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Had to have my cat put down on Saturday - still feeling traumatised

(57 Posts)
hudyerwheesht Mon 03-Aug-15 14:42:59

He was old and had health problems and I suspected this was on the cards at some point but I only took him to the vet to get a better idea of why he had deteriorated a bit in the last week and suddenly we were having The Conversation and I wasn't ready. And all the time my cat was purring as the vet stroked him. It seemed so wrong. But she said it was kinder to do it now before he really started to suffer (he had abdominal fluid swelling plus a tumour and it was making it hard for him to breathe or eat properly) though I barely had time to digest what she was saying before it was happening. In reality she was actually patient and kind, it just seemed fast considering I only brought him in to get him checked out.

I've never had to have an animal put down and I'm a bit overwhelmed by how upset I still feel about the whole process. I stayed with him and sobbed like a baby. I felt so cruel, like he trusted me and I led him to his death.
I know that sounds over-dramatic but I can't help it. I keep thinking stupid things like, he would be lying out in the sunshine right now instead of buried in the garden were it not for me deciding to take him in(DH was suggesting we wait as he was still active/eating,etc but I insisted). I feel so guilty.
I had expected him to be in a much worse state so that it would be like relieving him of his pain/discomfort but it seems really wrong because right up until I took him he was still walking around, eating (though not much), purring when stroked,etc. so it feels very wrong.

Sorry, this post is rambly as fuck - my emotions are all over the shop and I'm not very coherant. I know I'm repeating myself. I just wanted to get it off my chest.

thunderbird69 Mon 03-Aug-15 14:49:13

Sorry to hear your story. I know exactly how you feel. Our old cat was put to sleep about 6 weeks ago and it was me who made the decision to take her in. She was deteriorating but still mobile and purring when stroked.
Afterwards I had the thoughts of 'should I have let her have another weekend with us' and I felt some guilt as well as general sadness at losing her. But really it is much better to do it before the pain looks obvious. You don't know how poorly they are already feeling.

thunderbird69 Mon 03-Aug-15 14:51:16

It does get easier, honestly. Take care

hudyerwheesht Mon 03-Aug-15 14:52:25

Thanks Thunderbird, I keep telling myself that he may well have been suffering. Cats hide it so well, so much more obvious with a dog.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Mon 03-Aug-15 15:06:40

My cat was pts two weeks ago. I knew it was coming and saw the decline. It's still tough. The final straw was the tumour on her face which made it hard for her to breathe and eat at the same time. She had not really eaten in 4 days. I knew pain relief might extend her time but we decided that, in the end, she deserved the very kindest of ends. In our case, waiting any longer would have benefitted us and not her, really.

It's tough but try to take heart that what you had to do was a kindness and an ultimate act of love. flowers

Ps. I have since discovered The litter Tray in the last fortnight and do find the threads a weird sort of comfort.

fallingoffthetoast Mon 03-Aug-15 15:19:41

How awful for you but much kinder for your poor old boy. At least he wasn't showing more obvious signs of pain. The bond you had with him means that it's only natural to be overcome with this grief and sadness. Try not to feel guilty you acted in his best interests and the way your feeling is due to this shock/traumatic loss x

howtorebuild Mon 03-Aug-15 15:21:49

It's such a hard time. flowers We still miss our girl. We smile when we remember her.

IsItMeOr Mon 03-Aug-15 15:24:59

Aw, it's a tough one. But what a happy way for your dcat to finish - purring and relaxed.

We had our Dcat put to sleep last summer. I suspect that, if anything, we may have left it a little later than ideal. But it is hard to know as we none of us have crystal balls.

We all had a good cry about it (DH, me and DS). We bought a lovely sculpture to help remember our lovely old lady.

bonzo77 Mon 03-Aug-15 15:26:47

You are a good, kind, responsible cat owner. There's a saying in situations like these: "better a week too early than a moment too late". It's heart wrenching but also the ultimate act of kindness. I've had several pets PTS, I really wish with the last one (a cat) that the vet had suggested it much sooner, as well as offering treatment.

MoreCrackThanHarlem Mon 03-Aug-15 15:27:42

I'm so sorry.
When my Mum's cat had cancer, she kept her at home for as long as possible...she was saying the same things as you; she's still purring, lying in the garden, not in terrible pain. However when it became apparent that the cat was in pain, not eating, hiding from humans etc, it was too late for the peaceful end your cat had. She had a heart attack and died convulsing in the car on the way to the vets.

Her second cat was put to sleep a few weeks ago whilst he was still eating, purring, using the garden as my Mum had realised that 2 weeks too early is far better than even 2 days too late.

Either way, you are left with the guilt and regret. However, your cat managed a peaceful and dignified end and I am sure that is better than being allowed to become dreadfully ill and in pain.

Again, I'm so sorry. It will take time for you to come to terms with this, that's perfectly normal.

hudyerwheesht Mon 03-Aug-15 16:03:41

Thank you so much for your lovely, thoughtful replies. They really do mean so much and have helped.

I was so full of doubt and guilt that I had done the wrong thing and ended his life a bit too soon but reading the replies above (oh, Morecrackthanharlem - how awful for your mum) have actually started to make me realise that though it feels like the wrong thing it was actually right for him.
I also had a horrible feeling that I was being ridiculously over-dramatic about the whole thing (why do we judge ourselves about our feelings?) so thank you for the reassurance on that front also.

