Pet Bereavement: I had to have my cat put to sleep... - Headway


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Pet Bereavement


I had to have my cat put to sleep on Saturday. I am going through a hard time finding acceptance and peace of mind. I feel utterly bereft. It was her time to go though. I remember in the early days coming home from hospital and she would curl her body around the top of my head as I lay in bed. I'd had a subarachnoid haemorrhage, felt extremely poorly. I'm not sure if grief is exaggerated with having a bi or not, or whether it just marks the end of an era. I never expected to feel so grief stricken. Can anyone identify?

42 Replies

I can :(

My boys (2 cats brothers) were from day one my 1st priority. My ex-wife and I adopted a stray we named 'Lady' and she was soooo amazing, but she was also deaf so she was outside and didn't hear a speeding car and she was killed. I picked her up and walked for a mile and a bit to a nice place to bury her.

Pawsito (our big boy Cat) was only 7 1/2 when he passed because of an unexplainable lung condition we never knew about. We paid stupid money (£2,000) to have him transported to a specialty clinic in the SE for treatment, but it didn't pan out and Paws was put down because it was no longer for his benefit, just ours, that he lived. He was in so much pain so we put 'selfish' aside and did the right thing. It was super crushing and people generally speaking, just don't understand how a 'cat' can be sooo important.

Paws' ashes are kept at my ex-wifes bedside now to keep her company.

- My thoughts are with you -

swedishblue in reply to Hidden

Thank you MarKus. I was really very moved to read your story about 'Lady'. You did well to keep it together and to bury her en route home. It must have been so traumatic. I totally understand your comment about your other cat Pawsito; "it was no longer for his benefit, just ours". We focus on their best interests at heart. My cat looked at me with pleading eyes. She really didn't want to be around I could tell that. So the time was right.

We are holding a funeral in the back garden next week where she will be laid to rest under a potted maple tree. I will invite some friends.

Thanks very much Markus for your kind message x

Hidden in reply to swedishblue

You don't have to thank me, honestly. Right now is your time. Maple Trees are so beautiful and special especially on this side of the world and it sounds like your beautiful soul will get the absolute best resting place.

It hurts for a very long time - I won't lie to you about that, but pain turns to warm feelings and happy memories you will love to share every now and then.

My bestfriend Tobias is from and lives in Sweden (Stockholm/Gothenburg) so if you're Swedish, I LOVE your country and it's jam packed with beautiful people :)

I’m so sorry you’ve lost your little friend :( it’s such a loss. I’ve bern through this twice. Someone said to me that how terribly sad I felt was due to the strength of the bond between me and my pet, and I have to agree. Do take care - grief is a normal part of the healing process when you lose someone you love. Sending you a big hug. x

swedishblue in reply to Elenor3

Thank you. I have lost my little girl. I feel pain and a hollow grief as you would know. Reading everyone's replies has given me solace. Time is a great healer. See ya later Elenor! x

I am so very sorry to hear of your loss.

swedishblue in reply to bonfire

Thank you x

Hi I too sent my message about your loss but it is not appearing here did it go as a private email to you. If not I will send again x

Yes thanks Kathy. I will write soon. I've just returned from a walk and my daughter has arrived. x

I really sympathise with you as lost my 2 girls who were nearly 20 within a year of each other and just cant get over their loss. It was the guilt that was so crushing in the beginning as had to have them both put to sleep when it was their time. Although they both had cancer I felt like I’d let them down... think it was I felt like their Mum and protector. Even now I feel the pain like it was yesterday. I just have to think they had an amazing life as 2 narrowboat cats. Roamed free to their hearts content. They then lived by a lake in Cumbria and even had their own little lodge to live in with a cat flap for freedom.

I’ve got their ashes but can’t bear to look at them and I’m a few years on!!

Give yourself time.. it’s a terrible thing but your cat was so lucky to be loved so much you granted it peace.. it will get better in time..

Best Regards Andrea x🙏

That was lovely to read. What an adventurous time those cats must have had...the stories they could have told! Sounds wonderful!

I understand your feelings when you say you felt you let them down. Likewise, I was her Mum and protector. As a diabetic cat she needed insulin twice daily. I took the needles and insulin straight in to the vets so as to rid the memories. It's still an automatic reflex though..."time to inject Suki". Very painful. The vet was superb, very compassionate and with sensitivity. My daughter (ever the joker) recanted stories of Suk's when she used to run away come 'insulin time', she would run to those fields!! A'h the memories of her will never die. I must remember the happy times.

Thank you so much! xx

So feel for you!! Mine were like my babies as I’ve no children.. I couldn’t have loved them more if Id given birth to them!!!

It’s still gut wrenching and still get very upset but I guess with the passage of time not so often.

It’s so raw for you at the moment but your very privilege to have such a lovely furry friend and as you say those precious memories last a lifetime. You did a wonderful job as ‘Mum’ for Suki

Your not alone in your grief

Andrea xx

Now that comment has made me cry buckets, both for you and me! xx

Aww sorry.

thought I’d never get over losing them and felt so traumatised at holding them after they’d been put to sleep .. my heart broke in a million pieces. but day by day it does get better and is less raw as life returns to normality... just wanted you to know that someone else has been every bit where you are...

