Last week I had to do the worst and saddest thing an animal owner usually has to do in the world: go to the vet and let the cat be put to sleep.
My kitty was 18 years old and I’ve had her since I was five, so I do not know how I can stop being sad. I have some questions though:
The last year my cat was bad at jumping so I put up stools and stuff everywhere so she could still get up where she wanted, but last month she became very bad at walking too.
Last year she started drinking more and also urinated more, but it did not smell strange. She had her bad days and her good days. She also began to hear poorly and got some kind of cataract in one eye.
In recent months, I thought she had her worse days more and more often and she also got worse at eating, but she did not lose weight. So one day last week she did not want to eat or drink and she just lay down and could barely change lying position herself.
I fed her gruel from a syringe (without a needle) and waited until the next day, but then she was even worse so I went to the vet and thought I should let her fall asleep.
I still wonder: Did I do the right thing? Or maybe it’s me doing it too late? She was happy and alert and cozy the last year even though she could not jump and run.
At the vet’s she was given a syringe that would contain some sleeping pills and then when the cat fell asleep another substance would start to work so that the cat’s organs stopped working.
Can I be sure that the cat was not tormented? And can I be sure that when I finally left her that she did not wake up?
It may be a silly question, but I loved her so much and it hurts so much to think of her as I sat there holding her while she died. I think she understood that she was going to die when I went in with her, but she was so calm.
She has always screamed and when I’ve driven a car, but now she barely cared.
She also did not care that she went to the vet.
Do you think that maybe she knew that the end was near or that she wanted to die because she was so bad?
I am very grateful for answers.
It’s so hard and I have no one to talk to who understands how awful it is when even your beloved cat passes away!
I understand how sorry you are but you made the right decision.
Knowing when it’s time is not easy, but if the cat is as old as in your case and also starts to stop eating and drinking then they show that now is the time.
We still have to let them go and let them go. Neither animals nor humans live forever.
I think your cat was grateful that you let it fall asleep hence the calm you write that it had when you went in.
When putting down a cat, all organs are put out of operation and the cat definitely does not suffer, it becomes like a deep anesthesia from which it simply does not wake up.
So you do not have to worry about that bit at all. The veterinarian also always listens to the heart and gives everything time for owners and animals to get the time together they need.
There is no risk of a cat waking up from this because you basically give an overdose and a very strong concentration that no animal in the world could handle.
Letting your animal go is always a painful experience, but according to my experience of talking to very sick animals, it is sometimes the case that they stay here for the owner’s sake and when the owner is ready to let go, it goes very quickly.
I have never heard an animal convey death anxiety, it probably only exists among us. With slaughter animals and others, it is more about stress and uncertainty, panic over what is going to happen, not the concept of death itself.
What you can think of like this in retrospect is that you have given your cat a very good life and many nice years you have had together.
Try to focus on that and also to be grateful for all the nice moments you have had together and that your cat certainly does not want you to mourn forever without mourning the death of an animal is natural, because the cat itself no longer suffers but is very well.
I can also tell you that once with a very terminally ill cat, I got to see the cat heaven for the first time and what it looks like.
I can promise you that if I were a cat I would probably long for it because the peace and quiet that was there was probably the most beautiful I have ever seen.
So allow yourself to mourn and cry as much as you want, it’s important.
But then let it go, all the memories are still up in your mind and your cat would probably feel very sad from the other side that you are not moving on.
It is natural that older animals die, sometimes animals die very early and when what happens in your case at the age of 18, I think you should probably be really grateful that you got so many years together.
Have a really good time and hope it feels a little better reading this.