Having a hard time dealing with guilt right now.

Dynheart

Member
Oct 31, 2017
580
So my best buddy, Nobaru, past away. He was a cat, barely made it to 15 years old. It's been about a month and a half since his passing. Intestinal cancer of the lymphoma variety is what took him. I asked the vet is stress can trigger cancer cells a week prior to his passing, and she told my wife and I that while not scientifically proven, there's been studies to support such claims.

I preface with all of that because my wife and I have been destroyed with guilt with that knowledge. Back in Dec, 2017, Nobaru developed a cough. It went away, came back, away, back, you get the point. It persisted. He loved to eat Christmas trees, and he was coughing up a lot of pine needles, so we chalked it up to that. It went away, but came back in Feb '18, and persisted into March '18. We took him to a vet, who quickly diagnosed him with heart disease. This dude put him on lasix for damned near 6 months; at max dosage. As the cough went away, permanently (about 2 months into the treatment), we continued to let the vet treat him. Nobaru became seriously dehydrated, lost his back teeth, and wouldn't eat! This vet said he was fine, and his heart murmur was worse, and wanted to raise his dosage.

We switched vets.

Although the new vets, who specialized in cats, said the other vet was basically a hack, they said they had their work cut out for them. Dangerously dehydrated, not pooping, not eating...nothing (oh, no heart murmur, and no heart disease neither). We spent lot of cash to nurse our baby back to health, and in Oct, 2018, he was well enough to eat, poop, all of it. Then November hit, day before Thanksgiving, he was diagnosed with Cancer. Vet gave him 2 weeks. The sister clinic told us to try a steroid and chemo treatment, it may work (we didn't do any surgeries, he was too old, and didn't want to put him through that). We tried that, he lived to May of 2019.

I do not know why I told the whole damned story, but we feel like we mis-handled the train wreck, which lead to his death. The guilt is killing us. I know we'll get over it eventually, but I felt like perhaps getting this off my chest somewhere other that my wife who is also feeling the same would help (we just dwell in what ifs, it makes it worse). Who knows.

I know some people will think "it's just an animal." Yea, maybe, but my wife and I cannot conceive, so Nobaru was the closest we had to raising a child that we had together.

It hurts.
 

uzipukki

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,135
So sorry for your loss! But there’s no point in blaming yourself. He was an old cat and you guys gave him a good life!
 
Oct 28, 2017
1,829
Sweden
Very sorry for your loss OP, you couldnt have known that about the first vet, I mean we expect vets to know what they're doing soo... I don't know if thats really something to blame yourself for. It honestly sounds like you did all that you could reasonably do, it just wasnt to be. If anything your decision to switch vets seems to have extended his life.
 

dean_rcg

Member
Oct 27, 2017
979
Condolences, losing a pet is horrendous, the best way to cope is to get another and give them a happy, safe home and plenty of love.
 

Fliesen

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,488
I know some people will think "it's just an animal." Yea, maybe, but my wife and I cannot conceive, so Nobaru was the closest we had to raising a child that we had together.
It's never "just an animal" - you shared over 5.000 days of your life with that animal, it's a member of your family.

Sorry for your loss, OP - but 15 is a decently high age for a cat and the cancer could very much be unrelated to the entire 'cough' / 'heart disease' thing - and it likely is. The older cats (and humans...) get, the higher the chance to develop some kind of cancer.

And all you did was trying to provide your cat with the best treatment for what turned out to be a misdiagnosis, which isn't your fault.
 

Jill Sandwich

Member
Oct 25, 2017
562
No Nobaru is not just an animal, he was a part of your family and losing a pet really hurts. It sounds like you did the best you could with the information you were given. Even if the first vet was giving bad advice, you loved him and wanted the best for him. You did a great job. Don't be hard on yourself, let yourself grieve and remember the fun times.
 
