I can't stop crying!

bookworm1March 13, 2010

On Monday I let my cat Tuffy out and she never came back. I called and called for her because it was just not like her to not come when I call. On Wednesday, I found her dead body under my porch. I feel so guilty. She had a tooth infection and I just could not find the time to take her to the vet. I am also a full-time caregiver for my 88 year old Mum and could just never be able to get out of the house. Then we had so much snow, that also prevented me from getting out and leaving my Mum alone in the house. I try to never leave her alone but circumstances are such that I have no choice at times to go grocery shopping or something.I feel so so guilty. Tuffy would have been alive if I had just been able to make the time to get her to a vet. I feel angry that I always put my Mum's caregiving needs first at the expense of others including myself. I feel so torn up right now, I can't stop crying. Tuffy was just a beautiful cat who always followed me around and always came when I called her. She never walked, she was always running, always ready to have her head scratched. She would sit by me when I had a minute to myself or was with me watching as I helped my Mum. I miss her so, I just feel so empty without her even though I still have three other cats - her mum and two siblings. I feel so guilty,if only I had taken her to the vet she would still be with me. Please please if you have pets, please do not put off taking them to the vet even if they look fine and are eating and drinking just like Tuffy was until the very end. The heartbreak is just too much.

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Don't beat your self up, that won't bring your girl back. Sounds like you need some help in your life. It's wonderful that you are caring for your mom, but you won't be a good caregiver for her or your other cats if you don't get some time for youself. Contact your local senior center or visiting nurse's association to see if there's daycare available for your mom or a home aid program that she's eligible for. I know you're crying for your kitty but those tears are also likely from the level of stress you're bearing with the responsibility of your mom. Please seek out some help for both of you. It will get better.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 10:31AM
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Cynthia is right......it sounds like you're doing the best you can.

Also, if you live in a populated area, check to see if any grocery stores make deliveries and if there are any mobile vets. That way, you can save yourself some time and energy by using them.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 11:46AM
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My heart really aches for you, because I know the situation you are in. Been there. I have also lost a cat or two over the years because I was so busy doing something else, I didn't realise I had an emergency situation on my hands......and I also beat myself up over it. That is where you have to come to grips that hindsight is always sharper than foresight. You will grieve for your precious cat, but please forgive yourself. That's necessary to heal. What it boils down to is what annz said. The most one can ask of a human is the best they can do, and you did it.

Everyone has their own philosophy, but looking at misfortunes I second guess myself about after the fact, there are usually mitigating circumstances, one after the other, where what you would have normally done is nearly impossible. It's almost as if the cards had been dealt and you had little opportunity to play your hand any way but what you did.

I've done the elder care for nearly a decade, and you and I both know that the mother has to take precedence. You may not have a lot of options with your responsibilities toward her care. Sometimes there are no viable options for real help and rest. You must be exhausted, and the last thing you need is to suffer more with guilt. If you haven't already, call your area agency on aging and see if there isn't any way they can help lead you to some resources to give you a respite now and again. Hoping your path gets lighter.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 12:47PM
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It took courage for you to post this, I'm not sure if I could have done it. My heart aches for you and I hope you feel better soon. If your mother's condition is terminal, she may qualify for in-home hospice care. The service we had for my mother was so wonderful. The costs were paid by Medicare and insurance. They sent "sitters" so I could get out of the house for a couple of hours, they bathed her, changed the sheets on her bed, took care of her medical needs, etc. It does, indeed, sound like you need some help.
Look at it this way... by posting this you may have caused many, many kitty and dog owners to be jolted into getting proper care for their pets, thereby saving their lives.
God bless!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 1:04PM
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God bless you, I agree with all that you showed a lot of courage by posting. I agree, we tend to wonder if we should take them to the vet, if we are overreacting, if we are "being silly", etc etc. Always trust your gut, is a good idea.

But do cut yourself some slack. You put a human necessity first -- your own mother -- and you can't fault yourself for that. Elder care is very hard on the caregiver, and I also agree you should try to find some resources for help. As Vicki said above, they sometimes can send you some relief. I went through that with my own mother as well. It was years ago, but I never forgot how they would give me some releif just to run errands and get out of the house. You've had a lot on your plate, and I'm crossing my fingers for you and your mom.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 5:59PM
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I agree, you did what you could; been there, done that. Went into alot of debt, too. Please know many understand your situation.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 6:50PM
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Bookworm, others have said it better than I could, but please try to forgive yourself.

Cats are good at hiding illnesses, and it's often hard for us to tell how sick they are. Being small animals, they also tend to go downhill rather quickly.

You shared so much love with Tuffy during the time she was here, and gave her a much better life than most cats have. I know you're in pain, but try to remember that. She will always be with you in spirit.

From your profile it looks like this is your birthday, and I sincerely wish you all the best.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 11:10PM
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The grief and guilt you feel is understandable. Don't beat yourself up. You're in a difficult situation and I'm sure you give your cats much love and care. By posting, you may have saved another cat or dog by alerting an owner not to postpone. I hope you can find some relief in taking care of your mother.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 3:21AM
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Thank you all so much for the kind words. My Tuffy has been gone a whole week now. My Mum really misses her, because she was the life of the house. She had a really load miaow and was always maiowing having conversations with you, sitting next to you, asking for her treat, or a good scratch, or tearing through the house at night when she got the crazies as I call them. There was so much noise in the house when she was here, now it is so quiet. Even with her siblings and Mum - they are very placid, and barely say a mioaw. We will always miss her; she was just gone too soon and has left a huge void in our lives. Thank you again. Please never delay taking your furry friend to the vet even if it is a small thing.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 8:08PM
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Oh bless your heart, I'm so sorry. It's very hard with cats, bc they don't show pain. Clearly you loved Tuffy and didn't mean for this to happen.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 10:26PM
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