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Jencatlover

Lost 16 year old cat yesterday and struggling to cope

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I just found this forum and it seems like there are lots of kind people here so I'd like to post about my precious boy Bertie that I lost yesterday.

Bertie was a gorgeous big long haired tabby cat and he was pretty exceptional in that between the age of 6 months (for his castration) and last Saturday he never visited the vets once! He's the only cat I've had that I can say that about. Luck of the draw of course but lovely for him. Over 16 years ago I lost my first cat Tango at 6.5 years with liver failure, sudden and she went downhill over a few days. It was such a shock that I felt strongly I needed to get another cat and 2 days later I had Bertie and Minstrel, both still with me until yesterday. When I got home with the 2 kittens I felt terrible, guilty for getting them so fast after losing Tango. But as you probably understand, there's nothing quite like a kitten to brighten your day and of course they were welcomed and settled in fine.

Now at that time I had 8 cats and it wasn't until 2007 that I lost my second, Poppy. I don't want to dwell on the bad stuff because each one brings so much joy each day. But the fact was that between 2007 and 2012 I lost a total of 6 cats, one each calendar year albeit at different times of year. I also took in one, Treacle who I have now. Then in 2013 I got my Charlie as a kitten and have him now too.

That's a very brief history of my cats but until recent years I had quite a few and didn't really think too much about them all getting old around the same time which of course they did. Losing one a year for 6 years was damn near unbearable but then there was a lovely respite between early 2012 and yesterday.

I feel like I struggled with Bertie more than any other but in truth it's probably the same pain each time, just different circumstances. See with Bertie he was greedy and was a terrible thief, nothing would stop him stealing if he could! So greedy. I often wondered if he struggled to get his Mum's milk in his early weeks but he was never small, quite the opposite.

I always feel that unless circumstances are out of our control, we have to make 'the decision' ourselves based on what we know. This was where I had the most difficulty with Bert. He has lost weight over the last year or so and had swindled me into giving him wet food in the last few months as I thought he had a problem with his teeth. After years of eating biscuits he started to fuss and after a while I put him on wet food, much to his delight. I say he swindled me because he still happily stole biscuits from the others' bowls!  But he ate well and that was the case until the end.

On Saturday I took him down to the vet as he had on -off diarrhoea and for a check over. The (extortionate) blood test revealed kidney and thyroid to be normal so the weight loss was a mystery although his heart was racing, faster than expected in the vets and blood pressure high. Teeth also fine. So maybe nothing more than old age (16 and 8 months) but of course further tests could reveal more. The chances of anything found in those tests being treatable were unlikely and he wouldn't have been happy visiting the vets or taking tablets anyway.

So after a painful few days agonising I made that decision for him yesterday and he was pts at about midday. But because he was eating perfectly well (usually at the end that's not the case) I can't tell you how many times I went to book him in then thought, no, let's wait and see. But what for? A sign he wasn't feeling well? Because his eating and his personality were the same as always. I've never taken a cat for its last trip to the vets that was eating normally.

But I had to look at the bigger picture. There were other things going on. To wait for 'a sign' was essentially waiting for him to feel unwell. So going with my belief that I will never let them suffer (given the chance of course) I decided to take him yesterday. 

I'm alternating between feeling ok for a little while and feeling hysterically and unutterably devastated. Reading this back it looks as though I'm just telling a story. But for me, losing my beautiful cats is so hard it's physically painful. They are my world and being the one to choose when I say goodbye is such a vile responsibility. I can honestly say I think Bertie may have been fine a while longer. But he may not have been. I know in my heart that the fact he was eating well from day one to the last day is incredible. I know I didn't wait for something that made him upset or distressed and if Bertie stopped eating then I know something was hurting or upsetting him and I couldn't do that. You have to do the right thing and I will always do that but the choice as to when is both a privilege and a damn curse.

So I (don't) want to say goodbye to Bertie, my precious greedy boy. My boy who loved to shout at me for food, even when it wasn't meal time. My boy who always jumped off the sofa expecting food when I came home, even if I'd been out ten minutes. My boy who always waited on the kitchen table while I cooked my tea then followed me while I ate and back into the kitchen to clean the bowl. My boy who conned me into giving him wet food when dry was perfectly acceptable. My boy who stole anything he could. My boy who loved his feathers on a stick and carried them around while shouting at the top of his voice for some unknown reason. And my boy who has broken my heart as I won't ever see or cuddle him again. Bertie I love you so so much and I hope you are now with Muffin, your friend. xxxxx

IMG_20140617_144440064_HDR.jpg

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You are a true cat lover!

