KadyMcGann
I just had to put my cat down. I am utterly beyond devastated. I just graduated college a month ago and I had my cat, Gretal, since I was 9. I begged my parents for a cat, and I remember seeing Gretal as a kitten at the shelter, sleeping under some other snoozing kitties, and as soon as I picked her up and she fell asleep in my arms I knew she was meant to be with me. Since that day until two days ago she would loyally follow me around my house no matter how many times I moved rooms, sit in my lap at any point possible, sleep with me, make her little kitty biscuits on me with her paws... countless head buts, snuggle sessions, and me crying into her warm fur whenever I felt sad. She would sleep with my disabled mom when I was at school, keeping her warm all night. Gretal was truly the best cat I could have gotten, I felt like I had a deeper connection with her than just a pet and an owner, she knew when I felt down and she was always there for me. She was such a comforting presence in my house and in my life in general. She had always been healthy, but suddenly two days ago my dad found her collapsed on the floor and her back legs wouldn't work. The week before she had been eating less, but we didn't think anything of it cause other than that she was acting normally. We took her to an ER and they found lots of blood clots and that her heart was basically failing. The vet said it was the kind thing to do to let her go, and I knew I couldn't let her suffer. She passed peacefully in my lap, surrounded by me and my dad and my boyfriend, all people she loved. I have been a mess since this, I have barely stopped crying. Everywhere I look in my house I expect to see her or hear her little collar bell, but she's just gone. I feel so guilty, I have been at college the past four years and although have come home a bunch I feel like now I wasn't able to really spend her last years with her. I am so angry with myself for not taking her to the vet sooner when I saw she wasn't eating, what if they could've done something? She was almost 13 so not a young cat, but I just really expected to have her longer because she had always been healthy. I can't stop thinking about her and the little white room I was in with her when she passed. I can't stop thinking about her warm little body on my lap and her head nuzzles, I feel like this is a nightmare. I have always had problems making friends with people, and Gretal was truly my best friend, she got me in a way that only an animal can. I feel broken, my whole family is depressed, and I don't know how to move on.
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Memories_of_Marmalade


Dear KadyMcGann,

I'm so so sorry for your recent loss of your beloved cat "Gretal." But I'm so grateful that your and her paths crossed when they did and that for so many years she knew true love and was adored, cherished, part of a family and had a safe, caring home. All cats should be so blessed and fortunate. It is so easy to see the great love and affection you had for your little girl in all of your words. It sounds like she was truly your "Spirit Animal."

They say that the level of our grief is the level of the love we have for our lost beloved's. So how much love did your Gretal experience from you during all the days you spent together? An incredible amount. You made her feel truly loved.

When it comes to her health condition at the end, please rest assured that you did the right thing. She most likely had "Saddle Thrombus." Which meant she could "throw" a blood clot into any other part of her body at any time. Including her brain. She could have gone blind or become catatonic or not recognized you at the end. It is one of the most feared health conditions for an animal and the odds are nothing could be done no matter what you did.

As you may know, and I was surprised to learn, the average lifespan of a cat is only 2 to 5 years, in the wild or out on the street. That is all the time they are really biologically designed and engineered for to live. We humans can often lengthen their lifespan through: providing them shelter (from the weather and natural predators), regular food and fresh water, trips to the Vet's (for treatment and medication) and providing them with love and affection (which is important to overall well-being.) So when a cat like your Gretal lives for as long as she did? It is truly miraculous in many ways.

When it comes to your having been away at college? You had to live your life. And Gretal got to stay at your family home which she was accustomed to.  I often wondered what my boy (an orange tabby cat named "Marmalade") thought when I would go out and about. He could see that I would often brought back food and supplies etc. from the grocery store. He recognized what grocery bags looked like. Cats are often pack animals, which live in colonies. So most likely "Marmalade" just thought I was out hunting for us. As your Gretal most likely assumed you were too. That we were out on a "Walk About" like the Australian's call it, doing what we mysterious humans do. And that she was simply not allowed to go with you, due to the dangers involved perhaps. But did she hold this against you? Never. She may have missed you, she may have thought about you, but she assumed you were doing what you needed to. And you always returned home and reunited. And you were there at the end when the time came when she really needed you.

When the time came you stopped her from any further pain and suffering. And you agreed to take her pain and suffering onto yourself and process it through your grief. That is the bargain that you made. It is the bargain that each of us have made, when we were faced with making that final decision to protect our loved ones. To show them mercy. To do what they can not do for themselves. We sacrifice ourselves in many ways when we make that choice. We put their needs above our own needs. We do what needed to be done.

