I had to say goodbye to my 20 year old friend this week and I have found it so hard to handle. I found this forum and it has offered me some comfort through a really hard time. 
I was just reading all of your stories but then I thought it might help to say what I am going through and hear from others that understand. 
My lovely cat Max was my families cat and I got him when I was a child so it feels like he has been with me practically my whole life. He had the most amazingly cheeky personality and growing up as an only child I spent so much time with him and adored him. Whenever I was sad he would come and comfort me. 
Over the past few years he had a problem with his thyroid and he was on constant medication. My Parents were amazing and they wanted to do everything possible and pay whatever needed to make sure he was ok. They loved him like a second child really. He was so much more than a cat to us all. 
He was on some tablets for the past few years but they seemed to control any issues and he carried on just fine. 
However, about a year ago he got a bit worse and the vet said that euthanasia was an option but whilst he was still sprightly and eating and drinking, we all said we didnt want to play God in that way unless it became obvious it was the only solution and just wanted to do whatever necessary for him to carry on as long as he wasnt in pain. 
Around 6 months or so after this point we thought we were about to lose him as he got a lot worse. He had regular blood tests due to the medication he was on and they always changed around the doses of what he was taking to help try and keep things at bay and he picked up thankfully and ended up staying another 6 more months with us. In that time he spent most of it in my room. I dont know why he suddenly chose my room but whether I was there or not thats where he could be found. During these past few months I got to spend so much time with him and that was amazing.
As he seemed to use up his 9 lives in a way I just never really saw this day coming. Probably the denial of it all perhaps. He was so brave and bounced back each time he was sick. 
However, I came back home to my Parents on Fathers Day after being away for a few days and they told me he had deteriorated a lot of the past few days. 
He wasnt really eating (which was unheard of for him, recently he wanted to eat everything and wouldnt leave us alone when eating our own food too towards the end. I think that was something to do with the thyroid issue), he even stopped drinking as much. Then I noticed his back paw was huge, it had swollen up so much. However, he didnt seem to be in visible pain. He would however just stand in the middle of the room and just stare into space. He was also such a proud and clean cat and he was going to the toilet all over the house and couldnt groom himself anymore.
As it was a Sunday the nearest emergency vets was quite a way away so we decided rather than put him through the stress of a long journey which would have distressed him as he hated his 'vets box' he had become quite accustomed to over the latter part of his life, we would look after him and keep him comfortable over night and then take him to the vet that he knew well and had seen him over so many years first thing the next morning.
He stopped being able to walk up our stairs in that last week but I didnt want him to sleep on his own that night so I carried him up to my bed along with his little bed that he liked to sleep on and I lay down with him. He seemed a bit out of it and what upset me is he had a bit of trouble breathing for a while and seemed to breathe out of his mouth which I had never seen before.
He would never let me touch his paws over the years I had him, but that night I lay with him stroking his front paw and each time I stopped he would reach out for me. I kept praying he would go peacefully then. 
When the morning came we all as a family took him to the vets. I couldnt stop getting upset. I knew what this would probably mean. I knew that he had been dealing with an illness we were trying to keep at bay for years and they also said many times they thought he probably had a tumour too.
The vet said that the reason his leg was swollen was because he had an embolism and that leg was now completely numb and he couldnt even feel it. She showed us that the skin around it under the fur was grey too.
She said in a younger cat that would have meant amputation but as he was so old and with everything else that was wrong with him his body was shutting down and today was the day and he had to be put to sleep. Unlike other times when she would say it was up to us, this time she was adamant.
I guess in some way it took the decision out of our hands, but even despite that I cant find peace with what happened. I knew it would affect me being there, but I also wanted to be there for him.
Firstly they had to put a thing in his vein to make it easier to inject. They took him to another room to do that and the vet said that he blew a raspberry at her as he was obviously too weak to do anything else. I didnt like seeing that in his little leg. 
All I have replaying in my mind is everything being so quick and trying to say goodbye to him before they administered the injection. My whole family at this point were in tears. All I can think is, although normally he would have been fighting the vet, he just lay there like he had given up, but did he know what was happening? Maybe he was scared and didnt want to go? Despite everything, was it the right thing to do?
I just remember his little head falling to the side as quickly as she put the injection in. At that point, when I knew he was gone I left the room. My Parents stayed and stroked him but I just didnt want to see his lifeless body.

He was such a huge part of my life and I miss him every second. I havent been able to stop crying and it comes in almost waves of emotion. The house feels so empty without him and I keep imagining him in all the spots he used to be in all over the house.
He was 20 so he spent so many wonderful years with us, but at the moment all I keep replaying are the last few days and I keep torturing myself with it all. Is this a normal thing to happen? Does this all get easier?
I also cant get my head around the fact I will never see him again, it actually hurts me. I have felt so unwell and just empty since it happened and it shard to know where to reach to so thank you to this forum for being here.
Sorry for such a long story, but it has helped me to write this. 
He was such a wonderful mischievous and beautiful soul and I miss him so so much. I think he took a piece of me when he went if im honest.
I know this may sound a little silly too, but I keep worrying about him. Is there something after we die, if there is and he is there, is he ok? I hate the thought of him being alone and without us to look after him. 
It has been one of the worst weeks of my life and right now I just cant see how I can ever feel the same again without him.

