What to do about my paranoia? (cat related)

So, I’m the proud servant of Seamus and Bridget. Yesterday I acquired a third master, Molly. (No pics yet, the camera needs batteries)

Now, after I got Seamus but before I got Bridget, my boss rescued a little tux kitten from the engine of his car, so I took her in and named her Kiara. (Sorry, no pics of her either :() She was an awesome kitten, didn’t take shit from Seamus, and acted like she owned the place the moment I brought her home. She was so cute, and used to squeeze under my dresser and climb into the drawers to nap. At the time, I was planning on making her an indoor/outdoor cat like Seamus, so I made her wear a collar so she’d be used to it.

So, after only owning her for a matter of weeks, I came home from school to find that her collar had gotten caught in my dining room chair and she’d hung herself. It was horrible. The only pets that I had ever seen die at this point were a couple of rats and a hamster, all after a nice long life. I also felt responsible for her death, because I hadn’t bought a break-away collar, I had those stupid chairs, I wasn’t there when it happened or else I might have been able to save her (although I don’t think so, I’m pretty sure she broke her neck).

Now I’m completely paranoid that my other cats are going to die, and if I find them sleeping somewhere I’ll watch to make sure they’re breathing or poke them so they wake up and glare at me.

What should I do? It’s been about a year, and I still do this. It’s not taking over my life or anything, it’s not like I follow the cats around all day to make sure they’re all right, but if I go to feed them in the morning and one comes running but the other doesn’t, I have visions of finding a dead cat in my living room.


Forgive yourself. It was an accident, and if you could have saved her you would have. You’re acting out of guilt, and part of having pets is being able to enjoy them.

What ivylass said - forgive yourself. Accidents happen to all of us and you have to learn from them and allow yourself to move on.

Also, there is no timetable for grief. It takes time to heal, and the amount of time it will take can’t be predicted.

Now, why aren’t you out getting camera batteries? You know the rules!

Four years ago when I lived with my sis, we each had a cat. We woke up one morning and found her cat Sammy had passed away. He had never even been sick and had regular check ups with clean bills of health.

What was worse was that I walked past Sammy a couple of times that Saturday morning and thought he was just peacefully sleeping. We actually smelled something odd (and Sammy had made some bad poots in the past) so we started laughing and accusing Sammy of passing gas.

I will never forget laughing…and then calling Sammy to wake him…and him not moving. I walked over to touch him and he was stiff. My sister and I were hysterical with grief for weeks.

For quite some time after that, I would check my cat Ralph when he was sleeping to make sure he was alive. Soon, I realized that I should try to make the best of my cat’s time here on earth and really enjoy his company.

RedRosesForMe, I wish you peace with your kitties and relief from the grief of a dear lost pet. I really am sorry for your loss and pain.

Oh you poor thing! Yes, forgive yourself, it was an accident.

RedRosesForMe, don’t feel guilty. Your behavior shows you’re a loving and caring cat owner, not that you’re paranoid. My dogs do very good impressions of throw rugs when they’re sleeping. I always look closely to make sure they’re breathing or I’ll call their names until I see an ear twitch. Then I feel comforted as they fall back asleep. I’m sure most pet owners do the same thing. It is never a wrong thing to watch over your pets and make sure they’re OK. It’s actually comforting to reassure yourself that all is well with them.

RedRosesForMe, you have nothing to feel guilty for. It was just a tragic accident, but now you have learned from it and you know next time to buy a break-away collar.

I felt really bad when my last cat died, she and I had been together for 11 years and she went missing when my boyfriend was looking after her as I was away with friends on a hen weekend. I really gave myself serious guiltage afterwards, she wouldn’t have gone missing if I’d been there, I would have made more of an effort to find her, she might have come back sooner if she’d heard me calling her…you name it, I felt it. In the end I had to accept that she was gone and there was nothing I could have done about it, it was nobody’s fault and no matter how bad I made myself feel, she wasn’t coming back.

My current two cats are complete serial sleepers though, and quite often I find one of them on the end of the bed curled up in a ball. I spend quite a bit of time looking at her debating whether or not she’s breathing, and sometimes I have to give in and poke her just to see if she moves or not.

I wouldn’t collar them anymore. Just keep them inside. And forgive yourself.

My husband had a very tiny newborn-ish kitten that crawled under the couch and was killed by the springs when someone sat down. The mother cat was walking by with a kitten paw in its mouth :eek: , which is how they found out about the incident.

Guilt is a terrible thing to try to overcome.

This sounds so stupid, but it’s a true story for me. Years ago my gf and and I got in a terrible fight. She tried everything. She hit me, I laughed and told her to hit me again. She destroyed my room, I told her to destroy the kitchen. Five minutes into the rage I looked in the bathroom and noticed gravel on the bottom of the toilet,

“Honey, where’s the fish?”


I died.

The fish was innocent. It was us, my gf and I, who were spiraling out of control, but no one else deserved to be hurt. I didn’t care what happened to me, but the fish, he was my buddy and I let her kill him just to hurt me. It sounds so, so, stupid; but of all the things that happened I still feel guilty over that one $2 fish.

Crap, I just hijacked a thread with my unrelated pet guilt. Sorry** RedRosesForMe** I don’t know how to help, for me I just say “I’m sorry” everyday and go on with life.

