My cat passed away (Sweetie)
- My pet cat Sweetie passed away on May 25. Thanks to the ladies of
this group for all of your information. My cat had just a 28 day
stint of known illness and just 24 days with the heart diagnosis.
I was too upset to write before today.
To summarize...in case somoene wants to hear all these details or if
it helps someone else...
My cat was a 10.5 year old British Shorthair who has always been a
lazy cat, not much energy and not ever very playful. She was very
sweet. Sadly, after my babies were born she never warmed up to
babies or children, so she was just 'my cat' and my kids were not
close with her (she was a skiddish cat). She was always said to be
totally healthy (now we know she had a congenital heart problem.)
19 months ago she began having trouble jumping up onto the bed. It
was odd. The vet didn't diagnose anything after xray, said no
arthritis, blood tests were normal. He said she was overweight and
should be put on a diet and the fatness was making her not jump
well. So we did that (diet). Hindsight tells me this was the start
of her weakness due to her heart condition (diagnosed last month).
Despite losing 2 lbs. on the diet over this time and keeping it off,
she still had trouble jumping up and got even more sedentary.
In the last 4 months or so she got more mellow. She was no longer
afriad of my children and she'd do things like when I walked close
to her she'd not run away (which was her typical behavior). She also
would not leave the bed if by accident I nudged her with my foot
(which she used to do in the past). About twice per week she'd do a
terrible meow at the bottom of the stairs at night after we went to
bed. I would have to go and talk to her to motivate her to come up
the stairs, usually in 2-3 spurts not just one run. I now realize
all of this was her getting more weak and not having the same
gumption to either climb the stairs.
Then she stopped eating. Due to all 4 family members being in charge
of feeding her dry food we didn't realize she went 4 days without
eating. The vet did not diagnose anything on the first visit on a
Friday. On the Monday after a recheck was done, and a chest xray was
performed, she was diagnosed with low temperature adn high calcium
blood level and fluid in the lungs. Diagnosis was CHF with Feline
hypertropic cardiomyopathy. The vet gave her 4 days to live due to
the non-eating. He did NOT tell me about hand feeding.
It was then that someone on an art chat list said I should join this
list. I didn't know such a group existed. I was in shock over this
new diagnosis and wasn't ready to let go or give up. Based on your
information I began hand feeding her. After two times, she was
eating on her own again. She was put on Salix.
She had rechecks and got better and better. In no time she was up to
eating 1 can of wet food per day. She was acting 95% of her normal
self and the fluid was almost all out of her lungs (seen on repeat
xray). She was still being picky and refused certain foods and
refused the old standby dry Iams food. My vet proclaimed on day 21
that he just could not believe how well she was doing. At that point
she was also on a heart med. He did say that the fluid would recur
and that this would kill her in the end, but who knows when that
However on day 22 (the next day) she began eating less and less.
This went on with her being picky of what flavor she did want or
didn't want. I had all kinds of flavors of canned food open at once,
tempting her with this and that, baby food again, nothing was
Finally on by the night of day 24 she ate her last bite by herself.
On day 24 night and days 25 and 26 I could not even hand feed her.
She began hiding out in strange places in the house. She was no
longer purring and not acting happy. She was weak and not herself.
She was getting weak yet was very strong and would not allow me to
hand feed her. She bit me, even. I couldn't give her the Salix or
heart med in the last 2 days. A recheck on day 27 didn't look good
at all. On that day the vet considered trying a totally different
course of heart meds. Before trying that he said an ultrasound was
The ultrasound showed fluid in the lungs and solid mass. There was
only lung space the size of a large walnut getting air. Her left
ventricle was as big as a large pea, when it should have been 5-6
times larger, he said. The heart was VERY enlarged. The vet said
that new meds would not work. She was dying, he thought.
I really felt she was suffering. We discussed how she may die. He
said that some cats get frantic when gasping for air and run around
and panic. Ohters gasp for air for hours and appear to suffer, while
others go quietly. I could not deal with the idea of any suffering
and gasping for breath. At that point she was wheezing even on the
inhale, already wheezing on the exhale and she could barely
purr/would not purr when petted.
I took her home and really spent a lot of time with her. It was hard
as she didn't want to be with me like in those first days when she'd
sit on my lap for an hour and purr while I petted her. She kept
going to hide from us. She was very weak. Her water intake was low
and she was urinating only 2x per day. She was not stooling.
The next day I phoned the vet about putting her to sleep. I felt
this was the most humane thing I could do for her. I said my
goodbye's. I really was worried about making that decision. I was
with her when she was put to sleep. I could not believe that after
just a few seconds she passed away, literally, just a few seconds. I
didn't even realize that it had happened so fast, I was still
petting her and talking to her to comfort her, when I realized she
was alrady gone. It was very humane and just so quick. The vet said
he hadn't seen a cat pass on so quickly before, after just a couple
of drops of medication. He said she really was hanging on by a
thread, but he didn't know how bad it was until he saw how little
was needed to put her to rest.
I didn't want my boys to know that such as thing as euthanasia even
exists, they are too young, in my opinion.
I brought her home. She was wrapped in a baby blanket that was my
son's. We buried her together as a family. The children picked the
spot, right in the back yard under a tree, they wanted her to be in
the shade. The boys made a special grave with a big flat rock on
top, to protect from coyotes digging her up (which the vet said they
do in this town--UGH!). We also each said something special about
what we loved about Sweetie before we filled in the grave.
I had a really hard time with mourning her loss. I was not prepared
for my boys to be so upset. I figured since she never did play with
them that they would not miss her. I went through a lot with them
including my just turned 6 year old saying he wanted to kill himself
to be with her in Heaven right now. Now I realized they did love her
and loved having her as a pet and going on vacations with her in the
car for long drives even if she didn't want to sit in their laps or
play with them.
I want to thank all of you for your work and fellowship to others
whose pet cats have a heart condition. What I learned here through
chat and also the files section and the links to websites helped us
have a full 28 days with her. If I had not intervened with you
ladies, the vet said she would have died by day 7, because she had
already gone so long with no solid foods. The hand feeding and the
different feeding techniques helped us have 28 days with her with us
knowing she was sick. This time helped me get used to the idea that
she was in the dying process. We all had a lot more time with her
because of that, we made the time to be home and to spend a lot of
time talking to her and petting her. I really appreciate that extra
Due to my children being so upset I decided to adopt a kitten now
rather than at the end of the summer. I originally figured that a
few months without a pet cat may be good for ME or would make for an
easy summer. However I realized that what my boys needed was a new
pet to focus positive energy on. This time around rather than an
expensive purebred we are going to adopt rescue kittens who need
loving homes. Yes, I said kittens--plural. The rescue volunteer
talked me into two kittens not just one, so they will have each
other to play with. The first kitten will be ready to pick up in 1
to 1.5 weeks. We are waiting for vet clearance on the health of
other kittens before we pick a second one which will be ready in 3
weeks. I guess we will have a summer project ahead of us, getting
used to living with two kittens, playing with kittens, and loving
So anyway, thank you everyone for your help. I don't know what else
to say to express my gratitude.
(And now writing this has me crying all over again...)
If you want to see a photo of Sweetie, I put one on my blog, here:
Have a nice night everyone,
I am so sorry for the passing of Sweetie. What a hard decision you had to make but I am sure you did what was best for her. It is terrible to see our babies in distress or pain. I am very glad to hear that you are getting two shelter cats! Sweetie's death has saved two kittens' lives! Most kitties really do so well with friends. Two kittens in your house should be a lot of fun and I am sure your family is going to love them! Again, I am sorry to hear of Sweetie's passing.
Leah and her cats
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