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The loss & guilt of losing my cat are controlling my mind

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Here is my last post that will give you the story of what happened to her http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=186567

I can go for a few days without breaking down but I think of her all the time, sometimes so much I can't do anything, everything reminds me of her and I am starting to realize now that I will not be able to get through this, I have to, I have two sons and a husband that need me and I know I will have to do the best that I can for them but how can I get this to stop controlling my thoughts, I can't stop thinking of her, I look for a piece of her fur in my house on clothes that are in my closet that I knew that I wore when she was alive, I dream of her, I dreamed of her the other night that I was carrying her out to a car and rolled down the window for her then I carried her back to the house, I don't know what that dream meant but now for some reason I am thinking in my head when I see her again she will be so mad at me, hurt from me getting her declawed, not seeing the signs early enough that she was infected, not taking care of her like I should have, I can't deal with this guilt, I seriously want to see her again right now and tell her I love her so much and hold her. I know if she died of natural causes I would be so sad but knowing that I made decisions that took her life, I can't live with that.

I don't want to be put on meds to help me because the bottom line is, no matter what the reality is that I feel guilt and nothing can erase that, nothing and no-one.

I have adopted another cat that needed a home and yes I love her but it hasn't made things better, so I guess I am just going to have to deal with this the rest of my life, I deserve to suffer for what I have done and just look forward to the day that I see her again and now I wonder if she will even want to see me? I am just heartbroken beyond words.
post #2 of 27
You don't necessarily have to go on meds, but I think talking about this with a professional might help you. I know and understand the hurt - even the guilt - but for your family's sake you need to help yourself.

I was happy to hear you adopted another kitty. I know we don't do this to replace the one we lost, but it does help some to change the dynamics of the situation. It's helped me many times before.

Embrace this kitty, love your kids, even your husband. Good luck, and talk with someone about this.
post #3 of 27
Please please understand that this isnt your fault!! Yes, you made the decision to have her declawed, BUT there was no way you could have known that she would die from an infection from that.. IF you had known, and did it anyway, then it would have been your fault. Keep telling yourself that you didnt know, because im sure if u knew this would have happened after the surgery, you wouldnt have done it. She is in a better place now and im sure you have heard that. I dont believe she will be mad at you for having her declawed, I heard that most cats who have been, dont even act like they realize they have no claws. I know she will be waiting for you to meet her in Heaven. She will want to see you and love on you. Right now she feels no pain and she is watching over you. I dont think she would have wanted you to feel so guilty about this.

for you..

R.I.P Tazzy, Your Meowmy misses and LOVES YOU so much!!!
post #4 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by KiTTYL0VE4 View Post
Please please understand that this isnt your fault!! Yes, you made the decision to have her declawed, BUT there was no way you could have known that she would die from an infection from that.. IF you had known, and did it anyway, then it would have been your fault.
Such a good point. This is the critical element that we all lose track of after something bad happens as an indirect result of our actions. We all assume that we should have known the inevitable result of our actions when they turn out poorly, even when they were made with good intentions. It's a weight that no human has the strength to shoulder. And you shouldn't feel that you have to.

I had 3 cats declawed based on what, in hindsight, was some shady information regarding maintaining the balance of power with cats that were already declawed. I should have done more research, and if nothing else, should have gone with my gut after watching my Bayliss walk so gingerly and look so miserable upon coming home from the vet. But I can honestly say that I thought I was doing the right thing in the long run. Now, even though they're all healthy and happy, I still feel like a tool about it.

The moral of the story? That the only difference between you and me is that I got lucky. My cats didn't experience the post-surgery issues yours did. Does that mean that I (or others like me) love our cats any more than you? Absolutely not. Ultimately, sometimes you just have to embrace the notion that things happen for a reason; maybe if she wasn't declawed, your kitty was on par to have a different sort of infection that would have been more lingering and painful for her, but what happened to her was a sort of mixed blessing, maybe saving her from a trauma that you didn't know was around the corner. Sometimes you need to have faith in the unknown like that.

