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I miss my girld

my love died in panic from something related to her IBD

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I am nervous about posting on this forum, since it's so public, but all I can think about is my baby girl. 

I don't even feel comfortable writing her name here at this point, but I do feel like I need to talk about what happened. I already see a therapist regularly, and that helps, but this is the most awful thing I have been through. I am afraid that most people would not understand because I am grieving a cat and not a person. There's no way I can look at the facts and not determine that her death is my fault. This is so hard to make sense of, since I spent so many years being extremely devoted to her and thinking of her health and safety always. She had a painful and scary death. I feel so sorry for her. This shouldn't have happened and we should still be together. I can't believe that I messed up so badly. We had a beautiful love and a beautiful life and I feel like I betrayed everything that we had. 

She was my everything. Such a special and wonderful kitty. I found her as a stray kitten and nursed her back to health. She was rascally, adventurous, and funny, but also the sweetest creature I have known. She played fetch and she came running to me when I called her. She would snuggle up under the blankets with me in winter. One time I was going through something difficult and she laid beside me and stroked my forehead with her paw- she was petting me! In 9 1/2 years, we moved 6 times- sometimes moves that were basically emergency situations (including an apartment we left because it became very moldy and was making her very sick). I brought her across the country with me twice to visit my family. When she was little, I used to bring her to the park on a leash. I have never been more connected to anyone or been through so much with anyone. She was with me through relationships and two major break-ups. She was with me throughout the long journey to begin my career after years of struggling with jobs that were dead ends and couldn't pay my bills. Through good times and bad, my favorite thing in the world was getting to snuggle with her. She was small, beautiful, and kitten-like (most likely owing to her disease), but had a glossy coat and an amazing personality until the end. The longest I was ever away from her was two weeks (if it was even that) when she was a kitten. It hurt my heart every time I left her, even if I was only away for a night. We had a perfect relationship and made each other so happy. She had the most amazing tiny shoulders, the sweetest meow, and she always smelled good. 

Since learning she had IBD, I'd been working with the vet on different ways to address it. We started with diet, which was a long process. Eventually a limited ingredient diet kept her weight up, but also gave her blood in her stool every single day. We tried other things, like Budesinide. It didn't help, so we upped the dosage. No change. It seemed to me like maybe it was making her a bit aggressive, but I don't know if that actually happens with that particular steroid. The vet's next recommendation was prednisone. Right or wrong (probably both) I was terrified of putting my baby on prednisone. I felt like that would be giving up. So I switched gears and was working on addressing the issue with a more holistic approach. We tried several raw diets, mixed with plant enzymes and an immune tincture. The blood never went away. And after several months I must have lost touch with the urgency of her disease. Because I was navigating a different approach, I didn’t have a qualified professional keeping tabs as closely as I now realize would have happened if I had put her on prednisone (which the vet would have wanted to monitor more closely). I also brought her in to the vet for other things (she tended to get saddled with other sicknesses from time to time). I know I brought her in this year for an inner ear infection. And something else (maybe the kidney stones were this year too, I'm not sure). But I waited to long to change the way we were addressing her IBD. Some people referred to her as a "sickly" cat, which never seemed right to me. Yes, she got sick more often than I think most cats do, but she was always so full of life, always silky and shiny, and she never acted, felt, or looked "sickly". 

In all these years I have mostly been very busy and stressed out (perhaps it's living in an expensive city and trying to begin a new career with a lot of debt), but I had never let that interfere with caring for my baby before. But this time I messed up. I knew I needed to change something about the way I was addressing her IBD. I do not regret my initial attempts to treat it holistically, just that at some point I stopped trying new things. And so we went for months without changing anything. The blood in her stool was worrisome, but at that point she'd had it for years. The vet was aware, but as far as I knew it looked scary and was definitely a concern but she was actually okay. Then in December or so I started wondering if maybe there was more blood in her stool than before. Things got really busy at work and I was afraid of losing my good job after spending the two previous years in an abusive working environment. Then I went on my yearly visit to my family for Christmas (one of the only times I ever leave town). When I got back she pooped in a few places around the house, which was unlike her but I thought maybe it was an emotional response to me being out of town (the cat sitter said it didn't happen while I was gone). For some reason I didn't bring her to the doctor right away even though I had probably been thinking about it for months. 

