My husband and I just lost our 7-year old cat to flea anemia and we are distraught with sorrow and guilt. Our cats stay indoors and we have a couple dogs who go outside under our supervision, thus, fleas have a direct way to enter the home. We had not noticed how thin our cat was until we discovered upon inspection of his body that he was infested with numerous fleas. Sadly, we had not treated him with a topical flea application giving him the protection he desperately needed.

Once we discovered the fleas (and his subsequent weight loss hidden by his fur) we took him to the vet. He was incredibly anemic and had lost his appetite. The doctor administered vitamins and fluids as he was dehydrated and we took him home, hoping that he would gradually build back his strength and appetite. Unfortunately he suddenly got even worse and we took him back to the vet, who was to do a blood transfusion yesterday morning. Unfortunately, our baby died before we could make the last-ditch effort to save him.

My irresponsibility as a pet owner lead to my cherished pet's death. A simple $15 to $20 topical solution 1 month ago would have saved him. I likely denied my baby at least another 5-10 years of life and denied my family the many more years of love and companionship. I feel so horribly guilty as I should. I have saved many dogs and cats over the years and never once felt guilt when one passed. This is my first and I am afraid it will haunt me for the rest of my days.

Does anybody have experience with being directly responsible for your pet's death and how (if ever) can I work past this? My job was to protect my animal and I failed!
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This is so sad but not your fault. We all feel guilt at our pets passing for one reason or another. You took your kitty to the Vet as soon as you noticed something was wrong. This was a tragedy. No one is to blame but we can all learn from your story, it was brave of you to write it. Please don't beat your self up over this. It will take time for you to forgive yourself, grief takes time.

For me it has been 11 weeks since I put my beautiful Lhasa Duncan to sleep. He was the love of my life. He had issues health wise all his life, we spent close to $15.0000 on him. So when a large cyst burst on his back and was not responding to the Antibiotics I decided to put him to sleep. He was 9 years old, young for a Lhasa. I just could not put him through 2 more surgery's. He was not terminal. But I felt he had bad skin issues, bladder stones. As I said we were frequent visitors to the Vet's office. I am overwhelmed with guilt and loss. Deep down I know I made the right decision for Duncan But I have sleepless nights thinking about him. The answer to your question is YES.

I am thinking of you and hope in time your pain will ease. Please be good to yourself.

Hug's Duncan's Mom
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I'm so very sorry for your loss and for the pain and guilt you're feeling.
Even if, for what it's worth, I don't think you are to blame for your baby's passing, I know how you feel. I myself am struggling with a lot of guilt and feel I am directly responsible for my baby's death, for good reasons in my case. It's quite a long story, but, in a nutshell, he had been diagnosed with triaditis and I effectively malnourished him while thinking I was doing the best for him (feeding him first cooked chicken breast, which I later discovered failed to provide all the necessary nutrients, and then Hill's i/d, insisting with this diet even when he clearly didn't want it) until he ended up with severe anemia. I took him for three transfusions, he seemed to get better after the first two, but after the third he started peeing blood and died in my arms during the night. I've got a long list of stupid mistakes to blame myself for, from not having the common sense to try feeding him more appetizing foods when he lost appetite to waiting too long before taking him to the vet (we went to the vet once a week for acupuncture, but I should have realized sooner how lethargic he was and I should have asked them to repeat the blood works sooner).
As I was saying, for what it's worth, I don't think you are to blame for your baby's passing, you could not foresee he would be exposed to this risk and you took him to the vet as soon as you noticed the problem. You acted as you normally would have, with the knowledge you had at the time. You certainly did not mean to harm your baby and offered him a life full of love. The tricky thing about hindsight guilt is the way it makes everything seem 20/20, while in real time things are usually a lot messier.
Sadly, I don't know any magic way to work past guilt, but "work" is the key word here, you have to work at it daily, trying to focus on the love you've given your baby and to find it in your heart to forgive yourself. I haven't yet, I'm not sure I ever will, but I'm trying to find ways to atone for my mistakes - I adopted an orphaned kitten and I'm considering doing some volunteer work.
I attach two links that may also help you cope with guilt:

