This past monday had to put down my best friend of 15 years after she became weak and frail, stopped eating and drinking. Sunday morning I took her into a near by animal hospital. They ran all sorts of blood tests, gave her fluids through an IV and antibiotics. I went hours later back to pick her up since currently they are not letting owners into the hospital because of Covid. When I picked her up I noticed she had now taking on a heavy breathing with a constant of her mouth open and tounge hanging out. I contributed this to her pain medication they put her on. We returned home I placed her on a comfy pillow on the couch and let her lay. The day passed into night. Sitting on the couch I heard a Yelp. It was her trying to get down our basement stairs where she loved to go and hide and lay. She was stuck on the second step down helpless. I picked her up and placed her near her food and water. She eventually made the slow walk to the spare bedroom to hide under the bed where she had been laying the last several days. I moved some water and food bowl under the bed for her and said goodnight. 

The next morning I took her with me down to my office in the basement. She laid on a blanket in the same state. Heavy breathing with her mouth open and tounge hanging out. I called my local vet as recommended by the hospital for a follow up. Of course there was a cancellation within the next couple hours so I took that slot. We drove to the vet. Again i was unable to go in with her due to Covid. 15 minutes later I get a phone call from the doctor saying they did xray and found that she had a large mass in her chest. Doctor recommended two options of returning back to the animal hospital for a surgery or putting her down. I was crushed. Could I afford the surgery? Maybe. But could she really make it through in her condition ? Would I be out all that money if she doesnt make it through? Selfishley these are some things I thought. Immediately I told the doctor I dont think surgery is an option at this point. 

I asked if she could bring her out to me and let me call my wife to give her the terrible news. I told her she and the kids should come down and say there good byes to her.

From this point I have major regrets. 

I will admit that I was scared, panicked, and not thinking clearly as I was in a state of shock. The vet tech brought out a clipboard with some final decision paperwork on how to handle the death of my best friend. If it wasnt for my wife saying absolutely we will get her cremated and bring her home I fear I wouldn't have made that decision immediately based upon the extra costs. Again I am struggling with a horrible feeling a guilt here. As i know we could afford the cremation with no question. 

So now the time comes. My wife and kids say there goodbyes as I hold my bestfriend in my arms one last time and kiss her head. Tell her I love her and how sorry I was for everything. Putting her slowly back down into the box carrier the hospital had put her in. I cried and pet her some final times. I could tell she was tired and needed to rest. I then said to my wife I think shes ready to go (I dont really recall saying this as I was still emotionally distraught) but there she went off with the vet tech. Goodbye my friend. 

The ride home was horrible. It's now Friday as I write this. Four days after her passing. I am still hurting so incredibly bad. Which has lead me down the path of writing this story and asking questions. I have so many. So many things I should have said to her before I let her go. But my panic and shock took over and now i am left with the most awful gutwretching regret I have ever experienced in my life. 

I think alot of my pain in the form of regret stems back to a few things. And in the end I know no one really has the answers I seek. But i am willing and open to listen to answers. 

My main questions are about forgiveness .... does my cat forgive me for the times I behaved so poorly and mean to her?
Does she forgive me for the quick decision made to put her down vs attempting life threatening surgery? 

15 years and I let her go in less than 2 hours. This is killing me inside. Should I have layed with her one last time for an hour or two in the car? Or even taken her home for the night to maybe spend her final hours there? Would she have been happier with that decision? I have so much to say to her now that she is gone that I should have said while she lay there in the Vet parking lot. 
But I didnt. I was scared. A coward and now my bestfriend had to pay the final price for it. 

The other forgiving event I can recall is one night i had a really bad night. The kids had stressed me to a breaking point. I went to bed angry with everyone. I laid on my couch watching tv as I typically did each night (newborn is currently taking my spot in bed) and my best friend Shady would come up behind my head and try and lay on the couch back cushion while waiving her tail in my face. Most times I would just slide her body so her tail wouldn't hit me. But this one night I was so angry. She as she always does tried to get behind me on the couch to lay. I took her and threw her (gently) on the carpet floor. She repeatedly tried to get up behind me. I got angrier and moved her from the couch and then took my couch pillow and threw it at her. I watched as she walked away slowly (probably so sad and unloved in that moment) but at that time it didnt matter to me. I was angry. I didnt want to be bothered. But all she wanted was to lay with me. 

I am devastated. All I want is some more time with my friend to hold her and cuddle and tell her shes going to be ok. But now I'll never get that chance again and I am truly truly crushed. 
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Sorry for your loss. Some thoughts that "helped" me when I had to let my bff of almost 17 yrs go.....I didnt put her down, I didnt put her to sleep....I let her go (bone/lung cancer), I struggled when they told me nothing could be done and took 1 more day intending to give her a "special" day but then felt guilty for prolonging it (since she had little interest in her favorite things), when I feel down or particularly am missing her I am reminded that she never did anything to intentionally hurt me or make me feel bad, and remind myself that she wouldn't want me to be miserable now . Another idea I came across playing the "what if" game in my head was the thought that they hold out until we are ready whether we think we are or not. I dunno if these ideas are of any help, but I do know that its still so very raw for you (i was in same place when it happened) and the "what if" game can be very detrimental to yourself and your family. I do understand the feeling of guilt and feeling like a coward, but had to realize my decisions were based on love and was based on her best interests whether they are deemed right or wrong, I was beside her the whole time just like the 17 years she was for me.
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Sorry about your loss. I feel your pain. Yes, your beloved friend has already forgiven you. Animals act on instinct alone, so your cat would've remembered all the wonderful things you did for her throughout her long life (15 years). Great thing about dogs and cats is that they don't hold grudges and seem to move on quicker  than their human counterparts. In the overall grand scheme of things, your cat held you in high regard and there are no hard feelings. I hope that you are able to find some peace and concentrate on all the good times that you shared with her. I wish you much success as you navigate your healing journey.

Sending Positive Thoughts Your Way,

Jim Miller
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  I think you definitely made the right decision. You may think it was made in only 2 hours but you knew for some time that your best friend was really sick so when they told you about the large mass I feel it didn’t come as a total surprise to you. Sometimes we just can’t face what we know in our hearts to be true. So while you think you made the decision quickly I believe you knew there was something very wrong with your cat. You’ve described a cat who was suffering so when you got that diagnosis it helped you to make the decision to end your best friend’s pain. I’m including a poem that may bring you some comfort. I’m so sorry your cat got so sick and sorry you lost your best friend! Hugs to you!
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Such great responses.  I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved kitty - you did the best you could for her.  That is all we can do.  The poem is spot on - when the time comes, it is right that the people who loved them the most make that last decision to end their pain and suffering.  It is the last gift we give to them.  Even though their body is not with you anymore, their soul will live with you forever in your heart and in you memories.  Cats are good at hiding their pain until it is too late to do anything about it - every vet will tell you that.  It sounds like she had a wonderful, loving life with you.  Try to remember that.

Everyone on this forum can identify with your guilt over letting her go - it is part of the grief.  It will take a while (it has been three weeks since I had to say goodbye to my 19 year old tuxedo cat who had kidney failure - but for the next 2 weeks I did the what-if thing that helps no one - I knew in my gut it was time for him).  Someone very close to me who is the director of the local humane society and also runs a pet grief group told me that part of the grief is that the time we would have spent caring for them is no longer occupied - feeding, giving their meds, etc.  It leaves a big hole with which there is nothing to fill.

Bless you.  It will start to get better very slowly and in small increments - I cry less and am able to smile when I look a photos of my boy.  You will get there too. 
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