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Cat Death (FLUTD) - my fault?

Posted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 11:52 pm
by gingerest
My cat passed away today. He hadn't been eating, or using the bathroom and was screaming at me. I took him to an emergency vet and explained that I thought he was having digestive issues but they thought it to be a bladder issue. They only treated him for that, glossing over my other concerns and sent me home with medication. He was diagnosed with Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)

On Monday he seemed to be doing a lot better, yesterday (Tuesday) he seemed to be a bit low energy but we (my bf and I) had attributed it to that being his first day without the painkillers anymore, just his antibiotic. He also seemed to be avoiding the bathroom a bit. We bathed him and I noticed his stomach felt weird. I decided that he needed to see a vet the next day.

He drank plenty of water overnight and seemed to be doing okay. In the morning, he was napping and had drank some more water, however he did seem pretty off. I decided we'd keep an eye on him and booked a vet appointment for 7pm. I went to school, around Noon I got a call that my boyfriend went to check on him thinking he was napping and he was in fact dead.

I'm distraught, I dont know what happened at all. The vet is refusing to do an autopsy, because they didn't euthanize him. I feel like I should have realized / known better and that as soon as I felt his tummy that he should have gone to the vet. I wanted to be optimistic though and now I think it killed my cat. Did he suffer? I'm so upset. I dont know if he died from more stones or if it was his stomach, he still wasn't eating and I dont think he had eaten very much in about 4 days. Is it the vet fault then? I've never dealt with death before. My baby was just 3 years old and I feel like its my fault and that I cheated him out of the rest of his life. I should've known better and taken him to the vet this morning or would he have just died on the table? Last time during surgery he had a murmur, and they were concerned about that. The first vet also had charge us an absurd amount and was upfront about being twice as much as any other vet in our city due to being an emergency only clinic. We would have been able to afford a check up with the vet in our area but not much more than that. Was there anything we could've done then? I just feel guilty and lost.

Re: Cat Death (FLUTD) - my fault?

Posted: Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:47 am
by Mollycat
So sorry for your loss, what an awful shock and such a young lad.

It's only natural to look for answers and blame, it's all part of the overwhelming emotions that tear us apart when we lose a loved one. We don't always get those answers or if we do they lead us to more questions, more guilt, it's how our brains process the enormity of death. Your boy was ill, the most vigilant owners and best vets in the world can't always save a sick cat.

An autopsy would be very expensive and it wouldn't bring him back. You took him to the vet, the vet made an assessment and diagnosis and offered treatment which you gave. You did the right thing. There are no guarantees if you had taken him back again that the outcome would have been different.

FLUTD if untreated can lead to kidney damage and be fatal. A blockage is very serious and your vet when diagnosing him would have considered this and if the signs had pointed to it, well it's not a rare situation and the vet would have been aware and looking for the signs. A bloated belly can be a sign of a blockage so again you were right to be concerned, but you booked another appointment, so again you did the right thing. Was the bloated belly something else, I guess is what you need to know? Maybe, but maybe not. An autopsy might be abe to answer that but it would most likely raise more questions and in the end it still wouldn't bring him back. It's also normal for cats to go off their food when they feel unwell, it doesn't mean he had any stomach issues.

Even if it was, digestive problems can be simple or they can be difficult or impossible to diagnose and treat. We just lost our boy Bobby after months of symptom management as he gradually over 2 years had more and more digestive problems that responded less and less to treatment. We have no answers, it could have been cancer or inflammatory bowel disease or a hundred other things. In the end he couldn't pee, the vet had a good feel and confirmed there was no blockage, kept him in and got his fever down, but it didn't help his urinary problem. We have no answers on that either, we would be just as lost if we had this situation all over again and still would be if we had those answers because every cat is different even if they have the same condition or show the same symptoms.

Guilt is a normal part of grieving and even if there was absolutely nothing you could possibly have done different you would still find something to feel guilty about. It's just how our brains work. What's more, we are always doing the best we can with what we have at the time. Sometimes our best turns out to be wrong, or not good enough, but the skill is to accept this and remember that we tried our best.

Cats are so difficult, they hide pain and illness very well. Some really awful things can show up in routine check-ups or when it's far too late to help them because of that. My boy Henry was perfectly normal until one morning he looked as if he had been hit by a car, we rushed him in but it was a large mouth tumour and there was nothing we could do for him but let him go, a massive shock for us.

You didn't kill your cat, he was very sick and you and your vet did your best to help him. The questions you have and the guilt you feel are all a natural and important part of coming to terms with your loss and making sense of death when death has no sense. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself the same care and understanding you would give to a friend in your position.

Re: Cat Death (FLUTD) - my fault?

Posted: Sun Sep 22, 2019 4:26 pm
by gingerest
I just keep thinking that I should have taken him to the vet as soon as I noticed his belly felt odd, but he was likely too sick at that point for the vet to do much anyways but since I'll never know the guilt is killing me

The vet he initially saw was an emergency vet and the service really wasn't that good. I genuinly feel like my cat likely had other problems that they didn't notice and that's why he was having urinary issues but again I'll never know.

Re: Cat Death (FLUTD) - my fault?

Posted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:07 pm
by Bertie 2017
Hi first of all sorry about your loss ,and secondly you shouldn’t blame yourself or feel
Guilty ,about what happened ,somethings are sadly out of our control ,my Bertie had
Too be PTS ,after a freak accident ,that damaged his bladder and tail ,he was only 7 years
Old ,I like yourself ,blamed myself for a long time ,about the things I should and shouldn’t
Have done ,and the only thing ,that I gained from that ,misery ,now almost 2 years on ,
I have learned somethings are sadly out of our control ,and Bertie was improving ,but sadly
His bladder never fully recovered ,and the best thing was too end his suffering ,he like
Your cat had a swollen tummy ,grief has a way of ,playing tricks with your mind ,and
Is so cruel at times ,I do hope in time ,you will except that it wasn’t your flaunt ,one thing
I can say too you is be kind too yourself ,I never fully understood what that means at first,
But now I do ,

Hugs and kisses

Bertie’s mum x

Re: Cat Death (FLUTD) - my fault?

