Irrevocable decisions

Little Grey in the midle

Most pet owners will have had the experience of having to make desicions on behalf of their pets - sometimes knowing it's a desicsion that might put their life at risk - or even the very agonising desicion to have their pet put down. It's not an easy task... it's a bit like acting like God, knowing their life is fully in and at your hands.

Well, yesterday I had to make a desicion on behalf on one of "my" dumpster cats. I put my in quotation marks as they are not mine - but I'm invested in those precious little lives as I've been trying to keep them alive through winter time. Espcecially three of them - the remaining kittens from last autumn. If you've been with this blog for a while, you might remember a little grey cat that didn't make it through the winter time. He died after a few days of intensive care at the vet. He left behind his almost identical sister which I named Little Grey. I felt absolutely set on keeping her alive. 

About three months ago I brought her to the vet for spaying. Some misunderstanding happened and I was sent back with her - minus being spayed. It was believed she had just given birth and it was urgent to get her back to her kittens. Turned out she was still pregnant and some weeks later she gave birth. I made sure to feed her three times a day to keep her boosted knowing she now had kittens. Unfortunately she stopped eating at the beginning of the week. She just sat in front of the food obviously knowing she really had to eat but she just couldn't. Wednesday evening I decided I had to get her to the vet for an antibiotic shot and something fever reducing (to encourage her appetite). I managed to capture her yesterday morning - I was quite apprehensive as she was not an easy catch the first time around. But I managed and I felt relieved knowing I could now get her some help. I told her not to worry and that she would be back with her kittens soon.

Little Grey second to the right - she was very little for her age

Well, luck was not exactly on our side yesterday morning. It was unbeliably hot and we had a wait at the vet that lastet forever. And worst of all, there was cement drilling going on just outside the front door. The dogs being cared for at the vet were barking like mad - and it was just a state of mayhem. With Grey being a real feral, I felt nervous on her behalf of knowing she was scared senseles even though she did not utter a miaow throughout. Eventually she had her examination which went relatively smoothly. We had a second cat that needed a quick examination but then we were ready to pay and head back quickly to release Grey back with her kittens. I went to the car with the one cat and Grey stayed with my husband as he was settling the bill. I waited in the car for what seemed like forever and eventually decided to walk inside to see what was taking so long. I met the sight of an empty cage and I uttered to my husband; What happened?? I was in a state of utter disbelief at his answer; She just died! Apparently she has suddenly let out this peculiar miaow (one that the vet must have heard before, because he apparently said; What was that??). They'd tried instant resusitation but without luck. The vet had then brought her to another room and made some more attempts to revive her but sadly Little Grey was gone... Most probably due to the stress of the situation (the vet seemd to think this is what caused her to die so sudden). You can figure the swirl of thoughts going through my head. Why the bleep had I brought her there? I'd let her down. How was I going to find her feral kittens?? (cats are masters at disguising the hiding places of their kittens). Why why why... An absolute heart-ache began to set in. I'd wowed to keep her alive and give her the best possible life. No more calling out "Little Grey" who would always coming flying whenever I called her name. Just a sadness and grief descending. 

Then I knew there was no time to spare - I had to rush back to try and find her kittens. In spite of searching several times and listening in the most intent of ways - there were just simply no kittens to be found. Even after dark.

I have figured they must now be around 8 weeks and there's at least some chance they can go in search of food. There are houses around in their area and I'm obviously keeping my fingers crossed.

This morning when I went around to search again and I DID suddenly hear a tiny kitten cry from further down the road. I don't think it's one of hers - it's only about 4 weeks old, but my, the state this poor kitten was in. It'd definitely been on it's own for a while. But more about that resuce over the weekend. But it did leave me feeling of a certain cycle of life - one cat dies and another gets a chance to live. But I will miss Little Grey so much... and again try to recover from the ineviteable "What ifs."


Jane and Chris said…
Second guessing is the curse of rescue. You don't know , perhaps Little Grey would have died anyway with no chance of veterinary help in the wild. You wouldn't have known and her kittens would be in more danger.
Jane x
sunshine said…
Oh Joan, I can imagine the difficult tasks you've had to encounter with so many cats needing help and care.

When it comes to kindness and compassion we do sometimes have to make decision for others that perhaps are difficult and sad ones, but in the long term is what's best... I believe this was the case with Little Grey.

Now, you do know God works in mysterious ways and perhaps He did it again when you found that kitty.

Sending you loads of positive energy to warm your heart and soul in this moments of need.
Random Felines said…
I am SO very sorry. Please don't blame are doing the very best you can and sometimes these things are just out of our hands. I have my fingers crossed the kittens will appear and get some help. And that you can help that baby you were led to....
Sankissjuice said…
Please don't blame yourself. You tried your best and you're doing a great job. Maybe it is time for Little Grey to go. As for the kittens, we can only pray. When my cat gave birth and her kittens either got lost or died, I was very sad too. But that is the cycle of life.

Hope you feel better soon.

