Last Friday, I had to make the terrible decision to put my young tabby cat Loki to sleep. A few weeks ago I took my other cat Shadow for her booster shot and he came along for a general check. During that visit the nurse found a large lump in his abdomen, but he was eating, sleeping and doing fine. We booked in an appointment to get it checked just in case. When I returned the vet showed me the xray and ultrasound... this mass was malignant and had grown even bigger, pushing against his organs and he was anaemic, because there were pockets filled with fluid and blood was going in there. We had the option of surgery, steroids or let him go to sleep peacefully. I chose no.3... but now my mind is filled with doubts. Surgery would've been expensive and risky. Steroids would've prolonged the inevitable for about a week at most. I just wish i found it earlier... he showed no sign of discomfort and he was only coming up to 2 years old so I never guessed my happy boy would be suffering in silence with what was most likely cancer. I feel like I failed him for not trying harder....
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Charlotte, please try not to feel guilty about making the choice to let your boy go peacefully.  I know it is very hard, I lost 2 of my cats in the past 3 weeks.  One due to old age and I chose to let him go because he was going downhill fast.  The other had kidney failure that I didn't know about until he had a broken tooth and went in for a dental.   I chose the option of doing the dental since he wasn't eating and ended up losing him a few days later.  I have felt tremendous guilt over that, wishing I had not done the surgery.  I think no matter what we decide we also tend to ask ourselves what if.. wishing things were different.  Sometimes there is no easy or perfect choice and we just have to let them go. 

I found what has helped me has been to repeat the following things to myself when I start to feel the guilt come up:

I loved my babies with all my heart
I would never intentionally hurt them
I made what I felt was the best decision at the time
And I wrote a letter asking Harry (my second one with the kidney disease) for forgiveness.  

These things have helped me start to get a handle on the guilt or feeling like I failed as you mentioned.  I still feel very sad over the losses and miss them, a lot of times I try to push the sadness away, but sometimes I just have to sit and cry it out - I usually feel better afterwards.

I hope this helps you in some way, thinking of you.

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Hi Charlotte

I am so sorry that you have lost Loki. I had to put to sleep my just 3 year old boy 6 weeks ago as he had and underlay heart condition that caused saddle thrombus. We only had 2 options to try medication which would have been painful and probably not have worked and eventually it would catch up with him again and the vet really didnt want to do this, or put him to sleep. Like you we chose to put him to sleep. He was not ill until that day and I have felt so guilty about how i should have done more. I feel your pain, its horrible Loki was so young. You feel cheated because they never got to live their lives for the many cat years we expect them to live for. We do the best for our cats and you done the best for Loki, unfortunalty horrible things happen. But, we have to remember how lucky we are to have such amazing family members even if its just for a short time. Loki loved you and you loved him and you done your best for him. At the time you knew in your heart that putting him to sleep was the best thing because you loved him. Guilt is a natural part of life and grieving, it will probably always crop up for time to time. I still think maybe if we just tried, but i would have done that because it was in my best interest because i didn't want my boy to die, it wasn't for him. You didn't want Loki to suffer and you have nothing to feel guilty about. I hope your ok.
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