KT810
I have never posted anything in any type of forum before, but joined this group last week as we mentally prepared to say goodbye to our beloved cat and companion, Alfie. Everyone here seems so supportive and “gets” what I am going through, and I thought that sharing Alfie’s story would be cathartic for me, even if no one reads it. I apologize if this is lengthy. 
 
Alfie was 11 years old, but we only had him for just under 4 years. We adopted Alfie and his “brother”, Grizzly (who was 6 months older) from friends who had to find them a new home, together- they had just had a baby who had health issues and who had developed major allergies to cats and dogs. My now-husband and I were getting married in two months, and we always discussed adopting a cat after the wedding. But when I saw my friend’s Facebook post begging for help, everything just clicked and one day, we had two cats!
 
Alfie was the runt of his litter, was abandoned by his mom, he was bottle-fed and he had an upper-respiratory infection as a kitten that should have killed him. We were told that he wasn’t born “wired correctly” in terms of his health, but he was completely fine for his 11 years until shortly before he passed.
 
Alfie claimed me as “his” person from day one. He followed me everywhere. He cuddled with me all the time. When I left the house, he walked around complaining for an hour afterwards (according to my husband!). When I decided to leave an 11-year extremely stressful career, he was there for me in my times of stress and self-doubt when my job plans didn’t exactly work out the way I thought they would. He truly gave me unconditional love and got me through some very tough times. 
 
We got even more attached to each other when I started working from home. My husband travels about 100+ nights a year for work, and we don’t have kids yet, so Alfie and Grizzly became my company. I leave the house a couple of hours a day to go to the gym or to yoga, but other than that, I’m home 90% of the day. Grizzly typically lays on the couch all day, but Alfie was so social- jumping on my desk to lay next to my computer (God forbid I gave my keyboard more attention than him!), jumping on my lap so I could hold him sideways while I typed with one hand. I even set up a food and water station for him in my home office. When he heard you lock the car and put the key in the door, he’d meet you on the stairs or get off the couch to peek his head around the corner to see you. He came running to you when you called him. And if you shook a bag of treats, he could be sound asleep in a closet in the top floor of the house, and he’d meet you wherever you were. We put a bed in front of our front door so he could look outside through the storm door all day. Moms who took walks with their kids were always saying hi to him through our front door. He loved Halloween because it meant seeing new people. He had the loudest purr to the point you had to make the volume louder if you were sitting with him while watching TV. Never bit or scratched us once. He was the best.
 
Alfie was diagnosed with kidney disease in February. Grizzly was diagnosed a couple of weeks earlier with diabetes, and we brought Alfie in for a check up as well because we thought he would also be diagnosed diabetic based on his increased drinking. I feel so foolish now hoping that he wasn’t (“he will never put up with the injections like Grizzly does”, I said). When our vet called with his bloodwork results the next day, I felt like the ground beneath me swallowed me whole. We decided that Alfie would definitely not tolerate IV fluids everyday, and that I would not torture him with that treatment for however many days/weeks/months he had left with us. We tried medication, vitamins- all which he either spit out, gagged out or vomited up. He barely tolerated the prescription food, so I used to mix it in with senior food until he stopped eating that and waited for Grizzly to finish so he could eat his leftovers. 
 
Alfie was so spunky and had such a huge personality that we decided to make his time with us as enjoyable as we could. If that meant not trying to jam medicine down his throat, fine. If it meant giving up on prescription food and feeding him what he truly wanted, fine. My mantra was to take each day at a time and feel blessed if he spent the day happy and stable. 
 
He was stable up until about a week and a half before his last day- about 5 months after diagnosis. We noticed that he was only licking the gravy up from his food, his hard food in his dish in my home office was untouched, and he only seemed to be eating treats. He also started becoming a lone wolf- hanging out in dark spaces upstairs in our house instead of being cuddly and social like normal. He went down hill so suddenly. We took him to the vet last Tuesday, August 1. We learned he had lost 4 pounds very suddenly and that his health was rapidly declining. Our vet told us that his hiding and lack of eating was his way of telling us that his body was tired of fighting. She was impressed he was able to have a fulfilling 5 months with us, since his levels were “through the roof”. She gently encouraged us to think about what we wanted to do, but that he would most likely be crashing soon, and that it was an ugly way to spend his last days. We knew she was right; we could see it in his eyes. His eyes were dull, there was no more spark. We knew we had to do right by him. 
 
We spent Tuesday through Friday morning in one of our spare rooms with him- he decided to “nest” in that room in the last week. Coincidentally, it was the room we kept Alfie and Grizzly in when we got them for the first couple of days they were in the house. My husband and I worked from there, watched TV in there, slept in there with him. People came to say goodbye- our friends/their previous owners, my mom, the people who would cat-sit for us when we were away. 
 
Our trusted vet came to our house on Friday at noon. He hated going in the carrier and hated the vet’s office so we knew we would like for him to spend his last minutes in a place where he was comfortable. Everything was peaceful as possible and we are glad we made this decision. He was on his favorite blanket and he was surrounded by myself and my husband, and we talked to him the entire time. 
 
