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Can anyone please give any advice...Still haunted by kittens death

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Almost 2 years ago I joined this site.
I started searching the web for a site
about cats/kittens. I had a very sad experience
at my work place involving a baby feral kitten.
Responses from some wonderful people
on this site really helped me and made me
feel so much better. I am so grateful that there
are others who care so much as I do.
I had never forgotten the little baby
and will NEVER forget but recently something I read
brought the whole experience back as if it were
yesterday. I am feeling all the same horrible pain
as I was for awhile after it happened. It was always
in the back of my mind so maybe I did not
REALLY deal with the pain back then. It is very sad and
the little baby ended up being killed by something.

I feel responsible for its death, after leaving it, hoping that the mother
would come back for it that night after we tried to feed it
with a dropper. PLEASE, I hope you won't judge
me for my actions and please don't think badly of me. I meant
the best for this baby. I am an intelligent person who
grew up with so many animals and I
was SO dumb in this particular situation for some reason. I cannot seem
to get past this. I love animals so much and the last time I succeeded in
saving a tiny kitten from the edge of a busy
rush hour highway and he is living happily with my
sister.. We tried to feed this baby and it just was searching for its
mother and would not even try to eat. It was very tiny and really
needed its mother. The
no-kill shelters were full. I would
have taken it home until I could figure out what to
do but my lease specifically states NO HARBORING any animals
or grounds for eviction or keeping
more than the number signed on lease. I have two cats
that were signed on my lease when I moved in. I should have
taken it anyway for the night.
There are so many feral cats where I work that we have
kittens alot but never can get close to them usually.
We thought its best chance for living was to stay with its
mother if possible so we put it back exactly where we found it.
I wish when I first saw it I would have just
let it lie peacefully like it was in the grass which is the right
thing to do usually but something
told me to see if it was ok. I could tell by its frantic cries
that it was hungry and just wanting its mother.
In the end when I left that evening I had been sick
with worry over it and I ended up moving it because
it was very close to our street edge in the grass. I
realized the grass comforted it and it was quietly
laying there, probably feeling at least like it
was close to its mother.
It was so close to the edge though and out in the open.
It is a very short street but we have more cars going in and out in the evening.
Plus, kids are running around sometimes from houses up on a hill
and you just never know what else. Well, I moved it to a place
away from the road on the other side of some brush and under
some trees. There were some grass patches and soft
dirt. I had the hardest time walking away from it. However,
I thought for sure it would be safer there. I prayed all night
and in the morning for its safety.
It was still crying when I walked away but I thought it would stop after I was gone. Well, I think what I did by moving it was pretty much
causing its death.
The next morn. I could not wait to get to work to
check on it and expected it to be there ok
but it had been killed by something. I was in shock and horrified and sick.
A coworker, who does not really care much about the cats,
later told me
that it was crying when she left later that evening. I
almost fell over because it all hit me in a split second
the stupid, stupid mistake I made...that since it
was not in the heavier grass anymore it continued to cry. I thought
I was going to throw up. I cannot bear to think of it.
I was so overwhelmed with irrational fear about it being close to the
road and out in the open exposed that I thought it would
be safer under the brush. I can only imagine what the cries
attracted predator wise besides other cats that were near by that probably
congregate under the brush at night. They sometimes would feed
the cats under part of the trees in morn and light evening there but I had not seen them do it for awhile because they were feeding
them at another place at the end of the circle turnaround as well.
I know you are probably thinking any smart person would know
that predators would still check there for food at night and how
I could be so ignorant and dumb. I am so sorry for it all. At the
time when I put it there I was so upset about the whole
situation that I did not even think about all the consequences at that moment.
It seemed to happen in another state of mind due to my worry.
I did not think about the other cats possibly harming it either which
was I know IS possible. I hoped its mother was nearby.
I was so upset that its mother could have possibly left it
and that its chances were not looking good I just panicked I guess.
I believe and know in my heart now that I should have left it where it was
and in the morning taken it somewhere if the mother had not come
back. She was so smart to put it in the soft grass on the other
side of the brush even if she
was abandoning it and even if it was close to the road. She knew.
It was too young to walk easily to the road either.
It did walk a tiny bit very wobbily
but not well at all.
It would not have cried and might have still been alive in the
morning. I hate myself so much for all of it. I know I cannot take
it back but the fact that it probably did not stop crying
AT ALL and was killed and that it felt
pain and loneliness and fear through the night makes me so sick inside I cannot even eat right now. I feel that pain every time I think of it.I know that is not healthy. I know I am smarter than that but I also
get really emotional and upset when it comes to
saving an animal and I don't think clearly at all. I will now!
I just wish I could change what I did. It seems that the mother
had abandoned it. Some people come at times to feed the cats here so I don't think she would have been off that long searching for food.
It could have been peaceful through that night but because
of me and my worries it had to suffer and die.
Does anyone have any advice on
how to get past this? I have been reading about forgiveness
and forgiving ones self. I know you cannot save all the ferals
but I just wish I had the chance back to make a better, clear-headed decision so that this little baby did not suffer and could have been at peace.
Thank you for reading this.

post #2 of 18
I'm very sorry to hear that you are still blaming yourself for this little one's death. Unfortunately, the baby was probably very ill before you found it, before you moved it. That is most likely why it was abandoned. Cats and any wild animal will abandon one of a litter if they know it is ill and if they know it will likely die. Basically, what I am saying is that the death of this baby is not your fault. If mother cat did not come back for it (and she would have heard the cries regardless of where you put the kitten, and the kitten would have started crying if the mother cat did not come back regardless of where it was), she knew something was wrong...

