Cotton's Death Was A Heartbreaking Experience Of Being a Cat Owner

Cotton during his sickness

This is one of the most devastating days of my life. My favorite cat just died early in the morning today and my heart broke into tiny pieces. I could not fathom a thing why of all cats in this world it was my beloved Cotton that was taken.

It's difficult to process my grief. It's devastating to lose a dear pet. I don't know if I will scream or if I will sob or I will blame myself for failing to save his life. 

I could not understand God's message also why Cotton was taken so early. He was barely two years old and a very healthy cat with  hearty appetite.

Cotton was born in 2013 August and since his early months he was already ravaged by respiratory illness. In fact, one of his eyes were not able to recover from severe cough. 

In November, in my attempt to desperately save him, I told my sister to bring the kitten to the veterinary clinic, I did not care if it was my last money as long as he will be saved. 

Cotton and Asi when they were still kittens

The veterinarian told my sister that Cotton was having a severe cough, he was given a syrup and we administered Vitamin C on him daily for his fast recovery. Weeks later, he was cured and enjoying his life onwards.

weekend time with Cotton and Asi

I felt happy and fulfilled. Watching him and Asi (one of our calico kittens) grew into healthy cats made my day so complete. 

Every weekend, I am ecstatic to come home from work to see them and play with them. I would buy delicious food for them, vitamins and milk.

Cotton while recovering from a respiratory illness

Early this year (2015) around March, I was so nervous to discover Cotton had a lump on his jaw. I would easily panic each time I see him not in good health. So I immediately searched information in the web for some home remedies and medicines for this kind of condition among cats. 

My searches returned info about Amoxicillin. So I bought few capsules, mixing it with milk so that he could drink it properly.

Cotton was a bouncy Tabby cat

Cotton's one eye was permanently damaged as he grew up but he looked okay and carried it on. During those times, despite having a lump in his jaw, he did not cease eating and still appeared sprightly active, joining other cats when we gave them food. 

But I was very anxious with his situation. I would check every hour how he was feeling and always made sure he had a comfortable sleeping bed. 

I would let him sleep in my bed during night time to be properly monitored. A day later, the lump broke, blood splattered and I was in great panic again, praying to God to let Cotton survive. 

All through out, Cotton never showed signs of slowing down, he would still eat and drink water. He was in his most normal self.

He completely recovered. However, two weeks later, the lump returned. His jaw had swollen again. We quickly administered an amoxicillin. It seemed okay. The lump shrunk. Again, he completely recovered.

That was in March 2015.

Yesterday, while I was preparing to leave the house, I prepared food for the cats and put it on each plate, everyone came in and consumed the food. 

I noticed Cotton just smelled the food. 

Apparently, I was surprised with his reaction because it was not his normal attitude to just smell the food. He had a huge appetite.

Unlike some of our Cats, Cotton was never choosy with food, he would eat anything and the last to leave the food area.

I missed our Cottony 😪

As I walked in front of the door, I looked back to check on them while eating and Cotton just stared at me, looking lethargic. 

He was so quiet and never touched his food. He just seated beside the plate. But I did not really mind his reaction. 

I thought, he was just having a bad day.

And would just consume the food in a while as usual. I immediately fixed myself and left the house without looking at Cotton. 

Usually I would touch him before leaving the house but yesterday, well, because I was in a hurry, I was not able to touch him and say goodbye.

Cotton greatly recovered from the swollen jaw in March

I returned home at 4:30PM. By then all our 11 cats were already in the house and seemed very hungry. I immediately dashed to the kitchen and prepared food. 

In a bizarre situation, I did not look for Cotton. 

I don't know why it happened because usually I would check him if he's already around while giving food but yesterday afternoon, maybe because I was extremely tired traveling from Makati City, I forgot to check him.

The lump left a hole in his jaw but he was okay

I was used to come home with Cotton already in the living room that's why my senses yesterday were not really mindful that he was missing while giving food. 

He failed to show up that afternoon. 

Again, I did not detect it, I did not notice that he was missing among the bunch. At 5:45 in the afternoon, I prepared to attend the 6:00PM mass in the parish, so I hurriedly fixed myself and left the house again.

I returned home at almost 7:00 in the evening without minding if Cotton was able to come home. Until now I could not fathom a thing why I did not bother checking Cotton.

The devastating night

At almost 9:00 in the evening, my sister came home. When she entered her room (I did not check on her room when I arrived), she saw Cotton lying in her bed and very wet, indicating he urinated, which was very unusual of him. 

I hurried to my sister's room and found Cotton lying as if he was no force to move. I  began to panic, but kept assuring myself everything was fine.

I massaged his body and gently called his name, he barely moved his head. My sister told me to just allow Cotton to rest because he might have an upset stomach.

I told my sister that he had not eaten, I wanted to give him milk but my sister prevented me from doing so because milk is not good for cats with an upset stomach. 

So I brought water instead and put it in a dropper and gently gave it to Cotton. He swallowed the water. But then, he would not move and would not respond. My sister told me to just allow him to rest. 

I went to bed at 11:00 in the evening.

At 2:30 in the early morning, my sister called me so I got up and saw her carrying Cotton, he was fast catching his breath. 

I did not know what to do, what to give him, what remedy to administer as we had no idea what was happening to him. It was early in the morning and we could not bring him to the vet. 

My sister suspected he was poisoned or had consumed food somewhere else with toxic chemicals contamination. 

We're so helpless, watching him labored his breath and struggling with his life. My heart was beating fast. But still refused to anticipate any worst scenario.