Love your new kitty. That's the best way you can honor her memory.
post #5 of 27
I would look into professional counseling. Losing a loved one never is easy and always includes periods of mourning. Time heals all wounds.....your wounds do not appear to be healing in the time since her death. Professional counseling would be a smart way to go at this point. Good luck with whatever you decide.
post #6 of 27
I am so sorry you are going through this But your kitty knew you loved her She is NOT having any bad thoughts towards you, she's watching out for you and your family from a beautiful place full of love, she's just waiting till she sees you again
post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 
do I look for a doctor in the phonebook to go see or a counseling center? I need someone that has gone through the exact same thing to tell me what to do because I feel like I am getting worse. I won't go into exact detail of the lowest I have been but it's worse than I have ever been in my life been, I have lost close family members and never mourned like I am now, it's the guilt also that is just eating away at me. I feel at times I am seriously going to just lose it, she is in my mind so much and today I found myself looking everywhere for her fur, I found some behind a couch that she used to lay behind and I put it in a ziplock bag. To just sum up how I feel, if I didn't have my husband and kids to get me through this, I would easily just go be with her, that is something that was hard for me to type but it's how bad I feel.
post #8 of 27
I too know what it is to feel guilt at losing a cat from the consequences of your own actions - even if you didn't know at the time that those actions were bad choices. But I do have a suggestion - use her death to help prevent others going through the same thing. Write a letter/article for your local paper about the possible outcomes of declawing. Speak to your local radio station. See if you can find the opportunity to let other people know, through community groups, church socials, anything. Become an advocate for all other cats, to stop this practice which is illegal in so many countries but which many US vets and cat owners still regard as normal. Then her death will not have been in vain and you will have done a great service, even if you only prevent one more more case.
post #9 of 27
Of course, she will come running to greet you! If she had scratched you, and the wound got infected & then you got sick and died, would you deny her? NO, you wouldn't because you two love each other very much.
A few years ago, someone lost a kitten during spaying surgery
http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...spaying&page=2
If I recall correctly, another kitten died that same day, during surgery. A terrible day, for sure, and thankfully hasn't repeated itself.
You might try humor to keep your mind from dwelling on your loss. If you can get time away from chores, get online and look at jokes. Or listen to dance music. And if you break out into tears, cry till you stop and can hear the music or can understand the humor. Heaven seems far away, but our loved ones are closer than we can ever know this side of life
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovecats4ever View Post
do I look for a doctor in the phonebook to go see or a counseling center? I need someone that has gone through the exact same thing to tell me what to do because I feel like I am getting worse. I won't go into exact detail of the lowest I have been but it's worse than I have ever been in my life been, I have lost close family members and never mourned like I am now, it's the guilt also that is just eating away at me. I feel at times I am seriously going to just lose it, she is in my mind so much and today I found myself looking everywhere for her fur, I found some behind a couch that she used to lay behind and I put it in a ziplock bag. To just sum up how I feel, if I didn't have my husband and kids to get me through this, I would easily just go be with her, that is something that was hard for me to type but it's how bad I feel.
Don't look for a doctor. You are letting your guilt and negative emotions take over. You have the power to control your thoughts and feelings. You just need to learn how to.

