DREADFUL GUILT AND LOSS AFTER EUTHANASING MY 17 YEAR OLD CAT

Help & Support for those who have lost a beloved cat
Post Reply
KBCats
New Cat Chatter
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2015 10:48 am

DREADFUL GUILT AND LOSS AFTER EUTHANASING MY 17 YEAR OLD CAT

Post by KBCats » Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:01 pm

Sorry, this is going to be a long one....

I had to put my beloved cat to sleep on 26 August and I am struggling with guilt and feelings of loss. I know it is a normal reaction, but I wanted to write something to help me through.

Furzo had lived with me for 10 years, having come to me from an aunt who was no longer able to look after him due to Alzheimer's. I loved him to bits.

Having got to the age of 17 (and a half) Furzo had gingivitis and kidney failure. He'd been getting increasingly fussy over his food and had gone off his crunchy biscuits and treats and wasn't eating much at all - but he seemed reasonably bright and purry. Ultimately his blood tests were practically off the scale for kidney function and at his final visit to the vet were offered the option of either euthanasia there and then or a B12 injection to stimulate his appetite. We chose the B12 injection but unfortunately, we were also given an appointment for euthanasia the following day, because the vet said if Furzo didn't eat very soon, he would never start to eat again.

We took Furzo home that evening and you can imagine how I was practically bouncing off the ceilings with elation when Furzo started to eat the special food the vet had given us! All I could think about was that we might have him for a few more weeks. That elation was short lived because that was the last food he ever ate.

The following morning I couldn't temp Furzo with anything. I tried tinned salmon and tuna (mashed to bits) and the special food, and he kept looking at it but wouldn't eat. Then he kept asking me for food by going to the food cupboard, as if I could somehow find something in there to tempt him. All I could get him to do was drink cat milk and the juice I had drained off from the tuna and salmon - which he guzzled down - but he couldn't seem to drink it on his own and I had to hold the bowl up so he could drink standing upright.

I knew the provisional euthanasia appointment was looming that evening, and as the day went on he didn't eat or be able to seem to drink without my help, and I became increasingly frightened about him being in distress overnight if I put off the appointment. I phoned the vet and organised home euthanasia, but it turned out I had to bring forward the appointment by a couple of hours so the vet could get back for evening surgery.

Furzo and I spent the afternoon lying in a sunny spot on the rug and I poured out my heart to him talking to him about all my memories and good times we had shared. When the vet arrived Furzo had been watching the birds and was mid wash with his leg in the air - and he seemed so normal! He'd even greeted me with his little chirrup as I walked into the room. I think that's what makes it so hard - I keep torturing myself that I acted too hastily. Even worse, when he was euthanased Furzo had a bad reaction to the sedative and as soon as the injection was administered started gagging continuously (like he was trying to be sick) for what seemed like an eternity until the sedative worked - it was horrendous. Not the peaceful passing I had been given to expect, and I was in shock. I was so frightened, all I was saying (very hysterically through the tears) throughout was 'I'm so sorry Furzo', 'I'm so sorry'......

That evening we kept his body in the living room with us, and at bed time it seemed fitting for me to bring him into the bedroom overnight. It just seemed right to keep him with us, and we just put his carrier on his little stool by the bed so he was close by.

I know the reaction to the sedative was not my fault or the vet's fault, but it was beyond traumatic. I miss Furzo so much and now all I keep thinking is that I should have persevered a bit longer and tried a bit harder. Seeing him on his last afternoon, purring, sunning himself, having a wash and watching the birds, he just looked like his old self, and I can't stop worrying I acted too hastily, but I didn't want to lose him or be without him - having him put to sleep was the worst thing I have ever had to do as he was so dearly loved and such a big part of my life.

He was such a lovely cat and such a character, and I miss him so much. I know things will get better, but at the moment I'm still heartbroken and he has left such a hole in my life. I have loved and lost cats before, but losing Furzo has hit me the hardest and it's really difficult adjusting to life without him.

User avatar
HeatherCrazyCat
Frequent Cat Chatter
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:28 pm

Re: DREADFUL GUILT AND LOSS AFTER EUTHANASING MY 17 YEAR OLD

Post by HeatherCrazyCat » Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:50 pm

Hello KBCats,

I am so sorry to hear about your sad loss. When you have loved a cat that is not just your own, but one that has been entrusted to you from a family member, then it is very hard.
From personal experience, I felt like the worst person ever when I had to take my Grandpa's cat Lucky to be PTS 2 years after my Grandpa passed away.

Once the grief has started to subside a little, I think that you will realise that ultimately, this was the right decision for Furzo. When it comes to caring for a cat who has a disease which is getting rapidly worse, you have to make the decision about when is the right time, based on their quality of life, and it is never, ever easy. You will either beat yourself up for thinking it's too soon, or too late.
I remember last year I fostered a cat who was in the final stages of renal failure and the vet wanted to put her to sleep on one appointment. We couldn't get through to one of the charity trustees to authorise it, and I thought she still seemed reasonable at that point, so we agreed I'd take her home and keep an eye on her. The following week she declined quickly and severely over one day, to the point where she couldn't hold herself up too well at all, and I was really wishing that I had just been able to let her go the week before, rather than rushing her out for an emergency appointment to be euthanized. It was horrible.

I think that the way you chose to help Furzo pass is beautiful, with plenty of time to tell him how loved he was and make his last time special. Even if you had been able to keep him going for a few more weeks, they may not have been quality ones for him, and you may have had to make a last-minute vet dash with a very sick Furzo, and not been able to have that beautiful time to say goodbye.
I am so sorry that his end was so harrowing for you, with his bad reaction to the anaesthetic - but ultimately, please believe me when I say that I truly believe you did the right thing.