We gave him sugar but his breath was already panting. This time I was already trembling in disbelief and began to cry. I uttered prayers to God to let Cotton live and allow him to survive. 

My sister and I took turn to embrace Cotton, I gently massaged his head hoping his brain would respond. But he was already struggling. His breath became deeper and deeper.

It was so heartbreaking to see him slowly dying. My sister and I were so helpless watching Cotton painfully fading.

I called his name and whispered to cling on to life until morning when we could bring him to the vet clinic. 

For the next 40 minutes, we struggled so desperately to save him, we massaged his entire body, my sister held his head high so that he could breath comfortably. 

The regret that hard to get over

My head was clogging with anxieties and despair, agonizing with regrets why I failed to check him that morning. 

Then his breath became fainter and fainter and I could only hear him sigh. Until the sigh halted and he stopped breathing. 

I moved closer and caressed his head and ears. His eyes were slightly opened with tiny tears popping from his eyelid. My sister gently closed it.

I touched his body, it was still warm and his fur left a cottony effect on my skin. Cotton fought so hard to survive but the rainbow bridge was loudly calling him perhaps 😭

I was in denial. I still believed he would breath again. I continued to caress his head and my sister told me to stop it. Cotton already left us. 

He had surrendered. 

He had given up his strength. Maybe he was extremely tired enduring all the pain he suffered. Maybe he was already exhausted carrying all the disease that struck his body. 

The haunting image of Cotton

Maybe he wanted to rest forever. It was very painful to watch him struggled with his breathing and died slowly. It was the haunting image of Cotton that stuck in my head for almost a year.

I struggled to come to terms with his death.

At first, I was so confused with the hazy emotion coming from my brain. I sat on the edge of my bed, putting Cotton's half sister in my lap, I caressed the body of Kaki as silence covered my whole system. 

I did not know what to do, I was devastated beyond words but refused to accept his death. I was hoping he would still come to life. I was hoping for a miracle.

As my sister stood up and went down to her room, I sat in silence, motionless. Then in a moment of severe grief I cried so hard.

In the morning, I told my sister to give Cotton a proper burial at the back of our house. I told her to secure the cartoon for him, to protect him from rain. 

Cotton was always afraid of thunder and he had less endurance of the cold weather despite his thick fur. I told my sister to make sure the cartoon is tight enough.

I slowly laid in my bed, my eyes were fixed on the ceiling and my mind was empty. 

Minutes later, I was able to expel the hurt that lurking behind my ribs. I cried and cried until my eyes were exhausted. I asked God why Cotton was taken from us. 

I asked why of all cats it was Cotton, he was my very favorite and took pains in taking care of him. I always made sure he ate properly and on time. 

I was not able to sleep properly that night. I refused to get out from my bed. At 7:30 in the morning, I heard my sister digging the ground for Cotton's eternal resting place and I cried a bucket of tears. 

I did not go down to see him buried.

It was the hardest cry I ever did since my maternal grandmother passed away last year. It was so hard to understand the grief I felt. 

It was as if I lost a very important person in my life. It was as if happiness had fled. It was as if a heavy object had forcibly thrust in my rib cage. The pain was so impossible to grasp.

The eternal regret 

I woke up and sat on my bed and cried again, calling Cotton's name and asking his forgiveness for failing to save his life, for failing to figure out what went wrong with him that day. 

My sobbing became louder and I felt the sting of pain continued to hammer the tiny fiber of my heart. Lord why Cotton was taken from us? Please let me understand why him, it hurts so bad!

Cotton's death sent a terrible blow to my system because he was my favorite and I was particularly devoted to him, giving him food and ensuring his comfort. 

It hurts so bad, really really bad to realize Cotton is now gone. I asked God what's the message behind this, why of all cats, why Cotton was not allowed to survive.

Why I did not look after him yesterday when I arrived, why I was not able to notice that he was not in the group when I gave food, why it momentarily slipped from my mind to check if he was already in the house. The feeling of guilt is severely awful. 

Why God, Why!!!!

The loss is terribly destructive, it is so hard to get him off from my mind. Cotton was a lovely tabby cat. He was always charming.

He would never leave the house longer than two hours, he would always come home on time and now he is totally gone. Forever. 

I would forever miss him. Now I am already missing him so much. We have more than 11 Cats in the house but Cotton was irreplaceable, he was unique in my heart. 

There was no one would come again like Cotton. No one. Not even if the kittens we have right now will grow up. Cotton cannot be replaced.

It's so hard to accept he is already gone. I missed Cotton so much and wished him well wherever he is now. 

It's hard to accept his death and until now I am crying. It's so painful when your favorite pet will die. Really. The loss is very hard to accept. 

The feeling of guilt is all over my system because this time I failed to save him. For the past moments in Cotton's life when he was ill, I was quick to find remedies for his recovery but now I failed. 

I am such a big failure because I was not able to save my beloved favorite cat. Why I failed to do research ahead of time for home remedies to apply in case the cats are poisoned? 

Or was it really poisoned? Perhaps, he had secret illness that left undetected. Or perhaps there's a fatal effect of giving amoxicillin to cats without consulting a vet.

Why I was unable to anticipate this crucial incident when we have so many cats in the house? It's so awful. God I am so bad for not saving my beloved cat.

Someday the loss will be fully accepted. But now I simply can't. His presence is all over the house. 

I can still hear his last breath and smell him and feel the warmth of his fur. Each morning and afternoon, I would go to his burial place and cry, telling him sorry for not saving his life.

Someday I know I could erase the traces of Cotton's presence in my mind, someday I could come to terms with his death. 

Someday, I can able to forget him.

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