Oct 25, 2017
10,196
Losing a pet isn’t easy, and I’m sorry. This isn’t your fault though. You did what you could and it sounds like your cat lived a long and happy life.
 

danmaku

Member
Nov 5, 2017
1,628
It's normal to feel guilty, but you did everything you could. You had no way to know the first vet was wrong, and you made the right decision to switch vet. Any more than that would've required knowledge you didn't have and you weren't supposed to have.

Also, get another cat. There are so many out there that need a home and you and your wife are good pet owners.
 

andymoogle

Member
Oct 27, 2017
955
First of all, I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a pet is terrible.

It's not your fault. 15 years is a long life for a cat. I'm sure you loved him and gave him a great life. I would trust any vet as well. It's impossible to know that it was a hack. Besides, you can't even know for sure that the two issues were related. There is no reason for you to blame yourself. Even if it's because of the first vet, it still wouldn't be your fault. It's that vet's fault if anything. Just like it would be a doctor's fault for misdiagnosing a human.

Also, fuck people who say "it's just an animal". Animals can be family just like a person.
 
OP
OP
Dynheart

Dynheart

Member
Oct 31, 2017
580
Thanks all.

As for the "it's just an animal" part, I only typed that because I have had that said to me once already. To my face. I was just getting that out of the way before it even potentially became a thing. My wife and I love animals, but Nobaru was super special because of our current circumstance (already stated in the OP). It felt like a double gut punch.
 
Oct 27, 2017
6,361
Bandung Indonesia
Don't blame yourself OP, and this goes for your wife too. I'm sure you two have done everything that you could for him, and I'm sure he knew that too. I'm sure Nobaru loved the two of you as much as you two loved him.

Chin up.
 

Deffers

Member
Mar 4, 2018
1,201
You put your trust in the first vet, and when you realized that he shouldn't be trusted from your limited medical understanding of feline physiology, you went to get a second opinion. I'm not sure I would have done any better. Nobaru wasn't just an animal, and the whole way through you paid care and attention to his condition such that you can recall what got you worried. You did a good job.
 

Necromanti

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,648
It sounds to me like you did everything to the best of your ability with Nobaru, so the hard part is learning to forgive yourself for something that wasn't your fault. Feeling like you let your pet down is common when you have to put them to sleep. You gave him a long life (as 15 years for a cat is nothing to sneeze at), which is especially impressive given his heart disease and eventual cancer diagnosis (which I sincerely doubt would have been very different had things gone differently).
 

Jiminy

Avenger
Mar 29, 2018
2,311
That's tragic, man. Sorry to hear it.

But you gave him a good life - and the real guilt is on that vet who fucked up his diagnosis so you would give him more money.

All you did was take the vet's advice. You literally did the right thing, end to end, for the cat. You weren't to know the advice was quackery and given in bad faith.

There are plenty of things to be guilty about which are all-negative. Without any positive angle like "we took good care of him for years". People fuck up in way worse ways, that actively ruin the lives of others, with absolutely no positive impact preceding. I guarantee anyone who reads this thread title and is dealing with severe guilt about something (even from years, maybe decades ago), will have their heart rush back into their throat as they enter the thread - only to read about someone who took great care of a cat but then had a shitty vet fuck them around.

Really don't sweat it. The cat knew you loved it.
 
OP
OP
Dynheart

Dynheart

Member
Oct 31, 2017
580


A picture of Nobaru with a big old photobucket icon across his face. Thought I would share.

EDIT: Why I also wanted to make a thread, to get perspective. Your posts help. With us just being at home dwelling and crying, it's hard to think clearly. /shrug I'm sure everyone here knows what I'm talking about.
 

Binabik15

Member
Oct 28, 2017
998
OP, I feel you. But try not to beat yourself up too much.

