Did we make the right decision.

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Craigieboi
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Did we make the right decision.

Post by Craigieboi » Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:59 am

We had to have our wee girl Holly put to sleep 3 days ago and I am racked with guilt.

Holly was somewhere between 20 and 24. Two years ago she began urinating in small amounts and frequently all over the house. We took her to the vet and she had an infection and was given an injection and it all went away.

Over time we have seen her get older, less able to jump up in chairs etc but she always seemed healthy.

A few weeks ago we noticed she was moving beds quite a lot moving from one to the other and also dropping herself down in the floor to spread out. We just assumed she was too hot and trying to cool down.

Then about a week ago she started having some trouble with her back legs and we thought she might have developed arthritis.

Three days ago she was having trouble walking, her back was arched and her paws were slipping away from her on the floor. She didn’t appear in pain but didn’t seem to have a lot of energy.

About 2am it was raining and I had put the back light on and she was looking out so I opened the door for her. She got up, sat at the door for a minute then went right back to lying on the floor.

The next day She lay in one position but was moving every 10-15 minutes. Then when she was getting out of her bed she fell (I think she got caught in the fibres) but she panicked a little. We thought she wanted to eat so lifted her through to her food dish. She just lay on the ground and wouldn’t move. At this point we thought we better make an emergency appointment for the vet.

When we lifted her up and put her on her box she just lay right down and all the way there she was unresponsive.

We took her in and because of COVID the vet took her to be examined herself then came out to tell us she had kidney and heart disease and that putting her to sleep was the only option.

We asked if she could give her a painkiller so we could take our girl home with us and let her pass away at home but she said no that wasn’t possible.

She told us because she couldn’t find a vein that she would sedate her and then she would have to give her the final injection through the belly.

We were allowed to spend a couple of minutes with her.

5 minutes later she was put to sleep and we were taking her body home.

My question is did we do the right thing? We just accepted what the vet said, we didn’t push back. We didn’t see her carry out any tests. We just accepted her verdict. It all seemed very rushed and in hindsight we should have demanded to take more time.

I can’t help but have this feeling we did wrong by our girl. That there might have been an alternative, that maybe the vet hadn’t done the right tests and just made an assumption and we put her to sleep when there might have been an alternative that might have kept her pain free for a bit longer.

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fjm
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Re: Did we make the right decision.

Post by fjm » Fri Aug 14, 2020 7:10 am

I think you made exactly the right decision. Holly was not eating, such moving as she did sounds as if it was from discomfort, and she was unresponsive - everything says to me that she was telling you it was time to let her go. Vets do not make these decisions lightly, and yours would have been focussed on what was best for Holly, even though it was more painful for you. You gave Holly the last and kindest gift of freedom from incurable pain and discomfort - I think it has been very truly said that at this time we almost always feel some guilt, fearing we made the decision too soon or too late, but that it is a thousand times better a day or two too soon.

Grief is inevitable after so many years of loving companionship, but you have no cause to feel guilty.

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Kay
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Re: Did we make the right decision.

Post by Kay » Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:01 am

it sounds very much as if she had heart failure, and there is no cure for that, especially given her very old age

the passing you gave her was almost certainly better for her than any other outcome - vets see cats at the end of their lives much more often than we do, and can be trusted to know when it is time to let go

remember all those years you had her, and try not to dwell on her final days

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Re: Did we make the right decision.

Post by Craigieboi » Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:13 am

Thank you - that really means a lot and does help. I just can’t shake the feeling that we didn’t fight for our girl but you have given me some reassurance that there probably was nothing we could have done.

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Re: Did we make the right decision.

Post by Mollycat » Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:14 am

I think so too. At 24 years old, would you really want to poke and prod her and starve her overnight and draw blood and sedate her and bundle her into the carrier to go for more tests, only to push pills down her throat how many times a day and change her food and stop her treats ... No, we give them everything and care for them all their lives and in the end there comes a time when we have nothing left to give that can outweigh the natural process of their little body closing down in readiness for their little light to go out. And all we have left to offer is to make the transition a little less uncomfortable, so that they can cross in peace and free from pain, the ultimate gift of selfless love that we owe them for every purr, pat, head bump, squeak, yowl and simple narrowed eyes they have given us over the years.

