Still sad over sudden death of cat :(

techigirl78December 13, 2012

On Sunday, my 10 year old cat I have had since I adopted him at 11 passed away. I had been taking him to the vet for the 3 weeks prior and he had went 2 times. He was being treated for infection due to elevated white blood cell count, but vet did indicate a mass or issue on lung xray that likely needed ultrasound to provide clear diagnosis. However, it was recommended to go forward with antibiotics for infection first as that may resolve some of his other symptions particularly since his breathing was not labored.

Earlier this week, I went to my vet with all my questions and I think I'm content now with what happened. I know my vet was trying and in the end they knew my cat had lung cancer in a later stage, but they didn't expect his suddent death. They were shocked when they saw he had passed and went to ER.

So, my issue now is that I smoke. I know, I am working on quitting now. For less then 1 of the 9 years I had my cat I smoked in the house. The rest of the time I smoked in a ventilated 3 season room that is not attached via ventilation/door/windows to my house. Occassionally my cat came to the porch with me and was exposed to the room, but if I would smoked multiple windows and screen door would be open. My vet said these things just happen and that I take wonderful care of my cat and should not blame myself at all. But, lung cancer in cats may be caused by urban environments (I live in a city) and second hand smoke. So, I'm left with the guilt that the less than one year or so my cat was exposed regularly to my smoking may have killed him at 10 years old. It is very hard. My friends say that I shouldn't blame myself and that I stopped smoking around him years ago (actually I don't smoke around anyone or anything else but me). But, it is still hard.

I know some people may post and say that I'm awful. But, really, I never thought much of it. I guess part of me thought if it takes years to effect humans, then a year or less of second hand smoke for a cat or dog wouldn't likely cause a issue. My cat had not lived with the smoking for years except when I did it outside.

In the end, I know I'll never know. However, I loss the most awesome cat I ever had and thought I did it to him is horrible. A purebred bengal boy named kuku who walked on a leash, super cuddly, loved everyone, very outgoing, barely shed, and just all around the best cat/dog a person could ever share a life with.

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sad sad stories.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 5:12PM
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I don't think you should beat yourself up over your smoking contributing to your cat's death. I think your vet was right. When an animal dies too soon we try to find reasons. ...I'm sorry for your loss. I've lost many and know exactly how you feel.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 5:31PM
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Thank you. I know it gets easier over time, just the first few weeks is pretty hard. Regardless, I know this will be the kick in my butt I need to quit. So, I guess my cat is impacting my life one last time.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 6:02PM
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I am very sorry for your loss and I don't think your smoking could have caused your kitty's illness. It sounds like you don't have any other cats, but I bet if you did, they would be just fine. So don't beat yourself up, some cats are just more susceptible to certain illnesses, just like people.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 7:51PM
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You're like the third person who has recently lost a pet. Once again, I am very very sorry. It almost feels cliche telling you this, as I have already said it before so many times.

I do agree that your smoking habit was probably the reason your cat got lung cancer - but I am not blaming you, and I do not think you are a bad person. You knew it was a dangerous habit, but it is understandable that you thought you were only hurting yourself and not others. It is still really terrible that you lost your cat so soon, and I feel really bad for you. But the silver lining to this story could be that this was the eye-opening experience you really needed to finally kick the habit. I hope you do. Not just for others around you who have to inhale the second hand smoke, but for your own welfare too. You will have a much healthier life and think of all the money you will save! I wish you the best of luck, and I am really very sorry for your loss.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 7:55PM
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Two years ago I had four cats, now 2. Two died in past 2 years from cancer both between 10-11. One last year and the recent one. The last one was hard as well. She died of vaccine associated fibrosarcoma. A very bad cancer that some cats appear to develop from injections. I tried getting her treatment, but the oncologist really indicated not much hope and treatments would severely impact quality of life. So I waited until tumors were bad and she looked sad and I put her down. Go figure, my cat died in that case from the vaccines I thought were to keep her healthy.

