I am so devastated right now. I feel guilty, angry and alone. I feel like it's all my fault he's gone and I should have done more research. My Alvin was a beautiful Domestic shorthair/Tabby mix and he had a white patch that looked like a heart on his back. I found him all alone and close to death on the side of the road when he was just 4 weeks old. I took him in and have had him ever since. He was my first pet. I signed him up for a "wellness" plan at banfield the week after I got him in 2015. He'd been going there twice a year for the past 4 years. He was healthy other than a minor heart murmur they had discovered when he was 3. He had eaten a dry food diet all his life (Which I regret sooo much). About 3 weeks ago, my husband found a very dehydrated kitten all alone and brought him home, we had him quarentined in our laundry room because he was so young, we were thinking of fostering him until he was older to be adopted. Last week, I noticed my alvin was having trouble using the litter box, At first I though he was constipated and then after a quick google search I realized he might have a urinary blockage or Stones. I had no IDEA this was such a big and common issue in male cats. The whole time, I was wondering: Was it the stress from the kitten in the house?, was it his dry food diet? I took him to banfield because I read this was an emergency and he had to be seen right away. They charged me $300 to run diognostics and monitor him to see if he pees, he did not. They advised me to take him to a pet emergency center if he got worse overnight since they were closing in 30 minutes. well, he got worse. He started crying and kept trying to pee everywhere, I felt so helpless. I took him to an emergency pet center where they charged me $850 to put a catheter in him. At this point both my husband and I had applied for care credit since we didn't have the funds to pay for this emergency. I was completley unprepared and I feel sooo guilty for not knowing about pet insurance and having more financial resources for my baby. They succesfully put a catheter in and I had to keep transporting him from banfield to the overnight center for 2 days. Each day about $700 in fees. At this point, Our care credit cards were maxed out. As soon as we took him home he was peeing in little drops again, I brought him a calming collar and was hand feeding him Urinary SO wet food, He was still eating and drinking out of his fountain, It was a friday night and his regular vet at banfield was out of town until Tuesday. I called banfield on Saturday and advised them alvin was still having issues peeing, the receptionist said she will speak to the vet there and see if I Should bring him in. She came back on the phone and said "Since he is Dr. ****'s patient she dosn't feel comfortable seeing him, you should take him to an emergency clinic". At this point I was praying for a miracle and I was LIVID, I had already paid $1900 for 2 DAYS of treatment. I had no more money. The emergency vet was going to charge me $850 again to put a catheter in. He kept trying to pee all weekend, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat. I was so worried, I googled, I called every shelter, Vet, no one could help him. I read about PU surgeries and was selling everything I could to get the money but he was deteriorating quickly. When I got home from work monday morning at 2 AM, He was laying on the floor and didn't want to get up. I knew i couldn't keep making him suffer, I rushed him to the emergency vet and cried my eyes out as i told him to put my baby to sleep since I didn't have the means to pay for him to be treated there again. I feel guilty because I should have been better informed about his nutrition ( I thought dry food was fine, I'd been buying him an expensive premium brand all his life), his stress levels because of the new kitten (he had been the sole cat in the house all his life), I should have had pet insurance, I had NO IDEA, his vet never spoke to me about pet insurance or the effects of a dry food diet in a neutered male cat.  I will never know what it was. I should have been better prepared but he was a very healthy cat, I'd never thought he would have such a sudden decline. I am angry at Banfield for NEVER EVER asking me about my pets nutrition and how horrible it is for them to be on a mainly dry diet. I am mad that I paid $45 a month for 4 years for the vet there to tell me she wasn't "comfortable" helping my baby. I feel alone because I feel that I AM GUILTY and Irresponsible and my husband tells me: "He's just a cat", get over it. I've been at work all day with a big knot in my throat, holding back tears. He just died TODAY. a couple hours ago. I have to come to work and pretend I'm fine because nobody will understand. My family dosn't understand how I feel, they say "You spent almost $2000 on him", "you did your best." But I DIDN'T. My best would have been KNOWING about this Illness, KNOWING about pet insurance, KNOWING that I'd been taking him to a terrible practice the past 4 years. I feel so lost. I'm sorry this is so long, I don't have anyone to talk to and I wanted to write down all my feelings. 
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My dear Alvin’s mom,
My deepest condolences on your loss. I feel terrible and also angry for you at the way you and your beloved boy were treated. The vet should be ashamed saying she wasn’t comfortable to treat your baby. In your shoes I would be sure to make it known how they treated you so that other don’t trust their pets to these same people. This was not your fault. It may sound strange but “you can’t know what you don’t know”. You should have been advised about his diet and the care he received was in my opinion not good. I’m so sorry for you to be carrying this burden of guilt. He was not just a cat. He was your beloved boy, a part of your family. I hope you know Alvin is at peace now. You made the best choice you could in the end. You chose not to let him continue to suffer. I feel so angry at all of the people who literally turned their backs.
This forum is a good place to connect with people who will understand your love for Alvin and your terrible grief. Cry as much as you want. You’ve had a tremendous loss. Please do post here again and take care of you now. That’s what Alvin wants.
Wishing you peace,
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Alvin's mom,

