Hi everyone,

I'm new here.  I just stumbled across this forum and thought I'd join.  Obviously, the reason I'm here is not a happy one, and I apologize in advance if this post is a bit lengthy.  Exactly 15 days ago, we lost our almost 12-year-old cat Bailey to renal disease.  He would have turned 12 in September.  He suddenly became very sick at the beginning of May.  This illness came out of nowhere.  He had been acting totally fine up until one morning when we woke up and he was lying on the kitchen floor in his own vomit and barely able to move.  We rushed him to the vet, where an x-ray revealed several kidney stones and at least one misshaped and enlarged kidney.  They could only see one kidney on the x-ray because Bailey didn't stay still enough while they were taking it.  His renal blood work was also so elevated that their machines couldn't even read the values, which clearly indicated renal failure.  The vet gave us a very grim prognosis, but we wanted to do everything we could.  He was our oldest and both my husband and I had a very special bond with him, although my own personal bond with him was especially strong.  He was hospitalized for about 4 days on IV fluids, antibiotics, and pain medication.  He refused to eat the entire time he was there, but he did gradually begin to perk up.  Even the vet was surprised by how much he had perked up, so we brought him home with subcutaneous fluids and several other medications.  

For the first several days to a week that he was home, he still wasn't eating on his own, so we had to syringe feed him baby food and a liquid renal nutrition supplement.  Eventually, he regained his appetite and started eating on his own again and began acting completely like his normal, healthy self and started gaining the weight back that he had lost since becoming ill.  We were giving him subcutaneous fluids once a day and he was doing great.  This lasted for about 4 weeks.  Then, he started to crash and go downhill again.  He stopped eating again and became lethargic.  We started syringe feeding him again and upped his fluids to twice a day after consulting with our vet, but it was like the fluids were no longer doing anything.  We kept trying for about a week.  When nothing was working, we finally made the decision to end Bailey's suffering and have him put down, so we made an appointment at the vet.  It was the absolute hardest decision I have EVER had to make, but we couldn't let him continue to suffer.  I don't think anyone around me (except my husband) really fully understands how much Bailey meant to me.  I love all of our animals very much, but with Bailey it was much different.  We had such a connection and a bond that I can't even describe.  We were almost always together.

The day before we were scheduled to bring Bailey to the vet to end his suffering was pure torture for us and him.  He was crying in pain and literally could barely move or walk.  It was the absolute WORST thing I have ever witnessed in my life.  He would lie on the floor completely lifeless crying out in pain.  It still haunts me very much and I feel such an overwhelming sense of guilt.  The next morning, we woke up and found him lying on the floor in my office (I work from home).  He had loud respirations (we think he had developed congestive heart failure from the fluid buildup due to his failing kidneys) and he was almost completely lifeless and would occasionally cry out.  We knew he didn't have much longer and we weren't even sure if he would make it to the vet.  My husband and I sat with him petting him, telling him how much we love him, and we cried and told him that he didn't have to fight anymore and that he could just go to sleep.  We left the room for a few minutes to go outside and get some fresh air and, when we came back in, he had passed.  We really think that he waited until we left the room.  It had been so obvious all week that he was fighting very hard to stay with us and it was absolutely heartbreaking.  I cried nonstop that entire week.  My husband wrapped him up in a blanket, put him in a box (his favorite box) and took him out to our backyard to bury him next to 2 other cats we had lost as well as our old German Shepherd who passed just over 4 years ago.  

For the past 2 weeks, ever since the minute he passed away, I feel like I have been so completely numb.  I literally have not cried once.  I physically couldn't cry, even if I tried.  I was just that numb.  I have lost several pets before and I have never experienced a numbness like this right after losing them.  I cried my eyes out for days immediately after losing other cats and dogs, but that didn't happen this time for some reason, until tonight.  I don't know if it's because we have been so incredibly busy with a huge amount of renovations that are being done on our house, which has been a HUGE distraction, plus the fact that we have family here, who surprised us by coming to visit for 2 weeks a week after Bailey died (they're still here until Thursday) and we have been going pretty much nonstop since then.  