Hugs, sending you thoughts of peace and comfort!
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Hi, I'm so sorry for your loss.  I know all too well the feelings of guilt and regret.  Please read my post and you will see I made lots of mistakes with my dog Norton.  The truth is that none of us would have intentionally hurt our pets because we love them so much.  I know you are feeling so bad at the moment but please try and forgive yourself.  I am still working on getting through mine and I feel that I am slowly starting to forgive myself.  My heart goes out to you for what you are going through.  Hindsight is so hard because it makes us look at everything in minute detail.  I spent a long time wanting to go back and do things differently but we can't and we can't help the way we were thinking at that time in our lives.  The only way we can see we could have done things differently is by looking back.  We are just human and we are not meant to be perfect, but when it comes to our pets we feel we have to be perfect, but no-one is.  I have read lots of stores of where people have got things wrong and their pets have died so you are definitely not alone.  I hope snd pray you get some peace soon.  Please keep in touch and let us know how you are doing.  Take care.

I live in the Isle of Man (UK time)
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coldnoses,  please do not blame yourself for your furbaby's death.  None of us is perfect, but we all do what we believe is best for our babies.  You did not purposely do anything wrong, it was an accident.  A mistake.  I know you are hurting but try not to blame yourself.  You know your furbaby would not want that....
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I also would not blame yourself. Of course that is what we do. Somehow losing our beloved pet isn't painful enough- we have to make ourselves feel really bad by imagining all that we could have done to prevent it! I am doing the same thing and it is eating me up inside. Maybe it is part of your grieving process. Maybe you can do what another person suggested and think of doing something that will make you feel like you learned from the experience (volunteering at a shelter or getting a stray cat). I am still in the blaming stage. Our little kitty died from what I think was a blood clot suddenly yesterday. I thought it was from a car but when looking up her symptoms I think she had a heart condition. Of course I think I should have had her X-rayed or checked or something! But it is a very hidden illness. She was fine one minute and the next her legs went out and she was gone in under 20 minutes. Dreadful. Anyway, just know you are not alone. Please be kind to yourself. I will try the same but it will be difficult. I miss my sweet baby so much. : (
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Hi coldnoses,
    After my dogs death I had the same kind of loss and guilt. It was from applying a flea topical (Vectra 3D).
    I feel she may have had a reaction to it and it led to her death.
     So see it can go both ways. Sometimes these things are just meant to be and all the well meaning intentions just won't stop the end result.
    I am sorry for your loss and mine. I miss her every day as I'm sure you miss your furbaby, too.
Vicky (Cosette's mom)
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I too, am very sorry for your loss.
You couldn't know about the fleas, what damage they were doing. It can be very hard to see fleas, especially if they match the colour of fur, or your eyesight is not good for seeing tiny details.
It is also true that some animals can have serious reactions to flea treatments. If you had treated the fleas, this could possibly have don't know for sure.
Also some cats hate being examined, or poked and prodded, so it's not always easy to tell. 
Try not to accuse yourself. You loved him, and he loved you. Their time is short with us, but if that time is filled with contentment, they have known happiness.
Hold the love like a little light. It is all you have, or will ever have, to find your way home.

Misty's Blog..a Dogfight with Cancer

Misty's life after death:
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This a very belated post. Hope you are way past, as you should be, that hurtful grief stage and now smiling at the memories. My 16 month old kitty was thin and I took her to the vet and it was also severe anemia. I'm still after 5 months working on it, giving her Petinic. Another kitty died from hepatic lipidosis, also thin, had no idea she was that sick, she spent 5 days at the vets being force fed and died 2 days after I brought her home. I a cat has hepatic lipidosis it's best to just leave it at the vets so they can force feed, since that is really the only treatment that works, and syringe feeding at home can be too stressful on them. You just never have an idea what is going on, how would you? Knowledge comes too late. My best to you. 
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