I'm pretty new to the forums, but I'm looking for places where I can find support and help for my loss, and I know I'm not the only one.

I'll start from the beginning to try and make things a little clearer.

We took Damian in with his littermate and brother, Tiberius, when they were only 6-8wks old.  They were stray, borderline feral cats from our neighborhood, and my husband and I had first intended only to foster the cats until we could adopt them out; however, everyone only wanted to adopt Damian and I refused to adopt out only one of two kittens at such a young age.  They were bonded and needed to remain together, so, in the end, my husband and I kept them and fell in love with them.  After being socialized, Damian gravitated more towards bonding with my husband, while Tiberius gravitated more towards bonding with me.  No matter which cat claimed who, we loved them both very much.

In addition to Damian and Tiberius, we have two adopted cats, Jezebel, (almost 9), and Buddha, (almost 6).  We thought that taking in Damian and Tiberius was a bit much, almost as though we didn't have enough space in our tiny apartment.

Damian and Tiberius came with us to the hotel we stayed at for a couple of days after our wedding, making our time away from home, more like home and more interesting and fun.

Anyhow, at the beginning of December, Damian suddenly stopped eating and was vomiting excessively.  We rushed him to the vet, where they discovered a foreign body that wasn't going to pass on it's own.  He had emergency surgery that same day to have the foreign body removed from his stomach and intestines.  He recovered rather quickly and gained his enormous appetite back, at which point, we gave him the middle name "Voracious".  Everything was going smoothly, both Damian and Tiberius were growing from kitten to cat as they should be, hitting all their milestones at the right times.

Then, in mid-May, Damian stopped eating and going to the bathroom.  My husband brought him to the vet, where they gave him a barium x-ray and were unable to see anything, so they decided on exploratory surgery.  All they found were some swollen lymph nodes, so they decided to do a biopsy to rule out lymphoma.  We brought Damian home that night, where he passed the barium out of his intestines and demanded food.  He showed that he was in absolutely no pain, despite the surgery, and his appetite, once again, came back full force.

Noting his GI history is important to the story because, this past Saturday, 7/31, after his morning meal with his brother, (they always ate together), he suddenly lost his appetite again and became lethargic.  Knowing his GI history, we assumed he was just, once again, going through a short appetite problem.  He didn't appear to be in pain, he just didn't seem interested in food and all he wanted to do was lay around the house.  He slowly stopped using the bathroom, too, but we chalked it up to the lack of eating.  We decided to play it by ear and monitor the situation and not to rush to the vet unless he got worse.

Monday morning, he was the same as he'd been all weekend, no interest in food and lethargic.  We figured that it would be okay for both of us to go to work, and I had little choice anyhow, because I had been starting my first day at a temp position after not working for a month.  Well, I came home Monday evening to find Damian laying on the floor of the bathroom.  He was unable to stand, even with assistance, all his legs appeared to be non-working.  He also had labored breathing and his back legs were covered in urine.  I immediately became panic and called his vet.  While they were about to close, they listened to me explain his condition and asked me to get him there as soon as possible.  I put him in a carrier, (now I regret that, knowing that he couldn't have gone anywhere, and wish I had wrapped him in a blanket and cuddled him against me), and called a cab to get me to the vet ASAP.

When I got to the vet, all the while trying to call my husband to let him know what was going on, they immediately brought Damian into the back room.  A few moments later, the vet came out and explained that Damian was extremely dehydrated, (though I had done the dehydration pinch test that morning and he didn't seem dehydrated then), his urine was very dark and he was in bad shape and was actually in shock.  She gave two options: one, to euthanize him, or, the second, the transfer him to the e-vet in another city and see if there was anything they'd be able to determine and if they could help.  She had theorized that, due to the labored breathing and extremely high heart rate that it was a blood clot that worked it's way into Damian's lungs, but she couldn't be sure.

I became upset the moment she mentioned euthanization and tried, in vain, to get a hold of my husband.  I finally gave up on calling him and asked her if I had enough time to run to the bus station and see if my husband was there.  She said she'd give Damian fluids in the meantime and told me to go.

