Cardi is Dying

This is just a quick update before we take her to the vet for euthanasia. She has taken a turn for the worse. I had booked in a vet’s visit today at midday to put her to sleep because she was demonstrating signs of leaving us yesterday. She was more passive than usual. She spent long hours in a crouched position with head hanging and on one occasion she was breathing heavily and her neck was craned forward. That was the moment when I rang the vet.

Cardi

She had been quite OK before that in many ways. She started to eat less and then stopped. I think the steroid injection that had perked her up had worn off.

She spent a peaceful night on my partner’s bed. At about 7 am, she jumped off and had a coughing/vomiting fit for a short while and then went under the bed where she lay down and breathed heavily then poorly. We thought that was the end. It was dreadful for her and us.

She got up and is now in a crouched position and passive. We are going to ring the vet as soon as they open at 8:30 am and try and get her in first thing to send her on her way to a better world and over the rainbow bridge.

It has been a restless night for us all. She has touched us and my partner is extremely distraught. And so am I. This is high stress.

I had wanted to go to the vet sooner. Perhaps I waited too long. It is hard to make a good decision.

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Cardi is Dying — 31 Comments

  1. I’m so sorry Michael, this is so sad for you and your partner and then you have the task of telling the old lady too.
    You are doing the right thing taking Cardi to the vets as early as possible today to set her free. Don’t feel bad thinking you waited too long, a steroid injection gives a false sense of improvement and she has had the best and most loving care ever from you, at the end of her life.
    I’ll be thinking about you all and grieving with you.
    x for her little furry head.

  2. You’re doing the right thing Michael. The seizures and difficulty breathing that come at the end when you have to handle death because the vet is closed are far worse than euthanasia. You and your partner have given her a good end to a long life. I’m just so sorry you have to go thru this.

    • Thanks Elisa for your kind words. She died peacefully with a beautiful vet helping her on her way and you know it is a relief that it is over and a release from this world.

  3. This is awfully sad and you must be almost in a state of shock just because you weren’t even expecting another cat to appear temporarily in your life. And now she’s gone. I had a similar experience although I will say it was much worse in terms of the details – what we did after the fact was to go and bury her in a lovely spot by the river. Of course being in London with the intention to move makes that a little different I guess. It counds like you got the timing just right actually. You were told clearly, so was Cardi, by her physical state so I’m sure she by the time she went she must have felt ready in as much as any living thing can feel ready.

    What will you do – cremate her? Give her to her owner or somehow keep some ashes for you and your partner? Can you bury her somewhere actually? Thats hard work but somehow the endless and hard digging (to over half a metre) helps a lot and it feels like you are still doing something for the one who passed. Did she aquire a favourite blanket or object during her short time with you? You must be distraught – I’m not even sure I should be talking about it.

    I really do hope you feel good about yourself though – you obviously must know that in that regard there is absolutely no question you did everything damn good I’d say. Everything you could no doubt. That doesn’t make loss any better but it’s obviously incredibly important with regard to not making it worse. She graced your life for a short period of time like some sort of little angel and no doubt she brought you some kind of deep and meaningful message and feeling that is now added to who you are – and in my opinion, for that you should feel very special and thankful if not honoured. It’s not normal for a person to be given the responsibility of helping another being out of this life, without any warning and without that person having asked for it – I’d say it sort of came your way. Because of who you are it became your job actually. Personally I’d feel very honoured because there probably aren’t any or many greater nor more profound responsibilities to be given. That’s pretty special Michael. Well done by the way and I hope you will have gained something really positive from it all. Perhaps you can make some hard decisions you couldn’t before or something like that – I know my experience with Mitsi (also a tabby lady) made able to decide when where I was going to go next – I was looking for a place to live at the time. She’s with you now in a way that is far more permanent than you can imagine probably. It’s like being given a new friend inside yourself or something. She looked like a real sweet lady and I bet she was as gentle as lovely as she looked from the photos you have presented to us.

    • Thanks for the support Marc. For right or wrong we asked our excellent veterinarian to cremate her for us and we took a memento, some of her whiskers which are in an envelope with the ashes of my previous cats. That is it. For me the only way to make a cremation meaningful, if the intention is to keep the ashes, is to personally supervise an individual cremation. They are a bit tricky to organise in the UK. So we decided on the vet dealing with it.

