Struggling with guilt and grief

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Michellewel1
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Struggling with guilt and grief

Post by Michellewel1 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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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Mollycat
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Re: Struggling with guilt and grief

Post by Mollycat »

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 »

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 »

Be kind to yourself and to each other - that, and time, do help.
JJmeow
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Re: Struggling with guilt and grief

Post by JJmeow »

when we had our lovely cat put down earlier this year, the vet said, they never give euthanasia as an option, unless it is really something that may be necessary. They would not suggest it if they felt other options would be really successful. This made me feel a whole heap better and I hope it helps you too.

They are so much part of our families, that we miss them incredibly when they are not there.
Felix19+
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Re: Struggling with guilt and grief

Post by Felix19+ »

I had a cat 12 years old (Treacle) that seemed her normal well self and suddenly stopped eating on the Saturday I thought it was her just being fussy and on the Sunday she was sat on the back of settee seeming normal but when my mum called she noticed cat was breathing heavy - I thought it was just her purring heavily. On the Monday I got appointment to see the vet expecting nothing serious but vet said cat was very sick! I was taken aback as cat had seems perfectly normal a couple of days ago. We took her to their other surgery in the next town where they did procedures. Cat had blood tests and chest x-ray and found to have fluid in lungs - I held cat while vet drew off about 25ml fluid from her chest it was very upsetting to see what seemed such a large amount from a little cat - on exam had pain in kidney area - I took Treacle home after taking advice from vet re food and making another appointment for review. For a few days Treacle seemed bit better and was eating a little I had cat back and forth to vets who gave me some special food to give her in a syringe - treacle didn't really want it and had lost a lot of weight I felt in the end I was force feeding her. During the night Saturday Treacle was distressed again breathing heavy and first thing on Sunday morning I rang emergency vet in tears saying "this cat needs to be put to sleep" .
The vet was marvellous and sympathetic and said it wouldn't take much he could see how ill she was - he put a needle in her side and in a second she was gone it was so quick and she mustn't have felt a thing. I wished she had been put to sleep 3 weeks before when she had been sedated for her x-rays so she wouldn't have had to go through all that suffering - I don't know why the vet didn't suggest it.

Your cat didn't have to suffer and that is a blessing you did the best thing. Take care. xx
Michellewel1
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Re: Struggling with guilt and grief

Post by Michellewel1 »

I just came on to post another separate comment and saw these lovely comments. Thank you so much, your words have eased my guilt a bit and I'm so sorry for your own losses, no one else understands except fellow cat adorers x
Caroline1977
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Re: Struggling with guilt and grief

Post by Caroline1977 »

Hi Michelle,

I too am feeling exactly how you are so I feel your pain. I lost my beautiful Billy 24th November and for me the pain is still real and raw. I cant seem to get past the guilt, the whatifs. My partner has accepted that we made the right decision so why can't i. I wake every morning and I have this overwhelming grief feeling and wrenching in my stomach. I wish I could say something to ease your pain but I can't, just know that your feelings are real and normal and there are many people all over the world going through the same thing. I have found a great live chat room on Rainbow Bridge webiste, you can talk to people on a live chat feeling the way we do and it does help somewhat. Xx
Michellewel1
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Re: Struggling with guilt and grief

Post by Michellewel1 »

Thank you, sorry for your loss, the stomach wrenching was the perfect way to describe the horrible feeling. The wishing you could change something in the past, and I've even been pretending the vet took her home with him instead of putting her to sleep. I got a phonecall today to say her body was back, this will be horrific all over again but at least I'll have her home.
I will have a look out for that website as I just need to be around like minded people just now xx
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Mollycat
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Re: Struggling with guilt and grief

Post by Mollycat »

This might help, the Blue Cross pet bereavement support, 08000 966606. A bit more personal, direct and on-tap, as well as us here of course not instead of

https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-bereav ... d-pet-loss
Caroline1977
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Re: Struggling with guilt and grief

Post by Caroline1977 »

Hi Michelle,
Billy came home to me on Saturday, I have my chats with him still, I also take time out and sit in his favourite place during quiet time to remember him and our special times. I have spent the last week researching case files, xrays and training notes online to try and make sense of it all. I also have a pooch called Teddy and I feel like I have neglected him this week so I need to focus on him as he is probably suffering too. How are your children coping?
Michellewel1
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Re: Struggling with guilt and grief

Post by Michellewel1 »

Thank you Caroline, it just all takes time doesnt it? Then we can hopefully find peace with what happened. I've found myself going through.paperwork and conversations I had with the vet over and over. The kids are OK, my son was upset the first night but has been OK after this, but I dont think they like seeing me crying so much and being down. I will have a wee service at the weekend. Take care ❤
taram
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Re: Struggling with guilt and grief

Post by taram »

So my cat Luna was diagnosed with a heart condition when I took her to her annual check-up. We did all we can for her took her to the cardiologist, fed her the medicine they prescribed. Thought she was getting better, she ended up having a stroke and we had to put her down in the end. Her last few months probably were not the best for her being in pain and she couldn't go outside. Please don't feel guilty I know it's hard
Mainstay Mother
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Re: Struggling with guilt and grief

Post by Mainstay Mother »

I understand you feel you're struggling with guilt and grief. It's just a normal stage feeling that way. But pls remember you have done everything you could based on your situation. I hope you'll overcome soon that feeling, knowing that your baby cat is now there over the Rainbow Bridge watching over you.
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