December 22, 2020 at 6:48 am #371474
Just struggling a little with this right now, looking for some comforting words and empathy as I know many of us have been where I am right now. Also wanted to share a little about my sweet Kitty who I lost a year ago tomorrow.
A few years ago I took in an old and grizzled kitty. He showed up at my apartment and had the tell tale clipped left ear to let me know he had been neutered and probably didn’t have a home, just a wandering community cat. I started feeding him and had a little insulated cat house where he would shelter from the rain and cold. I have a pretty high strung herding dog who has only ever shown (what I thought was) aggressive curiosity for cats – I have never let him get close enough to one to find out. I also have always had cat allergies and just generally never really was a “cat person” so as much as I found this old kitty to be sweet and endearing, I never saw it as a possibility to move him inside. One day I was taking my dog out for a walk and Kitty would not move away from my front door. I figured either Kitty or my dog would learn a lesson but either way, they would sort themselves out so outside I went with my dog and Kitty did not bolt away and Nugget did not eat him but instead Nugget started licking his ears, basically grooming him. 😂 I thought “this settles it, Kitty is moving in with us when we move out of the apartment and into our house in a couple months.” So sure enough, when I moved into my house that fall, Kitty moved in and was the PERFECT housemate.
Before I adopted him, I took him to the vet for a full check up and bloodwork. Was not surprising, but his blood tests came back positive for FIV and feline leukemia. The vet advised me that he would probably not live more than 1 or 2 years and that if I wasn’t going to keep him inside forever I should probably euthanize him. I would keep him inside forever, unless carried outside in my arms to sniff the breeze. <3 Because of his prognosis, I attempted to keep some emotional distance with him. I just wanted him to have a nice, comfortable and loving place to live out his life but I didn’t want to get too attached. Ha! This cat was the sweetest, funniest, gentlest and most grateful little guy it was impossible not to fall in love with him.
After having him for about 3 years, his symptoms were progressing but it was so gradual to me I didn’t seem to notice it much. I thought it might help to have his teeth cleaned because I knew he had infection in there and the vet agreed and proceeded with it after bloodwork came back that he was healthy enough for the procedure. Kitty never recovered from it. He wouldn’t eat or drink for several days and a year ago tomorrow I made the devastating decision to end his suffering. But I also made the decision to end whatever chance he had at recovery and more time at life. And I’m feeling pretty bad and responsible for this. Everyone who knows the situation tells me that I did what I had to and that he wasn’t living a good life in the end but I can’t help but feeling like who am I/we to judge that? I guess my biggest regret is having the stupid teeth cleaning done in the first place. I think it was my last ditch effort to do something to hopefully make him feel better in the long run and it back fired. But I knew going in to that it could go either way, I just feel like a total jerk that I put him through that in the end. I’m also feeling bad because at the end, after he had gotten the sedative but before the final shot, they asked me if I wanted to hold him and I didn’t. He never did really like being held, but I know I was just putting up my own stupid walls and if I could go back and hold him one final time to send him lovingly on his way to whatever is next I would do it in a heartbeat.
Thanks for reading, folks. I think it has helped just writing this.December 22, 2020 at 12:27 pm #371493
Welcome back, good to read from you again. I am sorry that you lost Kitty.
Nugget, a herder/ terrier mix, is close to 12 years old at this point. You shared about him in October 2015, having been “a fear based biter”, and getting into a chicken coop trouble. It is heart-warming to read how the former biter licked Kitty’s ears the day you decided to move Kitty into your home.
Guilt feelings over pets dying is very common, There is a book called When your pet dies: A guide to Mourning, Remembering and Healing, by Alan D. Wolfelt- a guide to pet owners who are struggling with grief when their pet dies, addressing the guilt feelings unique to losing a pet.
There is also a website, healing pet loss. com (no spaces)- it talks about guilt, self-blame and regret feelings so common to pet owners when losing a pet- I recommend you check this website out.
I am glad that posting this made you feel better and I hope you post again, anytime you feel like. I will be glad to read from you and reply.
December 22, 2020 at 1:17 pm #371497
- This reply was modified 1 month ago by anita.
Thank you for your message and recommendations. I visited the website briefly and really liked reading this: “The bond between you and your pet is unbroken, for love goes beyond the physical. Recognize this…” I think I am just struck by the intense emotions I am feeling about his death now, a whole year later. Maybe it’s that milestone that is bringing some of the feelings up for me.
