Hi. New to forum.  My cat - my boy Morris - died 3 days ago on Monday. He had advanced HCM / hypertrophic cardio myopathy.  I came home to find him laying in the bay window - in his usual spot - in the sun. I thought he was sleeping at first. When he didn't move when I came in I petted him - he was already stiff.  I'm still in shock. I've had to euthanize a fur baby but first for this.

All pets are special.  Morris was the kind of cat that even people who hate cats loved. He was super friendly. He was so smart - half Siamese. Grey & white. Round cute face. Beautiful blue eyes.  I've had cats my whole life and he was truly one of the special ones.  In 2011 I took him in to foster when he was 1 y/o and fell in love.  

I switched vets in 2016 - big mistake. This once much closer - referred by a client of the vets.  In annual exam of my then 6 y/o boy she noted a heart murmur & "gravely sounds" in his lungs. She said she didn't think additional testing needed and for me to periodically count his breathing and let them know if it got fast.  In the next few months I called to let them know his breathing rate was just over 30 per minute - about 34 to 36.   Each time I was told not to be concerned.  At his next annual exam in 2017 the vet told me Morris' heart was very enlarged - he was in heart failure - and she sent me rushing to an emergency vet clinic with a vet cardio on staff.  $3,500 and 5 hours later I learned he was in "advanced cardiac failure" and his prognosis poor.  I include this information so in case anyone reads this post to be warned so it doesn't happen to them.  Heart murmur and especially with gravely sounds in lungs is a sig of early heart disease. If we had started treating Morris at this early stage he could have had a long, "normal" life with proper treatment, instead of drastically reduced quality of life and death within 2 years.

I started taking him to a vet cardiologist practice.  They prescribed diuretics. I learned all I could - got certified in Animal Reiki - took him to a holistic vet for laser acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatment.  I bought an ionized gem stone mat.  I was vigilant about his meds and supplements.  

Long story short.  In the weeks leading to his death his breathing rate increased and I took him to my new regular vet for blood work and shot of Furosemide. The vet cardio is 30+ minutes away & Morris would get extremely stressed during the drive so I thought the short, 10 minute drive to regular vet better at this stage. His kidney values getting worse due to all the diuretics and his liver values starting to get bad. I increased his potassium & started him on Milk Thistle per vet advice.  His breathing would return to "normal" after extra Furosemide, but after a day or two get fast again. The 5 or so days leading to his death he spent more time alone and in the crouched position.  I should have known that was a sign to take him to the vet cardio!!  I just don't know why I didn't get more alarmed and take him. I had the money.  I have no explanation - it's like my brain turned off.  I was so busy those days. Had to get my house ready for my brother with heart problems to come stay for a month.  I was so very busy and stressed and I noticed Morris not looking so good but I gave him extra Furosemide and started him on a new heart supplement that gets great reviews. The Saturday / Sunday before he died sat on the couch next to me and just kept staring at me. Staring.  He was so loving - I felt so much love from him from those big beautiful eyes. Maybe he was asking for help?  

I can deal with him dying because it was his time.  What I can't deal with is the thoughts that if I had just taken him to the vet cardio last week that, like in February, he would have been put in the oxygen cage, fluid drained, and he'd bounce back to his HCM "normal".  I just can't stop thinking about how he may have suffered during those last 5 days.  What was I thinking?   Or not thinking.  I also think that maybe they would have told me it was time to euthanize him.  At least I would have known it was his time. 

I am comforted in knowing he died peacefully, but did I rob him of more time?    The guilt is killing me.  I can't stop crying. My stomach hurts so bad.  My family tells me to stop feeling guilty - that it was his time - that I did more than anyone else would have - that they were continually impressed with all I did for him, etc.   I just really wish i would stop replaying those last days in my head and beating myself up for not taking him to the vet cardio.  Why did I see him crouched like that and not scoop him up and rush him to the vet cardio?  Why?

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Rita I am so sorry for your loss. Morris was truly blessed to have you as his momma. Your family is right. You did do more than most people would. Morris' organs were failing and medications have their side effects and tax on liver and kidneys. Please be kind to yourself.
You couldn't have been more attentive and caring than you were.
Morris knows you love him.
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I am so sorry for your loss. You have your Morris a beautiful life and he knows how much you love and care for him. He will always be with you. We always beat ourselves up because hindsight is 20/20. Please be kind to yourself. You love your Morris and did everything you could for him. Sending hugs to you.
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Hi, Marguerite. 

Sorry to read about your ordeal. Losing a cat to heart failure is a terrible thing. I see you are beating yourself up about what happened, as you keep asking why you didn't do more.   

Please don't think of this as presumptuous, but I have a few thoughts. In reading your post, you did do more. You engaged in extraordinary efforts for Morris. It sounded like each round of treatment was providing less and shorter periods of relief for him. Maybe it was a misdiagnosis by the new vet two years ago that started his decline. But I've owned a number of cats. Pretty much every time the heart failure train starts to roll, I've never seen it stopped. By anything. 

You keep asking yourself why didn't you do more. Why not another vet visit? And that your brain was "turned off".  But I think with you, it was the opposite. I think you were hyper-aware of what was happening. Down where it counts, you knew it was futile to keep carting your boy to more stressful vet visits that had no chance of doing him any lasting good. 

I don't believe you robbed Morris of more time - you saved him from more misery. In doing what you did, he was able to spend his last days relaxed, in your company, and he passed peacefully in his favorite spot. 

If I were a cat, don't think I could ask for more. 

May you process your grief with as much peace of mind as you can muster, and that you can let go of the guilt. You don't deserve it. 

B Weinstein
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Dear Rita   

You did everything that you could
do  to save your Beloved Morris.

And,Morris knew that you did
everything that you could do
 to save him.

No need for you to feel guilty
because again you did everything
you could do to save him.

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