"you are a good, kind, responsible cat owner" - that made me cry. I've felt so much guilt since Saturday that the simple reassurance that I'm not what I feel like was overwhelming. Thank you all, again.

RoosterCogburn Mon 03-Aug-15 16:26:56

Bless you.

Making that decision is the hardest thing ever. We've had to do it many times and it never gets easier.
Remember your lovely cat was surrounded by love and care in his final moments, you did the kind responsible thing even though it wasn't easy.

chockbic Mon 03-Aug-15 16:28:38

I don't think the guilt ever goes away really. Except for knowing it's the right thing to do flowers

defineme Mon 03-Aug-15 16:35:57

You are not being's awful. All 5 of us, including dh, sobbed over our old cat before i took him- i had to go on my own or i would have been hysterical and I actually wailed in the street outside! He purred as the vet injected himsad. It took me about 4 months to stop 'seeing' him out of the corner of my eye...i had been used to seeing him for 17 years.
So sorry for your loss. You did the right thing, i think i should have taken my cat sooner.

Kreeshsheesh Mon 03-Aug-15 16:47:12

You gave your cat a lovely life and were very brave and absolutely did the right thing. I lost my old cat a fortnight ago and sadly she died in the car on the way to vet. It was horrible and violent and how I wish she hadn't had that end to her life. You won't forget your cat, but you'll remember with a smile in time. flowers

hudyerwheesht Mon 03-Aug-15 16:50:28

Defineme - sad - how awful for you. And I know what you mean - I keep 'seeing' or 'hearing' him and catching myself doing things like moving things out the way so he won't get hairs on it or checking his (now missing) dish to see if he's eaten anything. Takes the brain a while to catch up.

Thank you again for your kind messges.

hudyerwheesht Mon 03-Aug-15 16:51:59

Awww, Kreesh, how awful. flowers

bertsdinner Mon 03-Aug-15 19:18:19

Sorry for your loss, and to all the others on the thread who have lost their cats.
My cat was put to sleep today, he had FIP and deteriorated over the weekend. It was peaceful and I was there, but yes, it is traumatising. You are not being over dramatic, I think a lot of people are the same.
I blubbed the whole way through, God knows what the Vet thought, and in the vet's waiting room after (waiting to pay).
I feel very guilty, he seemed a bit better today, and I had him put down. I keep thinking he was enjoying the sun and I cheated him out of another few days. But, he stopped eating, couldn't walk properly and seemed miserable, and I know, logically, he was heading for an unpleasant death if he wasn't pts.

It feels awful doing it, but it's the one last thing you can do for them.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Mon 03-Aug-15 19:19:14

Kreesh, so sorry flowers.

I 'see' and 'hear' my cat often too. And I have to stop myself from going to leave a night time treat every night.

miaowmix Mon 03-Aug-15 19:21:35

I had to have my old cat pts a year ago and I still feel really sad about it, but he was old and infirm and in pain so it was the right thing to do. But I still feel terribly guilty and can't bear to think about it.
I had to get two kittens a few months later to fill the void. smile.

Sorry for you loss.

miaowmix Mon 03-Aug-15 19:21:57

Aw and sorry to all of you

ShipwreckedAndComatose Mon 03-Aug-15 19:23:24

Exactly right, Bert. Sorry for your loss today xx

Once we had made the decision, it was enormously sad but I also felt a stress pressure released. I realised We had spent a long time (actually about a week) thinking about what was the right thing to do and it had been really tough.

bertsdinner Mon 03-Aug-15 19:31:52

Thanks, Shipwrecked.

RevsDeCub Mon 03-Aug-15 19:32:15

We rushed my cat to the vets when she was fitting & incontinent (there was wee all over me as I was holding her) so it was all very rushed & an emergency when the vet put her to sleep. Very sad & I wish we would have done it sooner as she was 21 years old, had a good life & was pretty miserable towards the end (I.e. Not keeping clean/not doing anything apart from eating & sleeping).
A couple of years later we then learnt that the dog had a cancerous tumour & was struggling to poo due to where it was (sorry this post is all about poo & wee!) even though she was happy, eating & could walk & wagged her tail. We decided to get her put to sleep rather than have her get to a point where she would be poisoned or become really unwell. It was terrible because in the morning we took her for a long walk, gave her lots of kisses & junk food which she loved!! But it was the right thing to do because she wasn't suffering.
It's the hardest decision to make & I dread my other animals getting to that stage (I have another cat & 2 dogs) but much rather that then wait too long & have a more dramatic, scary death.
flowers To all. I'm crying now xx

CocaKoala Mon 03-Aug-15 19:34:09

It is definitely a hard decision to make and see through. But I think you did the right thing. If you had have waited until he deteriated further thoughts of 'I should have taken him sooner so he didn't suffer' would have crossed your mind. Losing a pet is a terrible thing - especially one so loved and it's definitely a no win situation whichever way you had gone about it.

All these feelings your feeling/thinking are all part of the grieving process. So sorry for your loss. I hope you can find comfort in the fact that you gave him a lovely home filled with plenty of love.

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