chelsaroo
A week ago today my cat, Baby, died. She was an indoor cat her entire 15 years (almost 16 in May). She died outside and alone. I can't imagine the fear she felt...it kills me to think about her final hours.

She accidentally got outside on Saturday night at 10:45 PM and we didn't realize it. We didn't realize it until Monday morning. Now, you ask yourself, how in the world didn't we notice she was gone all day Sunday? This is part of my guilt. She was known to hide and sleep in cabinets for hours at a time and more so since being diagnosed with kidney failure a few months ago. I remember thinking in the back of my mind that it was sort of odd that I hadn't seen her all day, but I wasn't totally alarmed. We live in a pretty big house with lots of hiding places.

It wasn't until Monday morning after she didn't come meowing for food and then searching the house for her that we realized what had happened. We looked outside in the back, but there was no trace of her anywhere. You can imagine my panic at the thought of my totally indoor cat out there somewhere. I knocked on doors in tears, none of our neighbors had seen her. I put up posters and put a listing on Craigslist. I called animal control and made a report. I was a sobbing mess all day Monday. I was a sobbing mess all day Tuesday. Animal control was not opened to the public until Tuesday, so I went down on my lunch break to see if anyone had dropped her off. She wasn't there...but just as I was about to leave, another officer heard my conversation, she was the one who took my report the day before. She very hesitantly told me that she had been called to pick up a dead black and white cat in the next neighborhood over from mine on Monday night and would I like to see the body ? Of course I said yes, but what I saw next broke my heart in two. We walked to the very back of the building to the refrigerator where they keep the dead animals. She pulled out a plastic bag...I didn't want to look, but I looked anyway. And it was her, it was my Baby girl. How? How did she get to the next neighborhood over? This cat who was so skittish and wouldn't go 10 feet outside the house. The officer told me it appeared she had been hit by a car. There was obvious trauma to her body. My sweet Baby. The thought of how scared she must have been and if she felt pain. Did she die instantly? How the hell did she get 1.5 miles from home? These thoughts haunt me and it kills me that I'll never have the answers. If only I'd looked outside my street and called her name on Monday morning. Why didn't I call for her? Why didn't I notice she followed me outside while I was putting our other cat in his kennel for the night? These thoughts haunt me. I am so sad. I cry at night, I cry in the morning after the kids go to school. I replay in my mind all the things I would have done differently knowing what I now know. I begged her to come to my dreams to let me know she's ok and so far I have not seen her. I am a mess...
I don't understand what the purpose was for her to die that way. I want to scream. It's just not fair. She did not deserve that kind of death. I assumed she'd die of the kidney failure in our house or being put to sleep by the vet. I assumed I would get to tell her goodbye...but it didn't happen that way at all.
We are getting her cremated and will make a little memorial for her in the back yard. This makes me feel a little better, but I just want her back. The very last interaction I had with her on Saturday night was her trying to climb on my lap for me to pet her, but she was getting in my face and I put her back down on the floor so I could see the movie I was watching. I'm beating myself up and I know I shouldn't, but I can't help it.
Thank you for letting me ramble...
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Susie_Squillions
Dear Chelsaroo,

Oh, just look at your gorgeous Baby!  I can promise you that my boy kitties at the Bridge must all be making eyes at her, meowing and doing their best to catch her attention.  "Me-ouch!" they're saying (I can hear them now) "Oooo-la-la!  Look at that beautiful girl!"  She really is beyond stunning. 

T.J., my avatar, went to the Bridge on March 9th.  He would have been 17 in August.  It's so hard to say goodbye to someone we've loved so well, and whom we've protected all their lives.  Sometimes, there are things we just can't prevent, though, no matter how hard we try.  For you and Baby, it was traffic, and for T.J. and me it was a brain tumor.

I can feel your pain and sorrow in every word you've written and I am so sorry to hear about your shocking and devastating loss.  I hope you will be able to release the guilt you are feeling.  You would never, in a million years, have ever allowed harm to come to Baby if there had been any way for you to have prevented it.

I believe that when an animal is taken by a sudden accident, they do not feel physical pain.  They just keep running free, all the way to the Rainbow Bridge.  One instant they are earthbound and touching the ground, and then the next instant they are beautiful winged angels, taking flight and soaring among the other angels.  But they never really leave us.   They are no more than a whisper away as long as we live. 

You ask, "Why?" We all do.  Why my best friend?  Why now?  Why like this?  I guess the only thing I can say is that sometimes the answer is not ours to know in this life, but we can have faith that it was for a reason.  Why was Baby struck by a car?  Maybe it was God's way of protecting her (and your family) from the late stages of her kidney failure and the slow decline to ill health that would inevitably have come sooner or later.  Maybe she was given the gift of release from this body while she was still able to run, before her condition was too depleted for her to enjoy such kittenish pleasures. 