I was having a hard time with my emotions and just wallowing in big time negativity. Do you like to read psychology/self-help books? I read A Guide to Rational Living by Albert Ellis, Ph.D. & Robert A. Harper, Ph.D. and it really helped me understand that I had the power to change how I thought & felt. I didn't need medicine or months/years of therapy...I just read a book and applied what I learned from it. I hope it can help you too.
post #11 of 27
I wouldn't look for a doctor on the phone book, but I would certainly talk to my family doctor and ask for a referral...
Sometimes people need help, and I do believe the best thing for you is really to go see a doctor. Don't feel ashamed about it... You need help, and I am glad to see that you are willing to get it. I don't think the best thing for you is to deal with on your own... I think you should consider going into antidepressants, and/or anti anxiety medicine, of course being closely monitored by a doctor.
When I fell into a nasty depression last year, I tried to deal with it on my own, and there is no way I could have done so. I did not go to therapy, but my family doctor put me on an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety treatment. I tell you, this saved my life.
Don't spend anymore time trying to fight the feelings - you have been going through this for a while, and the post where you said if your kids and husband weren't there you would have committed suicide raised a very big red flag for me... You need to get this checked out quickly.
Please go see a doctor - you deserve to be happy and healthy again...
My though are with you...
post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 
there is only one thing that would make me ok and that's seeing Tazzy again, telling her how sorry I am and holding her. Reading the replies about her waiting to see me again and about the Rainbow bridge actually make me sad because I picture her waiting for me and that kills me, I dont want her to wait, I want to see her now. I will try anything to feel better, I will look into the books and the counselor, I don't know about the meds though because to me that is something that is going to temporarily comfort me but I know what bothers me and nothing can fix it, I can't tell myself that I did everything for her because now that I think about it, I didn't and I just can't accept that. I can't let go of that and will never be able to, I feel like I just have to live everyday knowing what I did and what happened to my baby girl. She was the only animal I have ever had from a kitten to adult, almost 14 years old and she oculd have lived to be 20 and I was more worried about some stupid furniture that she was scratching, I will never forgive myself for that, and now I am so messed up thinking, ok now I have learned the hardest way possible about material things so I think that I shouldn't care about them but then I say to myself you have to continue to be that way because why is ok now to let a couch go if it wasn't before and you made a choice to get her declawed, I hope that makes sense. But I am just basing everything around her and every moment she is in my mind, I even for a few seconds think she is here and look in my son's room on the bed to see if she is there like this is a bad dream. My other cat Coffy, he was so upset when she died and still is I believe, he layed by my side all night while I cried and I told him what I was feeling and I know in my heart he understood me, he stayed with me and then even followed me all day, he knows when I am hurting so bad, I love him so much, but no matter who I love here on this earth, my pain is so intense. Thank you so much for listening and I will give some of your suggestions a try.
post #13 of 27
Please please please go see a doctor... ask for a referral... Don't put yourself through this pain any longer...
Do whatever it takes to get better... If it is therapy, fine, meds, fine too... Meds don't numb you, they just cut the edge so you can work on the issue a little easier... But whatever you do, please know that there is help out there... Your life needs to go on... Your baby loved you, and she would never ever want to see you going through so much pain... Life is beautiful, and is waiting for you out there. You will not be betraying her by being happy again. It is hard, I know it is... But your life needs to go on... for you, your family, and her...
Many many vibes and hugs -
post #14 of 27
Do your family and friends know how you are feeling? You absolutely must seek help for this. Grief and guilt are very strong emotions and often people need help to get through this. It also takes time. My father died in June. I am still working through it. There are good days and bad days. It does get easier with time though.

I am most concerned with your comments regarding going to be with her. You need to talk to someone now. Talking to us is not enough. While the administration of The Cat Site is strongly supportive of the idea of providing a place for our members to help each other through tough times and to share their failures and successes in seeking treatment for their problems, it is vital that everyone is aware that The Cat Site absolutely cannot be a substitute for professional intervention. Also, neither the administration nor the members of The Cat Site can be expected to provide accurate information regarding mental or physical illness nor can we intervene when a member is in risk of harm to self or others.

The administration of The Cat Site strongly suggests that those seeking information and support while dealing with a psychological disorder visit the web site of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill http://www.NAMI.org This is a truly wonderful organization and the web site has extremely valuable information and links to other sites that have been approved by NAMI.

Did you know that there are professionals that deal solely with the loss of a pet? There are also help groups for just this issue. You most certainly are not the only one that has felt this way and many people have sought professional help. I strongly urge you to do the same.
post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 
how I am feeling and my husband tells me he wants me to be happy and will do anything, I just tell him honestly there is nothing that can be said to me to get rid of my guilt, he misses her too but is so much stronger then me, I promise I am not going to do anything extreme, I just think of her being alone waiting for us and that hurts so bad and also I think of just wanting to see her so badly, I love my husband and kids and would never do anything like that. I am trying to find a good grieving counselor or group, I need to find people who are going through what I am, not that they just lost a pet, ones that actually made decisions that ended with a result like mine, people who had a pet for a very long time and then made the wrong choices that led to death, I have to find people that feel so guilty for the death like I am, talking to them might help me realize that Others did exactly what I have. I have even tried to google "cat declaw death guilty" stuff like that to find someone that has the same exact story as me.

I have good days where I don't break down but not many of them, if I keep busy then I am ok but I still think of her every moment. Thank you for all your concerns and advice and believe me I am trying everything and looking into more.
post #16 of 27
I know not everyone agrees with the subject, but there are several on this site who have and do use an animal communicator to connect with their beloved pets who have crossed the bridge. I don't have the name of one but you can probably do a google search for one.
post #17 of 27
I am 66 and have suffered depression on and off for a great deal of my adult life.

To me, once depression sets in, it develops a life of its own. Your guilt and grief seem to have thrown you into a deep depression.

Your fears of Tazzie's lonliness, of her not loving you, of wanting to hold and feeling you MUST hold and see her so that you can apologize to her directly are not the real problems, they are symptoms of the depression. You mind is going to these thoughts because the chemistry of your brain has become "off" by your grief.