I am so so sorry about Bertie.

We all have to decide when the time is right and waiting until full on suffering (which sadly, I waited a bit too long w/ one cat when life really was no longer good for him) is not good. By then they are usually really bad since they hide illness so well. It's just a tough call. We all just do the best we can usually on not all that much information while not wanting to lose them.  

I am glad you have other kitties to keep you company but obviously Bertie was so special and unique. What a personality. Of course, you will never forget him. As someone who has lost many cats over the years you know how this goes, but you really are never prepared for how deeply the loss is. There is a true physical pain - a "heart ache" and I know it so well. Hope you are okay. 

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Thank you AJWCat, you are right you can't prepare. The lead up to the loss is devastating in a different way to afterwards. Before it happens you know that you have to do it and it has to happen but on the plus side you can still cuddle them and they are still with you. Afterwards you know they are not suffering but they are gone and I'm not sure anything in my life is quite as painful as that feeling of wanting to cuddle them and knowing you never can again. They do hide things well don't they? I was once told that kidney issues only become apparent in their physical behaviour once the are down to 15% of function. So by the time you see them off their food, weight loss and too much drinking it's too late. Cruel really as it's so common. I don't know how accurate that is so please don't quote me.

I do feel sure that Bertie wasn't suffering as his eating was so strong and that's a sure sign they don't feel well when that drops or changes. I spoilt him yesterday morning, he had a tray of food, half of Treacle's biscuits that he stole from right under her nose, a few meaty treats and a little sachet of the most awful smelling but 'delicious' liver flavoured cream stuff. 

There's no right or wrong is there, you just have to do the right thing for their welfare. And that's always the hardest thing for us. :(

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Did they check him for Diabetes?  Just wondered if that could account for the weight loss.  it's a mystery.

I'm so sorry for your loss, it's hard to lose them no matter what the cause or how long they live.

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I am so sorry for your loss. Of course, I'm sure that phrase doesn't do much. When I lost my Pudge people just kept saying it over and over, it was unbearable. For the first few days, I got about 10-20 condolence messages every hour. I wanted to scream.

In my situation, I had gone out for about half an hour to pick up a paycheck and grab a bottle of wine. I didn't need to do those things, I could have easily waited until the next day. But for some reason, I did. I told Pudge I'd be right back, and he stared at me with a knowing look. When I came home, he was on death's door. It was all so sudden, just half an hour before we had been cuddling. I've never had to put a pet to sleep before, and it was seriously one of the worst things I've ever done. 

Something I find helpful to think about is that he's no longer suffering. I kept wondering what if I could have done something to help him, what if I had known? Was it really his time to go? Then after a few days I started to remember some of the signs that I just took as normal. He started to go deaf, he didn't really hear me when I came home, and he would be very surprised when I came up to him and gave him a kiss. He didn't really drink a lot of water near the end. I had a short bowl for him and a tall ceramic cup, both of which he would just play with and occasionally drink from. 

In the end, I knew it was best for him, as I'm sure it was best for Bertie. I miss my little boy every single day, and I've finally been able to accept my decision to let him go. 

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Thank you both, it's really good to just let it out and share with people who understand. Reading some more of the forum makes you feel you're not alone and as I live alone every time I've had to go through this I've not really had anyone to talk to. Always driven myself to the vet and back again with them in the basket on the front seat on the way and then come home crying my eyes out with the empty basket. Nothing more sad than that.

I have been today thinking about things Bertie used to do. I used to buy him these feathers on the end of a stick and he would pick them up in his mouth and shout as he carried them round the room, holding his head up high as he tried not to trip on the stick. But then I keep being reminded of things I miss so so much. Because he was eating wet food and the others have dry I would give him dry food as they all ate and he would turn his nose up and wait on the end of the worktop for his meat. He would lean forward and try to catch my eye, shouting at me to tell me he was still waiting. Then when the others finished I took his food in and he yelled with excitement, it was so lovely. Now each time I walk in there I almost expect to see him waiting expectantly, shouting at me to remind me to feed him. But he's not and it's breaking my heart.

Just when I think I'm ok for a while, so many reminders. I know time heals, it has before. But this time is so painful. I know I'm rambling but I don't think it matters here, it feels nice to talk about him. I miss him so much :(

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Jen I am so sorry for your Bertie. We love all our pets but the bond we have with some of them is so special...I know you had this with Bertie. It is so moving to read your memories of him, thank you for sharing them with us. He had an amazing personality. I love this picture of him, especially his eyes. He has that really "knowing" look. I am so sorry for your pain and that you had to make this horrible decision to let him go...The ones we lose cannot be replaced but it is good you have your other kitties to keep you company. Keep sharing here if it helps you.I hope time helps your heart heal.