      She was a sweet girl cat, very pretty face.

      I have learnt a bit more about the time when a cat is dying and the signs. That is sad information but I guess useful. I consider death a part of life. It is the last thing we do in life. I don’t really see it as tragic etc. But I do feel terribly the loss of a companion animal.

      A long time ago I buried my first cat in my garden. I regret that. In the end I had my then girlfriend dig her up and had her remains cremated individually so I could keep her with me. I think that is the best way.

      She will be in our memories for the remainder of our lives. She has a presence still on the planet. Thanks again for the support Marc and from all the others. I want too, to thank the vets at White Hart Lane. They are superb. Caring, available, thoughtful and professional.

      • As I understand it you will not keep the ashes since you will not be able to supervise the cremation? I supposeif one is not there – there is no knowing what is happening but at the same time your vet sounds like the sort of person who is, as you already said, thoughtful, and would therefore see to it that everything be done properly. Thanks anyway, for pointing that out to me. It’s not something I ever thought about in any detail. Yes, you learned more about the last part of the journey. Perhaps one of the most important, special and personal parts of the journey. It is certainly not tragic, if only it might be for the ones left behind for various reasons, but death in of itself is far from tragic. Perhaps its one good thing we have on our side that we can actually rely on to help us out when we most need it. It always comes at the right time. Red lived a short life and understanding that it was the right time is a long and unclear as of yet, process for me. But I do know it was the right time, lets just say I haven’t yet understood it so peace does not rest in me as it does for him.

        I’ll just finish and say I hope you have a peaceful weekend one way or another and that there is no more difficulty nor decision making for you now – just a quiet space in time that allows you above all to feel calm. Thanks for sharing this with us. I know it must have been hard but I hope you are glad you did.

        • Yes, Marc. Unless you supervise the cremation and ensure that your cat is the only cat in the oven you can’t be sure that the ashes are the ashes of your cat. You have to be there at the oven to see her being put in and the burners turned on and so on.

          Thanks Marc. You are a gentleman. If and when your cats die of old age and illness you’ll sense when it is right to euthanise but it is very hard waiting for the moment. It is the best way. It is gentle and dignified. It is without pain and pure of heart. I feel relaxed and very sad, tearful.

  4. Have a restful day, and a sigh of relief that it is over. The sadness is so hard and will continue in waves for a long time. You are special people to have given Cardi the best of all worlds. RIP sweet Cardi. All that love doesn’t go anywhere. It stays with us here.

    • You know dw it I feel better because the responsibility was high and I was constantly worried about her suffering. Was she suffering? And so on. I was constantly vigilant. And as Ruth (Kattaddorra) said I’d know when. It was clear, very clear because she had difficulty breathing and she took up that classic distressed cat pose: crouched and head low, dozing for hours. She was breathing heavily and stopped eating. It seems the cancer affected her throat and lungs. I don’t know. It was bad and very upsetting for us. She just coped with difficulty.

      I am so grateful for a beautiful veterinary surgeon who understands. She is the best of the vets. It makes a big difference. And now I think of Cardi, her spirit is in the air and in my mind.

  5. Very sorry and very sad for you and your partner and for the old lady. Happy for Cardi that her trials are over and that she had so much love and care right up to and including her death. RIP Cardi. x

      • Don’t be too surprised to feel her jump on your bed for the next few days. Cats tend to find a way back to make sure their human companions are ok. I heard Dreyfuss and his big toenails scraping the bare floor for several nights after he passed.

        • RIP Cardi.
          Michael, thank you for sharing. Be comforted that she is at peace.
          Elise, thank you for your comment. I have had multiple experiences with pets that stay awhile and let me know of their presence. They, also, make me aware when they are going fpr good.

        • Yes, I sometimes hear a voice. On two occasions a year after my lady cat, Binnie, passed on, I woke up in the middle of the night and wandered where she was. I was panicky and had to find her. I got up and realised she had died a long time ago. I totally believed she was alive.

  6. I really feel for you Michael as I’ve had the experience and now I have a 13 year old with heart cond and overactive thyroid so we’re trying to get the meds right for her so costly but worth it maybe she will have another couple of yearsRIP Cardi

    • Hopefully she can be around longer than a couple of years. I’ve heard of cats living quite a long time with thyroid conditions – given the right special diet and care. I have often read of cats in this situation out living the estimations by a lot. They have come a long way in creating prescription diets that are very effective in keeping your cat healthy and within more reasonable ph ranges etc. Good luck to you and your 13 year old cat.

