This guilt is crippling! I feel like I failed my girl.

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Hbomb
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This guilt is crippling! I feel like I failed my girl.

Post by Hbomb »

My sweet Juliet. The guilt I feel is horrendous. I feel like I let her down. She was 19, 20, or 21 years old (she was estimated age 6-8 when she was passed to me by a loved one..originally a stray). She suffered with IBD for a long long time. She was nothing but bones. Couldn’t use steroids because she had cardiomegaly. She vomited and had diarrhea daily. She ate ravenously but was losing weight. Drink like a fish but chronically dehydrated. When picking through her medical record I saw that they found “mild to moderate chronic renal changes” which I assume was chronic renal disease…I don’t remember being told this, but her blood work never indicated kidney failure. She peed in certain spots in the house that I lined with pee pads and was then pooping there the last few months. In the last couple months she hardly used her box at all. She was still so sweet and cuddly still walking around a purring. Still Juliet.
Last week on Wednesday, she began to have urinary issues. I woke up to pee in the bed my son and I were sleeping in. She had never peed on furniture before. She was peeing small amounts everywhere, straining. I had her stay the night in the hospital. They suspected a uti but was not able to obtain a sample. I requested an antibiotic shot to be sure. She came home Thursday. They said it would take a day or 2 for the shot to work. I made her a little kitty hotel out of a dog crate to keep the urinating contained overnight as she was urinating everywhere still.

That night she pooped in the new litter box I provided, but dragged her butt in it, spreading it all around the crate. My first assumption was that she was stressed. I had to bathe her and boy was that hard. She slept in the crate okay. The next morning I made a point to give her free reign all day. Her urinating was back to normal, but She sat in her poop and smeared it again 2 times that day needing 2 baths. She pooped more than that, but I was able to sit by her those times and grab her right as she finished before she sat in it. I found myself following her all day. My son was sick and I was tending to our Juliet more than him. I felt so overwhelmed. My mom suggested that maybe her time is near. I sobbed so hard I gave myself a migraine. I said “let me keep trying, maybe I can find a groove.” I kept thinking maybe she was stressed and that’s why she was doing this.
That night she cried and tried to claw out of the crate. She hated it in there and I didn’t blame her. I was exhausted so I took her out and let her sleep with me on the couch. I woke up to find poop smeared all over the carpet where my son played, vomit, and pee on my blanket I was sleeping on and all around the house. Her urinary symptoms from Wednesday were back. I gave her a bath and put her in the crate while I cleaned the carpet. She curled up on the bed I made her, got up, peed on it, and laid back down. She looked so sad in there. I hope she didn’t think I was punishing her. I let her out and just laid on the couch while she peed everywhere…I was too tired to care. She then pooped on a pee pad and smeared her butt in it again. I wrapped her in a pee of and cuddled her. I then called my mom crying. We made the decision to do a quality of life exam. As I brought her there, she smelled of pee and poop. Her intestines felt like thick rope. Her muscle mass was gone. Though she ate, she wasn’t absorbing her food. She was just under 5lbs. Her gums were white from her chronic state of dehydration. Her toilet habits were an indication of her discomfort according to the vet. He made the suggestion to let her go with her dignity. I did it. I let her go.

She was so calm through the whole visit until time for sedation. She was scared and wouldn’t let go of me. This part kills me the most. I wonder if me hugging her and sobbing before the sedation made her know what was happening? Her last moments of consciousness were in fear. I should have stopped and not gone through with it. But I did and it’s too late. I let my baby down. I could not give her the level of care she needed, and I feel like I gave up on her, even though the vet staff insisted I didn’t. I begged her to forgive me as she passed. I beg her multiple times a day.

I wake up to my stomach turning and intense anxiety. I cry all day. I think the part that makes me feel so guilty is the fact that my inability to keep up with her level of care was a factor in letting her go…even though she was chronically sick. I keep torturing myself thinking I should have done more. I should have waited to see if she got better. What if I took her for another overnight hospital stay and they could have fixed whatever was causing this? What if I could have found the balance if I had given it more time? My neighbor tried to level with me. Being an elderly cat who once had free reign of the house now being confined to a crate is not a good quality of life. She then said “what if you put her in the crate and woke up to find her passed away, how would you feel?” I have another friend who went through the same thing with her baby and she insisted that her issues with poop smearing were an indication of her sickness, as her senior kitty died soon after she started. I have basically told anyone who will listen and they insist I did the right thing. It makes sense when I hear it, but I cannot shake the guilt. It’s literally consuming me. I’ll carry it with me till I die or get some sign that she’s okay.

