calowe82
Hello friends,

My first visit here was December 2013 when my cat, Bailey, died unexpectedly from heart failure at the age of 8.  About one month later, I adopted a 13 year old cat, Mitzie, from the shelter.  Looking back, it was probably too soon to get another cat (I have another cat named Scotty), but I knew that there was another soul out there that needed me.  Mitzie could be a cranky old lady at times, but she was so sweet and affectionate toward me.  We bonded right away and she was very special to me.  Earlier this year she was diagnosed with pancreatitis and we had a rough go of it for a few weeks, but she overcame it and was doing beautifully.  In recent weeks, I noticed that her ears were bothering her, so I made an appointment with the vet.  I took her in last Thursday and she was diagnosed with an ear infection, but the doctor also detected a heart murmur.  They did a cardiac muscle blood test, which came back abnormal, so they sent out blood for further testing and I was told we'd have the results by Monday.  I was terrified due to my experience with Bailey because I never knew she had a heart condition until it was too late, but I told myself that we caught it this time.

Sunday morning I woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and I went to check on Mitzie.  Long story short, I found that she was having trouble breathing (which was the same way I found Bailey on that fateful morning), so I took drove her 40 minutes to the emergency vet.  They put her on oxygen and did an ultrasound, which revealed fluid in the lungs and around the heart.  The doctor said we could try a diuretic to see if the fluid would re-absorb, and I said yes, but then he went on to tell me that she would also need x-rays, an ECG, and oxygen therapy for a minimum of 48-72 hours, all of which could stress her out even more and kill her, especially at her age.  With Bailey, they had tried 3 rounds of diuretics and they never helped, which is when I decided to let her go.  After going back and forth with the doctor about what he thought her chances were (50/50) and what her quality of life would be like, I decided to let Mitzie go too.

Driving away from the emergency vet with an empty cat carrier for the 2nd time in two years was devastating.  At first I was at peace with my decision because I took the time to ask all of my questions, whereas with Bailey everything happened so fast because she was in such bad shape.  However, after that first day the guilt set in and I keep wondering if I really did the right thing.  Why didn't I try the diuretics?  I could afford all of the tests and the hospital stay if I dipped into my savings, and wasn't she worth it?  On Monday, I contacted my regular vet, who had been made aware of what happened by the emergency center.  My doctor was heartbroken, and surprised because she said Mitzie's lungs sounded great on Thursday (which was a knife in my heart).  I did ask if the blood test results came in and what they said.  She told me that her thyroid was normal, but it looked like she had early stage kidney disease.  Her heart results were the most telling: apparently a normal level for a cat is up to 100, and Mitzie's level was 894, indicating significant disease.  i asked her if I made the right decision and she told me that I did what I thought was best with the information I had, and that I did it out of love.  

I keep telling myself that if they had been able to pull her through this time that she would have had a rough go of it because she was very difficult to pill and would have needed to be on different meds, food (she also had a food allergy), and deal with any pancreatitis flare ups.  Selfishly, I also had to tell myself that my quality of life would have gone down because I would be in a state of constant alert and wonder if today would be the day she'd take a turn.  She was only in my life for 19 months, but I bonded with her in a away that I never did with Bailey or Scotty.  I still have Scotty, who is 14 now, and he is the sweetest boy, but I'm ashamed to say that part of me resents him for being the surviving pet, especially since he is the one with the medical condition (diabetes) that I've been dealing with for 9 years.  I'm trying to make things as normal as I can for him, but I do admit that I sometimes wish I could just cuddle with Mitzie.  I know it's not his fault, but I'm just in a really bad place right now.

That turned out to be a lot longer than I anticipated.  I guess I had a lot that I needed to say.  Thank you for reading.

Cassie


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CB
Cassie,

I do understand your feelings of guilt I really do. But not only did you give Mitzie a home when she was 13, a decision that few would make knowing an ageing cat comes with health issues, but at the end you eased her suffering. Our dog left 10 weeks ago. I've churned guilt continuously. The circumstances are similar. He had pancreatitis a few years ago. It reared it's ugly head again in his last week. One day he was rolling in the sun, the next sick and in pain. We tried for a week, he also had epilepsy, a heart murmur and at 15 was slowing down. After a week and lots of tests we had to make the heartbreaking decision. To begin with I felt it was best. Then I started questioning should we have tried for a few more days. The reality is though that pancreatitis is so nasty, and was probably indicative of pancreatic cancer. A confirmation of that diagnosis would have meant he would have to endure horrible tests and for what. Just to know he might have had a few more weeks. Those weeks would have diminished his spirit, he wouldn't have been able to eat, the strain on his heart too much.
For Mitzie it seems very much the same. You got her there as soon as you could. You questioned everything. The heart results really are telling. I can't be sure but it feels to me if you had not made the decision and driven her back the trauma could have caused all sorts of problems. You ended her suffering in the kindest way and that takes courage knowing how it was going to feel. At least you weren't selfish and it is so easy to be like that when we are terrified of the loss.
You did the right thing.
I'm sorry you have to deal with this.
Love you forever and ever and I will be there for you xx
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calowe82
Thanks, CB.  I try to tell myself that I spared her from the stress and pain that she would have endured had they been able to pull her through that episode.  I would only have been prolonging her pain to alleviate mine.

Cassie
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CB
You absolutely did the right thing. It's as if we have to question ourselves after whatever the circumstances.
Love you forever and ever and I will be there for you xx
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calowe82
Do you think our deceased pets can communicate through our surviving ones?  I had an experience this morning in which Scotty woke me up by grunting and sniffing at my face.  Before I was fully awake, I thought it was Mitzie because she had a "little old lady grunt."  It made me wonder if she was using Scotty to let me know that she was ok.

Cassie
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patent123
First off you deserve a round of applause for adopting a senior cat.  I work in a shelter and our senior cats ALWAYS get over looked by people.  I always have been drawn to the older animals so to see someone offer their home in a way like you did is AMAZING! 

After losing my dog I realized it doesn't matter whether our pets die at home peacefully or at a vets office...in the end we all feel pain, guilt, anger, and whatever other emotion that is thrown at us.  Its been almost a year since I lost my dog and the pain is still just as strong.  Its important though to not sum our pets existence up into how their life ended. I know my dog had a great life filled with love and thats whats important.  For your cat all that matters is she found someone willing to open their home and heart up to her.  Her last years were with a family that appreciated her and loved her and in the end thats the best result in my opinion.  

Its clear you went above and beyond to care for your cats. Unfortunately illness and injury are out of our hands.  They silently sneak up on us and often only become clear when its to late.  Even though your heartbroken now just know you made her life happy and in the end you did your final act of friendship.  It took my a while to realize that letting my dog go was done with the highest level of love thats out there.  I only wanted her pain to be taken away and deciding to put her to sleep was the most painful thing but ultimately the most unselfish thing I could do. 

I hope you feel better soon about things...just remember to take your time to feel and process everything.   Don't forget the amazing times shared!
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calowe82
Thank you for the kind words.  I knew that when I adopted an older cat that our time together may be short, but it still didn't prepare me for the heartache.  I know when the time is right that I will find another who needs me just as much.

Cassie
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