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I feel completely unable to cope with this anguish (distressing cat related content)

(156 Posts)
thecatneuterer Wed 04-Nov-15 07:50:53

Please help me litter tray regulars. I'm desperate. I'm not suicidal but I just don't want to be alive at the moment if that makes sense. I don't know what I'm asking for. Just some sort of connection from people who might understand I suppose.

(If you've stumbled onto this thread not via the litter tray board then please don't comment - I can do without the 'it's only a cat, some people have real problems type remarks please).

48 hours ago I accidentally killed one of my cats in just about the most horrific manner possible. I can't even write the details right now. Of course it wasn't intentional but I was certainly negligent. I don't really think I can imagine a more gruesome and horrific death. And I did it. And it's something I regularly warn people about. And yet I did it.

And I just can't cope. I really, really can't cope. The neighbours called an ambulance for me as I was so distressed, but the doctors wouldn't even give me a sedative. Just asked if I had mental health problems and then basically told me to pull myself together. I managed to get Valium from my GP, but I can't feel the difference. I can't eat and I certainly can't sleep. I think I screamed for 36 hour solid. That seems to have given way to a sort of numb despair interspersed with some lying on the ground sobbing and banging my fists.

I know they say that time is a healer, but I can't see that it's ever going to be ok. I can't see that I'm ever going to sleep calmly, or indeed at all, again.

Nothing in my life has ever come close to this level of trauma. I really want to just go to sleep and not wake up.

I don't know what I'm asking for. Just to get it out I suppose. If you do want to tell me how you came out the other side then please don't tell me exactly what awful thing happened to your pet. I can't cope with knowing about yet more tragedies.

This is on top of a lot of very upsetting rescue calls last week. One in particular where I arrived too late (not my fault, we didn't get the call until it was too late to help) and I had to break into a flat to find the cat already dead. These had been haunting me anyway but now this eclipses everything. And of course I'm carrying the guilt for this.

My friends and of course Celia and others at the clinic have been wonderful, but ultimately nothing can take this away from me. I feel so desperate.

I'm sorry this is all so self-indulgent.

DamnCommandments Wed 04-Nov-15 07:57:31

It sounds like your GP is sympathetic (I mean, because you got a prescription) - I think you need to go back and tell them what you've told us. Print out what you've written maybe? Ask for more help. Could you afford to see a councillor privately? Your symptoms sound horrific. flowers Can you take any time off?

thecatneuterer Wed 04-Nov-15 08:04:21

Thank you for replying. I think I should go back to my GP. I've never really 'believed' in counselling. I can't see how talking about it could take away the pain. I won't rule it out completely though.

I only do voluntary work anyway and probably, in a few days, it might help me to get back to it. As I can hopefully get some comfort from saving other animals.

Thank you for the flowers.

Merrybertie Wed 04-Nov-15 08:05:56

Ah no, I hoped this wasn't you. You won't know me thecatneuterer but I mainly lurk on the litter tray and you all helped me so much recently when I had to have my old girl pts.

It does sound like a trip back to the GP is a good idea as the symptoms you're describing can be managed to make it less distressing. Which isn't to say your emotional response to what happened is invalid just maybe too severe to manage alone.

And remember all the amazing help you give and all the cats whose lives you make better. And that no one can be perfect and accidents happen otherwise there wouldn't be a word for them. Any cat in your care will be in one of the best places possible. Be kind to yourself and take time to grieve as gently as you can.

Merrybertie Wed 04-Nov-15 08:07:38

Just seen your update, honestly counselling can be brilliant at helping to get through trauma - it's helped me with various close bereavements more than anything else

hebihebi Wed 04-Nov-15 08:09:34

I'm so sorry to hear this. You've always been such an amazing source of support here and to cats in real life too. Please think of the many, many cats you have helped and saved over the years. I'm sure what happened was just a really unfortunate accident. I know you'd never intentionally hurt an animal. Please take care of yourself flowers

thecatneuterer Wed 04-Nov-15 08:11:01

Thank you everyone.

StillYummy Wed 04-Nov-15 08:12:59

I can't pretend to know how you feel as my pets have always been lucky and left me with that horrid feeling of thinking about what could have been. But beleave me there have been close calls.

You have seen something horrific and that will take a while to get over, in the same was as if you saw a human accident.