I just don’t know what I’m going to do. I feel as if there is a thousand pound weight on my chest that won’t leave. I spend my days concentrating on not breaking out into sobs. I find myself waking up in the middle of the night and immediately crying. I wake up in the morning and immediately start to cry. My husband left for a work trip this morning and I am beside myself. Please don’t get me wrong- I love our other cat with all my heart, but Alfie was just different. He was such a comfort to me and kept me from being lonely when my husband was away. I am trying to get back into my normal routine but I feel like I am moving through a fog. I feel like my house is empty without him. I know that this is only the fifth day, but I can’t imagine when I will feel better. I know we made the right decision, but I also find myself questioning everything I did for him- should I have forced the IV on him? Should I have tried harder to force the pills and prescription food on him? What could I have done to make him live longer than those extra 5 months? I am worried for Grizzly- although he wasn’t as attached to Alfie as Alfie was attached to him, they were together for 11 years. Will he be ok? Will I know if he is depressed? 
 
Thank you for reading this if you made it this far- again, I apologize for how long this was. I just wanted to share Alfie’s story and say how much he means to me with people who “get” it. It is beautiful how everyone is so supportive of each other in this community. 
 
Have a wonderful day.
 
-Kristin 

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William
Hi
I am so sorry for your loss. Your post really described how you bonded with your baby.
I commend you on your decision not to do iv fluids and meds. Not a great quality of life and not something to put your baby through. I also commend you for not waiting till your baby crashed. That could have been a lot of unnecessary pain.

I lost my William on May 20. He was 14 years old. He was a daschund and he was my emotional support dog, my best friend. My reason for doing things. I loved him with all my heart. I cried and cried and cried. I still cry but it's not as bad as it was. I'm starting to accept my life has forever changed.
I was proactive in putting William down because I didn't believe in prolonged life with meds and trips to vets and bloodwork and medication side effects. Although my brain knew I did the right thing my heart made me question everything. He is at peace.

You had a wonderful life with your baby and knew when you needed to let go. They gave us unconditional love and in return we gave them the gift of letting go so they didn't suffer.

Grief is an individual process. Just know it's early and the pain is awful. Having our lives change makes everything different. I'm at 2.5 months without William, I'm not going to lie it's painful. But, I know I did the right thing.
I know you did too❤️
Kim
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KT810
Hi Kim,

Thank you so much for taking the time to read all of my thoughts and replying. Your William was beautiful. 

Thank you for understanding why I chose the route I took with Alfie. I did hours and hours of research via various websites devoted to feline kidney disease, and saw people choosing to do everything (and more) that I didn't- IVs, syringe feedings, etc. I got more guilty for not doing those things the more I read. But my husband, and my vet- two people who knew Alfie the best- agreed that that was not a *life* for a cat like Alfie. Still, I find myself second-guessing myself, which I know is natural. 

The day that he left us, he still was eating treats and walking around his little area- however, all of the signs were there that we had to say goodbye. Vacant eyes, hunched over his water bowl without drinking, hind legs visibly starting to get wobbly, not sitting comfortably and getting up every 20 minutes or so. I kept telling myself to please not let myself get my hopes up because he was eating treats, and that I couldn't risk him crashing just to have him with us for another few days or so. 

Your words have brought me comfort- "They gave us unconditional love and in return we gave them the gift of letting go so they didn't suffer."

Thank you so much.

Kristin 
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LovingPatches
KT810,
I read your beautiful story with tears in my eyes.  I am so sorry for your loss of Alfie.  Your story wasn't too long - don't ever worry about that.  Mine was pretty long too and nobody complained.  Alfie is beautiful.  Your Alfie sounds a lot like my Patches in his sociability.  Liked everyone.  Only difference is my baby was the most cooperative cat I had ever had - could do anything with him, give meds, trim nails, trim mats, laid back from day 1.  So I never had an issue with giving him stuff.  But I completely understand your not wanting to put Alfie through all of that though.  The cat I had before Patches was much the same way as Alfie with meds.  Alfie sounds like he was a wonderful companion.  I don't know where people get the idea that all cats are anti-social - I've never had one that was.  I can tell you that I have had and am still having all the same feelings and crying spells that you are having.  My baby passed on 7/22/17 and it is still very raw.  I cry everyday and even at night like you do.  Sometimes just out of the blue too.  You have to be patient and allow yourself to grieve such a wonderful friend as Alfie.  He obviously had the kind of personality that filled the room, so the house will definitely seem empty without him.  There's a certain type of "animal loneliness" about a house that has always had a pet, and then that pet is gone.  I'm going through the same thing.  I know it can seem impossible to believe, but we will get through this, although I do believe it will take awhile.  I have talked to others outside of this forum who still grieve pets they have lost many months or even years ago.  Everyone has their own grief schedule, and we must all be patient with ourselves.  Please accept my deepest deepest sympathies for this very painful loss.