      • I second what Marc says, our cat Ebony had 3 more happy years after the vet told us she was living on borrowed time.
        She chose her own time to leave us and died peacefully aged 17.
        We just have to treasure every moment with our cats while we can as we are merely their caretakers on this earth.

  7. thanks for all your best wishes for Tiggy my sister had one with overacvive thyroid and lived another 5 years dont think he had the heart trouble though i shall just enjoy her for as long as she’s got. she is a real character always comes to see our visitors lol !!

  8. Michael:
    My deepest condolence to you & your, Cardie was a sweet cat with a very pretty face; her suffering is over & Michael is no longer watching Cardie suffer. She had lots of TLC from those that truly cared about her & for her.
    Very difficult to lose a loved one whether human or animal. Michael as mentioned before you have a special BIG heart that loves to care.
    Most sincerely,
    keenpetite
    Southeast Arizona
    Sorry I haven’t posted several days, 1/18/13 diagnosed with bronchitis almost pneumonia, long haul but better days ahead.

    • Poor you keenpetite. I hope you get better soon. Thanks for your support. It was a bruising time emotionally. Her last day was awful and I felt I had been hit over the head at the end of it. She is in a better place. I was worried at the end that she would suffer. It was a relief at the end. The fit/sneezing episode she had was unpleasant.

  9. Michael,
    I feel for you for all you have gone through, but I hope in time you will come to remember only the blessing of having Cardi in your life and how you were able to help her and her caretaker during a difficult time.
    It seems that Cardi rallied just before she died. For awhile it seemed she was getting better, but then the end came quickly. I have seen this in humans frequently. Sometime I’ll be working with someone in physical therapy who had been very ill for a long time, but suddenly are getting so much better. They may even be walking again. Everyone is very excited, because it seemed like they were going to die. But then they either slowly begin to decline again or even suddenly get worse and die within a few days. I was very close to one patient and just devastated by her death, losing some professional objectivity, I suppose, but sometimes you feel a connection with someone and you are just really pulling for them to regain their independence and go home. Instead she went home to The Lord.
    But looking back I now treasure that time I worked with her. That little bit of time when a person gets better right before they die is a special time of life. It’s like a last chance to really live before death takes it all away. I cherish the times I have shared that time with someone– glad that I made that time a little brighter. Though the physical therapy goals they were working toward all become meaningless, their joy in working toward and meeting some of those goals was not. Spending time talking with them, learning their stories– that was a privilege.
    You had that privilege with Cardi. You got to be a part of her last chance to truly live before death took it all away and you made that time the best it could have been. You can do no better thing in life than to ease another’s journey at the end. I see why hospice nurses like working in that field. I couldn’t do it all the time, but I’m glad for the times I’ve made the end of a person’s life better. You did that for Cardi.
    Ruth

    • Thanks a lot Ruth. I actually feel exactly the same about the experience. We made a difference to Cardi’s life at the end. We should be proud of that and pleased that Cardi had as good a time as she could have. She did look better at one time but there were signs like gurgling and sleeping more than usual and crouching with head low and so on. I was worried all the time and realistic. She appeared to me to be suffering during the last two days of her life. It was time. Miss her. She is with the Lord now and in a better place.

  10. I’m so sorry Michael for your loss and naturally I’m sorry I’ve not commented before now I’ve not looked at my emails until today 🙁

    In the end you have done absolutely the right thing for little Cardi. You are right though as devastating as it is death is a part of life and for our beloved companion animals euthanasia is the very last decent thing you can do for them. You know it deep down but it still doesn’t stop it from breaking your heart and it doesn’t matter how many times you have to do it you will always beat yourself up and ask the same questions ‘did I do it too soon?’ ‘should I have waited?’ ‘Should I have done it at all?’ You have these emotions and questions because you care and you feel her illness and passing so deeply.

    Your grief saddens us all because we have all experienced your thoughts and feelings at some time or other and know we will no doubt again at some point in the future; we all care you see.

    Take care and know Cardi is no longer in discomfort.

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