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The Bible and Suicide

Forgiving Yourself After Putting Your Cat to Sleep

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photo of Tigger


Reader Question: My cat Tigger passed away 12-7-08. The vet said he had lung cancer. I did not know he was sick, and the day before I had just taken my other kitty, Italics, to the vet for a post sub-total colectomy surgery visit, where they still had to do another enema and put her back on the meds she was on before the surgery, as she is getting constipated again. When I brought her home I was upset, as it has been a really long and rough road trying to keep her healthy, and I was trying to keep Tigger away from her as she was weak. I yelled at him and shoved him away with my foot and I scared him, and he cowed down, which immediately made me feel like crap because he does not understand what is going on. After that he just lay there, I thought he was just mad at me. He got up, ate, and went into the closet where he liked to sleep, got up, ate again, and got on my bed where we slept together all night. The next day he would not get up to eat, and I checked on him and his breathing was labored and really shallow. I took him to the vet, and they did x-rays and there were masses on his lungs. The vet told me to leave him there for a while so he could get some oxygen and ran tests, and gave him a nebulizer medication.

When I came back to pick him up he was 1000 times worse than when I brought him in, he was drooling and literally choking on his tongue and spacing out. I had to make the very hard decision to not let him suffer; I could not bear to see how bad he was suffering. I was really upset and did not know what to do. I said no to being in the room with him when they gave him the medicine to make him pass, but I was balling my eyes out and confused, and I changed my mind but it was too late, he was gone, and he had to go without me there telling him how much I loved him. Over the past months Tigger has not gotten the attention he needed from me as I had to care for my other kitty, who is crippled from birth on top of everything else she has gone through. The doctor said it was not anything I did that made Tigger die, but I can not help feel that he is wrong and that I killed my cat. Tigger and I had been through hell and back together over the years and I loved him very much. So my question is this. Can you ask Tigger if he can forgive me, and let him know that I miss him like crazy, my heart is broken, and that I am so sorry?


Madeleine's Response: Oh Suzette, I'm so sorry you've had to cope with this. It is so heart breaking. Guilt is a horrible emotion to feel, but very normal. We always blame ourselves especially when things happen so fast. We don't have time to get our heads around the situation. It must have been such a shock for you to discover how ill Tigger was and you had no time to prepare yourself. You made a very courageous decision, the worst we have to make as a pet carer, but it was your final gift to him as a caring, responsible owner. It may not seem that way, but he needed you to take control and stop his suffering. I totally believe that animals understand about death far better than we do and he will have known that you were there for him and just how much you loved him. He will have definitely understood about the extra care your other cat needed. He will be feeling your love as I'm writing this and when you read it. He will be around you. So just keep telling him in your mind and he will know. Forgive yourself, you are only human and your response and action was very normal under the awful circumstances. It is only because you care so much that you are beating yourself up about it. I still feel guilty sometimes about situations that I would have liked to change in retrospect, but we have to examine our motives and our hearts and honest intentions. Yours were totally compassionate, so just keep sending him your love and celebrate the wonderful relationship that you had and may well have again in the future when he next visits the earth!

Very Best Wishes,

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Disclaimer: Madeleine Walker shares insights derived from animal communication. Any advice she offers is not meant as a substitute for veterinary care or basic dog obedience training.


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