On MLK weekend I went to pick her up. She slowly weaseled out of my arms and then went limp. Then blood and poop oozed out of her body in a terrifying way and looked like nothing I'd ever seen come out of her body before. She weakly scrambled away and pooped some more thick, bloody stool on a purse I had on the floor. When I went to the kitchen to get things to clean up, I noticed she'd also peed on some plastic bags. I brought her to the vet immediately. She needed an emergency blood transfusion, so I had to leave her overnight. I had a visit with her before I went home and it was so terrifying how limp her body was. It was odd to be with her and talk to her in a way that felt like us when we were surrounded by strangers and I'd just been crying my eyes out in the vet's waiting room for a really long time. The vet explained that given the amount of blood loss there was likely an additional illness involved, perhaps lymphoma. She said we should start her on the prednisone and I said "absolutely". 

The next day I picked her up. I was so excited to bring her home. When they brought her to me she already had fresh blood in her carrier. I went back into the exam room with the vet to show her. The look I exchanged with the vet was worrisome, because we both knew this was not a good sign. And her blood count was still not as high as it should have been. And from there on out the fur on her back legs was caked with dried blood that she would mostly not allow me to clean off of her with baby wipes. 

The rest is so hard to talk about. I may write more later. She was weak, but she was still so sweet. She still jumped onto little perches in our home. She asked for and received affection. I tried to lift her up to look at the mirror with me, which she always loved, but she didn't want to look. Then her weakness concerned me more. I called the vet and tried to explain, but they said what I described seemed normal after a transfusion. I felt relieved, though I must have been too freaked out to realize I'd only talked to the receptionist and should have talked to the vet. Around 11PM she went limp again, peed, and this weird thing was happening with her breathing. I called the emergency animal hospital (since her regular place was closed) and tried to explain what was happening. This time I spoke with a veterinarian. He seemed to think this was normal after a transfusion, but that if I wanted to I was welcome to bring her in any time. He said they'd take her blood, but that they wouldn't have access to her other records from her vet until the morning. "Or you can sit with her", he said, or something like it. She seemed so traumatized by this last vet visit. They said she hissed and lashed out a lot (very rare for her) with them as soon as she had enough strength. I knew she was happy to be at home and with me. I didn't know what to do. I don't think I knew she was dying, but I also knew that if she was I didn't want her to die in a cold, unknown place where I couldn't be with her. I didn't know what to do. I just wanted to be with her, so much so that it didn't even occur to me to call someone else and get advice from a friend or family member. 

So I sat with her and pet her, telling her I was right there with her and I wasn't going anywhere. Then she suddenly jumped up and ran to another part of the room. It reassured me that she had the energy to do this. She curled up by the heater because she was very cold. This concerned me, because the vet kept telling me how cold she'd been the day/night of the transfusion. I put her in a cat bed that had previously not had much use, covered her, and put a hot water bottle next to her. Some more blood came out of her body. Based on my last conversation with her vet after seeing the blood in her carrier and what I should watch out for, I wasn't sure whether or not this was something I should rush her in for. I pulled up some blankets and my sleeping bag and laid beside her all night, with one hand on her so that we could be together and she could know I was there, but also to make sure she was breathing. If I was ever unsure, I'd call her name and she'd wag her tail with so much energy and her personality, even though she didn't want to move from her spot. 

Around 7AM things became terrifying. She jumped up, vomited what little food she had eaten, and tried to run. Her body was so weak that her body just kind of flopped around like something in a horror movie. Then she collapsed again, just like the night before. But it went on for longer. I called the vet, which was open now, and said I was bringing her in. She yeowled and I struggled to pick up her limp body safely and she was thrashing a bit. I got off the phone. Holding her in my arms I struggled to put some clothes on. And then she stopped. One of my first thoughts was cpr and I put my mouth over her nose and mouth and breathed one pathetic breath before I realized that even if I knew what I was doing it probably wouldn't help. Even though I was pretty sure she was gone, I went into the street with my baby quasi-wrapped in a towel. The cab took forever. I sat in the backseat with my greatest love, dead in my arms, not knowing what to do. They confirmed it in an exam room. I sat alone with her for awhile, petting her and talking to her. She still felt like my baby. She was still so soft and so wonderful. 