The thing that I think may help you is remembering there are 100 of cats that are desperate for homes, when you took on your cat you saved them. The vast majority of the time you had them they were looked after and wanted for nothing. In the future you will save more cats. Your kitty cat karma is probably already doing well and will continue to do so.

Time is a great healer.

SconeForAStroll Wed 04-Nov-15 08:14:06

TCN, I only lurk on the Litter Tray, but I know, yes, know what a difference you have made on a daily basis to hundreds of cats.

And yes, you made a mistake. You are fallible. Well, fallibility is part of the human condition. It wasn't on purpose, you aren't evil or unkind or malicious. It was an accident.

I am sure a lot of what you are feeling right now is shock. Has anyone given you an enormous hug and some sweet tea? I wish I could, but I know I live much too far away. Besides being a random off the internet.

You are a wonderful human being. flowers you make a difference, and this changes none of that.

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 04-Nov-15 08:15:40

Oh god, you've helped saved so many cats and you will in the future as well. It was an accident, you have to focus on that.

The cat in the flat was the fault of the previous owners, not you. We all know you would never hurt a cat on purpose.

IrenetheQuaint Wed 04-Nov-15 08:16:29

Oh God poor you. Do you know any vets you could talk to? I imagine this is a situation many of them have faced at some point and it might be helpful to hear how they got through it.

Toughasoldboots Wed 04-Nov-15 08:17:00

thecatneuterer you give your life to help these animals, you have saved hundreds, if not thousands and I have seen you on here all the time giving your advice freely and kindly to help other people.
It was an accident, your being on this earth has done so much good compared to the majority of people.
Please don't be hard on yourself , take whatever help is going.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Wed 04-Nov-15 08:21:48

I'm so sorry, you don't "know" me but you and many others have been a great deal of help to me in my first coupe of years of cat ownership. Lurking here I have learnt that you do an amazing job for them in real life too. I can't really add much to what others have already suggested but wanted to send you some flowers

thecatneuterer Wed 04-Nov-15 08:22:55

Thank you all. You're making me cry again. But not the fist banging sort of crying.

Irene - I would count Celia Hammond (of the Celia Hammond Animal Trust) as my best friend. And she has experienced everything to do with cats and is the wisest woman I know. The first night she stayed awake the whole night just holding me. I can't thank her enough for that. Without her I really don't know what would have happened to me.

But I have to somehow carry on now and that's what I'm struggling with.

Squarepegina Wed 04-Nov-15 08:27:54

I couldn't read and not post this morning. I'm so sorry you're in such agony. When our cat died, you and all the supportive car litter posters really helped me in dealing with it.

I can hear and can guess the absolute agony of inadvertently causing harm to something that you so dearly love. its the absolute antithesis to what your life is all about; caring for , saving and loving cats. But you are a human being, and that means as well as the amazing capacity to love and care for things you can make mistakes. Just like all of us can and do.

Be very gentle with yourself and seek help from wherever you can. A mistake is a mistake, it doesn't define you nor render useless all the amazing work you've spent your life doing.

Sending you a hug.

cozietoesie Wed 04-Nov-15 08:30:58

You poor thing, TCN.

My wonderful father killed a kitten once when he was a young man and in very challenging circumstances. (At least he desperately badly injured it and then had to finish things quickly for the animal to stop further suffering.)

He had problems with relating to cats for a good while - until we got Firstcat, my first Siamese - but he did come to live with it. I think it remained a sadness for him - and I don't think there's any way round that - but he managed to gain perspective on it after a bit. Life and animals were still good for him afterwards.

We're all here to yell at at any time as I hope you realize. Feel free to PM me if you'd like.

SunshineAndShadows Wed 04-Nov-15 08:31:35

Hey Catneuterer

I'm a bit of litter tray lurker but have seen the great support and advice that you've given to others.

I too work in animal welfare - often in difficult circumstances - and can completely understand a situation where a death has inadvertently occurred as an oversight or through accident. It happens, though thankfully not often. This does not minimise the trauma, and I'm sure that you'll punish yourself for this more severely than anyone else would.

But please try not to. That deep sense of compassion and morality is what has driven you to help so many cats over the years. You will continue to do so. You can honour this mistake by always remembering, always learning and always striving to continue to help other cats (as I'm sure that you will). Remember that your skillset is important and you have so much to offer.