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You're not rambling.  Expressing yourself and knowing you are heard and understood and not alone in your grief and knowing your feelings are normal are such a key part to our getting through this!

I love hearing about people's stories about their pets, I think it's really important that we share that.

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Your kitty was so handsome.  I am sorry for your loss. hugs to you. he sounds like a truly loved kitty.

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Thank you so much, he does have a cheeky expression in that picture, as if he knows something I don't! Knowing him it would be something like "you left your sandwich out by mistake and you'll never realise I licked it."

Today I have felt a little better but my house seems SO quiet, even with 3 cats here. Bertie was very chatty, always shouting at me for something. I cried tonight when I finished my pizza because I would always keep a little something from my food for him and he would chase me to the kitchen when I finished to see what his prize was. I finished it and nobody followed me, nobody bothered about a mouthful of chicken and nobody tried to trip me up as I tidied my plates. Cats don't take up much room but the gap they leave behind is enormous. :(

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16 hours ago, Jencatlover said:

Cats don't take up much room but the gap they leave behind is enormous. :(

That's for sure, they're small in embodiment but sure have big personalities!

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They do leave an enormous gap behind...I totally understand what you mean. My kitty was very chatty too. I have two other kitties but the house seems unbearably quiet without the sound of her voice. I am so sorry...(((Hugs)))

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Thank you KayC and Maria9 sorry I don't know how to quote just your names, you are so kind. Again today I feel a little better but so often I have just broken down in tears, wanting to hear him meow for his food and try to steal my dinner. I found my young cat Charlie earlier sleeping in the basket I took Bertie to the vets in so that set me off. Meal times are so quick these days. A few biscuits in their bowls and all done, no supervision necessary, no loud yelling for food as if I've forgotten (as if!) no standing watching Bertie eat his meat while trying to stop Charlie helping himself. A meal time that until recently took 20 odd minutes three times a day now takes no time at all.

In reality, all I ask for my cats is that things are normal. They are happy and healthy and eating normally and that means dry biscuits. So the feeding time now is actually what's normal it just seems so strange as Bertie had needed more time to eat. At least, he TOLD me he did and he TOLD me he needed to have wet food. He was a greedy con artist. And I love him so much for his cheekiness and his extra demands. I like to think of him up there, causing a disturbance and telling the others who's boss. Chatting away and stealing from his friend's bowls. 

I just wish he was doing it here :(

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Aww Jen, I know. So many little things they do, little rituals we have with them. All kinds of things set me off too... especially before/after dates.    

I will say, it's good you are sharing so much, I believe it helps. Bertie sounds like a riot - so chatty, always yelling at you. How funny. I am sure you had quite the conversation with him at times. :)

I can see even more why the silence is obvious. (As you say, I am sure he is demanding all kinds of treats and yelling still.)

@Maria9 I didn't know your kitty was chatty as well. My guy liked to grunt. We called him an old man the last few years because his meows were like, "meh."  

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to tag someone in your response type the @ sign and then type in their user name.  It will pull up a window and you can select the specific person from it.  It took me awhile to figure it out. 

TY again for your kind words and support on my post.  I have been reading your support for others too and it's really great that your here.

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16 minutes ago, MyMocha said:

to tag someone in your response type the @ sign and then type in their user name.  It will pull up a window and you can select the specific person from it.  It took me awhile to figure it out. 

TY again for your kind words and support on my post.  I have been reading your support for others too and it's really great that your here.

Ah thank you, @MyMocha got it! And I guess we all feel the pain ourselves and in truth we can give ourselves advice from experience but we never take our own advice do we! Feelings and emotions trump all common sense anyway and the only thing that helps me is the passage of time. Although being here and having kind words from you and others has also helped me so thank you too. Nobody ever feels the way we do about our own pets and really nobody else can understand 100%, because of that it's hard to deal with in everyday life, not being able to talk freely about how you feel, especially when you feel so sad. I like that I can talk about Bertie here and be supported. I think he would be impressed he is 'famous', he would be shouting from the rooftops!

This is my special man with his little bro Charlie.

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@Mike219, I hope you are banned from ever posting here again you idiotic troll.  You are vile and disgusting and whatever misfortunes happen in your life are deserved.