I know the sudden loss is such a terrible shock, but as you heal, you will find that your memories of her will always be memories of a relatively healthy cat who still had some spunk and a zest for life.  You will never have memories of the ravages of illness, or of seeing her unable to avoid having accidents.  I know you would gladly have cleaned them up and taken good care of Baby, but is that what you would really have wanted for her?  Kitties dislike having accidents, and I honestly believe it embarrasses them to make a mess.

I once read that all of us, human and animal, choose the time and manner in which we will leave this earth.  If I remember correctly, humans have three chances, or three opportunities to leave.  I can't remember whether it's different for our animals or not.  That's not important.  What is interesting is that if this is true after all, maybe Baby did choose to leave the way she did in order to spare herself and her loving family from a long, lingering period of suffering.  Who can say?  It's just a thought, and a somewhat whimsical one at that, but it can open the mind to possibilities we might not have imagined otherwise.

 If this is true, then maybe your first sign was finding Baby at the shelter.  You said you were about to leave when the officer who had found her overheard you and introduced herself.  Maybe Baby somehow guided you to the shelter at precisely that time so your question would be answered.  Who can say?  I honestly believe that our angels can guide us and help us find our paths to healing. Even if they aren't the ones who guide us, it must be angels,saints, or other higher powers helping us to find peace and the answers we need.

I'm starting to ramble now.  I find myself trying so hard to find some sort of way to comfort you or to bring a smile to your life right now.  I know your pain is so deep, but I also know you will heal in time.  Please come back and tell us moe about Baby and the beautiful life she had with you.  I know one thing for sure.  Even if her life had to end the same way, she would go through it again just to live her life with you. 

I'm wishing you healing and comfort in the coming days and weeks, and I'm keeping you, your family, and beautiful Angel Baby in my thoughts and prayers.


My heart is battered and bruised, but I will not let it break. It holds such precious cargo, I must protect it now. (Susie Squillions)

"Memories of loved ones are like songs in our soul." Margaret Wakeley

T.J.'S RESIDENCY:
http://RainbowsBridge.com/residents/TJ006/Resident.htm

BUDDY GUY AYRES~LYNCH'S RESIDENCY:
http://www.rainbowsbridge.com/residents/Buddy128/resident.HTM

KING BING THE GOD CAT'S RESIDENCY:
http://rainbowsbridge.com/residents/BINGO009/Resident.htm

In one of the stars, I shall be living.
In one of them, I shall be laughing.
And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing when you look at the sky at night.
~ The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery
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reovi
Chelsaroo,

As much as I am beating myself up, too, I want to say don't beat yourself up, though it is a rather half-hearted suggestion.  The only thing that is keeping it from being a full-on guilt fest is that I want this to be about my boy and his life, not about me feeling sorry for myself (not that that is what you are doing).  I realize that my guilt will not bring him back, nothing can, and that breaks my heart all over again to even type...but part of me feels like having this guilt at this time tarnishes how much love him and the great moments I had for my best boy, and the true, pure grieving that he deserves.  Of course, as I sit here and write this, it sounds like a great logic, but I am still riddled with guilt, too.  I just hope for the peace so that I can grieve him and feel the love for him and have nothing else clouding my heart-I wish you the same.
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chelsaroo
Susie - thank you so much for your post. I would so like to think that she felt no pain and that Baby chose to go this way. You verbalizing what I was hoping has given me some peace today. Thank you. BTW, your TJ is a beautiful boy.

Reovi - Thank you for your words. I agree with you. I hope that soon I will be able to just think of her in life and all the great years we had and how wonderful she was without all the bad feelings.
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dalmatian

I had a cat Sylvester. He lived for 25 years and three months. The day he had to go just put a light out In my heart. So I cried and kicked. And I cried some more.  Then, thu the help of an other person, I REALIZED HOW MUCH HE HAD GAVE ME. Not all Is lost. He gave me alot In those years.  How selfish of me not to remember what he did give.  ALL THOSE YEARS THAT i took for granted.  MARTY & CRITTERS

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shmoobear
Chelsaroo, I'm so sorry for your loss.....Baby is so sweet looking! I know that you must be feeling so much grief....and on top of that the guilt must be almost too much to bear. Just let the tears come, because there will be a lot of them. Please, please try to not beat yourself up so much. Your Baby was never alone, because she always had the love you gave her. I keep saying this....but it wasn't those last few moments that defined you & Baby's relationship....it was the rest of her life and all the love you shared. That was her whole existence....and that is what she will take with her on her journey. I like what Susie said.....I believe that Baby just kept running....and she arrived at the Bridge without feeling any pain.

