ArtieDeco
This is an long story, but please bear with me. I find myself in an unusual situation for me that I am not used to and I am having a hard time dealing with the loss of my cat. I am a single male in my 30s and about a year ago, one of my best friends, a woman whom I had known since we were children, passed away from complications due to diabetes. This loss was difficult for me because we were very, very close and I loved her much. She had a 12 year old female fully black cat weighing about 14 lbs named Xena who now found herself homeless. I've never owned a cat but, without hesitation, I brought Xena home to live with me and I began to spoil her rotten. She immediately stole my heart and became my close companion, sleeping with me every night, laying next to me while I was watching TV and would be waiting at the door as I came home from work. Often, she would wake me up in the morning by getting up in my face, putting her paw on my arm and meowing until I got up and fed her.

I soon realized that I would miss Xena while I was at work and always looked forward to seeing her when I got home. My job requires me to travel about once a month, and I found myself getting a little teary eyed when I would drop her off at the pet hotel and very excited when I went to pick her up to bring her home. Xena did NOT like riding in the car, so she constantly meowed during the trips to and from the pet hotel. However, when I would pick her up from the pet hotel, I would put my hand inside her cat caddy allowing her to smell that it was me. She would stop meowing, then she would start purring and rubbing her face against my fingers for the rest of the ride home. She was definitely my baby now and I gave her my own nickname, The Lady Z.

About two months ago, she started dramatically losing weight and then I noticed her appetite had severely decreased. I tried feeding her different foods including canned tuna and salmon, but it didn't help her to eat more. finally, I took her to the vet and found she had lost 6 pounds in six months and x-rays suggested to the vet that she had some kind of intestinal cancer. I was devastated. I called my girlfriend to tell her and had to fight off breaking down into tears.

The vet gave Xena two fluid treatments due to severe dehydration and gave me some medicine to give her and gave her, hopefully to help her eat. He said that as long as she continues to eat and she doesn't lose anymore weight, she would be okay for now. Three weeks later, she stopped eating all together and had lost another pound, I took her back to the vet and this time the vet felt a definite tumor in her belly. After examining her, he said, "I cannot tell you to do this, but if she was my cat, I would have to put her to sleep, she is in pain and she is suffering and this shouldn't go on any longer."

Now, I'm a pretty manly man, I'm 6'4" tall, broad shouldered weighing around 220lbs. I ride sport bike motorcycles, I'm a private pilot, I used to do club racing with the local chapter of the SCCA in my Audi sports car. I go hiking, camping and fishing so I'm no wimp, but at this moment, I started crying like a baby. I could not hold it together but I agreed with the vet's advice and they said she should be euthanized right away. Xena did not like going to the vet and she was very scared, hiding in her cat caddy, I had to reach in and pull her out so they could administer the drugs that would take my Lady Z away for good. I looked into her eyes and I could see that she was scared, but she trusted me and let me pull her out of the caddy without much fuss. The vet's assistant and I held her down, I couldn't look at her, but I was gently scratching her belly, which she liked for me to do but would only let me do it. The vet gave her a shot, then she was gone.

This was the first time I have ever had to do anything like this and I am having an awful time dealing with it. I realize that part of why I am so upset is that Xena was my last real connection to my friend I lost a year earlier, and I also realize that this was the humane thing to do but it goes way beyond that. I grew to really love Xena and had gotten used to her being around and keeping me company. Now when I come home and she isn't there, I get upset. I can't go into my spare bedroom, which Xena had claimed as her own, because the pillows on the bed are still indented from the last time she was laying there, her favorite spot when I was not home. She could look out the window and it was very comfortable, it was her room.

I assume with time, these feelings will subside, but I find myself looking at all the photos I've taken of her on my iPhone and I get upset all over again, sometimes breaking down into tears. People can call me a crybaby and make fun of me all they want, but I am in a lot of pain over the loss of my Lady Z. I'm hoping others out there who have gone through similar things might have some advice or at least some reassurance that this will get better.

