, and we only had 3-1/2 years together. I'm devastated. Although I know it's not the case, I feel like I'm the only person that's ever gone through this. A part of me died yesterday and I'm at a loss to cope. I'm hoping kind words and advice from non-friends / family members may help.

Some history: Somehow I made it to 40 without ever experiencing death, the loss of a person or pet with whom I was close and responsible for. Yes, I've had grandparents and extended family die, and family pets... but no relationships were close and the losses didn't have the same hurt or effect on my life and world.

To make things even harder I live alone. No children, currently single (and TOTALLY okay with that thanks to my last girlfriend), no roommates or other pets. This has been the case the entire 3-1/2 years Flo and I were together.

I thought my life was full before I had Flo. I was wrong. The honest truth is I didn't even want a pet... I took Flo in as a stray because my parents found her when she was 6 months old and they wouldn't have been able to keep her. That said, I was reluctant. That changed, and I'm a better person for having known Flo.

Fast forward to 3 months ago. She started stepping lightly (limping) on a rear leg for short random spells. Nothing in her paws, no tender spots, and she was still happy and playful during the episodes. Vet visits yielded nothing. A vet neurologist told me she may be having seizures. I was dismissed and told to put her on a seizure med. I didn't do it, I wanted another opinion.

Fast forward 5 days. We went to bed business as usual and I woke up to 15-20 vomit spots around the house. We took it easy that day but by the next day she was no better. Unable to keep even water down. Off to the vet we went. They gave her a hydrating pouch and some anti-nausea meds. Two days later she was keeping some food and water down, but just as much would come back up. We headed to the vet again. They told me she likely had a blockage although x-rays showed nothing. They said a CT scan may, but the remedy would be surgery. At this point I was already $1500 into it. They gave her anti-nausea pills and told me to take her home... that I'd know "when it was time". I couldn't accept that.

Over four days I fed her teaspoonfuls of food at a time and waited patiently just hoping she would start having the urge to use her box... that'd I'd have proof her systems were functioning. It worked. Unfortunately she had started to develop sores on the outside of her mouth during all this. The vet and I initially thought it was irritation from vomiting.

Fast forward another few days. The sores had moved to her chin and it was becoming raw. We headed to the vet again and got her on an antibiotic and a long-acting steroid shot. Over the course of days she began to heal a bit. Didn't last though. As the rawness began to spread I took her back and was given a steroid cream. She itched it less, but it wasn't healing and it was growing in size and looking worse.

Fast forward 10 days (just over a week ago). We went to a new vet. I got her on another round of antibiotics and continued the steroid use. They started her on a new diet as well. I held out hope. Unfortunately my hope didn't make a lick of difference. The sores worsened. Her entire neck down to her chest was raw, open and oozing, or scabbed.

Three days ago it got worse still. While I knew it was an irritant for her this whole time, now I could see it was truly painful. There were tiny blood droplets and bits of scab everywhere. She couldn't get enough of me... being around me. She didn't want to be touched though which made it heart-wrenching. That night I made the decision. Flo had gone through enough and was getting worse. $2500 had yielded no answers and I thought I owed it to her to permanently ease her pain.

Yesterday I fed her whatever the hell she wanted. I hugged her when I could. We looked at birds and squirrels out the windows. Then I loaded her into the carrier for our final trip.

I don't know what I was expecting. If I thought I'd have sense of relief afterwards or what. Whatever I was hoping for didn't come. I'm ill-equipped for this. Strangely, the permanence of death didn't occur to me right away. But as I watched her eyes turn from fear of the vet into wide-eyed emptiness and lifelessness... a part of me died with her.

I've never seen the life drain out of a being. To see life cease. Knowing that I'm responsible for this, that she trusted me on our last day and I betrayed her with a vet trip ending with her death is unbearable. I can't forget her eyes. Wide open. The animal I knew and loved was gone and it was I who allowed this to happen to her.

The man I thought I was, is apparently just a boy. I've cried so much the last 36 hours. I'm spent. Yet I still cry. I cry because I miss her. I cry because I feel bad for myself. I cry because I feel guilty that giving my signature on two pages allowed this to happen to her. I cry because at 40 I'm unable to grasp the permanence of death. I cry because I can't forget her eyes as she died. I don't know how to move on.

