Hi everyone. I do rescue and my family ended up with a litter of four tiny stray kittens born with distemper - three boys and one girl. They were in terrible condition and we thought we'd lose them several times, but after a ton of vet visits they grew into beautiful happy cats. The one female, Pretty Girl, was special. She never wanted to wrestle with her brothers and would rather spend time with her favorite person (she rotated between family members every so often). She also had minor but still scary seizures periodically, and I medicated and sat with her through them countless times during her two years.

She vanished three days before Thanksgiving. We all saw her the night before and the next morning she was gone. We tore the house apart looking for her and looked everywhere outside. She was nowhere, and after a few days of searching we had no options left. I despised giving up but we had no idea what to do, so I just tried to accept it even though we were all devastated.

Last night I was in my basement packing things to move when I felt a cold draft from far behind the washer and dryer. I went to check it out when I saw her body. She had been trapped there somehow and none of us thought to look there because we didn't even really know the space existed. I felt like I had been hit by a truck. My hands started shaking, I couldn't breathe, and I cried until I felt sick.

I don't know how to handle the way I feel. I've had problems with depression for most of my life but this is different. I've dedicated my life to helping animals and I feel like I failed her. I keep thinking that if we had just looked in that one spot she'd still be alive. I keep thinking that if I hadn't let her out of my room that night she'd still be here. I keep thinking that I saved her just to let her die. I know I shouldn't think that way but it's impossible not to.

I guess I just needed to tell someone this. Does anyone have any advice, and does anyone in rescue have a perspective? I've never had an animal I rescued die before and it's hitting me pretty hard. The picture is one of my favorites of her - she's the long-haired one being cleaned by her brother.

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I'm so sorry for your loss. I recently had a dog I adopted from the shelter pass away. We only had her six months and she was constantly sick. She had seizures and stomach problems, along with being very skittish and shy. We were going to the vet every month and had bloodwork done twice. He never properly diagnosed her and we feel he prescribed too much phenobarbital and that was the cause of her death. She passed at home. It was awful.

I can completely relate to your feelings of guilt. I so wish I had done a million things differently. I can't forgive myself, although I know I tried my best with what I knew at the time. It is painful to think you were trying to rescue an animal only to have them die a short time later. Tragedies happen despite our best intentions sometimes, and you truly had a heart for this cat and gave her the best while she was with you. I hope you find peace soon and comfort from sharing on this board.
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I know that it may be tough to think this way now, but please know that you did absolutely everything that you thought of at the time. Of course, looking back on it, it seems like it would have been so simple to save her, but at the time, looking where she was never crossed your mind. And you clearly loved her dearly as you searched everywhere that you thought she might have been for several days.

I am so sorry for your loss. I wish I could say something that would make it all better.
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Your Pretty Girl looks exactly like SJ, one of our outdoor cats.  SJ for Spark, Jr.; Spark was the son of Dad's favorite cat, Izzy. 

Please don't bat yourself up over this.  It was a horrible shock for you to find her like you did, and it's natural to feel like you should have/could have done something to keep her alive.  But this may have been what she chose, hoping to save you from the pain of watching her leave.  My Maggie did the same thing, the vet tech had to leave for only a moment, and that's when my girl left all of us as well.  You searched for her, you tore the house upside down looking for her - you did the best that you could do.  You love her, and she knows it, and somewhere by the bridge is a beautiful black and white furbaby, purring away and waiting to show you that she no longer has seizures, and she'll cross the bridge with you when you get there.

I am sorry for your loss.


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