Something happened today that I think really hit me hard and caused me to finally break down into tears tonight.  My husband came home from a week-long business trip to Florida this morning and we were standing outside on our deck talking about his trip as well as the work being done on our house.  I turned around and there was an all white cat sitting on a tree stump near the woods in our backyard, about 30 or 40 feet away from us.  Bailey was all white and this cat looked IDENTICAL to him.  I said to my husband, "OMG!!!  Look at that cat!  It looks JUST like Bailey!  You do see it, right?  Tell me I'm not crazy."  He saw the cat as well, so I know I wasn't totally losing my mind.  I started to attempt to approach this cat to tried and get closer to it, but it was very shy and trotted away.  It stopped to scratch at a tree and then looked at me and meowed a couple of times (sounded totally different than Bailey's meow) and then took off.  We have lived in our house for almost 8 years and we have never seen that cat before.  We have no clue where it came from or who it might belong to.  It looked to be pretty healthy and definitely wasn't too skinny.  It's not too often that you see an all white cat, at least I don't think I've seen any, other than Bailey, of course.  I kept going back outside throughout the day to look for it, but it hasn't come back, but just seeing that cat immediately made me think of Bailey and miss him even more, so I've been pretty sad today.  I put on a happy face when we all went out to dinner tonight, but this has been eating away at me all day long.  I just wonder where that white cat came from.    

I feel such a huge void in my life since losing Bailey.  We still have 4 other cats, 2 golden retrievers, and a black Lab, who I love very, very much and they all mean the world to me, but Bailey and I always had a real connection.  He was with me probably a good 20 hours a day.  He would sleep right next to me almost every single night since he was a kitten, would jump in my lap while I was working and give me lots of kisses and would put his paws up on my shoulder when he really wanted to snuggle.  Every single night when I finish with work, I go out into the living room to watch TV for an hour or two and Bailey would ALWAYS follow and jump right up on the couch or in the recliner with me and would sleep either right next to me or on top of me while I watched TV.  He sometimes would even sleep on my chest with his head on my shoulder and would stay like that for up to an hour at a time.  When I would go to bed, he would usually follow me there as well.  Whenever he wanted me to get up in the morning, he would start licking my face and arms.  It used to annoy me like crazy, but now I miss it more than anything.  I was literally the only person Bailey would let hold him.  He loved my husband, but he wouldn't even let him hold him and would jump right down every time he tried.  Bailey was just very, very attached to me and always wanted to be with me.  I've been working from home full-time since Bailey was only about 2 years old, so we were pretty much always together.  Anywhere I was in the house, Bailey was usually either right with me or not far behind me.  I always called him my velcro boy since he always stuck to me like velcro.  He was definitely a once in a lifetime cat.  I know I still have all of our other cats and our 3 dogs and I love them all very much, I really do, but they're just not Bailey.  :(

Anyway, I just thought I would come on here and share my story about Bailey.  I feel very, very guilty about the way he passed and how much he suffered the last few days of his life and I feel like maybe I didn't do enough for him.  My husband says that I went above and beyond what most people would do (sticking a needle in him every day to give him fluids and giving him medication and syringe feeding him when he wouldn't eat on his own), but I still ask myself what if I had done this, or what if I had done that?  I also blame myself for not ending his suffering sooner.  I blame myself for being selfish and not wanting to let my baby go.  I just couldn't imagine my life without him.  I miss him more than words can describe and I feel like a huge piece of me is missing.  :(
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I'm so sorry about your Bailey. I lost my Sophie dog 8 weeks ago to kidney failure. A month before, the vet said she was in early stage. I went and bought the special food, did research, and pretty much thought I'd have more time. We had to rush her to the ER vet, where we learned that she had a clot and her kidneys were in horrible shape. She was howling in pain. We had no choice to make the decision, and here I am 8 weeks later, trying to go on with life without her. We had 14 years together.

Everything you are feeling is normal. And you absolutely did go above and beyond for Bailey. You were not selfish. But these feelings are normal. You had a special bond with Bailey, and the deeper the bond, the stronger the grief. Bailey was very very lucky to have you.

Hugs to you,

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