Hi to all the people on this forum. You all put my feelings into words better than I can right now.
I am writing because I chose to euthanize my 1.5 year-old cat, Crystal. We rescued her as a kitten. She was such a good kitty and I thought I'd have her so much longer. Over the holidays, I wasn't home as much as I usually am and that is when she became sick.
She threw up a lot last week Tuesday, but she does that sometimes, so I thought it was the food, so I went back to her normal food. Unfortunately I wasn't home much until Thursday and she still hadn't eaten. Her litter box was clean. Friday, New Year's day, she was very lethargic and wouldn't even drink water, but our vets were closed. I mixed up a cat electrolyte solution and spent the night trying to get her hydrated.
I managed to get her in Saturday morning to a vet out of town (all vets were completely booked on a Saturday that was the day after a holiday) and they did an x-ray and exam and diagnosed a "linear foreign body" which had bound up her intestines. She loved to play with and eat string. I'd take it away if I saw, but I had no idea what it could do. The vet said I must go to the Emergency Vet Clinic immediately.
I had to drive her to an emergency vet, one of the longest drives of my life. After being told the options, cost and guarded outcomes, I chose to euthanize. Watching her go was intolerable. She backed away from the vials like she knew.... I just wanted to yell "STOP! DON'T KILL MY KITTY!" but I just cried silently and tried to be strong for her, thanking her for giving us everything in her short life. My friend Amy brought some positive energy to the situation, but when the pink vial was put in, it felt like I lost most of my soul.
Immediately upon returning home I was floored literally with crushing guilt and feeling like I had done the wrong thing. I screamed and sobbed, took her things to the dumpster because I couldn't stand knowing she'd never use them again. I sat on the floor in my living room, where I had spent the restless night with her, desperate to "wake up" from the terrible nightmare.
Any other week I would have caught this sooner. Any other day, we'd be at my normal vet.
It's a crippling guilt and sadness that won't go away for long. I've since done reading about this problem and found that the full recovery rate is under 65% for cats, less if the cat has become very ill.
There is an additional universal sorrow from a young life being cut short, and I honestly don't know if I made the right choice sometimes. Surgery and inpatient stay at an emergency vet would have been over $5000, and no one could tell me that it would work... they usually have to explore the entire intestine and make multiple cuts to remove it in segments so that it doesn't tear tissue. I also had to consider that even if she pulled through, there could be a day where she pulls a string from something and it happens all over again.
I'm plagued with remorse over it nonetheless. I regret the days I didn't spend much time with her, especially last semester, as I was in night classes. I thought I'd have time to make it up to her. I was looking forward to this winter break just spending time at home with her.
I didn't mean for this to be this long, thank you for anyone who has read this far. And if you have cats - keep them away from string. And give them a loving hug from Crystal and me.