It hurts so much.  I literally haven't stopped crying since I found my cat, Riley, laying in the garage this morning - 3 legs paralyzed and bleeding.

Riley almost always slept in bed with me, on my pillow actually, with one paw on my head.  Last night though I was keeping my 2 month old nephew overnight and was worried that Riley might get curious and get into his crib so I decided to let him sleep in the garage with one of our outside cats.  This morning I woke up and heard him out there crying.  He's always been a mama's boy so it wouldn't have been surprising to hear him fussing about wanting back inside.  That's why I didn't check on him right away, instead I waited until the baby was picked up at 9am and then went out to let Riley back inside. 

When I opened the door Riley was laying there covered in blood and other bodily fluids unable to move his hind-quarters.  He started using his one good paw to pull himself toward me though.  I don't have a car so I called my husband at work.  He came straight home and we took him to the vet.  After the initial exam the doctor checked his blood pressure, took a quick blood sample and then did some X-Rays.  I never stopped crying.

When the doctor finally came back in I knew it wasn't going to be good news.  On the X-Rays I saw a heart that was THREE times as big as it should have been.  Over the years the thickening and enlarging of his heart made it very difficult to pump blood and oxygen to the rest of his body.  The culmination of that was today when a series of blood clots lodged and paralyzed 3 of his 4 legs.  It also resulted in a complete loss of control of all of his bodily functions. 

The doctor said that he could have us in the office of the best cardiologist in less than an hour.  For a brief second I was hopeful until he added, "but it wouldn't do any good."  The best we could hope for would be that he would continue out his days in a veterinary hospital on a series of drugs.  And, in all likelihood, this would happen again.

And so, laying there on a cold, hard exam table early this morning with my arms around him and my lips on his head, the doctor put him to sleep. 

I'm not really sure what to do with myself.  Right now the sadness feels like it will never ever go away.  My heart is broken into a million tiny pieces.  We have 4 cats but Riley was ALWAYS the most special to me.  I got him from a homeless family before he was even weaned from his mother.  I fed him from a bottle and let him lick kitten milk from my fingers for those first 2 weeks.  He used to sleep on my pillow at night with one paw on my head and had learned from a very young age to jump from the floor straight up into my arms.  His favorite thing to play with was an ice cube and always came running as soon as he heard someone using the automatic ice machine.  Whenever I was away for the night, my husband said that Riley would go from room to room, pace on my side of the bed and meow before finally falling asleep on my pillow.  We used to joke that the only time he ever wanted to be around my husband was when he had food (I'm a vegan so he was always curious about my food but never went for it).  There were times when DH would get a fork-full of food only to have Riley reach over and grab it right off the fork.  He only grudgingly drank out of a bowl.  Instead he preferred to drink out of a glass (mine, if at all possible) or out of a running faucet.  Oh God, that reminds me of how I got so angry with him yesterday for knocking over my glass of water.  :::sigh::: Maybe soon I won't have any tears left but for now, I can't stop crying.

Somewhere in between tears, I have to tell my 11 yr. old son when he gets home from school.  As much as I know he loved Riley too, he's a very sensitive kid and I don't think he needed to see what I saw him going through today. 


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Hi Contessa20,
I am so so sorry for your loss. What a handsome boy Riley was. I lost my Golden Retriever, Clancey, just 4 days ago so I know how you are feeling right now. My Clancey was a momma's boy as well. There are no words I can say except I wish you much comfort right now.

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Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about Riley!  I had to put my boy Polar down a week and a half ago after he stopped walking, eating, and drinking overnight (he had Wobblers).  I hope things go ok with your son, as best as can be expected anyway...  I wish you peace and send hugs-please keep coming back and telling us about Riley and how you are doing...
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My condolences to you for the passing of Riley. I know it is so, so difficult and painful. It feels like the tears will never end. I lost my 15 year old cat almost 3 weeks ago. The first 2 weeks were really bad, I cried all the time, day/night and in between. I can honestly say that I'm better this week. I finally had a dream of her, which I took as a sign of her telling me she was ok, so that gave me some peace. But I've also noticed that my coping mechanism is to just not think of her. If I do, I'm reduced to a sobbing mess again. Whether that's healthy or not, I don't know. Anyway, my heart is breaking for you and I'm wishing you find some comfort and peace soon.
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I'm so sorry to hear about Riley. He really was a handsome, handsome boy. It's terrible that you had to go through that in the end with him. Believe that he carries no more of that pain with him, he only has the love that you both felt together through the years.

It's so hard, but it does get better every day. Some days you can't actually feel the difference, but I think it's still happening. Don't rush yourself through the grief, and take comfort in the things that give it to you. Much peace...
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I told my son when he came home from school yesterday.  He just sat in my lap and cried and cried.  Riley was his favorite too.  He kept saying, "not Riley."  We have had many cats over the years (our house seems to be the kitty halfway house for strays; they just show up at our door) and we currently had 4 - Riley (5 yrs.), Rachel (15 yrs.), Scout (1 yr.) and Eko (3 yrs.) but none were quite like Riley.  He was always far more special than any of the others.

I had a hard time sleeping last night.  Riley always slept on the pillow above my head.  I would always feel his paws or his tail brush my head and hear his heavy breathing in my ear.  I was a stomach sleeper so sometimes he would even crawl onto my back and curl up there.  Last night I kept waking up, trying to pet him but he wasn't there.  I decided to find a picture of him and put it in a frame beside my bed.  Now he'll always be with me when I sleep.  I also put his tags on my keyring.  Those tags drove him batty; he hated the way they jingled together when he walked.

