Grieving the loss of my 6-week old kitten

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This topic contains 55 replies, has 38 voices, and was last updated by  Sana 1 year, 4 months ago.

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    I feel a little out of place posting something on this site, as I have never been one to publicly share my emotions on a website. But, here goes.

    At 7:30 this morning, I had to make one of the most difficult and heart-wrenching decisions I have ever had to make. I adopted 4 week old Ashby less than 2 weeks ago. She was the most beautiful, loving, and affectionate little kitten I had ever seen.

    I already have Graycie (almost 4 years old now) and often felt guilty that she had no feline companionship. So, after much deliberation, my partner and I decided to bring a new addition into our home.

    We brought Ashby home, and provided her own space away from Graycie. She was immediately lively and very vocal, seemingly happy with her new home. All was going well until last Thursday, when I noticed little Ashby was lethargic and not eating. Her usual playfulness wasn’t present, and I became more concerned when I saw she had diarrhea. We took her to the vet on Friday, where she was diagnosed with dehydration. She was given fluids, prescription food, and we were given an assurance that over the next few days she would improve.

    Sure enough, Ashby was eating more regularly, and by Sunday, was sleeping far less and becoming more vocal once again. She still wasn’t playing, but her diarrhea was improving, her eyes much brighter, and her energy levels were up. I was so incredibly hopeful that our wonderful new addition was on the mend.

    I went to work Monday morning as usual, but shortly after had a disturbing voicemail from my partner telling me that Ashby had literally collapsed and couldn’t hold herself upright. When placed in front of her food she was clearly hungry but couldn’t even hold her own head over the bowl. He immediately took her to the vet, where she was given fluids and glucose as this appeared to be the problem. I remained in contact with my partner all day and he relayed everything the vet was saying about Ashby. She needed to stay in the vets for a few days, but could return home if there would be someone home to give her constant care until she was out of the woods.

    Although very worried, I was at least somewhat reassured that she could come home within a day or so and we could nurse her ourselves. I arrived home at 5:30, and we called the vet. He was just about to call us with some news, were were told, but not good news. Ashby needed to be transferred to the Emergency Hospital because she wasn’t responding to the fluids or glucose. We immediately took her in a cab, and she was whisked away to be cared for in the ICU.

    Shortly after, the doctor came to speak with us. She explained the prognosis was not good, but that everyone would do everything they could for Ashby. However, she also told us that we should expect Ashby to perhaps not make it through the night and wanted us to sign the relevant paperwork should she need to be resuscitated. This was a dilemma but we finally agreed that should the need arise, Ashby was to be revived if possible.

    I became so upset, that while my partner was dealing with the payments, I needed to go outside to cry. A few minutes later he came outside and asked if I wanted to say goodnight to Ashby. I hesitated, but knew I had to see her and let her hear my voice.

    Well, while I know in my heart it was the right thing to do, it was so INCREDIBLY hard to see her hooked up to tubes and looking almost skeletal.

    But, I remained hopeful, although sobbing my heart out, that Ashby would improve through the night.

    We went to bed as normal, but I couldn’t fall asleep, as the image etched into my brain was of my little baby on the table with tubes, collapsed and weak. I couldn’t shake the image and I sobbed uncontrollably. I eventually drifted off to sleep, with my partner stroking my back.

    We awoke to the ring of the phone, and I just knew it was bad news. The vet told us that Ashby had to be resuscitated during the night and as a result her condition had deteriorated so severely he didn’t believe she would recover. But, he was willing to continue Critical Care if that was our wish, and she was currently peaceful and resting. He asked us to thing about a decision, and he would call back in 2 hours.

    As promised he called us back, and we told him our decision. Ashby wasn’t to suffer anymore, we wanted her to be at peace. Those two hours were hell, and torture for me as I was torn in every way possible.

    That was less than 12 hours ago, and my heart has been full of sorrow, guilt, and uncertainty. Should we have been more aggressive? Should we have gone to the vets to be with Ashby? Should we have even allowed the first resuscitation? If money had been no issue, I have no doubt I would have told the vet to continue and do whatever it takes. But, my partner and I are both on teacher salaries (I work the summer, he doesn’t) and the bills had already been over $3000 in just 4 days. Yet more guilt and a sense of self-disgust that I let money even enter into the equation.

