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Stealthcat

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Reply with quote  #1 
When I was 20, I was about one year into my relationship with my now husband. We had just purchased a home together, and decided to add to our family by adopting a pet. I had never lived away from home before, and I was moving to another state to boot. I was determined to get a kitty, even though I had always been more of a dog person. A humane society held a cat adoption event nearby, so we went on the search for a cat. We arrived, and there was a group of older cats and only one kitten. I decided to get the little kitty, a tiny black cat who I was told was the runt and would always be sickly, so I shouldn't adopt him. And my husband sat on the floor in the middle of the event and was approached by a cute, chubby grey cat, who plopped in his lap and purred like crazy. So we brought two cats home that day in 2006. A runt kitten and an adult cat, who they couldn't provide an age for, only a rough estimation since he was brought in as an adult.

They became our family in ways that surprised even me. While the runt was energetic and more aloof, the grey cat, Stealth, was calming and cuddly. He cuddled even when you didn't want to. Having my pets (which also included the addition of a pup a little while later) became part of my identity. My routine. My home.

A year ago, my older kitty Stealth (whose age was at least 15 at the time) began having issues. It began as an issue with constipation, so we treated him with enemas and eventually a surgery to get him back on track. About a week ago, he began exhibiting the same signs, except now he is at least 16, and he lost a lot of weight. My cat who once weighed 16 pounds was now 8.5 pounds. After they did initial treatment on Friday, they recommended that we leave him in the care of an overnight emergency vet to ensure he receives IV fluids and other care. They stabilized him and we brought him home on Saturday. He spent the majority of the day alone, but finally decided to cuddle around 4pm. We spent the day and night cuddling and hoping he'd recover. The next morning, he was alone again and I noticed blood. We go back to the emergency vet, and they get an xray and bloodwork. It turned out that his weight loss was only partially due to bouts of constipation, he had tumors in his chest. We knew that due to his age, he would never make it out of the surgery. We made the hardest decision we've ever had to make in our lives.

My mind keeps replaying the moment they brought him in to us to say goodbye. So skinny, and bundled in a little towel to keep him warm. He nestled into me and purred. I cried because I couldn't believe my happy, cuddly cat was going to be gone. I knew it was selfish to take him home only to suffer with not only constipation, but cancer as well. My husband held him while the vet came in. He purred until the very end.

I am a mess. I cant eat. I cant sleep. I have bouts of intense crying. I dont know how to cope with the loss of my baby. He cuddled me when I was sick, he cuddled me when I was sad, he brought so much happiness to our lives that our home now feels empty. I feel empty. We still have our 2 other pets, but it feels like there's a hole in me. Our home feels incomplete. I see a small tuft of grey fur and I break down.

I googled how to cope with grief, hoping to find a way to alleviate the pain in my chest. All sites basically say the same thing, that grieving is a process and cant be circumvented. I don't want to hurt like I do anymore. I know it's still early, a day and a half at this point, but it feels so much longer. I don't know what to do with myself. Sleeping has been troublesome. I don't want to eat. My other animals haven't yet seemed to notice their brother is gone. I wonder if it is due to us paying more attention to them to fill the void.

This is hitting me unexpectedly hard, almost as hard as when my grandfather died last year. Sometimes I feel ridiculous or insane, because I know the thoughts other people have are, "hes just a cat..." or "I don't understand being that upset over an animal."

Does anyone have any tips to help the grief process at all? Because I am lost and I don't know how to push through this.

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BorderCollieLover

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Reply with quote  #2 
Stealthcat

  I want to extend my heartfelt condolences about the loss of your beloved kitty. Everyone in this Forum is going through the exact same thing.  You were smart to check out the various grief coping sites. Yes, they all pretty much say the same thing. We all welcome you to reach out here on this Forum and post your thoughts and feelings whenever you want to. It can be therapeutic. We all want to hear from you. You are not alone. 

Jim



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Jim Miller
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Becky1990

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Reply with quote  #3 
Stealthcat,
I am so sorry for the loss of your furbaby. What a beautiful kitty he is!! First off he is not just a cat, he is your baby. Secondly give yourself a pat on the back for taking such good care of your baby for so long. I can hear the love in your words and know he loved you too. I thank you for bringing home 2 babies and as well as one being an adult. They are overlooked and so are the black ones.
I wish I could ease your pain but unfortunately we have to go through the greiving process. I lost my 19 year old cat 18 days ago and it feels like forever. I still cry and hurt everyday.
Just know you gave him the best life and he is pain free now. Please keep sharing your feelings here. There are many wonderful and compassionate people here that is going through the same feelings. Let us know how you are doing. Hugs
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pannklaus

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Reply with quote  #4 
I am very sorry about the loss of your precious fur baby, Stealth. I know how hard it was to make that decision to keep him from suffering.  For many of us, it is one of the hardest decisions we ever have to make.  Now you are going through the grief which unfortunately follows.  Stealth is at peace and not suffering but you are.  Everything you describe is typical of the grieving process, as you are discovering as you read about grief. Unfortunately, there is no short cut to getting through the process.  If you love a fur baby you will grieve when the loss occurs.
Don't expect much of yourself right now. It is normal not to be able eat or sleep well or do  your normal activities. Don't let anyone minimize your grief and say "it was just a cat".  Everyone here  understands your feelings and is going through the same struggles.  Stay with us as we all grieve together.