Quote 0 0

Firstly I am beyond sorry for your loss, I lost my Tom a couple of weeks ago and his story is incredibly similar. Like your Max I got him when I was 4 years old so there really isn't a time in my life where he hasnt been there. He started losing weight about a year ago and got vomiting and having runny poos around the house a while after that, we took him to the vets they thought it was hyperthyroidism but after tests being done it came back inconclusive with the chance that it was lymphoma they said we can send him for a more extensive test in a specalist clinic quite far away to know for sure but even if they did because of his grand age of 18 there wouldn't be much to do for him anyway, or we can treat the symptoms and put him on meds to prolong his life. We didn't want to stress him out any more so took the meds and they worked for a while, he also had swollen back feet and looked a little disorientated and wobbly, he would always sleep with me and during his last few weeks just like your max would he was always on my bed. I hope you take comfort in the fact that cats by nature try to hide and be alone when there sick to protect them selves, it shows great trust and love that they wanted to be near us.

We also had to put Tom to rest, you are incredibly lucky to have a supportive family who helped made that decision and we're willing to do whatever it takes prolong it. It was me and my sister that had to take him out of hours as like Max he was having trouble breathing, the decision was taken our of our hands, his lungs were almost filled with blood from a burst tumor there was nothing to be done. But it still doesn't make me feel any less guilty about anything.

Sorry for the long response but I have really been able to relate to your story, keep posting as much as you need, everyone here is on the same journey and it helps to hear what there going through.
Sending you hugs and healing.
Quote 0 0
Hi I. So sorry for the loss of your max. You know 20 years is amazing. If you google that is a fantastic age so your max has had a long life thanks to your love and looking after him. It's such a horrible feeling when they pass and I agree it's awful that we will never see them again, my heart aches for my kitty . Sadly our little loved ones got tired and we did the best for them. It's very painful and this journey is one day at a time, Elle.
Quote 0 0

Thank you so much Elle and Beastcatsmum for your lovely messages. Your words meant a lot and it has really helped me to read your messages and speak to people that understand how hard and heartbreaking this is. 
I am so sorry for your loss too.
Thank you for sharing your story with me Beastcatsmum, it does sound like we had a very similar experience. What you said about the fact they wanted to stay with us nearing the end when they were poorly when they normally seek solitude has stuck with me and given me some comfort. I just hope it was the right decision for him and its what he wanted. Despite the vet and every rational sign showing putting him to sleep on that day was the only option, I just keep questioning it all. I guess thats normal and only shows my love and care for him. 
I am just so sorry you had to go through all of this too. The smallest of things start setting me off and its just such a horrible feeling of loss. 
I am hoping I may feel better when I get his ashes back. I didnt even like the thought of leaving his body there despite the fact that his little soul had left it by that point. 
It also has brought up so many thoughts in general for me. I found the whole process of him being put to sleep and seeing it very traumatic but I hope maybe that passes and I can be left with the lovely memories instead of it all being overshadowed by that bit. 

Thank you both again for taking the time to write to me, I cant tell you how much it is appreciated. 

Quote 0 0
I am so sorry for your loss of Max.  Every word of your post just shouts out to me the absolute love and care you gave to him,  he was so much more than your pet, he was your best friend too.   We lost our 17 year old dog 6 months ago, and I can tell you that the way you feel right now is so normal - most of us here will instantly recognise how you describe your loss - emotions all over the place, replaying the last day - even to finding it so hard that we`ll never see them again.  I couldn`t eat or sleep for the first couple of days, I was just wandering around like a zombie, but I can promise you it will start to slowly get a little better.   Like you with Max, I stayed with Jim as he passed away, and as hard as it was, I am just so glad now knowing that mine was the last voice he heard, and mine was the hand stroking him as he crossed the Bridge.  I am sure Max knew you were there, and it would have made it easier for him.    
 It helped us when we got Jim`s ashes back, so I sincerely hope it will for you also - it felt like he was back home where he belonged. I also started writing a journal, which I still write in each day - all the memories ( and you must have so many happy ones), and I tell Jim how we`ve been missing him and what we`ve been doing.  But the biggest help to me was finding this forum, just know you`re never alone here, and that so many caring people all understand completely how you feel. 