Andrea xx🐱

Bless your heart!! I've had to come away from the house as its too much. As it happens friends have gone on a hiking holiday to Sicily so I'm looking after their beautiful lurcher in their home. Lot of walks in store for me!

You stay well xx

That’s so strange as since losing our fluffy babies we’ve decided that We couldn’t stand the pain of ownership again when it comes to the end but have decided that we’re going to have our pet fix by house sitting.. home and abroad mostly where there are pets to from cats and dogs to donkeys and chickens loads of people are doing it and as there’s no money involved it’s so straightforward.

Hopefully starting after my op to coil my anerysm at the end of May and really looking forward to the adventure!

Give your lurcher a big hug and think of Suki sending her all the love in your heart

She’ll be playing with all the other kitties on rainbow bridge🌈🐱xx

Bahahahahahaha xx Sorry that last line made me erupt!

Ditto 😢got me thinking about my two now aswell🙄🐱🐱xx

O'h I'm sorry. Suki and I listened to OM chanting on youtube for several hours before we left for the vets. It was so relaxing. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone heading in to a stressful situation. x

What is OM is it chanting? I tried Reiki (can’t even do Reiki!) on my 1st kitty I lost of the 2 sisters as was desperate to help her.. don’t know if it worked but seemed to relax us both👍🏻Xx

yes its meditative chant. Helps to settle and relax your mind (opens up your heart chakra)

Going to have a look at that👍🏻Looking for a bit of anxiety relief pre op.. quite good at visualisation but will take a peek at this tomorrow.. sounds interesting I’ll try anything!! Will let you know how I get on👍🏻Xx

Oh Blue, my heart goes out to you. I've had cats all my life and really empathise with the loss of your loyal companion. I did have a favourite though ; I adopted him (big handsome black tom with white paws & chest) from a neighbour as he was aggressive and unpredictable. But with time and patience he became SO affectionate with me and, as you describe, would push himself behind my pillow and, with no claws, gently caress my head with his paws when I was ill.

He followed me to the shops and waited in a particular garden for me to return..........however long it took ! He was my constant companion ; very playful (often a bit too rough) and I swear he talked to me !

I had to let him go after 20 years when he developed the cat equivalent of dementia and changed from the crazy outdoor adventurer to the fearful, distressed agoraphobic who I was frightened to leave alone in the house. The day I called the vet to put him out of his misery is unforgettably sad, so I really do feel for you my dear.

We love them so much that they become more than pets. They become family members............'people' really. So sorry Blue. xxx

swedishblue in reply to cat3

Of course cats talk to us Elaine. Your comments have made me laugh. Is that why your name is Cat by any chance?

Suki would often accompany us (my golden retriever and I) on our walks up in to the fields. Except she would then disappear in to bushes and lie in wait ready to ambush us on our return..."tada!" She always came running when she saw me returning in the car. She talked non-stop!

She was diabetic who then developed a heart murmur and possible kidney failure. She was 14 but was my baby. She normally would sleep on my bed still but in the last month slept next to the radiator due to the freezing temps. But she always sprung to life when I came down those stairs in the morning to greet me. Her eyes told me she wasn't well. I had no choice but to take her to the vets. While we were siphoned off to a room to wait my daughter spotted some cat treats on one of the shelfs. You have never seen such a greedy cat. She was like a chicken at feeding time in the morning pecking up treats like no tomorrow. We laughed to see how much she was enjoying them.

I've never felt such raw emotion as when losing my pets. This is it, no more! I got rather angry in the car when talking to my daughter, and it was with the thought....what must old people who live alone go through (with no family) who have to have their pet put down. Its so painful!!

Thank you kindly xx

cat3 in reply to swedishblue

My boy was named 'Speedy' and 8 years before he became infirm I had to rush him to the emergency vet one night when he became violently ill. An Xray showed a suspected tumour in his intestine so he was booked for surgery the following morning. (My son super-glued his fingers crossed on his left hand so he could still do his schoolwork with the right 'til the op was complete !)

I'd been told it would almost certainly be bad news and prepared myself to take Speedy's body home after the op. I couldn't believe my eyes when I walked into the surgery ; there he was, looking large as life as the surgeon handed me a small rubber ball (probably from kids next door) which had completely blocked his intestine. It would have killed him without intervention as it wasn't going anywhere.

So my boy had an 8 year extension, for which I was so. so thankful.

Count me in as a sincere mourner Blue ; it's a traumatic time.

Thinking of you, E. xx

It’s heartbreaking . I’ve had to do this with 3 cats and 2 doggies. I miss them but I know I did the right thing as I hated seeing them suffer. It will get easier in time , remember the good times. I don’t want to have another pet because of health issues but I do a monthly direct debit to the SSPCA to give a little back. I hope you feel better soon. 🤞🏼🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

swedishblue in reply to Shon48

Thank you so much Shon. I too had a golden retriever (rescue) and when the time came (2 years ago) to have her put to sleep I lost the plot for a bit. My daughter howled at the vets at that time so it rather eclipsed my own grief as I tended to her emotional needs. Suki, the cat, was my little girl and my last pet. I don't want anymore animals but of course I walk friend's dogs most days. I think I will look to donate to animal charities instead. That's a really good idea. x

Yes, you're not alone. I feel extra emotional (sometimes off scale) when thinking about my savior cat Poppy. The care they give is a reflection of Your Love, care and understanding.