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Stealthcat

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Reply with quote  #5 
Thank you everyone for your responses. I want you to know that it means a lot to me, simply knowing I'm not alone. I'm so sorry that what's brought us all here is the loss of a furry family member we loved...

Have any of you been able to adjust to the "new normal"? I keep wondering if I'll ever feel like things are whole again. I appreciate all the advice I can get. I haven't felt anything like this since high school when a family dog passed. It was horrible, but this feels different because he was mine.
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Becky1990

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Reply with quote  #6 
Stealthcat,
The greiving process takes a long time. Will you ever feel "new normsl again" .... Yes... Because you will get through the greiving process and start to remember all the joy that he gave you in your life. He is always in your heart and he is right beside you. He may not ve there physically but he is there!
Try not to push the process too fast. Like you said he was your furbaby. We all feel quilty at the beginning and realize later that we made the right decision. We want our babies happy and pain free. The people who say that they are just a cat does not realize the bond that we have with them. Don't give a second thought as to what they are saying. That is their crap!!
You are able to feel how you are feeling. So please keep sharing your feelings here because we understand! You are not alone you are in my thoughts and prayers .
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CatLover72

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Reply with quote  #7 
Hi! I saw the post and felt I had to reply and try to tell you that I’m sorry and I understand completely what you are feeling. Only 3 weeks ago we lost our 1 year old rescue cat. He was out at night and was hit by a car at around 4 or 5 a.m in the morning. He didn’t come home and I knew instinctively that something was wrong. At 2pm after searching all morning I found his little body at the side of a country road around 200m from our home. He had gone through the field behind the house and was in the wrong place at the wrong time. To recreate the accident given where we live and the time of it would be almost impossible.

Losing him had me feeling like I was dying also. I found him and I’m glad I did, goodness knows what I would be like if I hadn’t and he had just disappeared, but the memory of seeing his broken body has haunted me ever since and has cast questions to which I don’t have any answers. Why him? Why then? What could I have done? He was already gone when I got up that morning and I didn’t know. That hurts.

There is one single saying that has helped me enormously and so I want to share it with you. After 3 days of not eating, constantly feeling like hell and being lost in my own body, I decided to let him go. I just had to ‘let him go’. There was nothing I could change and as much as I still want to, I can’t change what has happened. It’s still painful and I miss him sooooo much and whilst I am writing this I am feeling like I want to cry, but I made a deal with myself that letting him go is best for all of us. It doesn’t mean that I don’t miss him, love him, long for him to be here again, but he simply isn’t. He is buried in his favourite area of our back garden in a small grave which I had to dig on the afternoon that I found him. I know where he is and I know that he isn’t hurting. He doesn’t even know he’s gone, only we do. It’s the truth. I am sorry that he won’t be able to live a full life and enjoy the things I know he would have, but it’s come to an end and I have to let go. If I don’t, it will eat me, ruin my days and my family life and he wouldn’t ever want that. He was such a giving and loving cat and I’m sure he would be sad to have to leave, but he has. It’s now up to us to let them go and be on the their way and for us to continue on. It’s the only choice we have and we know, as humans we don’t like to have no choice, but in this case we really don’t.

I’m so sorry that you are sore and hurting but it will ease, it will, I didn’t think it would but it went much easier once I agreed to stop hurting myself.

I send you my very best and please be strong. I know it’s hard. Xx
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Stealthcat

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Reply with quote  #8 
My grief seems to be compartmentalized into different feelings/ areas.

My baby's life with us- guilt over pushing him off my lap when I wanted to eat, or scootching him down on the bed so he didn't have his face in mine while I was sleeping. Could I have done more for my kitty in general over his lifetime? More cuddles? More petting? I regret taking him for granted a lot. He was always there, woven into the fabric of my life. I knew he was special, but days roll into the next and you think things will always be like they are. He was unbelievably affectionate and I knew I had something good.

His passing - could I have done more? Did I make the right decisions? How could this happen? The trauma of seeing him on his last day haunts me. I know I did the right thing by ending his suffering, but I can't help the devastation and guilt I feel sometimes. A part of me wishes I would have taken him home with me for just one more night with him. But logically I know I'll always want one more. And all that would have done was prolong his suffering, and I didn't want that.