Walking through this house is so hard. I still get whiffs of her urine from where she peed on her pee pads regularly even though the pads are gone now. Not having to shut the bedroom and bathroom doors (to keep her from peeing in there) twists the knife. Not having to watch the front door when it’s open, or keep the living room light on if we leave in the evening hurts my heart. Bedtime is the hardest. As she would be in bed with us. We move Feb 1st and I cannot wait to be out of here. I am overwhelmed with anxiety being in this apartment now that she’s gone.

I hope she knows I love her so much and I hope she forgives me. 💔💔💔💔💔
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Mollycat
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Re: This guilt is crippling! I feel like I failed my girl.

Post by Mollycat »

It's early days, be kind to yourself. Sometimes failing our beloved pets is our refusal to let go when their time comes, our lack of respect for the wild animal in them that shines through even after 9000 years of domestication. If they could speak, would they want to go on in pain and discomfort, endlessly dragged to the vet, medication shoved down their throat, sedated for tests, needles in their veins, unable to keep the grooming routines, imprisoned in a crate, beloved humans cooing with excitement because they managed a purr and therefore must be happy? Where is the love in preserving life at all costs?

There comes a time as humans with the power to heal the sick and end suffering kindly, when we must grow up and realise we can only work with nature not against it. With the power to extend life comes the responsibility to recognise and respect when the time has come to let go. We must understand that length of life is a human concept, and for our pets only quality of life means anything at all. Our responsibility to them is to give quality of life through food, medicine and love - not to drag out a miserable life for our own selfish inability to let go.

Be kind to yourself, you gave your girl a wonderful life and now the day has come when you had to set her free. But guilt is an important part of grieving, and as your heart slowly begins to heal you will see that and you will get your sign that all is well when you stop looking for it. I remember that gut-wrenching grief that hits you the moment you wake up every morning and wonder why bother because the little furry soul that ended up running your life is not there any more. Gradually, it eases up a little.
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fjm
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Re: This guilt is crippling! I feel like I failed my girl.

Post by fjm »

Wise words from Mollycat.

Your love for Juliet shines through every word in your post. At the end it enabled you to think of what was best for her, despite your longing to keep her with you to the very last. The What-ifs and If-onlies can be overwhelming, but you did everything possible, gave her a very long and happy life despite her many health issues, and were brave enough to spare her the misery of a slow and painful death.

As Mollycat says, be kind to yourself and to those around you. Your son needs you - it sounds from what you say as if he is very young, and may not fully understand why you are grieving. Juliet is held safe in your heart, and nothing can harm her now, but your son needs your protective love more than ever.
Hbomb
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Re: This guilt is crippling! I feel like I failed my girl.

Post by Hbomb »

Thank you so much for the wise words. Yes my son is 7 years old and autistic. He knows Juliet is in heaven and doesn’t fully grasp what death is yet, so he is unbothered besides seeing me cry so much..as seeing others cry upsets him. You are so right though. I need to get through this and get better for him. I have an appt with a therapist on Saturday. I have “okay moments” but the anxiety in my stomach is non stop. I hope she knows how much I loved her and how special she was to me. I’m going to save what mollycat wrote to remind myself in those moments when I can’t breath. Thank you
Meesh83
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Re: This guilt is crippling! I feel like I failed my girl.

Post by Meesh83 »

Hi there, first of all I want to say I am so sorry for your loss.
Please, please be kind to yourself. After reading everything you went through and did for your cat, I can only see a level of love, kindness and care that is exceptional.
I know the pain and stress of having a cat with IBD. It really is such a cruel disease. I made the decision to have my cat Pepper PTS back in Nov, a day after his 14th birthday. He'd been suffering on and off with IBD for 2.5 years but it had suddenly gotten worse about 6 months before he was PTS. We tried steroids for about 3 months and they worked for about 2 weeks and then he'd relapse and it would be explosive diarrhea half in and half out of the litter tray, sometimes he'd accidentally tread in it and walk it all over the house. vomit everywhere. I just got to a point where I couldn't cope any more and it broke my heart to see him completely possessed by constant hunger and thirst. He had also licked all the fur off his belly where he must've been feeling uncomfortable. I know deep down he was suffering and would never get better, yet it is still such a hard decision to make and also I still have guilt now, though it is gradually easing.
Give yourself time to adjust to life without your precious girl, and remind yourself that you did absolutely everything you could to care for her. Hopefully she'll come visit you in a dream one day soon to let you know she's ok ❤️
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