Thanks for reading. Xena.jpg
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ChristinaSt
I am so sorry for your loss.  I can relate because I just had to put my baby Cotton down on Saturday.  It was the hardest thing ever and the first time I'd ever had to do that too.  So, I understand.  Your Lady Z looks almost exactly like my black cat, which is my dog Cotton's best friend.  She even has that same look of confidence and fearlessness that my cat has.  

I don't know when your pain will lessen or subside.  I'll think I'm doing better and then just suddenly break down. I have terrible feelings of guilt in second guessing myself.  I see Cotton's precious face every time I close my eyes.  Everywhere I look, I'm reminded of him.  My heart feels like it is crushed into a million pieces.  He was my constant companion too.  He followed me from room to room in my house.  He never left my side.  I miss him more than I can put into words.  He was like my child.

It sounds like you have a wonderful, caring heart.  Maybe you can gain a little comfort by knowing that your friend who passed and Lady Z have been reunited now.  

Just take things by the minute and grieve as you need to.  No one will be laughing at you on here.
Missing my baby Cotton
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sophiesmom
I am so sorry for your loss.  I understand your pain.  Know that you did the right thing, the kind and loving thing, even though it was probably the hardest thing you have ever had to do. I had to put my sweet baby girl Sophie to sleep 2 days ago.  I had Sophie for 17 years but I don't think it matters how long we have had our furry friends, only how much we loved them while they were ours.  You Lady Z was a beautiful kitty and I know you will miss her terribly.  I keep finding little things that remind me of Sophie and start crying again.  So be prepared, it might take a little while before you stop being crushed by pain every time you see something that reminds you of your Lady Z.  Just know that you are not alone in your grief. There are so many kind people on this site that can help us cope with our loss, it is good you decided to post your story here.  My thoughts and prayers are with you. 

sophiesmom
Sophiesmom

my home feels so empty without you but my heart is still full of love for you
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Papaya
I understand what you are going thru. As I sit here at 2 am in the morning reading your story and typing this reply I to am crying.

We must put our baby to sleep tomorrow or in the next 2 days. She ( Pineapple a 14 short hair female cat) has bone cancer of the mouth. She has not eaten for the last 2 days. The pain in her mouth is just too much. We do not want to have her with this pain any longer.

We have had 3 babies and Pineapple is our last. I know how you feel. Every time it think of what we will have to do in the next 48 hours I start to cry like a baby. I do not know what to think about this house once she is gone? Not sure I will be able to come home to such a empty house. For the last 14 years we have had our babies to come home to, now??? I feel so bad. The pain from this loss will be devastating for us.

I know what you are feeling. They say the pain goes away and maybe it will. I need to think of the good times and how my wife and I have given all 3, not just Pineapple a good life. I just think it is so unfair for God to take this baby away...I know that sounds selfish but it is what I am feeling at the moment.

I just wanted you to know there are people out there feeling same pain & loss.

Good Luck,

Thomas
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Bellamum
I am so sorry for the heartbreaking pain and grief you are feeling after saying goodbye to your precious Lady Z.  I can relate to everything you have written and no one on this site would ever think of you as a cry baby.  We know just how much our pets become more than just pets...they are family and we love them and grieve for them just as we love and grieve for family members.

I don't think the pain ever goes away completely, I think it just changes. The raw, overwhelming grief that comes upon us and turns us into a crying, blubbering mess eventually lessens, but I think it is replaced by a dull ache that is always there. 

I lost my sweet, gorgeous beagle, Bella, 10 weeks and 5 days ago and I still cry for her, not every day now, but it still happens.  I have some bad days and some better days and I have recently even had some "tear free" days.  My heart felt like it had been torn in two when I said goodbye to her and now I describe it as beginning to heal.  It will be left with a permanent scar that belongs to my beautiful Bella.  I think we will always grieve for our babies, but the intensity will probably change.