It will take a long time for your grief to subside - you are still in the phase where you will feel guilty even though you have no need - but as time passes, hopefully you will come to terms with his death a little more, and be glad that you did your aunt proud, taking care of her dear baby for so long.

May you rest in peace, Furzo xx

User avatar
bobbys girl
VIP Cat Chatter!
Posts: 3174
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:58 pm
No. of cats in household: 5
Location: Co. Fermanagh

Re: DREADFUL GUILT AND LOSS AFTER EUTHANASING MY 17 YEAR OLD

Post by bobbys girl » Fri Sep 11, 2015 3:32 pm

I agree completely with the previous post and can only add my heartfelt sympathy to you. I know what it's like, I went through the same thing with my darling dog Bonnie. She too was 17 1/2 (quite some age for a dog) and although she was in reasonable health I think she must have had doggie dementia. She would go out into the garden, stand looking a bit lost, then come into the house to go to the toilet. She just looked bewildered.

It was MY decision to end her life and I still carry that guilt even though I KNOW it was the best thing for her. I too spent the last day close to her and was with her when the vet came. As gentle as he was she still flinched when the needle went in and it broke my heart (I'm welling up just thinking about it).

I did my duty by her and I can't let those last few seconds spoil the previous 17 1/2 years of good memories.

It does get better in time. RIP Furzo and ((Hugs)) to you.

Sue xx

KBCats
New Cat Chatter
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2015 10:48 am

Re: DREADFUL GUILT AND LOSS AFTER EUTHANASING MY 17 YEAR OLD

Post by KBCats » Fri Sep 11, 2015 4:22 pm

Thank you for your very kind and comforting comments HeatherCrazyCat and bobbys girl. I'm sure everyone who has ever had to make a decision to put an animal to sleep has these crushing doubts afterwards because it's such a huge responsibility and such a big decision to make. The decision to PTS is always made out of love for our animals, but I suppose conflicting emotions are at work because although we know deep down it is the right thing to do, at the same time we so desperately want to cling on to them. We're all desperately trying to select exactly the 'right' time for our pets, but I suppose whatever we do we will always be left with some doubts. I'm sure I read somewhere - it might have been on CatChat - better a day too early than a day too late. I'm just trying to hold on to the fact that his last afternoon was a lovely relaxed one, and I'm so grateful the sun came out for him to have one last long sunbathe!

I know I will start to feel better soon and just remember Furzo with great love and affection, but today was just one of those days when everything that had happened got on top of me!

Thank you for your support. To anyone who has loved and lost, or is facing losing, a cherished pet, there are a lot of people on this site who do understand your pain and can completely empathise. It has been so helpful to be able to share my thoughts without someone changing the subject! I've made a little donation to CatChat on Furzo's behalf. x x x

hgale
VIP Cat Chatter!
Posts: 459
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:51 pm
No. of cats in household: 1

Re: DREADFUL GUILT AND LOSS AFTER EUTHANASING MY 17 YEAR OLD

Post by hgale » Fri Sep 11, 2015 6:47 pm

I'm so sorry to hear about poor Furzo, but please don't feel guilty. You made the right and kindest decision for him. I still miss my Kitten (who I had PTS due to stomach cancer December 2012) and Mischa who was PTS February 2014 also with kidney failure. I also felt guilty - I'd been away at a works conference on her last weekend but she'd been fine before I went, my friend who feeds my cats when I'm away said she'd drained her water bowl - unheard of. I was met by a very miserable little cat, so I took her to the Vet on the Sunday I returned and her kidney levels were way too high, and despite all day Sunday and Monday on a drip, she didn't respond, and as she was 19 and a half, I knew her time had sadly come.

I remember when Kitten first became ill - I was also on here all the time asking "When will I know her time has come?" It is an impossible question to answer without leaving at least some doubt behind, but I found great support and friends on here. I'm sure Furzo would be very happy to know you have helped some other cat with your donation to CatChat - thank you for that.

RIP dear Furzo and {hugs} to you from Helen.

User avatar
Crewella
VIP Cat Chatter!
Posts: 3627
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:59 pm
No. of cats in household: 6
Location: Hertfordshire

Re: DREADFUL GUILT AND LOSS AFTER EUTHANASING MY 17 YEAR OLD

Post by Crewella » Sat Sep 12, 2015 7:03 am

I'm so sorry for your loss, I had to make the same decision for my Pugwash a couple of weeks ago so I know how it feels. Please don't beat yourself up, you made absolutely the right decision for your boy, and it's far better this way than if you'd let him suffer and were now wishing you'd had the strength to make the deicion earlier. You loved him and did your very best for him, that's all he could have asked of you. (((hugs)))

Rest in peace lovely Furzo. xx
Last edited by Crewella on Mon Sep 14, 2015 3:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

KBCats
New Cat Chatter
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2015 10:48 am

Re: DREADFUL GUILT AND LOSS AFTER EUTHANASING MY 17 YEAR OLD

Post by KBCats » Sat Sep 12, 2015 7:48 am

Thanks for your support and your thoughts Helen and Crewella. I am so sorry to hear you lost your Pugwash so recently, Crewella; it is hearbreaking and they are always so desperately missed - we are treading the same path. It takes a long time to get used to not seeing them around the place. RIP Pugwash, Kitten, Mischa, Lucky and Bonnie, and all the other dearly loved pets loved and lost. Bless our pets - past, present and future - for the love and joy they bring to our lives! x

Post Reply