It's been 13 days since my cat Charlie was ripped away from me in the most unfair way, and I still can't figure out how to get past it. He was a few months away from 3 years old and was a ginger long hair. I got him in 2012 and never knew it was possible to feel so much love towards an animal. I've had cats before that have died of old age/euthanisation, which was of course, devastating, but nothing compares to this.
After around 8 months of having Charlie (I was in university and still living with my parents), my long term boyfriend got offered a job in another city, which required us to move 100 miles away. As much as we wanted to take him with us, we knew we couldn't for several reasons. (we were moving into a high rise apartment that didn't allow pets, he had already got used to going outside and his little routine at my mum and dads house, plus he'd have been locked inside for 10 hours a day while we were out if we took him with us) As soon as I moved away I sat in the bathroom crying thinking 'what have I done, I need to go back home'.
It took around 6 months to get used to living without him. Although I returned home to see him most weekends, it still feels like over the last two years I've missed out on watching him grow, something that is making the grief even worse. I've been living away for two years now, and I have gained a teaching job here making it very difficult for me to permanently move back to my home town any time soon.
I'm mentioning all of this now because I guess I feel guilty for leaving him behind. My parents loved him just as much as me and I know he was happy, but it's still in the back of my mind, what if I never moved away, what if I'd have had more time with him during the week.
We had so much fun while I was home at weekends, he'd wake me up by jumping onto my chest and purring with his nose against mine, sometimes he'd start dribbling because he was so happy. When my parents went on holiday I'd take a week off just to come back and mind him, I loved him so much, my whole routine was based around him, I'd hound my dad to send me pictures and videos of him every evening while I was away. This went on right up until the night before he died.
I hadn't been home for a few weeks because of festivals and weekend trips, but I had a week off 13th - 20th July and I was SO excited to go home and see him, we drove back in the evening and my boyfriend dropped me off at 7:30pm, my parents were out. I ran into the kitchen and there he was on his cushion, he jumped down and I immediately picked him up and gave him the biggest hug known to man, he was purring but I noticed he wasn't his usual self... I assumed he was frustrated because it had been raining all day and he couldn't go out. I took my bag upstairs to unpack and he followed me wanting to play, which we did for around 15 minutes. He kept running up to the front door but when I opened it and he saw the rain he back-heeled inside, he did this 3 times.
At 8:15pm my parents returned home and my mum let him out the front, he must have been so desperate for the toilet that he went out anyway. Me and my mum were talking and she was constantly checking out the window to let him back in. He was only out for about 10 minutes and 8 of those minutes he spent on the wall where we could see him. I was staring at the TV when I heard my mum saying 'Lauren quick come here', I got up thinking he'd caught a mouse or something, but what I saw when I stepped outside will stay with me forever. He was laying in the middle of the road, with blood pouring out of his nose, dead.
I ran outside screaming, I was so shocked that I think I wanted to cry but nothing came out, my mum scooped him up and his lifeless body just flopped into her arms, his head rolled back and his eyes were open, whoever had ran him over had been going so fast that they'd knocked his teeth out. I don't remember much from that moment but I know there were 2 different sets of neighbours stood there in the road, their faces filled with horror, probably more at our reaction than Charlie. We ran inside and lay him on the floor, I was determined that he was still alive despite it being so obvious he was dead. My mum was hysterical, she was shouting 'why did I let him out?!'.
Just to make it worse, my dad had gone to the shop without his phone, so we sat on the floor for 20 minutes waiting for him to get back, I couldn't stop staring at him, his beautiful long fur covered in blood was something I never thought I'd see. In this moment I realised that the person who ran him over just drove off and an anger I have never felt before appeared inside me.
We drove him to the emergency vets and paid the fee for him to be cremated, the vet wasn't very sympathetic, I just felt so cold and numb, the last thing I whispered to him before I left was 'I'm sorry', I don't know why, it seemed appropriate.
It felt disgusting leaving him in the vets, although I knew he was gone I didn't like the idea of him being in a cold dark room by himself all night.
I have great memories with him, he had a huge personality and was very loving, but at the moment none of that is erasing the image of his bloodied little face out of my mind. At first I felt numb as if nothing had happened, the realisation came in waves, as if I was living a real life nightmare, but now nearly two weeks later, although I have accepted what happened, I feel greatly depressed as if life from now onwards is completely pointless. I also can't help but wonder if he felt pain for more than a split second before he died?
It breaks my heart that I hadn't been home for so long and then within 45 minutes of me being home he was gone, that week off was the worst week of my life. My parents house felt so disturbingly silent without him. I am back in my own flat now and back at work but I am really struggling. In a way I don't want to visit home again because it'll never feel the same without him.
Any advice or words in general from people who have been through a similar event would be appreciated. If you got this far then thank you in advance for listening to my story.