Struggling with guilt and grief

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Michellewel1
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Struggling with guilt and grief

Post by Michellewel1 » Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:54 am

Im writing this in the middle of the night as I cant sleep. We put our Ruby to sleep on Wednesday morning. She took unwell last week, not breathing right. She stayed overnight on Friday into Saturday, suspected heart disease. She was sent home with medication the following day and seemed brighter. The next day she deteriorated again, took her to the emergency vet, and told the same, they kept her overnight. Im starting to panic a bit about the bills at this point as our insurance is rubbish, and Ruby was 12 so we also had to pay towards. Thats my first regret, not checking the insurance properly and just going for the cheapest. When she got home the following day she was brighter again, then the same thing happened, the fluid kept coming back. I took her to our vet again, they phoned me with the options. She could be booked into see a cardiologist in a couple of days time, to see what the heart issue was, but no guarantees with it, or we could euthenise. I spoke to my husband about it and he said we couldn't afford it, (we had just spend savings on a new kitchen which I hate now) and she was in pain we had to euthenise. I couldn't argue with him, I said we can put it on the credit card, but we have loads of debt as it is( we have 2 children). So she got home that night, slept by my side and husband took her the following morning. I was looking at stuff online and saw that cats can live for many years with a heart condition so that sent me crazy. He came in and I started screaming and begging him to phone the vet to cancel and book in the heart scan. He said no, she's unwell. I wish I had just phoned myself, but I was terrified of hearing she was dead. This carried on for an hour, he phoned yo organise her cremation, and she was dead. So that was me, hysterical and full of regret at not just putting it on the credit card. I have been inconsolable since yesterday, hate everyone and everything and just want my Ruby back. I am such pain its unreal. Im hardly eating, sleeping is interrupted and its all I think about. I expected her to be with me for another 8 years. I cant handle this pain, she was my cat and I should have put my foot down, I will never forgive myself, I love her so much, she was my first child.

booktigger
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Re: Struggling with guilt and grief

Post by booktigger » Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:42 am

I'm so sorry you are struggling with your decision, but as the vet said, there was no guarantee you could have helped her, especially as the initial medication hadn't worked, and would you have wanted her last says be spent being prodded and poked?

Michellewel1
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Re: Struggling with guilt and grief

Post by Michellewel1 » Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:25 am

Thank you so much for reading my post and responding. Yes I agree with you but its just the unknown elements, what if she had been fine with medication, I just feel like I never gave her a chance and its killing me. I know these feelings will ease, but the regret will always be here.

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fjm
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Re: Struggling with guilt and grief

Post by fjm » Fri Nov 20, 2020 9:36 am

I absolutely understand the mix of grief, anger, pain and guilt that you are feeling, but I think that despite everything you (or your husband) made the right decision. You took Ruby to the vet as soon as she showed signs of illness, she had medication and two episodes of intensive care, and her condition deteriorated rapidly both times. Cats are notoriously good at hiding poor health until things are very advanced indeed - had you waited it would have meant her suffering, unable to breath and anxious and distressed. Further tests would have been stressful and may have required sedation or anaesthesia - it sounds very unlikely that she could have survived that, and even if she did it is very unlikely that the cardiologist could have offered anything more by way of treatment than your vet had already done. You did everything for Ruby that you could, and then gave her a peaceful and dignified passing. You did not deprive her of happy life - you shortened what would have been a time of misery and distress for her. No amount of money could have made much difference - it might have bought you more information, but it sounds as if her condition was already too advanced. Remember "up to 12 months" is a maximum, for cats who respond to treatment.

Grief is a painful process. Ruby has been a part of your life for so many years - possibly longer than your husband and children - and she has been torn away from you very suddenly. It might help to talk to someone who understands - the Blue Cross has a bereavement support service that many people have found comforting: https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-bereav ... bsQAvD_BwE

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Re: Struggling with guilt and grief

Post by Mollycat » Fri Nov 20, 2020 9:52 am

So sorry for your loss. Guilt is a normal part of grieving and even if you couldn't see anything to attach that guilt to, you would be finding something completely off the wall to pin it to. That is the nature of grief.

A cat doesn't know that being bundled into a little box and taken from home then waiting in a room full of the smells of other animals and then being taken into another room full of loud chemical smells and all full of strangers and being handled and stuck with needles and so on, is what helps us make them feel better. A cat only knows, today I feel comfortable, or today I don't feel so well. Tomorrow means nothing to them, and age means nothing either.

So the way I see it, regardless of cost and age, what I ask myself is -
If I do nothing, how will my cat feel, how will this progress, what will the rest of their life be like?
If we have this treatment, will my cat feel happy and comfortable and pain-free again? How long can we expect that ok-ness to last?
What is involved in the treatment - medication, rest, restrictions on their normal life, trips to the vet?
How does my cat handle being caught, transported and then handled by strangers? How does my cat tolerate tablets?

I also try to remember a cat's 'reasonable' expected lifespan as 12 to 15 years - you may agree or disagree on that, set your own numbers, it's just my numbers. It helps me to stop dreaming of getting my cat into the Guinness Book of Records by breaking the 40 year old barrier. It helps me to find peace with some of the tough decisions I have had to make when my cats were 12, 14, 15. It helps me to acknowledge and silence the little voice on my shoulder that tries to make me feel guilty for my choices.

I am in a similar position to you, money-wise. In 2019 3 pets cleared us out and maxed out all our credit, £7,500 plus. We still have most of that to pay back and more is getting added on, as per my topic about a blatant plea for sympathy. I am grateful that through it all and even now with the dog we have never been forced to say we would like a treatment but can't scrape the money together. But our decision not to have the dog operated on was made for his welfare, we have the space of my credit card, it's just not in the animal's best interests.

I suspect maybe what's going on with you is that you panicked about the money and forgot that you made your decision for Ruby's best interests? And once that decision became irreversible all you could see was that you wrote her off for the sake of money? But I would be surprised if that was true, I don't think it is true. I think you love her so deeply that you made the decision that was right for her, and the pain of losing her is driving you to punish yourself with guilt and regrets.

You did give Ruby a chance, and she chose not to take it. She did respond at the vet's, twice, and twice she came home and deteriorated. She was not responding. When a vet says we could start involving experts but there's no guarantees or we could let her go peacefully, they are giving you a very strong hint that this animal doesn't want to go through all this just t end up back at square one. You have to listen between the lines sometimes, especially when it's something we can't bear to hear.

Michellewel1
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Re: Struggling with guilt and grief

Post by Michellewel1 » Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:29 am

Oh my goodness thank you for your kind words, they have meant so much to me. I think its just so comforting to understand others have gone through this and understand how incredibly painful it is. I didn't quite realise the intense pain and guilt I would have felt. To not have her wee presence about is killing me. I will take everything into consideration that you have both posted, and thank you so much 💗

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fjm
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Re: Struggling with guilt and grief

Post by fjm » Fri Nov 20, 2020 11:42 am

Be kind to yourself and to each other - that, and time, do help.

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