                                                     Sending you huge Hugs,  Jackie
J Taylor
Quote 0 0
I just lost my 19-1/2 year old cat 7 weeks ago, and I'm right there with how you feel. I think there's a special challenge in letting go of a very old pet, in that even though we know intellectually we won't have them forever and that the last months or years may be "borrowed time," in another way when they've defied the odds for so long it seems they may do it forever! So in that way the end is a special shock in realizing and accepting that after all those years our "super-pet" was mortal after all. 

It's obvious how much you cared for Max and made the end of his life as peaceful as could be. I hope you find some relief, and maybe eventually some joy, in that.

With heartfelt sympathy,
Quote 0 0
mflb  I am so sorry for your loss.  I also keep replaying Winstons last day in my mind.  When they said "he is at peace now" I turned away and screamed, and cried so hard I couldn't catch my breath. Your Max was sick, and I stand by your decision.  I couldn't bear to see Winston suffer any longer.  20 years with the one you love is a long time, not long enough for you, but for a beautiful loving God's creature it is.  I wish you peace through your grief.  Hugs  Sue
Quote 0 0
Hi mflb, I'm so sorry for your loss of Max. 20 years is a long time. our furbabies are family members and we do everything for them- I would guess you were Max's fav since he chose your room at the end... my Wizberry was 18 when he left and he was with us for 16.5 years from the time I trapped him outside.

You are so lucky that Max was with you for so long. It is going to take time to start to recover, go easy on yourself. I also think of Wiz' last day and everything to do with his illness/treatment. Was it the right time, was he ok with it all of that.

There is nothing we can do now but trust that hopefully it was the right decision and we saved them from suffering. When they start having trouble breathing you know they are suffering. His embolism probably went into his lungs. There is no way at his age he would survive all of that as your dvm said. It would be a miracle if he did.

Remember that Max is still with you and you can talk to him. I keep wiz pictures by my bed and have a little pillow that is him and now have his ashes still in the tin they put them in by my pillow. I talk to him all the time, so for me he is still here with me although I miss him so very much not being her physically. It's very, very hard. Hugs to you <3
My beloved sweet Tess August 1999 - February 21 2001
My beloved loyal Byron March 1998 - April 28 2008
My sweet beloved girlie Angelina April 2001- September 2012
Me & my sweet beloved Wizberry forever 1998- April 21, 2016
My sweet beloved Snow Goddess Sybil girlie April 2001- May 11,2018
Quote 0 0
You have all be so lovely, thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful words.
I have been finding it hard and each time I feel like i'm coming to terms with it I seem to go back a few steps.
I don't know if it is possible to have an almost post traumatic stress to seeing your pet be put down but thats how I seem to feel. Just feel extremely anxious and upset but hopefully its a normal reaction and it all passes naturally as time goes by.

Jackie, I am so sorry you lost your 17 year old dog Jim and have been through a similar experience to this. It is great to hear that it does get slowly better and yes, I really am hoping that getting his ashes back will hold some sort of closure on the whole traumatic ending of it all. I have found a lovely little case that is covered with forget me nots on it that I will be keeping him in. 

PM, so sorry to hear that you lost your lovely cat too. Its definitely hard letting go of a pet that has been around as long as I can really remember. The house just feels so empty! Max seemed to overcome everything that was thrown at him, so although logically I knew of the inevitable one day I didn't think it would be now. He just seemed to go downhill really quickly so it was a shock despite us knowing that he was poorly for a while. I actually thought I had somewhat mentally prepared myself, but when it actually happened I realised that wasn't the case. 

Winstonsmom12, I am so sorry for your loss too. I can relate to your experience so much as I saw his head drop and someone said 'he's gone' and as soon as I heard that I had to leave the room and just cried. It was such a deep pain I felt in this moment. Just awful.
Even though it is obviously the right decision as we don't want to see our friends suffer in pain, it doesn't make it any easier does it. 

elliemeewiz, thank you for your message. 
Im so sorry for your loss too. I love the name Wizberry, thats such an amazing name. 
Its comforting to hear that so many people had the same thoughts when they have an older ill cat. 
Yes I did wonder if it had maybe gone to his lungs. It was the first time I had ever seen him struggle to breathe and it was heartbreaking to witness. They cant tell us how much pain they are in easily can they so it scared me so much that he was trying to just cope with it. There would be times he would just stand staring into space and didnt look like he was with it at all.
As you say, although I logically knew that he wouldnt of survived what happened to his leg teamed with how ill he was already and I know that the vet saying it was the only option showed this was what needed to happen, I think because we always did whatever necessary to get him better and he was such a fighter it was something that I had a hard time coming to terms with and was difficult to sink in. 
I really hope that he is still around me. I keep momentarily forgetting and thinking he is still there but then I remember and its awful.
I will try speaking to him, maybe that will help me. 

This forum has helped me so much and I just want to thank you all for your words. 
I send you all love and i'm so sorry for all of your losses too.
The lovely thing is that we all love and care for our gorgeous friends so much that it hurts us like this. 
Thank you all for being awesome and such a special group of kind people! 
Quote 0 0