I have been looking for a way to deal with the immeasurable pain I have been feeling. I talk to my friends and feel better for 0.2 seconds. I talk to by boyfriend and I know that I am not alone. However, I can’t seem to deal. So I found this website. I thought maybe getting this all out in writing would help. I know for a fact that this is too long and that no one will read it. But that is ok. This is more for me…
So, let me tell you about Zoey Pricilla. Zoey was a 13 year old tortoiseshell cat. She was the reason I woke up in the morning, she was the love of my life, my child and my reason for living. Over the course of a month I had to cope with the fact that I was not only losing my child, but my best friend, my security blanket, my snuggle buddy and my antidepressant.
On 5/16/2018 we went to the vet for a regular UTI (which she was highly susceptible to). During that visit they found she had a heart murmur that was not there last year. They sent her for some tests and on 5/18/2018 we found out she was in kidney failure. We said our goodbyes on 6/16/2018. In the course of exactly one month, I watched the love of my life go from a happy healthy cat, to a sick cat, to a dying cat, until we reached the final stage, and she became ash.
There was no explanation for why she went into kidney failure. All the vets were stumped and, frankly, astonished that she did not show signs of this before the day we took her in. Her numbers were astronomical and the vets could not believe she was doing so well for being so sick.
But she wasn’t sick. She was still my same baby girl. She ran through the house like a madman, she played, she ate, she purred and snuggled and it was not until I noticed the UTI that she even remotely showed signs of something being off. However, on 5/16/2018 I went to clean her litter like, I did every day, but this time, I found blood clots in the litter. I INSTANTLY called off of work and made a vet appointment that afternoon. My boyfriend rushed home and we thought it would be a regular routine visit. Boy was I wrong. I still can’t understand how this all happened. She was perfectly healthy and then overnight she was dying.
Over the course of the month I had to give her fluid injections, anti-nausea pills, pain meds and at times a few antibiotic shots. If you have had to do this before, you understand. But for those of you who don’t, I had to take a huge needle, stab it through her scruff and put her on an IV, at first 3xs a week to eventually every other day. If you have never had to do this, I can tell you that you can never comprehend what it feels like to have to do that to your child, and I truly hope you never do.
The first day we had to give her fluid we did it at the vet so they could teach me. I sobbed uncontrollably as I felt the needle piece through her skin. The same day they also gave her an appetite stimulant as she was not eating as much as we wanted her to. This all ended badly. As soon as we got home something was not right. She was crouching low to the ground and foaming at the mouth. I called the vet panicking and they said it was a side effect of the pill. However, she then started to hyperventilate. She had her mouth open and was panting like a dog. She didn’t move.
We swept her up and rushed her to the ER. They took her and put her in an oxygen cage. We were waiting for what felt like an eternity. Finally the doctor came in and told us she was doing a bit better. However, they thought the fluid was straining her heart and pushing her into heat failure. This is apparently something that happens to cats on fluid. They ran some additional x-rays and while we waited for the results, they asked if I wanted to hold her. I quickly ran to the back of house to see her. She had her face buried in the crevice of the oxygen cage and she was screaming. For those who know and understand cats, she was screaming her distress meow.
They allowed me to pick her up but I could not get her to stop screaming. She was just so terrified of everything happening around her. They let me take her back into the room and as soon as I had her back there I wrapped her in a blanket and held her as close as I possibly could. I remember sobbing uncontrollably as I truly felt I would never get to hold her again. I remember smelling her fur and kissing her, just trying to take it all in. As scared as she was, I think I was even more.
After waiting for another eternity the vet came in and told us she had no evidence of heart failure. It was like someone took a cinderblock off my chest. We thought we were in the clear. She was still in kidney failure but we had a plan. We were going to treat her and care for her. We were going to take care of her so her life could be long and happy.
The next couple of weeks was fluid injections, a special diet and struggling like crazy to get her to eat food with a powered medication in it. She then became constipated and it was even more struggle to try and get a laxative powder in her. She went from simply not eating the food with the medicine in it to not eating at all. After 3 days of trying we went back to the ER.
It was at that time that they told us there was a one in a million chance her problem was a kidney infection. She was treated for the UTI but maybe, just maybe, the infection was so bad that it needed a stronger dose of a different medicine. In order to find out we had to give her a 4 day treatment of this antibiotic that had to, once again, be in injected through her scruff. Just one more needle I had to put in her. After we finished that dosage we went in for follow up blood work.
I tried not to get my hopes up. I tried so hard to understand that this was truly one in a million. However, no matter how hard I tried, my heart kept telling me “She can beat this”, “she is that one in a million”, “your cat is not dying”. Which only made it ten times more painful when they told me she had no hope. They said they exhausted all their options and we had anywhere from a couple of months with her to a couple of weeks. They said to give her whatever she wanted, they said that she should have anything she wants, no matter how unhealthy or bad for her, as long as she had an enjoyable end of life. To do all of this we had to give her anti-nausea meds, which worked for a short while.
