It was three weeks ago today that I lost Scout to kidney disease and related congestive heart failure. I, too, discovered too late what was happening. At first, she responded well to the treatment, but then the fluids sent her mild heart murmur into failure. You can't treat one without negatively affecting the other. She lasted a week, but in the end, things were just shutting down.
In a week in a half it'll be 3 months that I said farewell, not in words, to Little Boy. He had an inherited genetic kidney disorder that gradually made his kidneys deteriorate. His original diagnosis was in March, as simply chronic kidney failure. Only to find out in August it was this genetic thing. The day in September when his kidneys couldn't do what they do, (at all) I took him into the vet for full body diagnosis. His pancreas was inflammed and he could barely breathe at all. Kidneys were almost completely gone and it was beyond fixing or anything else. This turn was rapid. And that was the last day. I lived keeping Little Boy alive and as healthy as I could. I think. I gave him subcutaneous fluids without complaint other than worrying that it was the best thing to do. So I tried enough, I think. I studied the net often, learned to read labs got info from NIH and PUBMED tried to parallel human research with feline issues an found all I could, I think. I have elderly parents one on oxygen, her husband fighting cancer and I tried to spread my attention trying to save Little Boy/ helping with them equally, I think. And here I am looking at a box of Little Boy's ashes and I loved him with all of my heart and being. The tears flowing down my cheeks as I write this. Maybe he knew how much I loved him, maybe I hope, and I think. Almost every day I have wondered things about long lists of what ifs. If I can offer to you some comfort then I will tell you this and maybe it will help. I didn't care how much it would have cost to save little boy. I wouldn't have ever even went in to the vet unless it was the best option to save him. Not even once or one day. And that last day was no exception. But I was there when Little Boy passed on, I was holding him. He was in terrible shape and when he was brought to me he was off of the oxygen that was keeping him barely living. I would like to think he was glad I was there, that he was aware. Yet he was so ill. I say this in spite of the agony it makes me feel in remembering hoping you will have comfort knowing that though you weren't there that last minute/second- you WERE there so many times when it really mattered. And you wouldnt have subjected your loved furr baby to an unfamiliar environment unless it was the best and only option. It's what love is when we do for those we love in spite of our feelings of our own needs emotionally. If I had found a surgeon qualified to operate and transplant a healthy kidney into Little Boy I would have done it. I would have sold one of my healthy kidneys so that Little Boy could live. The sadness inside me because of his absence is evidence to that fact. But, I simply couldn't find anyone within thousands of miles and his kidneys were simply deteriorating too quickly. But retrospection is not as clear as it seems because it is an imperfect lense. It is illusory because of the "what if" defect. You did your best. Period. Your fur baby knows and knew. I know it's hard because I struggle with the same feelings.Remember that the "what iffing" ia a vile trap to wit no good comes. When you start to think "what if I would have" shut it off. And the truth is it sucks. It flat out bites the big one because no "two or four legged" should be forced unto death until we (they)are ready. I hate death because of that. Yet here we are. I wish you deep peace in your heart and soul. Somewhere on a parallel frequency we still pet, play and love on our furry companions no longer visible with our earthly eyes but still very much alive in our souls- where no agony can exist. Peace to you, Scott
I went through the guilt issue. No one knows why she had kidney failure, but it could well have been genetic. Everyone I talk to, including the vets and veteran cat owners, tells me there's no way of easily predicting, and that kidney issues are quite common. Scout was at least 12-13, but she could have been older, and we're guessing she was around 15, but I wish she at least made it to 16 or 17.
I went through a lot of guilt about not catching it sooner, but found that when I talked to enough people and explored enough possibility, there really wasn't much I could have done. And even if I'd done that, it likely wouldn't have increased Scout's lifespan or quality of life signficantly. In fact, it might have reduced both. So, for me, the process was to continue to learn and to ask questions.
I will say that it didn't help to read so many testimonials from people stating their cats lived into their 20s. That's actually pretty rare according to the vets, but you wouldn't believe so based on how many people claim it on the Web. Be careful of that. It creates unrealistic expectations that the outliers are the norm. It's like looking at a Facebook page that's only the good things and thinking someone else's life is better.
I miss Scout every single day, and mostly at night. But I'm beginning to remember the good things, too, and that she had a loving and happy life. In the end, that is what's important. As a stray, she lived much longer than she would have on the streets, and she knew she was loved. We have to remember what we did that was benevolent.