A week or two later I talked to the vet on the phone. She thinks she probably had lymphoma and had an intestinal tumor that was sucking up all of her blood, and that the tumor probably bursted. For a day or two, it was comforting to think that my failure to bring her in and put her on prednisone months ago may not have caused this. But since then I learned that the prednisone may have stopped her from developing lymphoma or at least help treat it if she already had it. And even though prednisone often causes additional health problems, I don't think she would have had such a painful, panic-filled, and sudden death. I respect many different levels of care that people are willing and able to provide for their animal friends and companions. But for me, I failed to live up to my own standards and to the level of care that I had established for my baby throughout our years. I am absolutely devastated and I will have to live with this failure of mine for the rest of my life. I am also just so angry at myself that I lost the most important part of my life because of procrastination. And I miss her so very terribly. I still say hello to her (through sobs) every time I walk into our home, I talk to her, I hold her ashes close to me when I'm at home. I write to her. I spend all day functioning (at a lower level than normal) on the surface while all I can think about is how I want my baby back and about how I can possibly reconcile the fact that I failed the one I love most. 

I talk to the few people I know will listen and I'm like a broken record. They still will sometimes tell me to stop blaming myself, but I think after I explain it they kind of get it. I was working so hard, yet I failed to help the most important friend in my life at a time when she really needed it. I was consumed by my job (ironically, trying to create more stability and a better life for me and my baby) and I was afraid of the choices I would have to make regarding the next treatment options. I always knew if was going to be absolutely horrible when she died someday, but it's all the more heartbreaking that it happened like this. The purity of what we had was a constant source of joy and inspiration to me, and now I no longer have my baby to come home to nor can I claim that I did everything I could do. She gave me so much. She deserved more. It feels very wrong that this happened.

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KayC   
10 hours ago, I miss my girld said:

I am afraid that most people would not understand because I am grieving a cat and not a person.

You will find nothing but understanding and sympathy here.  We are pet lovers and in my estimation, there are few human relationships that can equal that.

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KayC   
10 hours ago, I miss my girld said:

I was working so hard, yet I failed to help the most important friend in my life at a time when she really needed it.

I'm sorry you're feeling this way.  The way I'm seeing it, you did everything you humanly could for her, this was something beyond "fixing", it was her time to go.  I am so sorry, I know how hard loss is.  
I hope you will read this article, I think it will be of help to you"
http://media.wix.com/ugd/0dd4a5_e934e7f92d104d31bcb334d6c6d63974.pdf

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KMB   

I am so sorry for the loss of your precious cat. She loved you unconditionally and was a brave, courageous soul to tolerate all her illnesses. Nothing is your fault. Do not blame yourself. You took her to many vets and tried many things to help her. You did the best that anyone could have. You went above and beyond for your best friend. The two of you were devoted to each other. She understood you were doing your best in taking care of her.She is in a beautiful place now where she is totally healthy, at peace and filled with much love for you. She had a beautiful, loving life with you for the time she was here. It is no fault of anyone that her soul was born into a body that had medical conditions.

I know from personal experience how hard it is to lose a beloved pet. You will grieve for your best friend. I am sorry you are going through this. My heart goes out to you.

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Thank you, KayC and KMB, for your words and for the article. I've been reading so much online about other people's experiences with guilt and grieving the loss of a pet. I definitely think I will always have regrets about things I wish I would have done, although I also understand all the things that got in the way and made it difficult for me to act with more clarity and persistence throughout this past year when it came to managing her IBD. In the past few days or so, the guilt seems less dominant than just missing her and still feeling shocked that she could possibly have died. I talk to her and write to her every day. I am grateful that forums like this exist, full of people who are understanding and who share their thoughts and feelings surrounding the mystery of death. It's beautiful that people here have so many different beliefs about what happens after death, but still find ways to come together and support each other. 

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Nics   

I'm very sorry for the loss of your beloved baby...you know keep on blaming ourselves won't help us to recover..while reading your post, I found it so related to what happened on my baby...but then I realized that It happened for a purpose..Like what you always does, I always talk to my baby everytime I got home, always call her name and trying to feel her presence....I cry as much as often just to lessen the pain and it really helped me. Don't blame yourself and always look on a positive side.Pray for your baby and for yourself that one day you'll wake up with empty grief in you heart.......hugs for you!!!

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