The studies that I know of, don't favor talk therapy over drug therapy or vice-versa, so choose whichever you are most comfortable with. However, drugs do not hurt you in any way. They mostly alter the chemistry of the brain in a way that helps you think and feel more normally. However, they all have side-effects and that is a good argument to try talk therapy first. If you see a psychiatrist and she/he recommends drug therapy be sure to discuss the side effects to see if you want to accept them, in order to get relief from your pain. That has always been my choice.

I hope you get relief as soon as possible. The pain you are feeling is so dark and intense. I wish the very best results from your choice.
post #18 of 27
Sweetie, I am so very, very sorry for all the pain you're going thru. There's no way I can say "I know exactly how you feel", but I think I come close.
When my beautiful Belle died, 4 weeks after having been diagnosed with CRF, I was absolutely devestated. I cried daily for months. I felt as if I had failed her, even tho' I'd done everything I could for her. It's been over 3 years that she's been gone, and I"m crying as I type this. I don't think the pain of losing her will ever go away.

Quote:
I just think of her being alone waiting for us and that hurts so bad
One thing that helped me was telling Belle that her Grandpa (my Dad) would be waiting for her and that he would think she was the most beautiful cat he'd ever seen. I told her about her 'siblings' that would be there waiting for her, and how she would be happy with them. I'm sure you buried Tazzy in a special place, and I know you didn't get a chance to tell her things like that before you lost her. Go to her grave and talk to her. If it will make you feel better apologize to her for letting her down. (I'm NOT saying you did, but it's obvious that's how you feel) Take her flowers and cry your heart out. Like you, I went thru the house finding clumps of Belle's soft fur to keep; it's in a special box on my desk.

I believe that you did your best. I also believe that your vet is the one that let Tazzy down.

Quote:
have good days where I don't break down but not many of them, if I keep busy then I am ok but I still think of her every moment.
To me, that shows that things are getting better, maybe not as quickly as you'd like, but that will come in time. Don't beat yourself up for grieving over someone you loved. Tazzy knew that you loved her and I believe she would be sad to see you so upset. Please don't punish yourself.
post #19 of 27
I am so sorry for your loss

Hang in there... I have no advice for you..but wanted you to know that I ache in my heart for you.
post #20 of 27
i agree with everyone - see a doctor, get some help. it'll make a world of difference.
& while Tazzy is waiting for you, she'd also running & playing like a kitten again, chasing butterflies & grasshoppers! she's not just sitting there, lonely - she's having a grand time while she's waiting.
she's also met some other TCS kitties who've gone ahead - like my Mouse.
post #21 of 27
...and I hope Tazzy has met my Max.....he went to the Rainbow bridge not quite a year ago....March 27, 2008....and he had only turned 5 yrs on Feb 26.....as the first anniversary of his passing approaches, I am feeling a tremendous amount of sadness and lots of tears. I miss him so much. He was such a cuddly fellow.

He was the best cat...so sweet and good. Many years from now....I will not feel sad when 'my time' comes.....because I know I will see and feel, and pick up my Max again. In the meantime, I think of him fondly, remembering him in my arms, kissing that soft area behind his ears, hearing his purrs....and wishing for him a wonderful time at the Rainbow Bridge. I have my regrets with his death too.....I hope he can forgive me. I will never forgive myself....I can only learn from it and do better with his 'siblings'. I know he wants to see my smile, my bright eyes and hear his name being said by me.....not alot of tears and blubberings...LOL....that would make him sad. He knows that he was, and still is, loved 110%...unconditionally by me.

Your Tazzy has many friends to play with at the Rainbow Bridge...she is going to wait for you, and she will be so happy to see you when the time is right......smile for her. Smile at her.....she wants to see you being happy. Not happy that she is gone, but happy knowing that she's out of pain, and is content until you appear in her life again. I will ask Max to look out for her....I hope that they are friends by now.

post #22 of 27
I think you're really looking at this the wrong way.

You gave your baby 13 AWESOME years of life. She isn't alone waiting for you. She's with all of our other furbabies that people like me have lost. I'm sure that wherever she is, she isn't alone and she knows that you didn't mean to cause her any harm. The difference between humans and animals is that animals have the ability to forgive and let go. They don't hold things against us, and when we're having a rough day they are their to comfort us.

I don't know if you believe in people that say they can talk to animals... but you might seek out an animal communicator in your area. Maybe they could help you find closure.

