Harleys_mom
Last month on November 6th, I had to put my 8 month old kitten Harley down.
I am a college student living on my own. The farther I get into my major, the more I’m away from home and I felt that my 2yo cat Gingerbread could use some company. In late July I went into Petsmart to get something for Ging, not planning to adopt at any particular time. Right after I walked in, two women from a shelter in another part of the state brought in carts and carts of cats that they needed to find homes for. My boyfriend and I decided to go say hi to them. He was pushing me to adopt one cat, but all of the sudden Harley caught my eye. I picked him up and he just stared up at me and the woman from the shelter said,”I think you’ve found the one,” and that was that. Everything went well at first, I took him to the vet for a first checkup (the shelter had already given him shots and neutered him). He had tapeworms, no biggie- so I treated that with meds. A few weeks later he started sneezing. I took him in again, and thinking it was a cold, treated him with more meds. But the sneezing turned into sneezing up blood and coughing spells. I took him back to the vet where we continued treating symptoms. The symptoms started to go away but his lethargy didn’t. I figured he was still recovering and brushed it off. Then I noticed his breathing seemed to be labored. I still thought this was no big deal and that he was getting over his symptoms. It kept progressing and I got worried. I had my mom take him to the vet while I was taking an exam. She called me saying it went well and that he probably just had asthma which was treatable but that the doctor was going to do a chest x ray just to be sure. A little while later I got the worst phone call of my life. Harley had fluid that filled almost his entire abdominal cavity, virtually drowning him from the inside. I rushed across town and the vet told me there was an 80% chance that this was Feline Infectious Peritonitis, which is almost always fatal in cats. She said that she could send tests to the lab, but even if that’s not what it was, it would be some type of chronic problem where the fluid would continue to accumulate so I would have to bring him in to get it drained everyday. I knew this was painful for him because they did it once while I was on my way over so he’d have more time. With her advice we decided to put him down and within an hour of finding out he was sick my baby was gone forever.
I know rationally that I did the right thing but everyday I wonder if it wasn’t FIP. I am so heartbroken that my body physically aches. I just feel I haven’t recovered and that the world is moving around me while I’m stuck. My friends have been supportive, but I feel like it’s more than they understand. To them I have been the “crazy cat lady” but I don’t think they realize how deeply these animals effect my life. They get me through depression and help with anxiety. They make me feel unconditional love that I’ve never felt before. I think I’m having such a hard time because this is the first pet that’s been solely mine that I’ve lost. I miss him so deeply and I don’t know how to cope. I’m so sad for Gingerbread because I introduced Harley to him and they became best friends and now he’s alone again. He’s been clinging to me ever since we lost him. All of this has been so hard that I’ve been looking online for support to get through it. I’ve never know heartbreak like this. It feels entirely different to me than the loss of human life and I’m not sure why. Thank you for anyone who took the time to read this and let me have an outlet for my feelings. I know I’m not the only one who looks over and sees an empty spot on the bed where a furry best friend used to be. I only hope I can start to feel some peace. I just wish I understood why things like this happen and that I could have one more day with him. It hurts me so much that he was so little and so young.

With love, Tatem- Harley’s Mom
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nosunshine
Oh Tatem, I understand. I recently lost my little dog who was really was my best friend. I know what it's like to look at that spot on the bed where she slept and feel such heartache. Your little Harley is so bright and beautiful. It's so sad that he was so young when he had to go. Youre right about the unconditional love they give us. There is nothing else in the world that makes us feel so special and loved. I feel you made the correct decision because even if this wasn't FIP your vet said it was a chronic condition and he would need to keep having it drained and you wouldn't want that to be his life. You decided it was best to let him go rather then let him suffer. You did the right thing. I'm so sorry. I know this was your first pet the you chose (and he chose you) but you made the loving decision that every pet parent makes someday. Yours just came way too soon. So very sad for you!
Blessings, Sharon
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CK1991
Harleys_mom, I'm so sorry you lost this little sweetie! When you say you found out he was sick and within an hour he was gone it gives me a real understanding of the trauma you must feel. If it helps I believe you made the right call. This poor little guy had some happiness with you and at times like these we have to try and look for anything positive to grab on to. You will of course have to grieve his loss as there's no getting around that unfortunately. I think you will have to give Gingerbread lots of attention and in doing so he can offer comfort back to you. My wish for you will be for healing for you and Gingerbread! Take Care and many hugs to you,
CK
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Stephanie50266
I completely understand how you are feeling. I just said goodbye to 7 yr old dog this week, and many years ago I had a kitten who, like Harley, only lived about 8 months. She experienced almost exactly what you described. It was tough but there really was nothing I could do...and you did all you could, too. Harley was loved during his short life, and love is all any animal wants.

I hope your heartache passes in the days to come.

Stephanie
Stephanie
Mommy to Kipton, 11/30/10 - 12/06/17
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Harleys_mom
I didn’t expect to get any replies, thank you all for your support. It makes me feel a little less alone knowing other people are going through this and I’m so sorry you are. Love to all of you and your fur babies who are present and those that have passed.
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