Just travel through time sweetheart. Your mind and body have a built in healing mechanism. Each second that you exist you are healing. I know that sounds impossible, but you will get through this. I am a walking testament to that fact. YOU WILL HEAL. And soon only your fondest and most cherished memories of Gretal will come into your mind when ever you think about her. And you will smile at the memory of the great love that you shared with her, and you will celebrate the special times that you had together.

Please know that you are never alone and we are with you in comradeship, as your beloved Gretal is with you in spirit. Always.

My kindest regards & sincerest condolences,
James
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Monroegirl
I'm so sorry for your loss of Gretal. She knew that you loved her so. This forum is helpful, as so many understand your pain. Take care.
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KadyMcGann
@Memories_of_Marmalade I can't thank you enough for your kind words, I have be re-reading your response over and over again for solace. I cannot believe that it's already been almost a week since Gretal passed, I haven't received her ashes yet but I am looking forward to it so that she can truly be at home again. It is painful to walk by her old sleeping spots and having to vacuum up her little tufts of hair, the little things hurt the most. I have taken your words to heart and am continually finding comfort in the fact that I know how dearly she was loved and how lucky I was to have had my path cross with hers. I know that she must have felt all the love around her because she was always so sweet and loving to my parents and I and even strangers, she never lifted a claw in all her years, even when our little schnauzer wouldn't leave her alone. She slept with me almost every night I was home, or with my mom, and so she must have loved us. She knew that she was the queen of our house, and I wouldn't have had it any other way. Having to make the choice to let her go was probably one of the hardest things I've yet to experience, it felt like when I left the hospital without her I left without a part of myself, but as you said so beautifully I agreed to take her suffering onto myself so that she could leave this earth peacefully and without pain, and that is what I keep saying over and over again whenever I feel the pain of her loss. Oh how I wish I could sit on my couch right now and have her hop up into my lap. I am sincerely sorry for the loss of your lovely Marmalade, I am inspired by your healing process and am deeply comforted by your words that so accurately describe a shared pain. @Monroegirl Thank you for your kind words, I so appreciate your support. This forum has been one of the best resources for starting the healing process. 
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Ophelia__May
Hello Kady,
Reading your post has reminded me of my story my own pet, my dog Tequila, that I also had to put to sleep two months ago. 
I have also been away in college for the last three years, so I truly understand your feelings of guilt over the fact that we weren't able to spend as much time with them as we would have wanted. The sad truth is that we can never put our lives on hold for anything or anyone. And these long periods of separation is what made the reunions even happier! 
You can take comfort in the fact that both you and Gretal have spent many happy years together, and that no matter how hard the final goodbye was, it doesn't erase the infinite amount of joyful memories that you have of her. You've rescued her from a difficult life and made her happy. 
I know how traumatic the last moments must have been, as I was also holding my dog as he passed away. These difficult memories may never leave us, but perhaps we can learn to transform them into a life lesson about what it truly means to love someone: holding on as long as we can, and letting go when the time comes. 
Just know that when it comes to our pets and especially their end of life, no one knows what to do, no one gets it fully right, and everyone feels guilty. You aren't alone in this. 
Since you still are at the very early stages of grief, I would recommend a few things that I did to cope with the loss: writing about your fur baby, drawing or painting her, setting up a small altar with her urn, pictures of her, candles and flowers, and talking to her. It does help. 
I wish you the best,
Ophelia
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KadyMcGann
I finally got Gretal's ashes and I at least feel like she's back home now. I'm thinking of getting a tattoo tribute to her sometime in the future. I cannot believe that it's almost been a week since I said goodbye. I really miss her. I miss her  following me into my room and jumping on me as soon as I sat down. I could never make my bed because she would always either be asleep all snuggled in my sheets, or strutting around the bed waiting for headrubs. Even when I moved you to another bed you would still come back and stop me from making my bed!! I miss throwing the blankets over you and playing with your little paws, you were playful right up until the very end. My sweet little girl, you filled my life with so much happiness and laughter! I miss playing peek-a-boo in my dresser, when you would jump up and meow each time I looked out from behind the closet door. And your sweet little trills. Mom misses you, you kept her company when she slept and it's been hard on her without your warm little furry body on her all night. Dad misses you too- I heard him accidentally call Timmy your name by mistake, and it broke my heart. You loved all of us- even when I introduced you to a stranger 4 years ago, you took to Alex's lap like nothing! He loved when you would sit in his lap, and he misses you too. Timmy is too old to really notice anything but I'm sure he misses your calming aura. I miss you, I miss your purrs, your little pink nose, your meows and trills, and your constant companionship. You will be in my heart forever, Gretal! Of course you know that, though. I'm sure you're eating filet mignon up there somewhere, and someday I will be joining you!! Love you baby girl