I went through something similar myself. The first kitten I ever owned I had for roughly 2 weeks or so... he crawled under the recliner I was sitting in, unknown to me. The phone rang so i jumped out of the chair and when I came back I found him. It completely broke my heart. I couldn't believe that I had killed him. I was so stupid to have assumed he wasn't under there. I felt so horrible, and I still do. However, I also realize now it was an accident and it wasn't something I meant to do.

You didn't mean for your cat to get sick. You didn't mean for her to die. It happened, and it's horrible, but it isn't your fault.
post #23 of 27
Thread Starter 
I am just getting worse, I dreamed of my Tazzy again right before I woke up this morning, this time in my dream, I took much better care of her when she came home from getting declawed, I used the right litter, called the vet when I saw the first sign of anything going wrong, she purred when I pet her in my dream and then I woke up, I am living a nightmare right now, no matter how many times all of you tell me it's not my fault I can not believe that and never will, I never will stop blaming myself because the bottom line is, if I didn't pick up that phone and call and make her an apt to get declawed she would be here right now. I can't get over this, I will look in my phonebook again today for a counselor or doctor but I know in my heart, no-one can say anything to get me through this, the only way is if Tazzy was here, I am thinking beyond reality right now and I just can't get past it, I sat in my bathroom last night by the heat register on the floor where she used to lay and I cried my eyes out and put my hand out like she was there to pet, I am so lost without her. Thank you again for your stories and support, I appreciate it so much.
post #24 of 27
Sweetie, you may never get over the feeling that what happened is your fault. My husband fought in a war and killed civilians and children. It is a fact. It happened, and he can't go back and change that. BUT.... with help and time, you can forgive yourself. You can use the guilt to transform the world around you into a better place - a more aware place. You were not aware of what could happen from a declaw. The vet did not inform you. Why is this not the vet's fault? It could very easily be the fault of a system that encourages vets to provide a dangerous service for profit. You were a victim of that system. You were not alone in the decision, you were not alone in what happened. So many things contributed to the situation, it is NOT so black and white. You are living in a completely "black" part of a "black and white" world right now, and that is just not what is real!

Right now you are SO focused on blame, and that happens when there is tragedy. A parent blaming themself for the death of a child in a car accident. A guardian blaming themself for the dealth of a pet because of a broken fence. There are SO many things that can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. The fact of the matter is that you are hurting, deeply, and you are stuck on "it is my fault." Everyone in the world can tell you it isn't your fault, and it won't help change how you feel. That is EXACTLY what professional support can help you with - tools to move on, tools to help you heal, tools to help you help yourself, tools to help transform the guilt - not erase it - and all of this will help you, your family, and they need you too.

...And, it will help honor the memory of the love for your Tazzy. Do not let her death be in vain. Is she happier now that you are a wreck, hating yourself? Of course not. You need tools to find that place of love again, where her death will mean saving other lives, not ruining yours.



Laurie
post #25 of 27
I agree with the others who have said to seek professional help. Also, don't refuse to take medication just because it's a "temporary fix". Drugs are supposed to be temporary in situations like yours. No pill is going to "cure" your feelings of guilt, but it can suppress or blunt the emotions enough that you can start working through your grief instead of being overwhelmed by it. Start by going to a counselor or doctor, and if s/he recommends medication, take it.
Sending many calming and prayers your way.
post #26 of 27
Honestly, any vet who agreed to de-claw a 13-year-old cat should lose his/her license. Any surgery at that age is extremely risky, and removing bone is especially dangerous. Why are we not blaming the vet here? With proper education, perhaps you would not have decided to have Tazzy's claws cut out. The medical professional is the one who holds the blame. If you transfer some of your guilt feelings into anger toward that vet, maybe it would help some.

But, yes, talk therapy would do the most good. Does your state have a crisis helpline (here it's 211)? If so, they sould be able to refer you to a good therapist.
post #27 of 27
Quote:
I also believe that your vet is the one that let Tazzy down.
That quote is from my post of 2/27. I agree whole-heartedly with this quote from Willowy---

Quote:
Honestly, any vet who agreed to de-claw a 13-year-old cat should lose his/her license. Any surgery at that age is extremely risky, and removing bone is especially dangerous. Why are we not blaming the vet here? With proper education, perhaps you would not have decided to have Tazzy's claws cut out. The medical professional is the one who holds the blame.
My heart absolutely aches for ilovecats4ever; no one should feel this sort of guilt. We all do the best we can with the information we're given. If I remember correctly from the first page of this thread, the op had taken Tazzy back to vet when she noticed things weren't going smoothly. If a trained professional didn't realize just how bad Tazzy's condtion was, how could anyone else?
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