Hang in there

fenneltea Wed 04-Nov-15 08:32:47

On tcn, you have h3lped thousands of cats, one unintentional mistake is unfortunately one of those things, you are only human and it will make you super aware next time. When you compare it to those you have helped it is faroutweighed.
I recently had to have a pony euthanised and it didn't go as planned, but I knew that the vet and myself were acting in her best interests, sometimes these things just happen. The cat is no longer suffering, so be kind to yourself and know that the horror of it will fade in time.
Have an unmumsnetty hug from me xx

RJnomaaaaaargh Wed 04-Nov-15 08:37:44


I'm not a cat person by I just wanted to say, you need to find away to forgive yourself. Whatever happened it's quite clear you didn't intend it and you have saved so many cats, i read the litter tray sometimes for the funny cat stories and I know that.

I am sure it is a mistake you won't make again. I'm so sorry for your loss - it's never "only" a cat, dog, hamster - it's another sentient being you have a relationship with. But it was a mistake and you have given so many others a chance at a good life - both in real life and in advice on here.

If I could give you a massive hug I would.

HemanOrSheRa Wed 04-Nov-15 08:47:29

Oh TCN I'm so sorry this has happened. I can only echo what others have said. You have devoted your life to helping thousands of cats. Not only the ones you help directly but also by giving your advice freely and inspiring others.

I shall be thinking of you. Be gentle with yourself flowers

GRW Wed 04-Nov-15 08:48:32

I'm sorry to hear you're in so much pain, and agree with everyone else that you have done and will continue to do a tremendous amount of good to cats, both through your work and advising other cat lovers on here, me included.
It's human nature to blame ourselves when mistakes happen, but you and everyone else knows that you would never intentionally harm an animal.
It's a cliche but it's true that the shock and horror of going over what happened will fade as time passes, and you will feel better able to cope.
It might help to see your GP today and ask for some sleeping tablets for a few days. If you can sleep everything else will seem a bit more bearable. Keep talking to people who understand too x

msrisotto Wed 04-Nov-15 08:49:00

Oh god I'm so sorry to hear of your pain. Unfortunately you will feel this way for a while, it was obviously a really traumatizing thing. However, you won't always feel quite so awful. You will honor your cats death through your care of others in need. You are a good, extremely valuable person to thousands of cats through your voluntary work and your advice on this board. Please take care of yourself. Call on friends and family to hello and when you feel like you can't talk to them, call the Samaritans on 116 123.

thecatneuterer Wed 04-Nov-15 08:55:02

Thank you again everyone.

GRW - yes I will try to get some sleeping tablets. I know doctors hate to prescribe them though it might take a fight. And I'm not sure if you can take both sleeping tablets (temazepam) and Valium (diazepam) together. Still I can ask.

StillYummy Wed 04-Nov-15 09:01:02

Apologies if your not like me but if you are, you will have a bit of a "if someone else did this then I would judge the hell out of them" in your mind. Be kind to yourself, your not inflatable. I know this is easier said than done but try to let go of that feeling. I am an animal rescuer and I have made mistakes that made me question my ability before.

tinkywinkyshandbag Wed 04-Nov-15 09:07:02

Hi there, what a terrible and shocking experience for you especially as an animal lover. It sounds like you are experiencing a form of post traumatic shock, totally normal and understandable reaction to an event like this, it can be very frightening and horrible to experience this reaction. The after effects can last for a long time. Yes time is a healer, and medication can help in the short term with the intial shock response. If you find that it persists longer or you are not able to cope with everyday life please please consider getting some professional help from a psychotherapist or counsellor. There are some specific ways of helping people who have experienced trauma or shock. A really good one is called EMDR, there is also an amazing therapy called BWRT where people have had real relief from all sorts of terrible experiences including bereavement, abuse, traumatic memories of all kinds. If you want to know more please PM me, I am a professional in the field of mental health, and there really are people out there who can help - unfortunately not often available on the NHS so doctors don't always think to suggest it or understand enough about it. It's really good that you are reaching out for support but sometimes people in RL expect you to "pull yourself together" after a bad experience and that's not always easy or possible. Thinking of you. xxx

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