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@Jencatlover, hi hon...i loved the pics you posted of our handsome little man. His lil bro charlie is precious!  I just wanted to say that you have been so kind and helpful to so many here and your support has been greatly appreciated.  Sorry that someone felt it necessary to post such ugliness.  Regardless of whatever has happened to people it is never justified to seek out others to spit on.  Hugs and i hope you don't let it upset you.  Focus on those here who are not that way and that are here to be supportive sweetie.  Hope you are feeling a bit better today.  I am still greatly sad about my furry friend but I am starting to be more accepting of whats done is done.  I will always miss her.  For some people a "pet" is the only family they have.  It was just me and Mocha for a long time,

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6 hours ago, Mike219 said:

Seriously your on this form talking about a cat when there's people whose family members have died tragically and sometimes horribly in accidents or two gunfire or two suicide? And you're crying about a cat I'm sorry but that's fucked up you need to get yourself a life

Your lack of compassion is very sad. :( I can only imagine how awful things are for you and to lash out and hurt a total stranger. Perhaps that you would even do this, is why you have the horrible life you do? 

Please stay off of this forum, we have created a great community here. 

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33 minutes ago, MyMocha said:

@Mike219, I hope you are banned from ever posting here again you idiotic troll.  You are vile and disgusting and whatever misfortunes happen in your life are deserved.

I blocked him @MyMocha so I don't have to look at it again. I found the ignore button quite fast.

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@Jencatlover, sorry you even had to see something like that.  i did "flag" it and ask it to be removed.  I am not sure what the administrators do here in this type of situation. 

Anyhow...morning sweetie. :)  I have been going through countless files on my pc trying to move all of Mocha's photos to a Memories album.  I have so many precious pics and videos of her.  I have to take several breaks still as it gets really overwhelming but I am so grateful to have visual reminders of her.  I should get her ashes sometime this week.  I am not sure how the whole healing process is going to work in this situation but I don't think anything is going to kick in until i get what's left of her back home.

 

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Thank you both @MyMocha and @AJWCat, yes I've been putting together some of Bertie's pics and movies, I really wish I'd taken more clips now as they are so much better than just looking at the pics and I love the pics. I filmed him a couple of weeks ago eating his food and couldn't bring myself to watch it until last night. It did upset me but also made me smile as he was stuffing his face with his breakfast and was so happy, he never stopped enjoying eating. 

I didn't have an individual cremation, I don't know what it's called exactly but it's when there are a few of them together then they scatter the ashes in a flower garden. I did have individual cremations for my first two but for me I find looking at the ashes incredibly sad even many years down the line but looking at pictures makes me more happy for their lives. I do understand the comfort from an individual cremation too. Then you can keep them or scatter them somewhere special

I was also offered to bring Bertie home to bury him but I have never done that as I would never ever be able to move house again. I don't like any option really but I couldn't do that.

Quiet in my house again today but I'm trying to encourage Charlie to talk more, reading that back I sound nuts! Obviously I don't understand what he says but he is getting a bit chatty and I really like that. Perhaps I wouldn't if I could translate it :)

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Getting used to them not being here is very hard, quite an adjustment.  Even with the passage of time, we still remember the things they did and wish we could experience it one more time.

You're not nuts!  I rule out nothing in our grief, the one thing I'm sure of is that they continue to exist, just not as before, but I truly believe we'll be together again!

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18 hours ago, AJWCat said:

My guy liked to grunt. We called him an old man the last few years because his meows were like, "meh."

How sweet...Whatever sound they make is for us the sweetest music in the world. What wouldn't I give to hear that music once more....

 

2 hours ago, MyMocha said:

until i get what's left of her back home.

MyMocha I know how utterly heartbreaking this thought is, but try to think this not what is left of her. What is left of her are also your memories and the love you shared. And these will live forever.

 

2 hours ago, Jencatlover said:

Quiet in my house again today but I'm trying to encourage Charlie to talk more, reading that back I sound nuts!

 

No you're not nuts, not at all...you just miss your Bertie's voice. I am glad Charlie is "talking " to you. He is handsome too, but in a different way.

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@KayC and @Maria9 you are both so kind too. I used to have a beautiful bright ginger cat called Rosie and she did actually 'talk' in the way of having a chat with me. You could say hello and she would meow back and this back and forth could go for quite a while. I do wonder what on earth they are saying. Charlie seems to chat more to himself or to announce his arrival. I feel certain that 99% of what Bertie said was food related! The other 1% probably a complaint about the poor service I provided. 

Feeling a bit better today, I seem to be adjusting very slowly to it just being 4 of us instead of 5. Slowly though. I still get upset seeing the space on the worktop Bertie ate. We love them so much don't we?

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