I lost my cat to something that could've been easily corrected in humans (dissection of the oesophagus). We thought it was another flare up of the liver disease she developed a few months earlier, so I wrapped her in a blanket and force fed her nutrition gel for a couple of days before she got the updated diagnosis. I'm a physician, so I asked the vet to inject the rest of the barbiturate she was put down with myself, because that horrible person called her "him" several times and I decided that if we decided to ease her pain that I should be the murderer and carry that decision out. Not someone not even caring enough to remember the gender when corrected. Not even all of my siblings know that, but I'm glad I did it, even if still destroys me with guilt.

Then I took a box for wine bottles, lined it with blankets, sprayed it with my deodorant so it'd smell like me and dug a hole. I wanted to shroud her in the shirt I was wearing, but the rest of the family told me to hang on to it instead.

I rubbed ash into the scratches she gave me while struggling against the - now revraled as unnecessary and maybe even painful - feeding in the hope they'd last. Didn't work, but I would've deserved it. I have other scratch scars, though, so at least that's something.

Our neighbour's tomcat died from a ruptured spleen, because the local vet had no blood for a transfusion. Shit sucks.
 

thendless

Member
Oct 28, 2017
60
I too lost my 15 year old buddy a couple of years ago. As cats get older you kinda start to expect them to start developing health problems, usually related to kidney failure, but in reality nothing can prepare you for that event. In the end it was liver cancer that got her. I did everything in my power to make her life comfortable and when the time come she died in my arms. I cried like I never cried before or have, since,

Afterwards I felt somewhat guilty of actually making her go through so much in that short period.

it's only natural that you'd mourn the loss of your friend. Give it time and get a new kitty.
 

Serule

Member
Oct 25, 2017
275
It sucks, but don’t beat yourself up over it. Once pets get to a certain age problems just start piling up. You can treat some problems, and alleviate some symptoms, but something will eventually get them. It’s sad, but no amount of love, money or diligence can make them live forever. You did far more for him than most owners would have, and gave him a good home for many years.
 

Famassu

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,966
You did all you could and 15 years is pretty old for a cat. While stress can possibly increase the risk of cancer, it's so hard to say that it's definitely the stress that caused it or that if he hadn't been stressed, he wouldn't have gotten cancer, so it's not really something you should be blaming yourselves over. It could have been the stress, it could have been his old age (more likely), it could have been air pollution, it could have been a combination of all above & other things.
 

P-Bo

Member
Jun 17, 2019
147
Thanks all.

As for the "it's just an animal" part, I only typed that because I have had that said to me once already. To my face. I was just getting that out of the way before it even potentially became a thing. My wife and I love animals, but Nobaru was super special because of our current circumstance (already stated in the OP). It felt like a double gut punch.
Fuck the person who told you that. When I'm away from home, I'm constantly thinking about my boy--he's one of the few lights in my life right now. Driving home, my heart freezes whenever I see a lifeless one by the roadside.

They are never just animals--they are a part of us, just like the people that make an impression on our lives.

I am very sorry for the loss you two are going through--I'm certain Nobaru was happy with the fantastic life you both gave him.
 

Atisha

Member
Nov 28, 2017
910
Your grief, the apprehension of loss, the second guessing of conduct, all these things indicate that you took your guardianship seriously and loved your furry friend, and that is the very best of care.
 

ty_hot

Member
Dec 14, 2017
2,967
Sorry for your loss, you did what seemed right at all times so there is no reason to blame yourselves. The doc expected few weeks and he ended up living for some months, surely Nobaru enjoyed your company and is grateful for all the years you both cared for him.
 

dred

Member
Oct 27, 2017
779
I'm sorry for your loss, but just know that you did more for your cat than 99% of pet owners would. I know it doesn't seem like it right now but you have nothing to feel guilty about, you went above and beyond to do what you thought was best. No one can predict the future, you made the best decisions available to you based on the information you had at the time. I hope you and your wife can find some peace.
 

Messofanego

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,333
UK
You did everything you could, you two shouldn't blame yourself. Nobaru lived a long, full, and happy life thanks to you two so take comfort in that :)
 
OP
OP
Dynheart

Dynheart

Member
Oct 31, 2017
580
Thank you all for your kind words.