Forgive yourself. You did the best you could at the time. You've learned from it, and that is the best any of us can do from a bad experience. Dedicate yourself to educating yourself further and educating others, and to helping other cats in the memory of this baby who couldn't be saved.
post #3 of 18
sk11..I had a kitten that I was fostering who ended up dying of pneumonia....I questioned my actions for a long time....if only I had gotten it to the vet sooner or had been home more or if I was able to feed it more....the reality is that I did the best I could at the time and so did you. We cannot save every single kitten...no matter how hard we try. Just ask anyone whose worked with kitten rescue...they will tell you about the ones that were special that they could not help....the kittens that just faded. I think right now...it would be a good thing to do something nice for yourself...remember that you are one person and you have the opportunity now to help others.

post #4 of 18
Firstly, take a few deep breaths. You have become really worked up about this and I do understand but please don't worry yourself sick. Even the best, most experienced rescuers make mistakes. The important thing is that you tried and that your heart was in the right place.

Mumcats often sense when a kitten is ill and that may be why this little one was abandoned. He most likely wouldn't have made it anyway. Many, many people face the very dilema that you did - leave the baby or babies near where they were found and pray that mumcat comes back or risk denying the little ones of their mum by taking them in knowing they may not make it anyway.

Light a candle for the little one, think of him playing over the rainbow bridge without any fear or pain. Cry for him if you need to and then release him from your heart - give him to the angels to care for.
post #5 of 18
Most likely, the Mom had abandoned it due to a perceived problem. If it wouldn't eat, there wasn't much chance for you to save it, even if you had taken it in.

It is very sad to think of the tiny fuzzy little babies we lose. I have lost several myself since being in rescue, and I tend to question myself and ask if I did everything possible, too. But as Katie said, we do the best we know how at the time.

Rest in peace, tiny kitten. I know you are at peace. I hope SK11, you can find peace, too. Sometimes when we think we have dealt with a grief, something triggers the sadness again. We face it again, and deal with it again. Maybe this time you will be able to let go of your guilty feelings.
post #6 of 18
The path that leads those of us to rescuing & fostering is not an easy one...

Everyday, some of us are faced with similar situations as yours and it is truly an emotional rollercoaster. You can only look back with the thought that you did the best you could and if a similar situation presented itself, you would again do the best that you possibly could.

The "should-haves would-haves could-haves" are enough to make oneself insane!! Mentally & emotionally, you need to let it go...cry & grieve but do let it go.
post #7 of 18
You can't blame yourself,you did the best that you could have done.Take this as a learning experience and also know now that the kitten is in a better place...
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you. All your responses made me cry.
You are so nice to respond.
I know you are so right. It is really hard though. I
feel like a big baby sometimes but
I know some of you and so many others have had
very sad experiences too. I can only imagine
someone who rescues ferals/strays on a regular
basis has had to deal with some very sad cases.
It just feels so much better
to talk with others that understand. I feel a little better today
and your replies help so much. I think the kitten was
sick too. I guess the hardest part for me
to get past is the fact that I moved it. I am so angry with
It just seems it could have passed so much more peacefully
in the grass, maybe just fallen asleep. Maybe it did cry there as well
and would have. I guess when I saw it there it was not crying
until I spoke and then when I put it back in the grass the first time it stopped.
I feel though that it was very deceiving as far as how
peaceful it looked lying there because I think it was
probably slowly dying. I guess part of me knew the right
thing to do was leave it there and then check on it in the morning.
It could have passed or if still ok then I could have taken it somewhere.
I just hate the fact that it cried so much after I moved it and
then it was killed. I just wanted peace for it.
The only thing that gives me comfort is the fact
that it is in no pain and at peace now. I think about what you said about
doing the best at the time and I think at that moment I
was so worried and set on moving the baby away from the road that
I don't think I would have changed my mind unless I had
stayed awhile longer and saw that it continued to cry.
I would have put it back. It was only on the other side of the brush.
I honestly did not think it would continue to cry.
Thank you again...thank you for not judging me and also
being so understanding.
post #9 of 18
I've merged your threads so that they can all be together

