fitz99
I had to put my kitty Grendel down tonight.  Over the past couple weeks she sounded congested.  We took her to the vet who noticed a swollen lymph node and prescribed an antibiotic.  A couple of weeks later and there was no improvement.  She only got more lethargic.  She stopped eating.  When she did get up, her behavior was strange.  She'd meow a lot and pressed her head into walls and tried to crawl into spaces she couldn't possibly fit.  We took her back to the vet today and they did some blood tests which we'd get back in a few days.  Then, this evening, she meowed loudly, slid off the couch, and crawled around on the floor.  She proceeded to almost fall down the stairs so I took her down to the main floor, not knowing what she was looking for.  She continued to crouch/crawl around and seemed totally disoriented.  Things seemed really bad and frightening.  I took her to an emergency vet clinic.  Her lymph node was not that but a large mass that had grown in her neck, blocking her throat.  She had also lost her sight.  The vet said they could do surgeries and put her on an IV for food and liquid.  But at her age (15) he didn't know how long he could realistically lengthen her life and her quality of life had already dropped dramatically.  I agreed to have her euthanized.  I just can't believe so much had changed in her in two weeks.  I had her for her whole life and I have such mixed emotions.  It feels like a betrayal to not have somehow saved her.  But at the same time, she was so pained and confused, keeping her alive seemed like a cruel option.  I've never put a pet down before and I can't imagine how i'll recover.
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squares
You were right to do it.  She was suffering, and at her age, there's nothing that could have been done to help her.  She is free from pain now.  I am so sorry, and it's terribly hard to go through this at any time, but especially this time of year.  Your kitty had a nice long life with you, and I hope you can remember some happy times with her today to ease your grief.   
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Jan_H
I am very sorry for your loss of your sweet kitty Grendel. It is not unusual for a pet to decline in what seems like a very short time. They are very good at hiding and accepting discomfort. It is normal to have regrets and feel like we should have saved them. But you did the right thing. You ended her suffering and you did it out of love. Keeping her longer would have been selfish so you ended her pain even though it meant heartbreaking pain for you.

My condolences,
Jan
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fitz99
With a little time the guilt has subsided.  I have a little more clarity on Grendel's health when I decided to put her to sleep and it was absolutely the right thing to do.  I was in shock and denial about how sick she had gotten.  And I definitely gave her the best life possible.  I fed her healthy food.  I played with her all the time.  We cuddled whenever she wanted.  She had lots of toys.  She never seemed unhappy until the very end.  I miss her, but that's natural.  I have two other cats who are also good companions.  I'll continue to grieve her loss, but I won't bang my head against the wall anymore wondering if there's something I could have done.  I did what I could to make her happy, but I can't make anyone immortal.
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cutkatty
Great Cat Care Means a Happy Cat
http://www.cutekattycat.com
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