I wish you peace and healing.
Take care.
Karen
(Bella and Charli's very lucky mum)
"You were once by our side, but you will be forever in our hearts. Until we meet again baby girl."
Karen
(Bella, Charli and Buddy's very lucky mum)

My gorgeous girl, Bella  26/07/2004 - 03/04/2014
"You were once by our side, but you will be forever in our hearts. Until we meet again baby girl."
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Binkysmom
I'm so sorry you're going through this as you can see most of us understand. I had to put my best friend of 19 years to sleep 20 days ago. When I get home from work I still can't turn off the light in the bedroom since I don't want to look for him. It's gut wrenching when you look for them and they still aren't there. Are you going to get her ashes? I have my Binks ashes next to my bed where he belongs.
This forum helps a lot
As long as I'm living my Binky you'll be
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kfostercma
I can relate to you on more than one level.  I had to make the decision to euthanize for the first time a week ago tomorrow; also from cancer.  I felt like I owed it to my cat to be in the room with him for the procedure, and he too hid in his makeshift transport crate (he hated traveling so much, I could never fit him in a proper pet carrier, I had to MacGuiver a carrier from an 18 gallon storage tote) and I suspect he didn't know what was about to happen because he was so calm until the vet tech shaved him.  I left the office feeling like I had committed the ultimate betrayal even knowing that he had no quality of life left.  He couldn't eat, and I had to hydrate him with a disposable pipette--even then I am not sure how much water actually went down his throat.

I am also a male--an effeminate (but heterosexual) male, but a male nonetheless!  There is a very powerful social norm that almost forbids men from crying or showing outward signs of emotional distress, unless it is anger.  Anger seems to be an acceptable emotion for us to express in our culture.  I worked so hard to hold the tears back at the veterinarian's office, and when I got home I experienced a sense of numbness; tears wouldn't start flowing until I put up Nall's memorial and read some of the guest book entries (they sometimes make me cry but I still enjoy reading them).  Crying spells come and go now, and are unpredictable.  I often have to excuse myself while I'm at work because I don't want my coworkers to see me like this.  I wanted to give myself a couple of days off to adjust and find a proper way to honor Nall's memory but we are short staffed, and I couldn't be spared.  In a way I am very lucky.  My boss is also a cat lover--well, actually her husband is more of a cat lover--and also recently had to euthanize one of her cats.  She understands completely that the grief is real, but the reality is that I need to be at work.  So the grief process slowly continues.

I wish I could just have a good cry and be done with it, but it is intermittent.  It is like I am emotionally constipated.  Stupid social norms....

I guess I went off on a couple of tangents, but an overwhelming sense of loss is completely normal, even for a "manly man."  A pet is a member of your family even if they aren't the same species.  You did a good thing, taking in a cat who would otherwise be homeless and nurturing her as long as you could when she became sick.  You are a truly awesome human being, and you have much to be proud of!  I can't promise you it will get easier; but I can suggest that if you truly loved Lady Z (and it sounds to me that you did), remember her fondly.  Visit her memories frequently.  Through our memories, our loved ones in some capacity live on.

I hope you found this helpful.

Kev
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ArtieDeco
Thank you all who have replied, I can't tell you how much I appreciate the support. And it helps me to know that others are going through the same thing and that what I am experiencing is normal. It looks like we have all lost our close friends and yes, they are part of our family and that's what makes it so tough.

Your support has helped me to feel a little better and while Lady Z will always be with me in memory, I believe I will always miss her. Thanks again to all of you, and I definitely feel for your losses too.
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brian4jane
Your cat IS beautiful!  I know how it feels to fall in complete and total love with a cat.  I also totally understand the happiness it brings to spoil them just to see how they love it that you care.  My beauty was put to sleep 1 month ago and I feel I committed the ultimate betrayal.  I don't know if she may had recovered from kidney failure but it was the vet's suggestion and there's so little time to decide and my husband does not like the "torture" of not being able to make such decisions, not that I'm blamming him but somehow it just wasn't completely set in my mind it was time but then again I don't know.  I may never know for sure all I remember is her tiny face starring at me while I kissed her forhead and the trust she had in me it was incredible! I loved her so much and she was so very beautiful. This was the hardest way to learn about pets, my gosh, there should be a better way than to have to go thru all of these raw heartbreaking feelings that don't seem to ever go away!
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MrB1_
Your pain and sense of loss are real and nothing to question or be ashamed of. I lost my beloved cat, Buster,  two weeks 2 days ago, and, although, I now force myself to talk to people,  when I'm alone I still cry and can't help feel that I will never be able to replace my funny, flirty, unique best friend.