I am truly sorry about Alvin's untimely death. However, just like Sampson said, you can't know what you don't know. I can tell you this from my personal experience. i am a much much better cat owner that I was 15 years ago. My three cats gave me valuable lessons on cat's behavior and health. Back then I used to give them kibbles even though I noticed that some of them didn't drink enough water. If your cat drinks enough water, there would be no problems to give him dry food. One of my cats used to get urinary track infection. Every time when it happened, I just took him to the vet and he would take antibiotic pills. Later I learned that it was bad to keep taking antibiotics. Those bacterias would develop resistance to the drugs, and it would be no use eventually. I searched for a more natural treatment for my cat, and I found out that if you add a couple drops of organic (the one with the 'mother' in it) apple cider vinegar to his food (preferably wet food), it would reduce the chances to get UTI tremendously. Ever since my cat started on this treatment, he never has another UTI episode. Maybe Alvin was also predisposed to kidney stone genetically.

As for introducing another cat to the household and made him feel anxious, did you notice any changes on his behavior? It really depends on the cat, some are more tolerant of other animals. I had the same problems years ago when my husband decided to bring in a new dog.... He was too impatient to give them time to adjust, and I didn't do enough research on this, so my cats developed psychological problems and the whole event led to bloodshed at the end. You see, you are not alone about feeling guilty and uneducated on caring for your fur baby. We ALL  learn from our mistakes. I also think that what happened to the vet and the pet insurance situation had caused his death as well. Please don't beat yourself up. Now you are a better cat mother, your future fur babies will have a higher chance to live longer. 

Please keep coming to this forum in order to give your mind some peace. Everyone grieves differently. Some people don't want to talk about it. Some don't understands at all. That's why you need to talk to people who understands. And here you can find comfort. We are all going through the same thing. 

Take care
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Dear Carolina (AKA Alvins_Mom),

Sweetheart, on the DID do your best:

1.) You rescued Alvin from the street! Which is quite admirable if I do say so myself.

2.) You immediately signed him up for a wellness plan.

3.) You are not a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. That is not your chosen field of expertise. You placed your trust in so-called professionals.

4.) Many of us here (including myself) never purchased Pet Insurance. Only a fraction of the populace does in fact.

5.) There was also no way to know for sure if your Vet was substandard. Even the very best Vet's and Animal Hospital's have good and bad reviews on Yelp, Facebook and Google etc. What many of us have discovered here is it is a total crap shoot when it comes to Vet's and Animal Hospitals. Quite often it is simply the luck of the draw like in a game of cards when treating our pets. That is a very unfortunate and sad, but it is often true. The proof is posted in many of the comments featured here on this forum.

6.) One thing I noticed on the Internet, there is a TON of conflicting information. Many websites, blogs, essays, etc. are corporate backed. You can search, and search and search and dig and dig and dig and discover more and more contradictory data. So there was no way for you to really know for sure that your feeding your cat "dry food" was bad for him. Hell, I've read and heard it is supposed to be GOOD for them for their teeth!

7.) Alvin was only 4 years old, you didn't expect him to have a potentially terminal health condition at that age in his life.

By your words you can easily read how much you loved, adored and cherished Alvin. And he knew that you did. I am so happy that he gave you back much in return. It sounds like he was your "Spirit Animal" as you had such a unique and special bond.

I gave up sharing my feelings and emotions with those I know in my personal and professional life. They have never experienced the depth of love that we did with our recently lost beloved's so they can not fully comprehend the depth of our grief. I come here instead, where everyone "gets" me.

I hope you continue to travel through time and heal and that soon you reflect on only your happiest and most cherished memories of your beloved Alvin. Please be gentle with yourself during this dark and difficult time. You are not alone, we are here for you and with you there in spirit. 

Kind regards & my sincerest condolences,

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Thank you so much for your responses. They helped tremendously. I felt so alone and I felt that I deserved to feel terrible and guilty for not doing "more" for him. I have to convince myself that I did the best I could and I made him happy in his short four years of life. I will never ever take another pet to a banfield "Pet hospital". I've learned my lesson in the worst way possible. My husband now wants to keep the kitten that we found a couple weeks ago. I don't know how to feel about that. I haven't wanted to see him. I feel like I'm betraying my sweet Alvin. I don't know what to do. 
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Thank you, James. I'm not really comparing him or blaming him, I blame myself. But I'll never truly know if bringing the kitten in contributed to my baby's blockage. I guess that's what's stopping me from having an attachment to this kitten. The "What If's". This kitten deserves the same love I gave alvin when I took him in. I hope I can one day give him that. :-( I've attached some pictures of my Alvin. I love him so much. He truly was my "Spirit Animal". 


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