    I already miss her so much, and cry even as I write this. No more kitten cries, no more climbing up my chest to rest on my shoulder, no more mid-air somersaults during play time, and no more bright eyes as I enter the bathroom she had made home for the past 9 days.

    My heart feels heavy, and lonely despite the fact I have the most amazing partner and a beautiful 4 year old cat. I just can’t comprehend such a rapid decline and subsequent loss of dear Ashby who had so rapidly filled our hearts with joy, laughter, and love.

    By the way, I am a 36 year old man, who feels somewhat silly for the constant tears and emotional outbursts. But, a cat lover I have always been, and always will be. Yet, totally ill-prepared and unaware of the feeling associated with the loss of a pet.

    I needed to express my thoughts through the written word, and try to make sense of today’s events by doing so.

    Goodbye Ashby!! You were a sweet and beautiful addition to our lives. The length of your time on earth is a mere fraction of the impact you have had on me.

    I miss you so very much!


    Ashby’s dad, I’m so sorry for your loss. It is amazing how quickly kittens steal their way into our hearts. I’m glad you came to the Daily Kitten to tell Ashby’s story. There is no way to know what was causing Ashby’s health problems. Some kittens just don’t make it despite all the care and medical attention provided. Please don’t beat yourself up by second-guessing your decisions. The grief over the loss of a pet is very real. Many of us here have gone through it. Please keep posting. This is the most supportive website for losses, advice, shared laughter and fun. When you are able, perhaps you can create a webpage on so we can see the little one who shared you and your partner’s lives so briefly. 🙂



    I’m so sorry for your loss Ashby’s dad. It sounds like you attended to Ashby’s every need taking her to the vet when needed and even the emergency vet. Do they know what caused her diarrhea? Please take some time to mourn the little bright soul who graced your life and maybe you can let another one in? There are so many without homes. Try not to be so hard on yourself.



    3kits staff

    Ashbys Dad

    Ashby is at the rainbow bridge! She is running in a grassy meadow chasing a butterfly! She knows you did all you could do and thanks you! She is no longer suffering and is in a beautiful place!

    My prayers to you and your partner are for healing! We all know the pain your going through!

    Peace and Prayers



    2 Popoki

    I am at a loss for words Asbhy’s Dad. My heart aches for you, and I am so very sorry for your loss. You did all that you could for the wee one… no guilt. Little Ashby knew love in her short life. ((HUGS))


    Cat talk rules

    I cried for you while I read this. You didn’t let her suffer anymore that was a great gift of love to her as you were hurt by your loss. It sounds like you built some happy memories of her and gave her love.



    I, too, cried while reading this, and wanted to let you know that this is the perfect place to let those emotions out. {{{hugs}}}



    *wipes tears from her eyes and tries to focus her eyes on the screen*

    I am so sorry to hear about what happened to your sweet little baby. You did everything you could for her and I believe that, if your love alone could have healed that sweet kitty, she would still be there with you. Sometimes our love is not enough… sometimes the best we can do is not enough.. sometimes the only thing we can do is to say good-bye even though saying good-bye is the most heartbreaking thing we can do. Try not to let yourself feel guilty — especially about thinking about the money issue. I honestly believe that, when it is time for one of us or our babies to leave this world, no amount of love, heartbreak, or money can keep us or our babies from leaving at our appointed time.

    Ashby knew she was loved. I am certain she knew that you and your partner gave your all to try to make her well. She is well now. With all my heart and soul, I believe in the rainbow bridge and I believe your sweet little baby is there basking in the sunlight and playing with other kitties until it is time for you to join her. This is only a temporary separation. If I didn’t feel this with all my heart and soul, I would not say it.

    Do not let yourself feel silly for the tears. Tears are the way the heart heals itself. Once you have healed enough, maybe you and your partner can consider opening your hearts and home to another baby who needs you.

    You and your partner are in my thoughts and prayers.




    I am so sorry for your loss. But little Ashby was so lucky to have found you — she had all the love and care she could ever have wanted in her brief little life and so many cats and kittens never know that. It’s tragic that her life should have been so short but it was happy and that’s what matters. We have all been where you are and it is hardest of all when it is a kitten, but you did all you could for your little one. I think you were right to let her go, she was only a tiny baby and it wouldn’t have been fair to let her suffer any more, knowing that one resuscitation had already been tried and it wasn’t enough. Please don’t ever think that you didn’t do enough, you did everything you could. Ashby loved you to bits and was loved by you to bits, and that’s what’s important. Perhaps one day, another little kitten will be lucky enough to be loved by you but for now you need to grieve for your baby. My thoughts are with you.