Life without him - this is tearing me up almost more than anything. Almost everything is a reminder of him. I have a huge hole in my life, my family, my heart, and my home that remains empty. Work is the only place that doesn't have constant reminders of my lost friend. I dread going home. My husband doesn't like evenings or nights. He used to cuddle with the cat on the couch every evening and at night a lot. So when I've come home this week, I've found that he isn't in the family room like he used to do. He gets weepy at night when he'd normally be cuddling the cat in bed before he snoozed.

Our house seems broken and ripped apart. I don't know how a little cat managed to do this, except to say that he was tremendously special. We were such a happy family unit. My cat, Stealth, seemed to be the heart of it somehow. Our hearts are broken, and we don't know how to move forward or adjust.
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Michelemh

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Reply with quote  #9 
I feel the exact same way. My dog passed away two weeks ago. She would have been 18. She was our everything. The house is not same and no more happiness. I can't believe she is not here. There is no way around the grief. I did know it would happen but there is no way around it. It can take months or years to feel better.
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jerigraehl

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Reply with quote  #10 
I am so sorry for your loss. It is ironic that I logged on after a while of being off and your post was the last one written. I am 2 months into my grieving process. I know exactly how much pain you are in at such a trauma and loss that is so acute. Your story stood out because it is so similar to mine. I also chose euthanasia and had my Tonkinese cat Khaomanee take his last breath in my arms. It litterally shattered my heart. He just turned 15. I also have another cat Sugar Bear who is 14 who has been a life saver. I won't go into the details - my story is on here - but I too am stuck in my head consantly reliving the last half hour when they brought him in wrapped in his paw print blanket and in a little basket. He had pancreatitis as a complication for unregulated diabetes. I had a half hour to change my mind to see if he could pull through. I see so much more clearly now and I can't tell you how much I wish I had given him another day. I can't get over the trauma of the choice and the last half hour when I could have changed my mind. At the time I thought he was in pain and I had lost a dog in the animal clinic who died alone in a place he hated more than anything. They wanted him hospitalized for the iv fluids. The prior night I opted to bring him home and give him the iv fluids myself - I did not trust them to do it. I did not have a good experience with the care at the emergency vet. I spent the night with him and like your kitty he cuddled but would then get off the bed and just crouch down clearly in pain. I don't know why they did not give me something for his pain. He was worse in the morning and I took him back when the sun came up. That was when I made the decision. I thought - he is 15, has had asthma requiring an inhaler twice a day, has advanced peridontal disease and I am not pulling his teeth at that age, his diabetes is not regulated and he is in pain. But when he died in my arms and my heart just broke I wanted him back so bad. And that is how I have been ever since - the guilt is so hard to take some days I have trouble functioning. I loved him so much and he was there for me through my divorce and numerous other things. The last few minutes keep replaying in my head. So as far as grief - for you it should be more bearable soon. Keep in mind you adopted him as an adult cat when it is harder for them to get a home. You gave him a great home. And he lived a full life. I know Khaomanee did too. He lived longer than any other pet I ever had. That is the only thing I can tell myself. I blame myself for his getting sick as I did not handle his meds right. I hear of cats living to be 20 and longer but that is more of the exception. I am glad you still have your black kitty and your pup and your husband. I am alone except for Sugar Bear. I am so scared of losing her now. I hope she is one of the ones who live to be 20. Anyway your story resonated with me and I felt compelled to write. It helps to realize that I need to keep in mind Khaomanee was 15 and had a few health issues that would be hard to manage and have him feeling good. This is all part of the grieving process - going in circles. Again I am so sorry you are in so much pain. The first few days are the worse. It will be easier without any guilt attached. I see a lot of it on here and it makes it so much worse. Jeri
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Gingers_Mommy

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Reply with quote  #11 
Sorry for your loss Stealthcat. Loosing a pet feels like having a hole in your heart. I understand perfectly what you're feeling. I lost my cat just a couple of days ago. Hit by a car Sunday late at night. She didn't come home when I called her like she always did and I got this feeling like something was not right. But denial kicked in so Monday when I came home from work and didn't find her again I went outside to look for her. The neighbors saw me and told me my worst fear. A ginger and white cat had been run over and left dead just a couple of houses down and that afternoon the dead body had been picked up for disposal. I never got to see her again. My heart is broken. I find myself crying in waves. It was just me and her in my apartment. It's so empty now without her. She wasn't just a cat. She was my fur baby. Sometimes the what-ifs come. What if I had come home earlier that night etc. I know it's not right to dwell on those thoughts. Remembering the good time helps lot. I'm at least glad our last day we had lots of cuddle and love time. An article suggested writing down all the happy memories as a way to cope with the grief. I have lost a pet before when younger so I know in time it will heal. But for now we have no choice but to grief our babies without feeling ashamed of the intense hurt their absence has left. I'm crying while writing this. My eyes are swollen. I've tried to contain it at work but even there I've had to pause in the bathroom and cry. We will move on in time, the road from here to their has to be done one crying spell at a time.
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Stealthcat

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Reply with quote  #12 
Jerigraehl and Gingers_Mommy,

It saddens me to hear your stories. I know how heartbreaking it can be. I know how empty a house can feel without our loved ones. We gave them wonderful lives full of love. Their absence makes us feel like a piece of us is missing.

