I feel horrible about the time leading up to my cat's death. She was 15-16, and we'd always been so close. She was my baby. I referred to her and my son (now two years old) as brother and sister. My kitty used to sleep with me every night, and she would lay on my stomach and purr and claw the blanket while I petted her. She used to always lay on my son while he was sleeping. If I was upset and shouting at someone, she would bite me to calm me down. She was really special. She was indoor/outdoor and would roam around as she pleased. She did enjoy her independence, but she and I were always close, and she loved when I would pet her.
The last year, my cat had some health issues. She had really bad diarrhea and would go all over the house. The vet wasn't much help, but I did find information on IBD and eventually put my cat on a raw food diet. It helped at first, but she quickly went back to the constant diarrhea. I wanted to find more info about what I could do to help, but I was busy and caught up and never got around to it until her final night when I knew something was wrong. I read about corticosteroids and it sounded somewhat familiar, but I don't understand why I didn't really remember about them and take her to a different vet to get a prescription. If she survived, I was going to take her to the vet the next day to get her started. I feel guilty that I could have made her life longer and more bearable. And I even feel guilty that I caused the IBD by giving my cat different wet foods that I wanted her to enjoy in her old age. The problem started after that.
In the few days leading up to her death, she seemed to know and showed signs she was dying. She barely ate the couple days before, and her diarrhea had been a weird green color (when it was normally yellow). She also wanted to be in the main part of the house where everyone else and all the dogs were.
I also feel guilty that my cat may have died from having fleas. She would get them often and attack herself (making herself bleed). I would try to give her frequent baths to get rid of them, but I hadn't given her a bath in a couple months. She wasn't scratching and hadn't bitten herself in a while, so I didn't think too much of it, but her last night, I saw blood on her and knew I needed to bathe her. She had a lot of fleas. She was weak, and I could see she'd lost a lot of blood during the bath.
Writing all this, I feel even more horrible about the ways I may have caused her death or helped to improve/prolong her life. But what I feel especially bad about is how I treated my cat in the months and days leading to her death. She was my baby, and I loved her so so much. But I'd become very impatient with her in many ways, whether it was her diarrhea or tearing threads out of my comforter or clothes the few times she came in my room to cuddle and claw me. I stopped letting her in my room much because she would go all over the place, and I kept the door shut (also to keep my son in). I would often pass my cat and just say I'll feed you soon baby. It would take about ten minutes to prepare her food, so I viewed it as a chore.
Not too long ago, I realized I should pet her when I see her, and I did a few times. But I can't remember the last time my baby slept with me. I can't remember the last time I laid her on my stomach and petted her. I can barely remember the recent times I showed her love. I feel like I'd only pet her for ten seconds before moving on to other things. Unfortunately, I can remember all the times I scolded and yelled at her, and it kills me.
Even though I knew something was wrong, it was like I took her for granted and didn't understand the urgency of giving her love and affection. On her last night after I bathed her, I did hold her in a towel for 20-30 minutes, and I pet her down with some kitty wipes while she was resting. I put her on a big pillow outside my room with her food, but now I don't understand why I didn't bring her in my room to sleep with and cuddle me, or why I didn't shut the garage door all the way so she couldn't get out. It had just become so normal for me to exclude her because of the diarrhea, and I think I didn't want her to get blood in my bed. But it just doesn't make sense to me right now why I didn't bring her in to spend the night with me.
I feel bad that we were out of milk, so I couldn't give her any that night. And for some stupid reason, I couldn't find the tuna she loved to give her to enjoy. The next day, her last day, I kept looking for her and calling her. I'd found the tuna. I couldn't find her anywhere and knew something was wrong. The next morning when I still didn't see her, I just knew she must've died. That's when my neighbor knocked on the door and said she died in their backyard the night before. I wonder if she was too weak to respond to my calls and come back home. I ran and picked her up without hesitation and held her for an hour and then spent the day cleaning up and spending time with and petting her body. We buried her that night.
I've been extremely depressed and guilt-ridden the last few days since it happened, and there's only so much people or the internet can say to help. I've barely stopped crying. I'm not very functional. I haven't been able to get any work done. I feel like a horrible person for so many reasons... For not doing more to help my baby's health and life, for not giving her more love and attention lately, for scolding her, and for not smothering her with love in her last few days. I even feel terrible I didn't knock on my neighbor's door to ask if she was there because I knew she wasn't okay. Maybe I wouldn't feel so bad about neglecting my baby the last couple months if I could've held and comforted her in her last hours. I even go so far as to think that she may have died because she gave up thinking I didn't care.
I've basically been a single mom these last several months, and I neglected my cat for my son. Now, I keep thinking, it would be so nice to have my baby lying here with us and cuddling us, I wish I could pet her. Why wouldn't I have wanted her here? Why wouldn't I have left the door open for her or let her in every morning and bring her in to cuddle with us in bed? Why didn't I spend ten minutes here or there just petting and enjoying her? The diarrhea means nothing now, and I feel like I have so much time to pet her now. I constantly find myself wanting to cuddle and love her when it barely crossed my mind the last couple months.
I have so many pictures/videos/memories from the past, but I know it's been a good couple months since we had a loving cuddle in bed like we used to enjoy so often. It kills me inside, and I don't know how to live with the guilt. I loved her so much, but I got so caught up with life that I didn't give her the attention and love that she needed and deserved. I can't make sense of it now, but I know I just felt so busy and got in a habit of passing by my cat. I took her for granted. Even knowing something was wrong the last few days, I didn't spend the time cuddling her like I should have.
If I had her now, I would love her so much, pet her all the time, let her in my room even if she went to the bathroom everywhere. But now she's gone forever, and I will never be able to make it up to her or to cuddle her again.
I've been trying to find all different types of info online to comfort me. I'm trying to block the guilty thoughts out of my head, but it's hard when I feel horrible about so many things. I just wish I could know that my cat knew I still loved her, even though I didn't have much time for her and scolded her. I wish I could know that she didn't feel abandoned and didn't give up. I wish I could do all those things that may have saved and improved her life. But really I just wish I'd gotten to love her these last few months and in her last hours and that I could love her now when it's all I can think about every second of the day.