I miraculously found my husband about to board the bus home and grabbed him, explaining that Damian was dying, not sure, at the time, how correct I was.  When we got back to the vet, we were escorted into the back room where they had Damian on oxygen and had given him some IV fluids.  Upon our arrival, Damian struggled away from the oxygen to look up at us.  It was clear that he recognized us and he responded to us saying his name and talking to him.  At that point, his breathing and heart rate both slowed and he seemed to show improvement, which made us decide on transferring him to the e-vet.  As our vet tried to give Damian for IV fluids, he suddenly laid his head back down and postured himself as if he was going to seize.

At this point, our vet informed us that it concerned her that he postured himself that way and that's when he started the agonal, (or deep), breathing.  She informed us at that point that Damian had made our choice for us because he was preparing to die.  What other choice did we have to euthanize him?  It was clear that, after he laid his head back down after recognizing and responding to us, that the essence of Damian was gone, even though the body still had a beating heart and breathing lungs.

So at one year and one day old, without every having celebrated his first and only birthday, we had to say good-bye to Damian.

That's the story...now I'm just trying to learn how to cope with the loss of my first fur-child.  I'm trying to figure out why he died, (we were advised against a necropsy), especially so suddenly and unexpectedly at such a young age.  He showed no unusual signs of illness, at least, not based on his past GI history.  He was FeLV and FIV negative and, according to the biopsy, negative for Lymphoma, so how could such a young, otherwise healthy cat just deteriorate so quickly?  I'm also looking for people like me, who had a young cat or kitten who appeared in good health but suddenly ended up on death's door.  People who were not at all prepared for the death of their beloved animal because the animal was not elderly and/or sick.

All the articles and the one book I've read on coping with the sorrow of pet loss don't seem to mention how to cope with a sudden death where you had no time to prepare for it.

Anyone able to relate to and/or help me?

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I am soooo sorry. I lost my beautiful maddie, a yellow lab 10 1/2 years old on wendnesday. I am absolutely devistated, and have been haing trouble finding anywhere to get support.  Im single, and maddie was everything to me.  she had been sick for quite a few years with various things, and then her anal gland cancer, came back.  she was in pain, and couldnt take pain killers. So she went to sleep in my arms with her last breath.,
It's so hard to even be in my house without her. I looooved her so much.
So I understand your grief, believe me.  Judy
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I'm so sorry for what you have gone through.  I really don't know anything about this type of thing.  Actually, I have had cats my whole life and they always seemed to live a long time and never suffer health problems.  When I finally got a dog, he had quite a few health problems and died a relatively early death at 5 years.  Maybe some others who read your post will be able to shed some light on it.  I have read quite a few threads  of cats becoming suddenly ill and passing but there seems to be a lot of different causes.  Whatever it was, you and your husband took excellent care of Damian and did everything humanly possible to save him.  I'm relieved that you and your husband were able to see him before he passed. 
I think it is so great that you and your husband took these kittens in.  Who knows what kind of life they would have had if you had not taken them into your home.  His life was shorter than expected but he had a quality life, full of love and happiness. 
There isn't a shortcut...it is just painful and we just have to go through it.  It is going to take time for the pain to lessen.    You have support here. As time passes, when you are ready, please share with us about Damian....some memories and stories.  I'd love to hear more about him.
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I can relate though my story is different.  My beloved dog Ted was hit by a car at 4 years old.  This happened on 7/7.  I still cry every day.  Damian is a beautiful cat.  What an inquisitive face he had!  There is no way to understand when they are taken so suddenly and without notice.  It is heartbreaking and debilitating.  Time lessens the intensity of the grief but I think I will never forget my special bond with Ted.  I know it is like a part of the family is missing and that is so hard.  I am happy that you were able to say goodbye.  I was lucky to have that opportunity as well.  They know that we loved them and that they will see us again some day.  I truly believe that.
Barbara Lyngarkos
My Beloved Ted 8/7/2005 - 7/7/10
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I cried with you as I read Damian's story. What a beautiful story. I'm not a cat person, so I cannot help you in your search for answers but Damion was beautiful. Coping with a loss, be it sudden or after an ongoing illness is difficult for all of us. But here we can express whatever is going on in our heart.
Share with us and we will always be here to listen.
Cheryl and Angel Jasmine
Jasmine was loved
Jasmine was given ProIn
Jasmine is now gone
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