The veterinarian called today. My fur baby's ashes are ready to be picked up. It brought a new round of crying on. Two weeks ago, he was cuddled in my lap, today I am being called in to get his remains in a small wooden box with his name on it.

Sometimes it feels like a day ago that this nightmare happened. Sometimes it feels like years. I try to remind myself that he had a wonderful life with us, and we were blessed by him, too.

To help process my grief, I have tried to find outlets for it. I cry, of course. But I also write down funny memories of him, paint, play music, etc. Anything to release these waves of emotions. My husband and I have printed out pictures we have of him. I've watched videos of him doing silly things. I've purchased a ring and a necklace with his name engraved as memorials.

I was walking to work in the city and I saw a grey feather the same color as my cat's fur. Struggled to hold it together. The tiniest things are reminders. But I tell myself that this pain was worth knowing him.

We will all get through this hard time. Im so sorry you are all going through this too. I wouldn't wish this on anyone. But then, not many people were as lucky as we were to have had such special furry animals in our lives.
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Gingers_Mommy

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Reply with quote  #13 
Yes the tiniest things trigger the feelings...
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Stealthcat

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Reply with quote  #14 
On Tuesday, I got a call from the vet to have me go pick up my baby's ashes. It brought a new round of grief and crying on. I knew it was going to come, but I wasn't ready. Last night, my husband and I drove down to get him.  On the car ride, my husband said he wasn't sure if he wanted the ashes at all. That it would just be a horrible, constant reminder of what we lost.  I say we can put him on our mantle so he can watch over us, or eventually bury it in his favorite spot in our yard if we want to do that instead. We have never been through this with a furbaby of our own before. 

We go into the vet's office and I dread what I will see when I do. I don't know what the box will look like, and if they will just hand it to us or what.  They put it in this little gift bag with paw prints all over it. Inside, we also find a tuft of his fur in a packet and a pawprint impression in clay in the shape of a heart. The box is beautiful and has my handsome boy's name engraved on it. As we get in the car, my husband pulls out each item, and loses it. He has the box on his lap and seems overcome with grief. He hugs the bag and tells me he has stealth in his lap, but it isn't the same. He insists on having the box on his nightstand in the bedroom to be close to him because Stealth used to sleep on his chest or cuddled up next to him.  He's struggling, and I have never seen him like this before. He's usually the most optimistic, happy person ever.  I think that is why this is so hard. Every time Stealth had an issue before this, he was certain our baby would pull through. And he did! But this time was too much and I think it is hitting him so hard to have that optimism shattered and our baby boy is gone. I wish I knew how to help him more. I am also struggling. I hope we can both pull through, but we feel empty in our house. A huge hole is in our home and our hearts. 
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CatLover72

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Reply with quote  #15 
I’m so sorry that you are struggling so much. It’s such a strange thing grief. Tomorrow we are leaving for Portugal where we spend a few months in winter. We have to leave without Frankie. He is buried in our garden in full view of our bedroom window. I did this because I knew that at some point in the future it wouldn’t hurt, it would just be a constant reminder of him in a lovely way. Right now though it’s very painful. It’s been a month and the waves keep coming. Little things trigger it. One minute all fine, next minute I’m almost in tears.

When we arrive in Portugal we will back in our apartment for the first time since we left for Germany in April with Frankie and our two other cats. It was his first home and we nursed him there as a tiny kitten. It will be awful for us but we all have to confront it and move on the best we can. We have no other choice. His loss and the finality of it is a very difficult thing to comprehend for me even though I know he’s gone. He was so young and the other day the sun was shining and I felt so sorry that he couldn’t experience it anymore. It is so hard to ‘let go’.

I totally get what you’re feeling. The stomach pain, the lack of sleep, the lovely memories and the sad yearning for them to come back. It’s terrible, it really is. We need to move along slowly and we need to be allowed to grieve. It’s not a race and it can’t be speeded up.

Please take care and please remember the good times and try to smile. I stand by his little grave and try so hard to smile about the good stuff and it helps, even though it’s a real effort. I wish you my best.

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