I killed my pet bunny when I was a very young kid - I loved it so much, I hugged it to death. It might be a funny story now (I still don’t think it’s very funny - I loved that rabbit), but it probably helped shape me as a person. Point is, like everyone else has said, you didn’t kill your kitty on purpose, accidents do happen, and it’s okay to forgive yourself.

Let me say that I really feel for you - I’m one of those people who is very sentimental about pets.
Two years ago, I woke up to find that my beloved dog (the first dog I ever owned) had died in her sleep. It was completely unexpected - even though she was pretty old, she was full of energy and happy the day before. I cried like a baby over her - even now I get choked up thinking about it. My other dog is getting to be her age, and - Every. Single. Day. I wake up dreading that I’m going to find him the same way.

So, I understand your paranoia, and even though time dulls the pain, it’s still there in the background.

Just enjoy your cats, and understand that it wasn’t your fault.


I do that. I worry that it annoys the Neville kitties, but they’re so cute when their ears twitch…

Yes. Be sure to buy a collar for cats, not a dog collar. They’re usually in a different section of the pet-supply store (at least at Petco they are with the cat toys and stuff) and often have a picture of a cat on the label. I wouldn’t buy a collar for my cats that wasn’t specifically labelled as a collar for cats.

If you go this route, go to your vet or your local animal shelter and get them microchipped if they aren’t already. Just in case they get out…

I seem to recall a previous thread somewhere/sometime about the same thing happening to someone else. I think someone said that some company makes breakaway cat collars to prevent things like that from happening. (Could I possibly vague that up some more?)

I, too, accidentally killed my pet bunny. :frowning: I cleaned out his hutch and then discovered we were out of straw. I thought some ripped up rags would do the trick but, alas, they did not. Poor Whitey froze to death one dark winter’s night. I still feel bad about that. In my defense, I was only eight, but still…

I killed a kitten once by accident. It had been sick for a while, but got well (or so I thought). Shortly after that, I used some flea shampoo on it because the poor little thing was just ate up with fleas. According to the shampoo label, my kitten was just barely old enough to use the shampoo on, but I guess he was still too weak because he went into convulsions and died. My boyfriend even tried to give the kitten artificial respiration. (I later decided the boyfriend was a jerk, but I do have to give him credit for that). I don’t think I’ve ever cried harder than I did that day.

I’m sorry to hear about Kiara, and glad to hear that it hasn’t stopped you from taking on more kitties that need you! Congratulations on Molly and Company. :slight_smile:

RedRoses, there’s no advice we can give you that will get rid of your paranoia. Until you can come to terms with your guilty feelings and complete the grieving process that seems to be stuck, it’ll still be there.

I’m so sorry you’re having this problem, though. I haven’t had a cat die on me that way and I still check on my kitties if they’ve been sleeping for a while and haven’t moved.

You adopted them out of pure love, and in time will forgive yourself. Tens of millions of pets do fine without breakaway collars. You are a good soul for wanting to give the cats a home.

I’m so sorry for your pain, nothing in the way of self-forgiveness will take away the loss. But, try to move with it, and move away from it and release the guilt.


Thanks for the sympathy, guys. I’m trying to forgive msyelf, it’s just so sad. I didn’t even have enough time with her to get any pics. I did give her an awesome funeral, though, because she was such a cool cat.

What makes the worrying even worse is that Seamus had a near-death experience himself. Like I said, my cats used to be indoor/outdoor cats. Seamus had been out one night, and in the morning my friend Marc (whom Seamus is rather fond of) left for work. Seamus followed him across the road, and Marc watched horrified as a passing SUV’s bumper clocked him square in the face. Seamus took off running and hid under my building. Marc and I called in to work and spent the morning crawling around amid pipes and wires under my apartment looking for him. When we finally found him, we rushed him to vet. After 5 minutes of poking, the vet declared him perfectly fine, although he probaby had a headache. :smack:

So, no longer are the kitties allowed to roam the streets as they please.

I know how you feel. One time my dog found a litter of young kittens in the back yard. We searched for the mother but could not find her. I brought the kittens in and placed them in a large dog cage I had with litter and food and some toys.

The next morning the little black kitten was dead. Its head was sticking through the bars and it must have choked or broke its neck. :frowning: I didn’t think they were small enough to fit their little heads through the cage bars.

I got some card board and made a border around the bottom so it would not happen with the remaining two.

I felt so guilty. I have had cats all my life and have had litters of kittens. I should have known and protected them better. I mean I put them in the cage to begin with to keep them safe from the dogs, cats and from being underfoot.

You just have to realize that sometimes things happen.

Six of my cats (I have nine) are indoor/outdoor. It is a risk but they love to lay on the deck and chase bugs in the yard.

I have a very old dog that sleeps very hard and some days I have to stare at her extra long to make sure she is still breathing. I can understand the panic you feel.

Just think - All the time she spent with you she was really happy, exploring new places, playing games, quite possibly doing that ass-skate thing on the carpet that looks really fun…

She was happy because of you. If you’d wrapped her in cotton wool and not let her play, she wouldn’t have been able to live a full, content life. You can never keep pets completely safe. All you can do is offer them a good life and do your best for them. You’ve done that, no need to feel guilty.

Anyway, no one can control fate or chance. If you could I’d never have tripped on the kerb, flapped pathetically at thin air, and fallen flat on my arse in front of hordes of delighted commuters this morning.