Emotional off the scale, sums up perfectly how this has affected me. I'm usually the calm "keep it together" sort, but this has rocked me to the core. x


Your raw grief is almost palpable. As you know, I really feel for you. Fury pets instinctively know when and where to provide comfort and they provide it unconditionally. She will always be with you in spirit and will always be looking out for you. That maple tree will thrive. xx


Hi Swedish just wanted to say how sorry I am to hear of your loss. I'm not a pet person but know from friends and family just how much they are part of the family and what comfort and pleasure they bring.

From my own experience of bi I think you do tend to find you feel different experiences/emotions more acutely so you're not on your own with that.

I'm sending a massive hug.

Rachel x

Ahh i really feel for you. I put one of my two to sleep 18 months ago when They discovered a massive tumour in her abdomen supposedly it was really aggressive and grown quickly. Most horrific experience as hadn’t gone there thinking that would be outcome. I had alot of guilt of whether it was noticeable earlier etc but vet said probably not. Anyway i still have a little urn of her that i paid extra for and time has healed. Having her sister still has helped alot. Hope you feel better soon.

We all love our pets . I am very much a car lover and I am sure you had a reason for having her put to sleep. Sometimes it is a kindness to the cat.

So do not feel to upset it was probably a blessing to your cat



From boy to man I have said goodbye to 4 cats the best friends ever a person could have, on one occasion I felt the need to make a personal sacrifice so shaved off my impressive side burns and moustache, learning many years later this is what the ancient Chinese did to show respect for the death of a family cat.

That's impressive! Fancy you shaving off your facial hair and then discovering its an ancient Chinese tradition when showing respect for the death of a 'Cat!' Yet they eat dog!

Suki's funeral takes place this afternoon. Have dug the hole (5') all by myself. No mean feat when digging through chalky flint. There will be a few of us attending, and at last sunshine!

Actually swedish it was their eyebrows they shaved, more of a sacrifice than i was prepared to make, coming back to this after re-reading Neil Hapgoods blog and following a few clicks I found your reply from almost a year ago. Trust you are well.

Reading that was quite a experience bringing back all sorts of memories about the cats we've had over the years.

Now I'm looking at this lazy cat sprawled over the sofa, yet vivid memories of our daughter walking around the cat rescue shelter and selecting the crazy cat bouncing off it's mothers head, how time changes everything.

I've thought before that a TBI put you in a emotional place close to being a young child, anger, joy, heartache and frustration can burst to the surface.

Before my TBI our old tom was the only cat my daughter could interact with without blood being drawn, he'd lie on her bed before she went to sleep and wake her up in the morning, she adored him.

She was heartbroken when my wife came back out of the vets with him for one last hug.

All these memories have emotional resonance and losing an important element of them is very painful for anyone but even more so if you have a TBI.

You have encapsulated everything in your very thoughtful post, especially in relation to TBI emotional pain in bereavement. I agree, whether its emotional lability or that we're overwhelmed more easily (like a child), we feel the 'things that matter' a whole lot deeper.

Thanks a million to everyone for your compassion, kindness and support in what has been a painful time. I buried Suki's body in my garden, under a potted japanese maple. Its such a relief to have her safely home, albeit it in spirit.

Oh i'm so sorry for you, my heart just ached when saw this post....

I think losing your cat and the way your feeling is nothing to do with the bi's

for your beautiful pet.

I hope your feeling better and have come to terms with your loss.

I love my cat so much i wanna cry just thinking how dreadful it would be if he died.....

I've never loved any pet like i love my gorgeous puss cat.

Sending you massive heartfelt hugs and so much sympathy for your loss,

I think you should cry, wail, scream or anything you want as losing your much loved cat must hurt like hell and don't let anyone tell you that you shouldn't feel this way.

Bless ya x

Oh no so sorry I know how important pets are since my SAH so really feel for you. Big hugs x



I know this is an old post but I just wanted to let you know I understand.

I lost my best friend when my cat died last year and I'm still struggling to cope with it now.

He kept me alive during the early dark days after the RTA when there wasn't a single soul that understood the version 2 of me.

He accepted the changes and gave unconditional love. I used to look forward to seeing him when I was happy, or sad, or chilling out or pottering - he was always with me.

And I let him down terribly at the end.

I had no idea he was so ill so missed most of the worst 6 months of his life when my attention was on a foster cat.

I then had to put him down and it was horrific.

The vet couldn't get the needle in his vein, he was struggling and screaming and I had to hold him down when he was looking up at me in horror.

The injection didn't work so he was lay there paralysed and in pain and terror until she got the second one in.

I will never forgive myself for hurting him this way.

I hope you've found some peace yourself.


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