As I said 17 pages ago, I live alone with no spouse, girlfriend, roommates, children or other pets. In that environment a pet takes on a different role. For a man that didn't even want a cat, I spent my home time focusing on her and began to love it. Giving her constant attention and affection. Singing nonsense songs and rhymes as she stared at the idiot in front of her. We were always in one another's face. Always a conversation of sorts. It was Flo and I against the world. I realize saying that makes me sound somewhere between lonely and insane, but truth be told I was neither. I had a full life at home and a full life (with actual people) outside of home. Two days later I'm lonely and I question my sanity as it relates to guilt and inconsolable grief. How do I move on someday? Everything in this house and all of my daily rituals included Flo to some degree. She was in my face and I in hers.

I can't handle being in this home. I've spent as much time doing projects outdoors as I can. Her food is still in the fridge and bowls. Her litter box still as she left it. Her scabs and bits of fur and blood are still in my master bath sink where she laid that last morning and I haven't cleaned it... I've resorted to using the main bath instead. I feel as if I'm cleaning her out of my life by cleaning up. Am I a hoarder or a slob? No, if anything I'm clean and organized to a fault.

Friends and family said just before this, as I spoke of euthanizing her, that someday I'd be ready to open up to another cat. I couldn't imagine doing that. 36 hours into it they see how my world has been turned upside down in this household and they suggest I get another cat much sooner than later. How? How do I do that? Is it not betrayal to Flo's memory that people are talking about a new cat before I even have her ashes returned? How do you open your heart to another animal when I piece of me died with the last one?

I'm lost.

Member Since
Purred: Wed Aug 6, '14 2:51am PST 
I wanted to post a pic of Flo for anyone that's curious who's behind my insanity... but after 20 minutes of using every photo size reducer app I can find, I get a message that says "Dang we can't read your file" when I try to upload. That said, I've given up for now. Too bad, I have some awesome pics of the late Flo.

Any ideas?

Athena (In- Memory)

Purrs and Love

Purred: Thu Aug 7, '14 8:43am PST 
Right now the Catster forums are undergoing a huge revamping, so much of what is available actually isn't. Many members are having a hard time getting into Catster and the forums. So please do not believe that our members are not answering your post -- most of them may not be able to see it.

I've had to part with my cats ... my dogs ... even my horse ... and it never gets easier. We feel so bad because we feel guilt when we think we have betrayed them when the time comes to help them to the Rainbow Bridge. Do not feel that way. You did everything you could to help Flo, and she understood that. Her being close to you those last few days were her way of telling you good bye and that it was OK for you to help her over.

Once Catster is up and running properly (which may be some time yet), you can create a page for Flo, complete with diaries, so we can see what a beautiful girl she is. She will always be with you, in your heart.

As for people telling you to get another cat ... in time you may want to. Maybe another kitty will come along, just like Flo did; and you will know the time is right. You will never "replace" Flo. It's possible you will find another place in your heart for another. Only time will tell.

I sincerely believe that Flo is at the Rainbow Bridge and watching over you -- until we all meet again.

Purrs and Love,

Edited by author Wed Aug 13, '14 9:28am PST


Luvin life out- of the shelter
Purred: Fri Aug 8, '14 5:45pm PST 
I am so sorry for your loss and what you and Flo went through. You have to always remember, even though it is hard at times, to remember that you did all that you could for her and she understood that.

I have always felt terrible when it was time to ease one of my furbabies to the other side to be free of pain, and play over and over again what if anything that I could have done to make them better. When I lost my Fuzzy cat I felt my world crash around me and felt such a loss that I never thought another could fill his spot.

Two weeks after he passed I was surfing our local animal shelter, and I came across a picture of a kitten that reminded me so much of Fuzzy that I paused to take a longer look. His eyes seemed to leap from the page to me, as if to say," I am here to help you ease your pain." I went down the next day and adopted my Sonnyboy, who I honestly was sent to me by Fuzzy.

When the time is right you will know, and it may never happen, but when it does you never forget the ones before them, they always will have a special place in your heart.

Delyte, Dark- Angel, at- Bridge

Me and my- person, together- against all
Purred: Mon Aug 11, '14 6:46pm PST 
This is Delyte. Today is my Gotcha day, 19 years since my person found me in a parking lot on the university campus. But it is also 13 months since she had to have me put to sleep because of several agonizing wasting illnesses. Despite my weakness, I fought the doctor and the drug and my death was a horrible experience for everyone, even the experienced vet staff. My person still thinks it was the right thing to do as I could not go on, as your Flo couldn't have gone on, but it is the hardest thing she had ever had to do. [She is much older than you and has had to deal with death of parents, relatives, close friends and several other dear pets, and this was the worst.]