As long as you know your not to blame and one day that kitten will come running to you showing you that it didn't blame you either
post #10 of 18
I sat here reading your thread & I'm fighting back the tears. It sounds like a very painful thing to go through. I have to agree with the others that more than likely the little one's mother could sense there was something wrong & pushed him or her away. As humans we understand death in a differnt way than animals do. Please don't beat yourself up, there was no way for you to know what the outcome would be. For me when things like this happen that I don't understand I like to think of it as a cat that was so wonderful God really wanted to keep it for himeself.
post #11 of 18
You are a special person to still be so caring about this little kitten. But I would say to you, stop blaming yourself. At the time, you did what you thought was best for it. We are just people and we are not perfect. We can only make our decisions based on what we think and feel at the moment. You have no way to know what would have happened to the cat, even if you had left it in the same place, came back in the am, found it still living. It could have been sick, or any number of things could have gone wrong. Bless you for caring.
post #12 of 18
Please don't blame yourself. Predators would have found the baby anyway. You did what you thought was best and at least you gave that poor little thing a chance to eat. The fact that it didn't eat was a good indication of how sick it was. The fact that it was killed but not consumed means that it was either killed by a dog or another cat. Hopefully, the attack happened quickly, and the little one may have been unconscious when it happened, so all we can do is pray that Heaven give that little one an extra special hug or two from the rest of us. I hope that you are able to feel better soon.
I too have an awful memory. I was driving in the city, following my parents, one rainy nite, to a relative's house. I didn't know the way, so I had to follow my parents. Anyway, in the intersection, was a crying, wet kitten! I tried turning my lights on & off & honking to my dad (my dad would've stopped had he seen it - he's a real cat lover), but they got ahead of me, so after a hesitation, I kept on driving. My girls were crying & yelling at me to stop, but I told them to just pray that God would send someone else along who would help. What the outcome was, I'll never know......poor baby, I hope that Heaven can forgive for that one, because I sure can't. I do use it as a reminder so that I DO stop & get involved, even if it seems inconvenient, scary, etc.....
post #13 of 18
I am so sorry you went through this and are now blaming yourself. It's not your fault, you did what you thought was right at the time.
Rest in peace little kitty and I hope your Mummy is safe.
post #14 of 18
Take all that guilt you are feeling and throw it out with the bathwater! It serves no purpose except to make you miserable. I have been rescuing a very long time, kittens and cats. It is not easy and you make mistakes. You don't dwell on the mistakes, you learn from them. Rest assured that any rescuer that I have come in contact with and have become friends with has also made mistakes early on. Yes, we feel horrible, because our human clunky fingers are no match for a momcat's care. But we do the best we can and we move forward, and the next kitten that arrives under our care fares better than the last. It is a learning process and a teaching process. If you see any post here on the boards where you fear someone is going to make the same mistakes as you did, then you speak out carefully and gently to save a tiny kitten. That is just the way of it~
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
I haven't been on the site for a few days and I just read the newest responses.
Thank you for being so helpful. I have been struggling back and forth
with it and I know it has gotten to an unhealthy point. My sister said too that just from how her dog
is when he smells something he wants, food left somewhere in grass, etc. and won't give up until he gets to find it, and will even try to go back the next day but she won't let him get it...that a predator would have found it most likely anyway whereever it was, crying or not. It is just hard the way nature
can be sometimes. I think that is hard to accept I guess. I do believe it was sick but it is hard to except how the mother cat knows and will leave
it because its chances of survival are not good. I know that is their way but
it is hard to think about. Like some of you said, those who rescue, some of you rescuing yourselves, experts, have made mistakes and
learn from them and can teach others as well. I just need to finally accept
it and move on because it is doing no good but to severely depress me by obsessing about the what ifs, should haves, could haves...
post #16 of 18
I understand exactly how you feel. It is hard not to feel guilt. I'm just trying to remember that these kittens are in a better place and everything happens for a reason. I know it is hard but we have eachother to rely on.
post #17 of 18
Please dont blame yourself. He's at peace now and in a better life. You did the best you could and at least, you made some part of his life good. He's with the angel cats now.
post #18 of 18
Cats are quite pragmatic, I think... when a mother cat has to choose to abandon one sick kitten in order to avoid its illness spreading to the rest of the litter, or to ensure that the others will have enough to eat in times of limited resources, she is making the best choice she can make. A feral cat doesn't know that humans can help her; she doesn't have the resources a human with a sick baby would have.

So she makes the only choice she can make... let one kitten die in an attempt to save the rest. It's a hard choice to make; but I think cats, with their strong instincts dictating such behavior, suffer less over it than a human would.

But the world of a cat is a harsh world; cats, especially ferals, are simply not civilized; that is part of their charm.

I believe, also, that an abandoned kitten probably suffers less than we might think... Dehydration (in the very young, at least) and hypothermia both tend towards painless loss of consciousness rather than a painful, lingering death. Loneliness, yes; and certainly discomfort... but it is a better death than most. Perhaps your presence--the warmth of your hands--even helped make that kitten's passing a little easier.
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