While she was sick, I slept on the floor most of the nights, I didn’t want her to have to jump on the bed or accidently kick her while I was sleeping. She slept on her favorite pillow directly next to my head and purred me to sleep. However, one night, I just had a mental break down. I was lying in bed thinking, what if I never get to hold her again, what will I do when I cannot smell her fur? How was I going to live life without her? Sobbing uncontrollably, I rolled on to the floor and loved her with all my might. It was at that moment, I knew. I knew she didn’t have a couple of month, I knew she didn’t have a couple of weeks. I knew she had a couple of days. It was just something inside of me that clicked and told me, it’s time soon.
I asked my mother to come out that week. I wanted her to say goodbye to Zoey and I think Zoey was holding on to say goodbye to her. You see, the two years I was living on campus for college, I could not have Zoey with me. So she stayed at home with my mom. While I was home for every break and holiday, for those two years, it was just her and my mom. So, as much as Zoey tried to hate her, I knew she did love her in her own special way. So I knew she was holding on to that.
My mother came in on Friday 6/15/2018. Whenever she would come to visit Zoey would hide. She really did hate my mom for some reason. However, this time she came right out. She was weak and by that point, skin and bones. However, she jumped up to greet my mother and I think all three of us knew she was saying her goodbyes.
I woke up on 6/16/2018 knowing in my heart that today was Zoey’s last day. She was once again on day 3 of not eating and could not lose any more weight. When I woke up and saw her she was trembling and she was just so cold. She was peeing solid clots of blood and for the first time, she looked truly unhappy. My mother, my boyfriend and I all knew what had to be done. She was suffering and I promised her I would never let that happen to her.
We ate our breakfast pretending like everything was normal. I called the ER vet and told them what was happening. They reserved us a room. When we finally loaded her into the car it was dead silence. We were all trying so hard to pretend that what was happening, was not actually happening. We walked into the ER and they escorted me, my boyfriend and Zoey to room 1. My mother stayed in the waiting room. They then came in and prepped us for what was about to happen. It was not until they started explaining the process that I finally lost it. It was at that moment that I could not pretend any longer. Reality hit me and I realized that I was about to kill my cat. I was about to kill my child.
They tried to take her out of the room to prep her but I refused. They kept her in the room, saved her little leg, and inserted the adapter. She was terrified and she peed all over the towel. Still thinking of that breaks my heart. I did not want her to be afraid and I failed her. After that they wrapped her back up in her blanket and gave her back to me. They left the room and let us say our goodbyes.
The pain was intolerable. I was trying to tell her that I was doing this so she didn’t have to suffer but she was just so scared. I don’t think she understood that I loved her more than anything in this life. ANYTHING. I tried to make her understand that I would have given my own life if I thought it would save her. I just let it all out. I told her stories, I told her how much I loved her, I sang to her, kissed her, I snuggled her and I gave her instructions. I told her that when she left, she would take a piece of my soul with her. I told her to hold onto that. I told her that she could give it back to me when we met again on the rainbow bridge.
Eventually the doctor came in.
They once again explained the process to me.
And then we began. She was in my arms the entire time.
The first step was to inject her with a sedative to make her go unconscious. They told me that I would feel her go limp but I don’t think anything could have prepared me for that. I felt her little muscles loosen, I saw her head drop into the blanket and she went from a normal cat to a limp sack of flesh and bones.
The next step was the overdose. This would make her heart stop. They made this injection and I cried so hard I wanted to die. It was like as she died the rest of me did as well. I held her in my arms, sobbing, while the doctor held her stethoscope to her and finally told me, “her heart has stopped”.
I sobbed and sobbed as I realized that I could not undo this. I could not bring her back and today would officially be the last day I would hold her in my arms. Today was the last day I would smell her fur. Today was the last day I would feel her little paws, touch her tail, and kiss her head. Today was the last day I was going to be her mother. And at that moment, I died inside.
The doctor left the room and said for us to take as much time as we needed. I continued to hold her dead body in my arms for what I think was an hour, or at least felt like it. My boyfriend and I held her and each other, sobbing uncontrollably. Trying to say everything we wanted to tell her before they took her way. I remember I kept reaching into the blanket to feel her little paws. I was trying like crazy to take it all in. I was trying to do everything so that I could never forget. So that I would always remember the way things felt or how she smelled.
Finally we had to accept that she was gone and she was not coming back. I told my boyfriend to get the nurse and they came in to take her away. They lifter her limp body from my arms and took her from me, still wrapped in her blanket. I remember as they walked out of the room with her, I saw her tail fall from the blanket and hang there, lifeless.
We left the ER with an empty cat carrier.
We loaded into the car, all three of us crying. I went home and saw all of her things everywhere. However, this time she was not there. I could not stay in the house any longer. So, the exact same day, my boyfriend and I went to Paws Chicago. It was on that day that a litter of puppies came in. We ended up taking one home. And that is how we got Absol.
While I have grown to love this puppy, the uncontrollable guilt of “moving on” consumes me. I feel like I have betrayed Zoey. I know she would have wanted me to get another pet. I know that she would want me to rescue another animal and give them the best life possible. Just as I did her.
With that being said, the inner turmoil is terrible. I feel guilt for “moving on”, I feel guilt for not loving Absol as much as I did Zoey, I feel guilt for wanting her back, and I feel guilt for sometimes being mad at Absol for not being her. I don’t know how to deal with everything that I am feeling and I feel like I am letting everyone down because of that.
My purpose in life was to be Zoey’s mom and now that she is gone, I don’t feel like my life has any purpose…