And you are spot on about Nugget nearing 12 years old! Their relationship really was adorable and wonderful to watch and honestly probably helped me love Nugget more, just seeing how he was with Kitty.
Thanks and take care,
KatieDecember 22, 2020 at 1:25 pm #371499
You are welcome. It is amazing, isn’t it- the bond we form with others, humans or pets, it can be so strong, so strong we never want to let it go. The pain of losing a strong bond with another can be excruciating. Like I suggested, anytime you want to share more about anything at all, please do. I hope that you feel better soon.
anitaDecember 22, 2020 at 1:35 pm #371500
Thank you Anita! I appreciate your presence here. It really is amazing how strong of bonds we can form. I need to be grateful for the time I had with him and not keep replaying the bad end times in my head. I know he’s at peace now and that he was cared for and loved in his last years and I was so lucky he found me when he did! ❤December 22, 2020 at 2:04 pm #371502
You are welcome and thank you. Yes, we need to be grateful for the time we have with those we bond with, those we can trust to respond to us positively every time we see them- that’s what makes pets so special: we can trust them to be the same when we leave them and when we come back to them, wag their tail or cuddle with us every time.
anitaDecember 23, 2020 at 5:03 am #371534
Oh you are absolutely right, Anita! I hadn’t thought of it like that before…that they are so consistently loving and there for us. Really special.December 23, 2020 at 8:20 am #371541
This is why many people prefer the company of pets over the company of people: pets are “consistently loving”- people.. some are, but so many are not consistent, some are disturbingly inconsistent.
anitaDecember 23, 2020 at 8:31 am #371542
Totally right, Anita. I have some experience with that (inconsistent people) as I’m sure we all do. Difficult to deal with, for sure. And takes a long time to realize that it’s not you that’s responsible for their inconsistency. I am still working on this. That is a pretty insightful distinction about pets vs. people, I like it.December 23, 2020 at 9:05 am #371544
I too have experience with inconsistent people, particularly my own mother. After (however many times) that she directed her anger at me so badly.. no matter how nice she was in between those explosions, no matter the expensive gifts she bought me, delicious food she cooked for me.. nothing made me feel okay anymore, I was too scared of the next time she gets angry.
Hunter the beagle, our neighbors’ dog who has been visiting us daily for years, he always wags his tail when he is here, even though he is an anxious dog. Sometimes he is more anxious than other times, more impatient.. sometimes he barks a lot.. but he always wags his tail, never expresses any aggression against me.
anitaDecember 23, 2020 at 9:23 am #371551
Aww sweet Hunter, kind of sounds like Nugget – not a perfect dog, a little anxious and barks a lot but always loves me. <3 I’m glad you get those daily visits! Sounds precious.
I’m sorry to hear about your mother. That is a tough relationship to be inconsistent. But understandable that the kindness between explosions would no longer cut it. Can you sit calmly by a nice and innocent looking package of any sort knowing there is a bomb inside that could go off at any second? Interesting… I can relate some to what you wrote about your mom. You may know from some of my previous posts that she hasn’t been the most consistent person either. I would never say it’s abusive but I have had to create some distance between us at times so as not to allow myself to get sucked into her bad mood/emotional-ness. As I’ve gotten older it’s been better. As a teenager we would get into huge fights because I just wanted her to see and admit how her emotional instability and choices made things hard for me but she never could and would only get more and more mad. So I just allow her to be how she is. And *try* to not let myself get emotionally wrapped up in that. Not easy a lot of times.
Anyway! I’m sorry for what will seem like my own inconsistency – I’m about to be off work till after the New Year and will be pretty much unplugged during that time. Don’t feel like I can adequately respond here from my phone and I don’t have a laptop at home. I wish you and those you love very Happy Holidays, Anita!!December 23, 2020 at 9:41 am #371554
Yes, Hunter is not a perfect dog, neither am I a perfect person, none of us is perfect, of course. When as a teenager, you wanted your mother “to see and admit how her emotional instability and choices made things hard” for you- you wanted her to see the Reality of your childhood with her, so to connect with her and have a close relationship with her. By denying the reality of your childhood experience with her- she made a close relationship impossible.
I wish you a pleasant Christmas and a Happy New Year and thank you for your wishes for me!