Hi all...

My cat passed away last night, and I am so consumed by guilt that I don't even know what to think. I'm looking for some unbiased opinions on whether or not I did the right thing as I try to process this, thank you for your help in advance.

Cloe was 12 years old. She had pancreatitis and about 4 months ago, she was also diagnosed with either IBD or possible cancer in her intestines. She was on medication for those conditions, and everything was going fine. She was happy.

Then she stopped eating and drinking again, and became lethargic, just sitting in one spot. I took her back to the vet, and they found she had an abscess in her mouth from an infected back tooth. The vet thinks the infection just moved so quickly because of the prednisalone she takes for her intestinal problems. So he said he would keep her a day and lance and drain the abscess. I was aware that it would be complicated to treat both the infection and her other problems simultaneously, but the vet seemed confident she would make a full recovery from this abscess issue, and so did I. So we went with it.

The next night, I got the call that she wasn't doing well at all. The swelling wasn't going down, and it was causing her to have lost partial use of her tongue. She hates everybody but me, so anytime she's at the vet she just gives up on everything, too. My vet was concerned she wouldn't make it through the night, so he gave me a couple options:

1. Put her down that night.
2. Try giving her a much stronger pain medication to see if that would allow her body to catch up, and bring her home so she could feel safe, and she would be with me in case she didn't make it.

He estimated that he thought she had about a 30 percent chance of the pain medication working a miracle. He also assured me that she wouldn't be suffering because the pain medication he was administering was very strong and long lasting. I trust him completely, as he's saved my pets before in situations that other vets haven't been able to.

So I went to the vet and I held my baby girl. She was obviously out of it, and her breathing was really labored, it was so hard to see. So he gave her the medication, and I brought her home. But she passed away on the ride home. I hate myself that I was driving and not holding her. She had made a quick noise and a quick movement and then I heard her breathing again and then it was gone.

I don't know if that means she suffered. I don't know if she felt alone. I don't know if she was just waiting for me to have held her before she went. I don't know if she knew from experience that we were going home. I don't know if I should have anticipated all this before the surgery, or if I should have turned down that possibility of a miracle and ended it there at the vet. I don't know if I was right to take her out of a place that scared her to try to get her home with me to go in peace. I don't know any of it and it's tearing me apart. I feel like I've let her down in so many ways, but when I think of all the other options, they would all leave me feeling like I'd failed her. Because I couldn't save her. And I feel like I must have missed something that I could have done. At the very least I could have had the sense to pull over and just hold her in my arms and know that it was going to happen right then.

I feel so consumed by the guilt that I don't feel I even deserve to try to heal from this. I love her so much and all I ever wanted was to give her every chance at more happy time alive with me. Please, did I do the right thing, when all the options are bad?
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I'm so sorry for your loss of Cloe. I'm crying for you. It's so hard to know what to do when our fur babies are in pain and there are no "good" options. I lost my 10.5 year old baby Bella two months ago. One day she was okay and the next she was struggling to breathe and the vet found a tumor in her throat crushing her airway. It was the hardest decision to let her know all the while I new I didn't want her to keep suffering.

I think you did the right thing for Cloe. You were treating her health issues and doing your best by her. I'm so sorry that she went while you were driving her home and that you were not holding her but I think that shows that she was at peace - she was not in a place she hated, she was in your presence and she was on her way home.

Give yourself plenty of time to grieve and know that your baby knew how much you loved her.
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Dear Cloe23
I know from experience that whatever you do in these impossible circumstances guilt takes over and it's grip is very hard.
Please don't beat yourself up. You did what you thought was the right thing for your precious Cloe. Clearly you have always had her best interests at heart. You know she wasn't in pain. If you had put her to sleep at the vets you would have felt guilty about that too.
Sending you a virtual hug ((( )))
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The people here on this forum are kind hearted and wonderful people. They have all experienced this sort of loss and they can really understand what you are going through. I also went through tremendous guilt as I lost my girl 6 weeks ago and wondering if I did all I could have to save her. We were fortunate to be holding her when she passed, but that was because we made the decision to put her down. She was in stage 4 kidney disease among many other things and was starting to be in pain. I am sorry that you were not able to hold her, but as Meloknee mentioned you were with her and I am sure she knew that. The guilt is such a hard thing to process and there is no quick resolution to your loss, but the grief will lessen in time. It has been over 6 weeks for me and I miss her each and every day as I am sure you will with Cloe. It seems as if you did all you could and as much as you love Cloe I know you always tried to make decisions in her best interest. You will feel better in time, but until then, be sure to allow yourself to grieve and come back to the forum and read and post as it helps. Peace
dennis pruitt
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I'm so sorry for your pain. I feel 100% confident that you did the right thing and that I would have done exactly the same if I were in your shoes. And I agree with the others who are saying that Chloe knew she was with you and probably hung on to see you one more time. She was ready to go at that point. I hate that our babies don't live longer but we can only do what we believe to be right at the time. If it was crystal clear, your vet would have advised you otherwise. No one knows for sure so we just have to much the decision that seems to be best for the little guy or girl. 

Hope you find some peace and know that you did everything you could. 
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Please dont feel guilty over her passing back teeth tarter can cause serious infections if not treated immediately and some cats cannot tolerate being under anesthesia during a teeth cleaning.Sometimes we find out to late so dont feel that you let her down.

She has crossed over the rainbow bridge and pain free and i'm sure my babies were there to greet her i know someday we'll all meet again....and she'll be there for you when you need her...God bless you and keep you.
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I want to thank all of you from the absolute bottom of my heart for taking the time to read my post and for your kind words, especially when you're already reeling with your own losses.  You've given me some comfort in processing how everything happened, and I am so grateful for your support. I'm so sorry for your lost furbabies as well... I love the thought that they were there to greet each other. If only love could keep them healthy and alive. Somehow this never gets any easier, no matter how many times I do it. I just miss her so much. Sometimes family and friends don't quite understand, but she was one of my babies. I'm still feeling the guilt, but I wrote out literally every possibility that I could have taken, and explored the outcomes and how I would feel and what would have been right and wrong in each scenario. And you're right. Every single one ends in guilt and doubt and sadness. I'm trying to draw comfort in the fact that I had just held her, and that she could hear my voice. I just hope with every fiber of my being that she knew she was loved and wasn't in pain. It seems like I've found a community of like-minded people here who love their animals with the same ferocity that I always have. You and your pets will all be in my prayers.

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