Posted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:58 pm
by exlibris
So sorry to hear of your loss. :(

Cats do have an amazing capacity to not show symptoms, which is why things are frequently not spotted by the best of vets, let alone owners with no medical training. My last two cats lived to a good age, but when they started to exhibit symptoms of what they eventually died of the vet never said it was the beginning of the end, which retrospectively I feel it was obvious and the vets should have told us. But no one is psychic, and a symptom can suggest a thousand different ailments. Mollycat is right - you took him to the expert and that was the best thing you could have done. Those few hours would probably made no difference, and instead your little boy died in his bed, where he was comfortable, where it was familiar and where he was not scared.
One of the reasons I come on Cat Chat is that when I have a problem, and go to the vet, they only see your mog for 20 mins and have to have a guess based on tests and how they seem at that moment. At Cat Chat there is an army of people who have direct experience of what your problem is and can give good advice and share what they have done. 100% of people on cat chat will say you've done nothing wrong, as many have been through a similar thing. Listen to them, and realise its not your fault, in fact you did everything right.

Re: Cat Death (FLUTD) - my fault?

Posted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:54 pm
by Nicky brown
I see your wee boy died in September and it’s now February. You might be feeling a bit better now or loads better or not better at all. We are all different and we even react differently to different deaths. When I lost my cat in August, although it was sad and I miss him, I didn’t feel despondently heart wrenched. I think it was because we had loved him for 15 years, we got him from rescue and we had seen how he was becoming frail. On the other hand, I lost my wee 2 year old in October 2018 and I was thoroughly depressed for a year and still feel too raw to trawl through photos or to listen to stories about him. When I lost my 11 month old - whom I had seen being born, I was beside myself but on that occasion, strongly felt I had to get another kitten within just a few weeks, something I didn’t feel at all with the others. Suffice to say I can’t imagine what it has been like for you other than sad and lonely and guilt ridden - because that’s normal, as horrible as it is. I am getting another cat in March and whilst his wee face makes me smile, I’ll never forget those who have come before. Take care. Nicky

Re: Cat Death (FLUTD) - my fault?

Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2020 4:47 am
by Upstate518rider
I know this is months later and i hope you are feeling even a little better. I am currently in a similar situation and it is devastating me. On Friday, i notice my 4.5 year old Felix laying under the table where my dog typically lays. And he would randomly just meow at me. He seemed okay just a bit lazy. I asked my sister about it because he just seemed a little off, she said he may just not be feeling himself, but didnt seem like anything major other than a "funny walk". There are no vets open weekends here other than emergency ones, but me thinking i would just bring him in on Monday was the worst thing i could have done. When i came home later saturday evening, i found him in the bathroom near the toilet, not wanting to move much. He walked his funny walk into the kitchen amd laid near the dog water bowl. I gave him a smaller bow of cold water which he drank as i lay there petting him. I was debating the emergency clinic, but then waited. I woke up sunday and he was laying in front of hisblitter box, i thought he had passed but when intouched him and he moved a tiny bit, i tried to see if he could stand, but he just keeled over.
I rushed to a newer vet i had no clue was about 30 minutes away and waited outside becuse they opened at 9, by this point i left them a voicemail and ot was 845 when they called. I told them what was going on amd that i thought he was in pain. They said they were "booked" until 1:30 despite the lot being completely empty amd referred me to the emergency place whihc i said i was already driving to. This was 50 minutes away. I called and they said they will be right out bc it was serious. They took him in amd called asking about cpr and stabilization. I was panicking and not thinking about cost and said do what u need to.
They called and said they Catherized and "stabilized" him Am and asked about his actions and history. She told me his bladder was "the size of a grapefruit" which i think was a bit if an exaggeration bc i just held him the night before. And said when she drained the bladder, it "looked like merlot" and if i waited till after noon hed be dead since hidms one reading was literLly immesur0eable.. Then the doctor had a worker call to go over pricing which for 2-3 days in the hospital was quoted $2200-$3800. I called my girlfriend and struggled with the decision on what to do. Applied for care credit and gave them the go ahead.
I drove home hopeful that i gave them basocally a blank check so he would be fine. I was wrong. At about 4 pm, igot acall they went to change the catheter but touched him and he put his head back and arrested. They tried cpr and said they would call back within 5 minutes. They did and nhe was gone 😔.
I was angry at myself and at them for taking $1400 from me and doing nothing but extending his death. They wanted more fore individual creamation, i was angry and said no ill get him. I spent the next hour or so preparing his grave, drove to pick him up and brought him home to bury.
I can't stop thinking that if id only known the severity friday or even rushed him saturday night, if that woulda made a difference and can't stop feeling devastated he is gone when i think about it. Can't stop thinking how he would be here if i paid more attention to signs or just was more observant. I don't think i can ever get over this feeling.

Re: Cat Death (FLUTD) - my fault?

Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2020 3:13 pm
by Kay
what a horrible trauma for you - no wonder you are devasted

given the severity of his symptoms, and their sudden onset, I wonder if he ingested poison - but there are always 'what ifs' and 'if only I'd done this or that' when we lose a beloved pet, and these unanswered questions just make the grieving process so much worse

accept the guilt as just a normal part of loss, especially sudden loss, and try to remember his life rather than his death - easily said I know but it will get easier in time