I think it's more of the, " if we took him to the other vet first" or, "got him checked the first wave, not the second wave, with his cough" or, "maybe we let the first vet treat him too long with the lasix", that has been eating us alive.

Considering both of our upbringing, loss isn't something we are accustomed to (both in our 40s). This is an emotion we are not dealing well with atm, in my opinion. That's why I came here, looked for other methods of helping it, I guess? My wife deals in other ways. Pinterest cat pics etc. All cats that look like Nobaru.
 

Blackjaw

Member
Nov 21, 2017
290
3 years ago my cat had a small seizure on thanksgiving day. He was only 9 years old and was perfectly fine after, no signs that anything happened....we were scared and thought it was a fluke so we ignored it.

He died less than a month later and that guilt that I didn’t get my little dude the help he might’ve needed will live with me forever.
 

Jiminy

Avenger
Mar 29, 2018
2,311
Thank you all for your kind words.

I think it's more of the, " if we took him to the other vet first" or, "got him checked the first wave, not the second wave, with his cough" or, "maybe we let the first vet treat him too long with the lasix", that has been eating us alive.

Considering both of our upbringing, loss isn't something we are accustomed to (both in our 40s). This is an emotion we are not dealing well with atm, in my opinion. That's why I came here, looked for other methods of helping it, I guess? My wife deals in other ways. Pinterest cat pics etc. All cats that look like Nobaru.
The only thing you can control is the present.

The past is done.

The future is out of your control.

You did what seemed completely reasonable and sound at the time, and put back in that situation you'd probably do it again.

Do not sweat this.
 

absolutbro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,620
I'm sorry for your loss OP. I know it probably doesn't help to hear that, it doesn't ever really help me either.

I lost my last two dogs to cancer.

Luke was a big goofy hound dog with mismatched eyes, one blue one brown. He was always wagging his tail and was just the happiest dog you could ever know. He loved to sit with people, chase balls and sleep. He developed a cough where he would hack for a few minutes until he gagged. It was horrible. We took him to the vet and after throat swabs, chest x-rays and blood tests were given a diagnosis of allergies. We put him on an inhaler and after a few months when things didn't get better we tried another vet. We were given an infection diagnosis, but there was no specific infection just 'give him these antibiotics". We went to a third vet and they told us it was allergies again. This went on for over a year, the inhaler, the meds, the hacking and gagging. Eventually our first vet suggested an ultrasound and they found it: a mass in one of his lungs. We scheduled surgery and when the surgeon was doing a quick look they found something else: a second and completely unrelated tumor in his ear. So we scheduled both surgeries and eventually my dog came home completely deaf in one ear and missing part of his lung. We did the chemo and he was fine at first, but eventually a different cough came on: he was leaking fluid into his heart cavity. Heart failure. We'll never really know if it was the chemo or just age (he was almost 10 at this point and for a pure bred big boy, that can be old), but shortly after finishing chemo we had the vet come to the house and put him to sleep. It was a serious of horrible decisions I had to make, and in the end I wonder if we didn't make things worse by treating with chemo after he'd had the mass, untreated, for a year without it killing him.

When I was ready I got Fiona:



She was a stray who despite being a mix of cane corso mastiff, great dane and shar pei, weighed only 35 pounds when they found her. She was basically just skin and bones. She had a little fatty deposit right on top of her head like a power button and it was the only fat on her. We adopted her and she was the sweetest dog ever. Not a mean bone in her body. She got along great when we adopted two more dogs (one of which was another hound we would lose to leukemia a few years after rescuing him), she got along great with my nieces and nephew, she got along great with literally everyone that ever met her. She was my closest and greatest companion and friend. Every night she would hop on my bed and fall asleep while I was on the computer. When I would get up to go brush my teeth or whatever, she would roll onto her back and put her feet in the air and curl her little toes. She was an 85 pound lap dog who followed me everywhere, wanted kisses when I got home from work, and just loved everything and all of life. She even put up with my shenanigans with her:






She had an accident in the house one day, and the puddle was pink. We immediately took her to the vet and they wanted to give her antibiotics (she had a history of UTIs because of a butcher of a spay job by some hack South Carolina vet), but we said no let's do an ultrasound. It didn't take long to find: transitional cell carcinoma in her urethral wall. It's untreatable. It was a death sentence, and usually dogs lived about a year after diagnosis. BUT, normally it's not found until a dog can't pee anymore at all, and we found it early! Within a week she was having cyberknife surgery (since normal surgery wasn't an option because of the type and location of the tumor). We went to another state, stayed in a hotel for three days and she went to the vet daily. Through it all she never stopped being wonderful.



We waited a week or two between the cyberknife and starting chemo (as recommended by the oncologist). I knew this cancer wasn't one that would go away, but we were going to fight it as long as she was able to. She took chemo like a champ. No sickness, no weakness, no tiredness, not more than normal anyway, she was a dog that loved to sleep





I was told that untreated, on average, she would live another year. We gave her the best treatment we could. She went to just another routine chemo appointment and everything went well. No change in tumor size, nothing. A week later, she was up all night squatting, leaving tiny, tiny yellow puddles. We took her to the vet and they did another ultrasound: her bladder was the size of a football, she couldn't pee. We moved her to the specialist after they managed to drain her bladder somewhat and make her comfortable, but in the end there was nothing we could do. The oncologist offered to put a stent into her urethra and give her time, but told me with the sudden rapid progression of her cancer that it would still be a matter of weeks, not months before the cancer collapsed the stent. I took her home. I put her in her favorite spot and I called the vet. I have never in my entire life cried as hard as when I felt her take her last breath. I texted my family what had happened, and then shut off my phone. I didn't leave my room except when necessary for a week. I wasn't sure how to go on without her, not just a dog, but MY dog. It's probably not an exaggeration to say without some folks here in the MafiEra community, I might have drunk myself to death or something. To this day, nearly two months later, I have not washed the blanket she used to sleep on because it still smells like her and I cannot bring myself to lose that. I still turn around from my desk sometimes expecting her to put her (not actually) little toes in the air, rest my face on her tummy and tell her she's a good girl. I miss her every single day. I said it when I lost her and I will say it again now: it's not okay. It will never be okay again. I'm tearing up and trying not to sob in the office right now.

We gave her the absolute best treatment money could buy, debt I will pay off for years to come I'm sure, and we lost her not at a year, but within 5 months. What's most important OP, is that you gave your cat as many days filled with love and happiness as you possibly could. There are no guarantees in this world, and even if you had gotten the right diagnosis on day 1 there is no saying what difference it would have made, if any. 15 years old is a good old age for a cat, a good old age filled with love and warmth and caring. There's nothing more important you can do for them than that. And you did. When you're ready, whether that's a week, a month or years from now if ever, you'll find another soul in need and love them. Not the same way, it's never the same. But you'll love them and that's all that matters. I have a new dog, probably sooner than I intended but our one surviving dog of three was in full blown depression; in 7 years he had never been alone. So we adopted Otis P. Spudmeyer:



(P is short for Potatohead, because his noggin is like a bowling ball)

He's the goodest of good boys. He loves to cuddle, he loves to play, he loves to zoom. He has no concept of personal space and wants to be around you or on your lap at all times. I love him dearly, and my life is better for him. But that doesn't mean I don't miss my sweetest girl, with a power button on her head and more neck wrinkles than any dog I'd ever loved before:



I know none of this lessens the pain OP. They say time does, but that's a lie. Time just makes it easier to cope with the pain that never goes away. I'm rambling at this point, so all I have left is Irving Townsend:

“We who choose to surround ourselves
with lives even more temporary than our
own, live within a fragile circle;
easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps,
we would still live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only
certain immortality, never fully
understanding the necessary plan.”


Good luck OP.