The beginning stages of all of this are just awful. Not that 3 weeks later has felt so much better to me....but I truly didn't think I would survive that first week. The only advice I can give is just to ride this wave of grief and acknowledge the loss of your sweet Baby.

I lost my Dakota 3 1/2 weeks ago. I still can't believe he is gone. I have so many sad moments....today I cried a lot. But I also know in my heart that it wouldn't be right to fill up the spaces that Dakota existed in with sadness. He was not about sadness at all...he was about joy. I'm afraid that if I'm too sad for too long, then sadness and Dakota will be ties together as one....and that would be not right at all.

But you know what? I'm getting ahead of myself....you are still in these first stages. Let yourself scream and cry and wonder why and all of that. It's a process and this is part of it. You loved Baby so much....she really does deserve your tears. And when you are ready, there will be some smiles as well. I can promise that.

Much peace to you tonight...
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reovi
Just wondering how you were doing today with your guilt?  I'm having a not so great day with mine, so I hope you are doing better...
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chelsaroo

Hello, everyone...thank you all for your commiseration and encouraging words.  They really do mean a lot.

 

reovi - I'm sorry I didn't answer your question sooner.  I didn't get an e-mail that someone had posted.  sorry.  I hope you are feeling a little better today…

 

Tomorrow will mark 2 weeks since Baby got outside and disappeared.  This week has been a tiny bit better, probably only because we've been pretty busy and my mind has been on some other things.  I’m trying to focus on thinking of her in life and how beautiful and wonderful she was, not on my last images of her at animal control.  I’m trying to think of her death in terms of that it was just her time to go, not the circumstances surrounding her death.  Sometimes it works.  If I let myself think too much about her, the tears and all the sad feelings come flooding back, though.  I’ve also shifted my focus onto my other cat, Oliver.  That’s helped a little too.  I took him to the vet yesterday to get his teeth cleaned and to get shaved because he had horrible mats.  He mostly lives outside, so he didn’t get as much of my attention as Baby did.  But, that is all going to change now.  We’ve had him for quite a while too, almost 12 years.

 

Yesterday, when I was picking up Oliver at the vet’s, I also picked up Baby’s ashes.  I’m surprised by what a small container it is.  Just looking at that container made me start bawling in the vet’s office.  I couldn’t help it.  But she’s finally home now, and when the weather is nicer, we will put her in the back yard with a marker and plant some flowers.

 

And wouldn’t you know, last night was the first night that I dreamt of her, coincidence?

 

In the dream, I was walking down a street in my neighborhood with Baby’s ashes in my hands.  I had this overwhelming desire to open the container to look at the ashes, so I did.  Inside was a plastic bag with the ashes inside.  I was intently inspecting them when I looked over in my other hand that held the cover of the container.  The cover had changed into another container and inside was Baby’s head and tail, no body.  Baby’s head was meowing and licking my hand.  (In life, she was not a licker, I don’t recall her ever trying to lick my hand)  I thought to myself – ‘she’s alive!’  I looked closely at her face, it was her face that I saw at Animal Control after she had passed, but her face looked content and actually at peace, there was no expression of fear or pain at all, and in the dream I felt so much comfort after realizing that fact.  That was the end of the dream…so what do you think?  Do you think it was a sign from my Baby that she’s ok? 
 
Chelsea
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reovi
Sounds like a sign to me, and your interpretation sounds right!
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Dannieb
Chelsea,
I'm so sorry for your loss.  What a beautiful kitty Baby was.  I understand how you feel. My cat, Harley, disappeared on August 12th.  He was an indoor/outdoor kitty, but always stayed close to home and was always kept in at night.  My husband and I have looked everywhere, checked in with all our culdesac neighbors, people in other neighborhoods and at the local shelter.  Last Sunday we found his collar (actually two of his collars because he lost one a month ago) and what we think is his fur.  No body or any other signs.  My next door neighbor told me she had heard something like a cat scream that early morning when he disappeared. We contacted an animal communicator and she told us a racoon had attacked him and he had passed over and his body was under a porch of a nearby beige or light colored house (within our culdesac).  We've looked everywhere and can't find him.  I too have guilt and think about all the what ifs (i.e., Why did I let him out so early that morning?  Why didn't I wait until it was lighter?)  But he wanted out then and he always had me wrapped around his paw. We think he's gone, but there's still a part of us that wants to believe he'll come strolling up the driveway any day.  I can assure you that if he's at the Rainbow Bridge he'll be looking for Baby as he is quite a flirt! I know I'm rambling, but I wanted you to know that I feel for you.
Dannie
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