Shadow was my 18 year old cat who I lost May 1st 2019. I’ve only been able to open up about this now because I have been guilt ridden and ashamed about how he died. I adopted him from a rescue organization when he was 2 years old and over the years he had eye issues which resulted in an enucleation and feline herpes which made him extremely itchy at times. It took years and multiple vets to determine that diagnosis and eventually get him on medication. He was a wonderful cat with an old soul who loved and protected my other two cats, one died before him and my current 13 year old girl Joy is still here. I’ve always lived in apartments on the higher floors once on the seventh and now the fifth. Shadow would sneak out on occasion and I would always usher him back in. A few times I would take him out on a harness and leash but he would always seem to want to jump so I stopped that process. The last few months of his life he developed joint pain and lost a significant amount of weight so I suspected that his end was coming soon he was so lethargic and was on gabapentin to help with the pain. I have always felt that the most important part of my duty towards my animals was to make sure they didn’t suffer. I met that duty when Lynk became sick 10 years earlier and I made the decision to euthanize to end his suffering. Now I knew that Shadows time would be coming soon too and I had made peace with it. Unfortunately though I had gone out on my balcony that May 1st and when I came back in overlooked closing the door. I had spotted Shadow sunning under my bed and when I remembered I forgot to close the door I looked under the bed and he wasn’t there. I immediately knew what happened I could feel the panic rise up into my throat and I ran outside and looked over the balcony railing and he was lying on the ground. My super intendant ran outside to kneel by him while I ran downstairs with his carrier. I got him to to the vet as quickly as possible. The noise he made as I tried to carefully move him into his carrier was pure agony. The vet had informed me that he had internal injuries and a broken leg and due to his age it wasn’t likely repairable and I could see that he was suffering so I gave them the go ahead to euthanize him. I feel like I failed him because he suffered and it was my job to protect him from that. The vets and vet techs assured me that it was a common accident but it doesn’t assuage my guilt. I feel like a failed pet owner, I feel as though I can never foster or adopt again because I’m not deserving or careful enough. What if I made the mistake with another cat or kitten? I do intend to cat proof my balcony so it doesn’t happen again and Joy (My surviving cat) has never tried to get out or jump so I’m not concerned that she’s unsafe. I haven’t shared this with any of the rescue organizations I volunteer with because I feel as though they would find me unsuitable for rescue even the ones that are dog exclusive. Am I being too hard on myself? Do I deserve to have animals in my care? Am I a bad person because Shadow had to suffer and does he forgive me? These are the questions I always ask myself. I dream of him constantly and in my dreams he is always younger and healthier and very affectionate towards me. Anyways that’s what I wanted to share.
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I am very sorry for your loss of your sweet Shadow due to a tragic accident. That's what it was, a tragic accident. Clearly you took good care of him with trips to multiple vets to get a correct diagnosis. I'm sure he had a long and happy life with you, full of love and care. And I am sure he does not blame you. Maybe that is what he is telling you in your dreams when he comes to you as a younger, healthier and affectionate cat.

You are not a bad person and any animal would be lucky to be in your care.

Be kind to yourself,
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Dear lynkshadow, in a few short moments an accident happened. It can happen to any one of us as our homes are never fool proof. We've all made our own mistakes on here in some way.  I'm sorry that both you and Shadow experienced this - I'm sure it was (and clearly still is) so painful for you.  You are NOT a bad person and yes Shadow does forgive you because that's the beauty in animals. ❤  

You mentioned you intend to catproof your balcony - why not just do it as we never truly know what our animals are going to do - know matter how much we think we know them.  My husband at times leaves the door ajar when getting mail and I freak out to close it so my dog doesn't sneak out.  He says 'he wont', but if a squirrel or someone walking a dog passes by at that moment, you bet he will and a tragic accident could happen if there was a car etc.  I personally wouldn't trust Joy not getting up there - you just never know.  

I'm a dog person so don't know much about cats or your situation, but maybe have plexiglass windows installed if apartment allows? (I've seen this option for open porches vs screens. Or heavy duty screens?) Hoping there are some good options for you - I'm sure if you google it or others on here may know.   

Sending love, comfort, and peace your way on the loss of your sweet Shadow. XO
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