If you're thinking you robbed her of her natural death, it isn't always a peaceful going to sleep but can be painful and bewildering for the cat and traumatic for you to witness, an awful final memory you would struggle to shake off or reconcile. And if you're thinking now it's not about yourself it's about Holly, no, it isn't. Holly was the most important character until she passed, and now you are, with your grief. Dying has to be a little compromise of what's best for us and what's best for the dying, because if what's best for them leaves us with unbearable trauma then that's not right either and it's not what they would have wanted if they loved us back.

Guilt is absolutely an important part of grieving, all those what-ifs and if-onlys. Guilt and questions play a key role in the process of grieving. The way our brains learn is by exploring every possible way to avoid pain and injury including emotional, and this is just your mind searching for anything you could have done to avoid this loss. But there is nothing. If not today, tomorrow, next week, next month. If not because you accepted the vet's offer of relief and an easy peaceful passing, then because you turned it down. You can do no right as far as your grieving self is concerned and no matter what you did you would have found some guilt to invent for yourself. I trained as a counsellor and one client I had felt terrible that she and her mum never said the words I love you. She talked about this for months until one day she had been clearing out some old things and she found an old phone answering machine. On the tape was a message from her mum who had called one day while she was out, and the message ended with the words, Love you, Bye! And that moment my client realised her mum had always said it (and so had she) but her traumatised brain had invented that she never did just to give her something to feel guilty about.

Be a little kinder to yourself, we are after all only human.

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Re: Did we make the right decision.

Post by Craigieboi » Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:07 pm

Hi Mollycat,

Thank you so much for your very kind words. It really means a lot and brought me a bit of comfort, and a tear to my eye.

I completely understand what you are saying and in no way would I have wanted her to be in any pain, and your right, she would have hated being poked and prodded and we would have struggled to give her any kind of pill - she only did what she wanted to do, when she wanted to do it.

After digesting yours and the other comments I do feel overall we did the right thing for her. There will always be a little doubt there, I don't think that will go away. I think because in my mind it happened so quickly that I can't really get my head around the fact she was dying, especially when in the past we have thought she was ill one day only for her to be back to her normal self the next again day.

But when I think of her in her last few hours I know deep down that she was in pain, she didn't want to be cuddled and that was really unusual for her.

For such a little thing she has left a massive hole in our lives and a massive presence has been left from our home. We just need to accept that she has gone and that we did the best thing for her.

Thank you again, I really do appreciate it.

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Re: Did we make the right decision.

Post by Minoulebeige » Sat Aug 15, 2020 4:28 pm

You made the right decision. It always feels wrong to take someone's life, but she was definitely suffering, it would only have gotten worse, and she'd have died anyway. The choice wasn't, "Do I end her life or not?" It was, "Do I allow her to suffer a long, humiliating, and frightening death or do I let her go now?" There was no "Let her live" option. I'm so very sorry.

If it helps, I've been with cats who have been euthanized and it's very peaceful. The sedative makes them feel fantastic, so they get a few Iast minutes of peace and happiness before drifting off to sleep. Only when they're completely unconscious does the vet give the lethal injection. So your choice allowed her last moment of life to be happy rather than frightening and confusing.

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Re: Did we make the right decision.

Post by Bertie 2017 » Thu Aug 20, 2020 9:02 pm

Hi first of all sorry about your loss ,I think it’s human nature,too second guess ourselves,
After we have made the decision ,too let our furry friend go ,after I had Bertie ,p t s ,
I couldn’t get the thought out of my head ,had I made the right decision ,should I have ,
Fought a little longer ? ,( we thought for four weeks ) but no looking at the facts ,it was
The right thing to do ,the kindest thing ,and my last act of love ,too Bertie ,and it seems,
To me ,that you made the right decision ,yes I understand how hard ,it was for you ,
Making the decision , even though we ,know it is going too break our hearts ,it’s the
Right thing to do ,after years of beating myself up ,over it ,I am now at peace ,
Still I miss my Bertie ,terribly , I expect I always will ,but time does heal ,but I still
Have my moments ,so please don’t be so hard on yourself , be kind too yourself ,
And stop feeling guilty ,for something ,you had no control over ,

Hugs and thoughts to you all ,

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