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Monroegirl
I miss my sweet girl's trills so much, too. She was my only kitty to use a special trill for me. I'm glad you got her ashes back. God bless.
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AndersonM
I had to euthanize my cat Roger about a year ago (June 9, 2019), due to kidney disease. He had just turned 13. I know how difficult it is! Roger was my special companion, and even though it's been a year, I still don't go a day without thinking about him. However, it does get easier with time. Something that really helped me was writing a letter to him. I wrote down all the things I loved and missed about him, as well as all the things we used to do together. I go back and read my letter to him once a month. I have hope that I will see Roger in heaven again, which has also helped me tremendously. Lastly, when you feel up to it, make a scrapbook of photos and letters you write to Gretal. This will serve as a momento, and prevent you from letting her fade from your memory. Please hang in there, you will get through this!
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KadyMcGann
Gretal- it's July now, and you'd usually be hiding under my bed in the AC or lounging in the basement to escape the heat. You should be here with me now, I miss the feeling of your fur against my skin. I miss when you would sit with your front legs on my lap and your back legs on the bed/couch. Whenever we eat dinner I expect you to jump up on the couch next to me, waiting for your bite. Dad's been grilling a lot, and I know how much you loved when I'd give you a little piece of steak or chicken. You were such a spoiled kitty! Sometimes when I think about you I feel stuck in a dark hole because I won't have you with me again. You were my best friend, and I couldn't have fully realized how much that was true until I didn't have you anymore. Your constant presence in the house was part of everyone's life, and we all feel empty without you. I miss when you would stare at me until I moved my laptop from my lap so that you could have the full lap to yourself. I miss you emerging from under my bed, stretching, jumping up, only to fall asleep next to me for the rest of the day. My heart hurts without you, honey. So much. It is not right with out you here. I feel like my spirit has been broken. 
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KadyMcGann
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Memories_of_Marmalade
Ohhh that is a wonderful photo of your beloved Gretal. Seeing shared photos here always takes me aback. You can see how each pet has their own distinct face and features etc. Your Gretal was a beauty and looks like such a little character. Such personality. Such a sweetie. Thanks for sharing with us. My rescue cat "KID" is a Tux cat. They say that they are smart and magical and that has proven to be the case.
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Monroegirl
Aww. Such a sweet-looking girl. (((Hugs)))
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sugarandspice
I'm so so sorry for your loss but thank you so much for posting this. I posted on this forum just in March, losing my beautiful Sugar. Unfortunately, just months later here I am writing about his brother Spice. About a month ago we finally discovered what likely happened to Sugar, as we took Spice to a cat specialist who found that he had one of the worst hearts she had ever seen. We got him on medicine and he had the best month of his life. I was at home from college and hadn't started my job yet. I had the best month of my life. After losing his brother, Spice latched onto me more than ever. He was my shadow. I fell asleep with him curled in my arms and woke up with him staring lovingly at me waiting for me to wake. He did my work with me, played with me, and followed in my footsteps always. When I was out of the room for an hour, he screamed to me to come back to "his" (my) room to love on him. Just days ago we lost him in the same way. I woke up at 4 in the morning to his screaming and dragging his body around the floor with his back legs limp and throwing up. It keeps replaying in my mind. His heart was giving out. The vet said every day was a blessing and it could happen anytime, but it didn't make it less traumatic. Because of the virus we couldn't go in the ER with him. We were told he needed to be put down but before we made it inside he passed alone. I wish I was there for him in his last moments and didn't walk into a cold body. I'm trying not to remember this but instead the good memories but its so hard. Everytime I go to bed and wake up there isn't my fluffy boy next to me. It's so hard but I'm glad to hear I'm not alone. Wishing you the best.

Emma
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KadyMcGann
@sugarandspice I am so sorry for the loss of your two babies, it hurts my heart to read your story. It's been a month today since I lost Gretal, and I feel empty and hopeless. It's painful to remember my sweet, loving, warm girl, with a cold urn by my side. I can't believe I will never sleep with Gretal next to me again. I feel your pain, stay strong. I wish you the best on your journey of healing. At least we can take comfort in the wonderful memories we have with our babies. 
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