She does have three other annoying other cats to console her and a dear boyfriend and other friends, but it has been so hard. There are a number of online and call in programs to help with your grief. Given your isolation, you should get in contact with someone soon.

Is there an animal shelter around you where you could volunteer and relate to other animals right now, without making a commitment to getting a new companion? It will happen, you will find another animal that has the same emotional resonance that you had with Flo, but it will take a while. And youy need to have some support during that time.

Rest assured that Flo is here on the Bridge with all of us and she misses you terribly too, but is so glad not to be in pain any more. As the others have said, she will send you another soul to be your companion again when the time is right. Giant purrs to you from all of us ... cat on moon

Flo (D. 5- Aug 2014)

No words...
Purred: Tue Aug 12, '14 7:41am PST 
Thanks for all your kind words. I know everyone's gone through this (or will go through this) that's taken a pet into their life. Still hurts like hell even knowing others have been here. Separate from that though, I'm sorry for all your losses and envy your strength in plugging on with the day to day.

It's been a week. I feel no better really. My friends have forced me to get out of bed and shower, their wives have made me meals and refuse to keep my blinds closed... basically I've got people who care which is good. It's still so empty though. I still look at pictures of Flo and remember her with sorrow. I hope to someday focus on the good things.

I'm going out of town to see my fam for a couple days and I've promised my buddy's wife that yes, we can go to the animal shelter just to look and see how I feel. I already know I want to get out of it. Even on good days I've always hated going to the shelter... I'm the guy that would take home every old and disagreeable cat... all the ones I felt nobody else would adopt. Going there is rather depressing... and I'm not altogether sure how to fill Flo's void with another cat and yet not feel I'm somehow trying to replace an irreplaceable animal. I get that a new cat is simply that, a new family member... I just can't seem to separate that from doing a disservice to Flo's memory. Maybe in time.

It's my understanding then that the website is having some issues. I'm glad those of you that could respond, did so. Means a lot. In related news I was finally able to upload pictures successfully today... didn't try anything new... they just finally took which is good. Unfortunately I can't figure out how to get Flo's little face to take the place of the generic "member since" cat. Anybody know how to do that.


Luvin life out- of the shelter
Purred: Tue Aug 12, '14 6:38pm PST 
It will take time for everything to heal. Fuzzy passed 5 years ago and I still get sad when I see his picture. When I opened my own cat forum early this year it was the first time I ever posted about him and I was in tears when I wrote it. I think if you get if time and not feel pressured you will find another to fill your heart. I mean I love both of my boys I have now, but Fuzz will always have a special place in my heart.

Peanut (- in Loving- Memory)

Peanut- always an angel
Purred: Tue Aug 12, '14 7:40pm PST 
I am so sorry. Losing our Peanut was one of the hardest things ever. It has been eight years, and still I miss him.Still love him. He was very ill, his passing was the right thing. That does not make it hurt less. Time does heal though.
I hope when you are ready you can let another cat into your life and eventually your heart. Not to take Flo's place, but as a legacy to the love and beauty she gave you. Take care of yourself

Peanut (- in Loving- Memory)

Peanut- always an angel
Purred: Tue Aug 12, '14 7:52pm PST 
I went and looked at the pictures of Flo. She was a beautiful cat.A beautiful soul.

Edited by author Tue Aug 12, '14 7:56pm PST


Athena (In- Memory)

Purrs and Love

Purred: Tue Aug 12, '14 8:41pm PST 
We visited Flo's page. She is a pretty kitty. Her pictures all show on her page. It's another Catster glich. Try uploading that same picture again and it may "catch" and show in the forums.

We sent you a friend request. (It will come through your email).

We hope you will find some comfort in the following poem:

Do you think the time is right?
May I say goodbye to pain filled days and endless hopeless nights?
I've lived my life and done my best, an example tried to be.
So can I take that step beyond to set my spirit free?
I didn't want to go at first, I fought with all my might.
But something seems to draw me now to a warm and living Light.
I want to go I really do, it's difficult to stay.
But I will try as best I can to live just one more day.
To give you time to care for me and share your love and fears
I love you so, and that you know, because I see your tears.
I'll not be far, I promise that, and hope you'll always know
That my spirit will be close to you wherever you may go.
Thank you for loving me, You know I love you too,
That's why it's hard to say goodbye and "end" this life with you.
So hold me now just one more time and let me hear you say,
Because you care so much for me, you'll let me go today.
~author unknown~

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