    They are only on loan. A day, a week, a year, decades…..then we have to return them. The measure is that we give them love and care and at the end if needed help to go home where they will wait for us.

    When the time comes your family will be bigger and richer because of the heart you have shared.

    Be at peace, and when the time is right Ashby will whisper in another’s ear and you will find yourself again adopted.


    Lynn from PA 6/8

    I am sorry for your loss, Ashby’s dad. My hugs and prayers go out to you and your partner. I feel your pain, and although I am not there to hug you all, I do so in cyberspace. You did all you could and Ashby is over the rainbow bridge chasing butterflies with our beloveds who have left us too soon. God will provide you with another furbaby to love when the time is right. I hope you stay with us and keep us updated on your life. Thanks for sharing a most difficult time of your life. Hugs and purrs. Mama Lynn



    Please don’t blame yourself; you did everything you could to save her.

    I lit a candle for your precious Ashby here:

    I hope this gives you some small comfort.



    Ashby’s Dad, your little girl knew wondrous things in her short life: a home, consistent care, cuddles, unconditional love…and I’m envisioning a matching pair of bowls, a blanket that was hers alone and more toys than a kitten can possibly get around to playing with. A kitty miracle!

    Don’t second guess yourself for a single second. It hurts to keep treating them, and it hurts to let them go. Know in your heart three things: Ashby is well now, we care, and you will see her again.

    Please stay with us. We’d love to have you.




    Ashby’s Dad – there really is nothing more that I can add that the others have not said. I have been a hospice nurse for many years. Sometimes we simply cannot cure illnesses and we must learn that the control was never ours to have. In Ashby’s brief time here you gave her love, and she gave you hers. How fortunate was this little kitten to be so loved. So many pass through this time on earth and never know that but you gave her the greatest gift of all. Please do not go back and second guess decisions or actions. That will serve only to torment you. Ashby was not meant to stay here, but to come for a brief time and give you her love. Peace to you in the knowledge that she knew that, and may you know comfort in realizing that her gift was fulfilled.



    Ashby was with you a short time and that takes a toll when you lose someone you love when they are young. The grief ebbs and flows. You will find much support here. I lost my boy less than 2 weeks ago, and my husband cried bitter tears at the loss of a cat he didn’t originally want in the house. He had his princess and thought Basil would be too much. I wish I could tell you when or how to stop the hurt, but that is impossible. Please know that you did what was best for her.

    I lit a candle as well.



    Oh gosh, tears here too. I’m so sorry to hear about poor little Ashby. You gave her a chance, and I don’t see how you could have done more. To prolong her life after this crisis would have been so painful to her and you. Please quit beating yourselves up. You did all you could. I’m going to go light a candle now too. Hugs to you and your partner.



    I’m so sorry for your loss. You sound like a man with a huge heart and Ashby left a hole in it. She’ll send you another baby to love as soon as you are ready.

    When a kitten that young, and with the care you gave her, gets so sick so fast it quite often means there was something wrong to start with. Both your vet and the emergency vet kept her comfortable throughout her treatment. When you think of how her life could have ended without you and you partner, you’ll know she was loaned to you for a reason.



    I’m so sorry for your loss Ashby’s dad. In that short but sweet time, Ashby was a part of your lives and wormed her way into your heart. Please don’t beat yourself up by second guessing yourself. You and your wonderful vet tried the very best but it wasn’t to be for Ashby. You gave her the biggest gift of love by releasing her life so that she wouldn’t feel anymore pain. She was an angel to come into your life and she will watch over you. Sending you lots of hugs. Sorry for your loss. Please continue to come here to talk about it as it is a form of grieving. Hugs and purrs to you and your partner as you grieve the loss of Ashby.



    It’s so difficult to lose one so young. I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s amazing how large a niche can be carved out of one’s heart, by such a tiny kitten. My heart goes out to you and your family.

    I hope and pray that someday, despite your wrenching loss of Ashby, you’ll find it in your heart to take in a kitten who needs a home just as much as she did.


    AZDEBRA 5/27 & crew

    So sorry for your loss, may your heart feel a bit better knowing that she was loved and has crossed the bridge so now feels no pain.

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