Diane
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campana
Hi Kristin,

So sorry. So sorry... I so agree with you, that the earth is gone from under you. I'll tell my story, but there is everyone here. Your baby was awesome, and I can't imagine. You made the most humanist, compassionate decision that takes strength and show your love. You gave him a beautiful life here. Alfie was happy because he knew you. You made his life better. You made him comfortable and happy. Please take solace in this - he had a wonderful life because of you.
Liz
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Marie123
Your Alfie is beautiful! What a sweet boy! I lost my girl Raven to kidney disease and a tumor on her liver just before Easter. I tried to give her meds and stuff but in the end she would run from me, and it was killing her beautiful proud spirit. My heart goes out to you for having to deal with this. I'm still just reeling from losing my girl, I can imagine how you must be feeling. I've had cats my entire life but she was THE ONE. It's a feeling only those here on this forum seem to understand.
You did the right thing for your Alfie. It's hard to believe it now, but you did. I have to keep reminding myself of that with Raven every day. And you gave him a dignified way out of his pain. That was such a beautiful thing to do. Taking on the suffering of a loved one is the bravest most selfless act one can make. Your boy is watching over you right now and thanking you, sending his love down the Rainbow to lift your heart. Maybe he's friends with Raven now too. Just take your time to grieve and let the tears flow when they need to. You don't have to explain yourself. If the people around you truly care, they'll understand.
My prayers go out to you right now,
Marie and the crew ❤🐾
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KT810
Hi Diane,

Thank you for your note. My Alfie was also super social like your Patches- to the point where we had to sometimes physically pull him away from new people when they sat down in our house! My mom stayed with us for a month once when she was recovering from a broken femur, and the physical therapist actually had to ask me to bring him upstairs so she could continue to do her job! :-) However, he HATED the brush and the nail clipper (unlike my other cat, Grizzly, who has a basket full of combs and drools when the brush comes out!). 

"He obviously had the kind of personality that filled the room"- that hits the nail on the head. Our vet nicknamed him "Mr. Personality" and we are really missing it now.

My mom still actively grieves my childhood cat, Pepper, who died at 19 years old back in 2011. It has affected her to the point that she hasn't gotten another pet because she can't go through the pain again. 

Thank you again for your note. :)

Kristin 
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KT810
Thank you for your beautiful words, Liz. :) I hope we were able to give Alfie the best four years of his life and are thankful that we were brought together. 
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KT810
Hi Marie,

I have tears in my eyes as I read your words. "Beautiful proud spirit" also describes Alfie. Kidney disease is ugly and watching how it affected my spunky, curious Alfie really almost destroyed us in the end. I kept telling my husband as the hour approached, "I hope he wouldn't be angry with me if he knew what I was choosing for him." I believe I made the right choice and I hope he would realize why I did what I did.

I hope Alfie and Raven are playing together and enjoying endless treats and catnip. 

Have a wonderful day.

Kristin 
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LovingPatches
Kristin,

Thank you for your very kind response.  Your statement, "I hope he wouldn't be angry with me if he knew what I was choosing for him. I believe I made the right choice and I hope he would realize why I did what I did" is something I need to write down and read often because that is my biggest barrier.  I feel like Patches was mad at me and very indifferent to us once we arrived at the facility.  Right up to arrival, he was rubbing against my fingers that I put through the door mesh on his carrier.  I hope he did realize that we did it out of love, and there were a few moments where we almost stopped it.  So many regrets, so your words are very helpful.  I greatly sympathize with your mother and I feel exactly the same way - I can't possibly let myself get another one and go through this again.  Give your mom my sympathies too.  My Patches' personality filled the whole house too, so it is painful to be at home.  We have a Toyota camper we are trying to get back on the road so that we can spend some time away.  I think that will help some.  Blessings to you and to Alfie's sweet soul.

Diane
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Purplelady
I feel your loss of your beloved kitty. I am still grieving the loss of my beloved kitty just 11 days ago. My house is empty and I am very lonely without her😢😢😢. I had her for 14 years. It has gotten a little better each day. The love that she brought to us until the very end.
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Bre
Kristin,

 I loved reading your story and the photos of Alfie are adorable! He sounds like such a special kitty. I am so so sorry for your loss. You were such an amazing kitty momma to Alfie and you gave him a wonderful life. I think all of the feelings you've mentioned earlier are normal. It sounds like you had a very special bond with Alfie. Things will get better. I think sharing your story and talking to people on here definitely helps. 

I am going through a similar experience at the moment. I lost my 10 year old cat to cancer and jaundice on August 5th. I have also woken up every morning since with that heavy feeling and tears.. I have been going to bed with tears. I haven't been able to get through an hour long work out session without tears..and I also understand the foggy feeling. Visiting this message board and knowing I'm not alone has helped the most. Yesterday was the 1 week anniversary of my kitty's death and today I finally felt motivated enough to make some artwork inspired by her. I've also been writing a lot.. that has helped! I'm thinking about getting some kind of jewelry/locket that I can carry her photo in.. maybe that will help too. Maybe some of these things would help you?

My kitty was the same way and would follow me around everywhere until she fell ill. I like to think that her spirit is still following me around. I'm sure Alfie is still following you around in spirit too and they are both in better places.. free from pain. <33 Best of luck

 
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