I am so sorry for the loss of your Lady Z. It's a remarkable thing, the way they show you the way to love and care for them so unconditionally. We, who have come to this site through sorrow, know that she loved and trusted you unconditionally, also. You stepped in when she needed you and cared for her with your heart and love.

Please know that, in kindred spirit, you have many understanding, empathetic listeners here.  We all learn and grow through our shared loss, sorrow, and experience.

Thank you for sharing about Lady Z, the gorgeous black cat.

Roberta
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Jinxandmatildas_mom
Your Lady Z looks just like my jinx I lost a month ago, my other kitty Matilda left me two weeks ago, there is no doubt they take pieces of us when they go, it doesn't matter if you are a man or a woman, love is love, period. And if someone doesn't understand how sad for them, that they obviously don't know that unconditional love we shared with our babies
Kathy
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Brittany
I also recently had my first experience with euthanasia 14 days ago. My Atlas was only 4 months old as of the week I put him to sleep. There are still many things about the day I regret and wish I could redo more then anything. My decision was not a thought out, slow one as he went down in the matter of one day. Atlas had a lot of previous issues as well that I've written about but on his last day he began seizing, and they were getting worse and closer together and he was exhausted. I did not have much time to make any decisions and did not end up going with him to the vet, my father did. The whole process was very very fast and I think about whether I made the right decision or what could have been different every day since then.
I definitely understand all the feelings you're posting about, your animals become part of you, definitely not 'just a pet' and it is difficult for a lot of people to fully understand this. I still look of pictures of Atlas on my iphone daily (450 pictures & videos!) and sometimes they will make me cry (the first days it was a guarantee) but sometimes I can concentrate on how lucky I am, how deeply I was blessed to spend the time I did spend with Atlas. It was way way too short, as most people think, but he changed my life for sure.
I just recently found a ring that resembles a cat wrapped around your finger. This might not be applicable to you but having something with me all the time is helping me in a way I'm not great at explaining but do anything and everything that makes you feel better about your loss. Grief is different for everyone and you deserve to take as long as you need. Sometimes lately I am feeling guilty over not being as distraught as I feel I should be, but that doesn't mean I don't love my baby any less, I'm just carrying it differently. This forum has definitely assisted me.

Again I am so very sorry for the loss of Lady Z, it will get easier to walk with.

________________________________________________________________________

Atlas's Mom . <3
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OscarsMomma
I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you had an amazingly fast connection and that you gave her all the happiness she could have in her last year. I put my Oscar down after watching him slowly become "not him" in his last month. He had lymphoma and he had surgery to remove a gigantic mass. However, the cancer was extremely aggressive and he didn't last much longer.

I got to say goodbye. My grief the few days after his death was overwhelming. I couldn't function at work and I felt sick with grief. My best friend was gone.

I gave myself a change in scenery and some horse therapy. It has helped me tremendously. I still miss Oscar not being around, but I have hope that having another kitty will help me with the loneliness while also providing a home to a kitty who otherwise won't have one. I miss him terribly and I know I won't ever have the connection I had with him, but I'm hopeful that healing is there for me and that love is there for me.

My pain was acute and my despair was great, but it would not have been so if I had not loved Oscar so much. I have to remind myself of that when I question whether I'd want to have another pet, potentially inviting that pain down the road. Given this horrible loss now, I still know that I'd do it all over again with him.
Oscar was but 9. I had not even 4 full years with him. He loved me so much. And I loved him. He is sorely missed.
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