I'll be back,

PS Come visit us. I think the piggies will cheer you up.
Anonymous said…
It is heartbreaking, but there's nothing to do but move forward, try to find the kittens and keep on.
Deb said…
Take a deep breath, Joan. You do what you do and it is more than anyone else I know. That little kitten needs you now and I will pray that you find Grey's babies. I'm sending you a big hug. Deb
Dearest Joan,

This is heartbreaking...
But I guess there must have been more to her being so tiny and thus weaker than her siblings. Just to die from stress is probably not the primary cause. But it leaves you shocked, that's for sure. And what more could you have done? Don't torture yourself with too many IFS.
By the way; how is Joan doing herself - don't neglect yourself girl.
Love to you,
Joan I am so deeply sorry. You cannot punish yourself. You did what was right, you were seeking veterinary care for her, it is possible that there was something wrong to begin with that you never knew about.
As others have said, you are doing the best that you can do, you are one mustn't blame yourself.
Praying the kittens find their way to you, I have a feeling they will
I am so sorry.
It's always hard, but you know you did the best you could and there is no blame. I hope you can find the kittens, but we will keep saying prayers for you.

Annuk said…
Oh my sweetest Joan, I SO wish I could hug you right now!!! I'm so deeply sorry and I know how you are feeling... Please be kind to yourself, you were doing the best thing and were seeking help for her. Life can be cruel and unpredictable, you are an angel for these kitties, and you will always be!!!!! Life has led you to help another baby, and I'm praying for the kittens too!

Thank you from deep in my heart for being there and for all what you are doing!
All my love!
O dear God, what a terrible thing.How much sadness is heaped on you I can't begin to understand !Poor little cat...yes, my vet said once that very wild animals can die from stress.. o dear Joan I do feel for you..A big.big hug my friend XXXXX
Carole said…
Poor little gray. I understand why you must wonder how this could happen. You did your best for her so don't beat yourself up. You now have a new baby to take care of. Like you said the circle of leaves us and another enters.

The Cat Guy said…
goodness, it seems you get way more than your share of heartbreak. So so sorry to hear about sweet Little Grey, she sure sounded like a sweetie. I hope you can find peace you grieve, knowing you did the best you could do. - hugs from afar
purpleleath said…
I'm so sorry for Little Grey... You did the best you always do!!! Those kitties are lucky to have you... I pray to God her little ones will find their way to a safe home... Sending you love, purrs and thanks from my furry babies... Maria
Dear Joan,
I think it was the heat AND the stress AND her condition, that Little Grey died so suddenly. A friend of mine made such a sad experience. She brought her cat in very good condition to the vet because the cat couldn't birth the kittens. After a C-section with a lot of nice and health kitty the catmom collapsed in the car when they drove back home. It was just the heat in the car.

8 weeks make a good chance for Little Greys kittens, if they were still alive and with her. Maybe you find them when they are hungry enough and looking for food.

And yes, you did so much for this catfriend. I am sure, things would have turned out worse if you hadn't brought her to the vet.

That is the problem of you cat rescue. You always have cats with bad starts. So there is a high rate of bad experiences. Thats hard to stay, I think. But it is so encouraging what great results you often get with this poor cats. Don#t feel bad when some dont make it. God will look for them and they don't feel any harm anymore. So concentrate your strengh to the left one who are in your care. I wish you so much luck because God must love what you do.

Hugs and greetings, Johanna
Anna E said…
Jeg håber så meget, du finder en eller flere af Little Greys killinger - og at Snowy nu er helt frisk igen? Hvor pudsigt med den lille killing på 4 uger, hvor mon den pludselig kom fra... xo
Oh Joan, I am so very very sorry.

I take it you are feeling like this is some how your fault. that the "if you only... " are eating at you..

But a kitty on it's own not eating is already "behind the eight ball" if you will and there is a very good chance she would have died an even worse death shortly. she died while trying to get her help. Wouldn't you have felt worse if you had done nothing at all and you found her dead outside?

Eight week old kittens are pretty resourceful. I just hope they do come out of hiding and let someone find them.

I too want to give you great big hugs..
Sandra said…
I am so sorry about Little Grey, Joan. But never doubt that you did the right thing: wanting to help someone can never be bad even if sometimes the events play fools of us. You did what most would have done: if we stopped and considered what might go wrong, we'd not be able to help not one cat. You acted from your heart and that is all that matters. I think 8 weeks old kittens have a chance of survivor for some time so I hope you can find them.
Crafting Queen said…
My heart goes out to you. You did the best you could. Lots of hugs Anesha.
My heart goes out to you. I am so sorry about Little Gray. Please don't second guess yourself and please don't blame yourself. You do so much for the cats and they are so much better for it.

Big hugs.
Barbara said…
I am so sorry about Little Grey, but please don't blame yourself! You do so much and were only trying to do the best thing for her! Sending a big hug!
Lisa said…
I rescue and foster for my local humane society. Have been doing so for almost a year. Last week I got a call from our coordinator wanting to know if I could take a little 3.5 week old that was abandoned with us. I had never been around kittens that small, let alone taken care of one but was willing to do it because I literally was the only one who had the schedule to take care of her around the clock.

She was tiny and dirty, but a little ball of energy. I fell in love with her immediately. I really had no clue what I was getting myself into with round the clock feedings and other things that come with a kitten that small, but I got to be her mom. And I loved that.

She was up and down a lot. Suffered from pretty severe diarrhea and later started having hypoglycemic crashes. I did everything I could and was told to do but yesterday she had to be put to sleep. She was in too much pain and not able to regulate her little organs.

The what ifs hit me instantly. What if I had gotten her to a vet sooner? What if I had fed her more often? What if I had given her a different medicine? And a million others.

My heart hurts for the loss of such a sweet little soul, but you are right about the cycle. Her loss will allow me to save another.

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