I kind of expected people to say my recent cat's death was my fault as well. He lived with smoker for just under a year as I quit about 8-10 months after I got him and when I started again I never smoked inside. He did go on porch, but not so much when I smoked. He liked to lay out there and I just assumed 10 windows in 12 x12room was well ventilated. He was the only one of my cats who went out there cause he loved porch and back yard. I do not know where he lived first year either as I adopted him. So, if what I did to him didn't cause it, it definitely did not help.

What I wonder is lung cancer in cats in urban areas is much higher too. I was kind of curious if anyone had thoughts on that one. It puzzled me. Maybe cause cats usually are just indoor? He was indoor only cat except when he went out on harness in spring and summer.

My friend also said I should test my house for radon as cigarettes is horrible and radon is bad, but together the chances of lung cancer go through the roof at least for people. Now I am a little freaked about that one.

Like you said though. Live and learn. I need to quit smoking for myself. None of my other pets have been around smoke in 8+ years, so I hope they are all ok. With 4 senior pets still in my house, I just hope I do not kill anymore. Cause 2 in 2 years is enough.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 9:53PM
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We've lost 2 seniors in a 3 month period this year, and one other one is doing very poorly. We are probably looking at losing him before Christmas. It sucks when they are old and ill and there is not much you can do.
As for lung cancer in cats, there are studies that most cases seem to occur in cats who live in urban/polluted areas. I really doubt less than a year of cigarette smoke 9 years ago would cause lung cancer in a cat.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 10:36PM
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You will never know for sure if your smoking was the cause of his lung cancer. It seems unlikely to me that that was the only cause. But remember that you gave him a very good life, and obviously a lot of love. The gift that he is giving back to you, for this love, is the wake-up call to save your OWN life by quitting smoking. I once went to a therapist because I was so distraught about losing a pet, and she told me that when a pet dies, they send back all the love you have given them. She probably said it more eloquently, but that is what I remember and it really helped me.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 11:56PM
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Petra - I am sorry to hear your story. It sounds heartbreaking. I know I would be crushed. Senior pets are great, but it can be really hard at times.

I know the smoking did not help, but I was confused by the urban environment part. I guess in the end my cat was effected by tobacco and/or pollution in a way many are not. At least I was able to share 10 years with him. I know my whole family loved him dearly and we will never forget him.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 12:11AM
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You can't say that just because a cat's life is shorter than a human's that things like mutations of cells occur more quickly. They don't on a cellular level. I don't endorse smoking, it's a dirty and expensive habit, however, it's become politically correct to blame it for all health issues, like we'll all live forever if it ceases. Bull Pucky. We're inundated 24/7 indoors or out with all sorts of chemicals and pollutants. Surprise...........even people who don't smoke get lung cancer. Another thing to consider is that most metastatic cancers (those who have spread) will head for the lungs, so a lung mass doesn't mean it started in the lungs, and there may very well be a cancer mass (the original one) somewhere else in the body. The only way to tell if it was indeed a lung cancer is to have the mass biopsied. That's likely why the cat wasn't showing respiratory distress previous to the whacko lab results on the blood. Stop beating don't need that on top of the grief. I'm sorry for your loss.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 7:50AM
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Thanks! You are right, my vet did tell me what possibly happened to my cat. Without lots of testing/biopsies before or necropsy after, nothing is definitive though. I just need to stop thinking about all this stuff. Nothing will change what happened and I don't need to drive myself nuts.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 9:11AM
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Most all of us are washed wit guilt after a loss, especially a sudden, unexpected one. It's human nature, even if it weren't warranted and it's hard not to try to play it over and over in one's mind that "I shoulda done this, or perhaps it was that". Been there, and done that and I feel for you. Just accept the fact that you did the best you could do for your kitty, gave it love and a good life. That's more than the MAJORITY of cats get in this world, unfortunately. Just remember your kitty with love and things will begin to heal.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 1:30PM
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I am very sorry to hear about your cat. Losing them can be hard. Now is the time for you to think about your own health and quit, before you face the same fate. I know it is difficult - I never smoked because my parents did and after having smoke blown in my face all my life the last thing I would do is start smoking myself. But I have other issues to work on and I know bad habits are hard to break. Please get help if you need it - there are many great stop-smoking programs available.

Best wishes for you in the New Year.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 6:59PM
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