Scout knows something is wrong.  She is our other indoor cat and she loved Riley.  He was just like an older brother.  She would pounce on him, smack at his tail, chase after him and just generally try to torture him but he never hurt her.  When I got back from the vet yesterday she walked up to me and sniffed me with her mouth open (the Flehming reaction, if you don't know what it's called) trying to figure out what was going on.  She then followed me around all day and laid by me while I slept.  I'm not sure if she knows that her friend isn't coming home but she definitely appears to be sad. 

I'm still trying to decide what to plant above his ashes once we get them back.  I want it to last forever and I want to be able to go sit by it and talk to him.  I used to talk to him all the time. 

So far, I haven't been able to eat anything or take off the shirt I was wearing when I said goodbye.  I'm hoping that this pain will get easier.  Right now I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to walk through the house without tearing up at the sight of all his favorite places. 

Thank you all for your kind words; this is so hard.
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Cyber hugs to you and your son.  You and your son are so blessed to have had Riley.  And Riley was blessed to have you.  Peace be with you and RIP Riley.


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I am so sorry for  your loss.  I had to put my Chester down a week and a half ago, and had been getting better.  Then we got his ashes back last night, and it feels like I'm staring all over again.  My boy slept with me every night, and was my bright shining star for all of his 16 years.  I am just thankful to have ever had him my life.  I hope you find peace, and know that he loves you very much.  Good luck to you and your family.
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I am so so sorry to hear of your loss and such an awful run up to your furbaby passing. I have just written in another thread my story about my baby boy John. I feel a little of your pain when John passed. I rescued John after instantly falling in love with him at the rescue centre i worked at for a year. He use to climb on my shoulders if he could get to something high enough, like your baby, would sleep on my pillow at night or next to me and id hug him like a person. I went through so much with him, he had one health problem after another, all making his next one more complicated. I would often have a night where i would sleep on tender hooks after he had been ill and any movement or noise id be awake instantly. I had to have him put to sleep after Johns back legs gave way due to cancer. I love my other cats dearly but he was extremely special and i am not sure i will ever feel a bond with a cat like I did him. You have to give yourself time and take each day as it comes, i think the picture idea is lovely and that your other girly cat is senseing your upset and taking care of you. You are being incredibly strong even if you think otherwise right now, the want to 'just feel ok and not hurt so much' can sometimes stample on the fact your actually doing a fantastic job and being stronger than you think. Things will get easier hun, even after a year of John passing i get choaked, ie when walking up my driveway and him not running and yelling to meet me. Try and focus on the gift you were blessed with along with all the good times. Your doing a brilliant job looking after all the cats, dont doubt yourself for any moment, keep strong and pm me if you need to at any point. xxxxx
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I just wanted to thank everyone again for the kind words and condolences; I very much appreciate them.  I've been through and read so, so many of your stories over the last couple of days and I am so sorry for each of your losses.  My heart goes out to you all as you adjust to a new kind of "normal" without your babies.  (((hugs))) 

I've set up a memorial blog for Riley if anyone wants to come over for a visit.  It's Riley's Rainbow Bridge.
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So very sorry about Riley, Contessa. I'd like to think that as we all grieve here and express our sorrow, helping each other adjust to changes, that all our fur babies have found each other and are playing together helping one another adjust in heaven.  Maybe one day we can all meet up there, and share only happy stories. 
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Oh, I love that, Magzmom!  I hope my Riley has met all of your fur babies and is having the time of his life.
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Tomorrow will make three months since I had to help my best friend Jake cross the Rainbow Bridge. I had him for 15 of his 17 yrs. and I still think of him and miss him every day. It was the hardest decision I've ever made. The crying comes less often and I am able to laugh at the memories now but it is still hard some days. I adopted another dog, same breed, from rescue about a month ago which for me made a big difference as Jake was my only dog. Fritz looks different from Jake, which is a decision I made consciously. I didn't want my mind making comparisons. It isn't the same as having Jake around and I knew it wouldn't be but we are having a good time getting to know each other!
I have a couple of poems others posted here that I took much comfort from....may you as well....

The Last Battle

If it should be that I grow frail and weak,

And pain should keep me from my sleep,

Then will you do what must be done,

For this, the last battle, can't be won.

You will be sad I understand,

But don't let grief then stay your hand,

For on this day, more than the rest,

Your love and friendship must stand the test.

We have had so many happy years,

You wouldn't want me to suffer so.

When the time comes, please, let me go.

Take me to where to my needs they'll tend,

Only, stay with me till the end

And hold me firm and speak to me,

Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time you will agree,

It is a kindness you do to me.

Although my tail its last has waved,

From pain and suffering I have been saved.

Don't grieve that it must be you,

Who has to decide this thing to do;

We've been so close,we two, these years,

Don't let your heart hold any tears.

Author Unknown

I Haven’t Left At All

I saw you gently weeping as you looked through photographs
You paused for just a moment at one that made you laugh.
But as you turned more pages the tears began to flow
You whispered that you missed me but I want you to know;
I softly licked those stinging tears that down your cheeks did fall
I want to help you understand I haven’t left at all.

On those days that you are overcome with sorrow, pain and grief
I rest my head upon your leg to offer some relief.
When you take our walking path I’ve seen you turn around
Because I know you surely heard my paws upon the ground.

At night while you are sleeping I snuggle at your side
You stroke my fur as you touch that place where I used to lie.
You said it’s just your heart playing tricks upon your mind
But rest assured I’m really there, my spirit’s left behind.

I know your heart is hurting; it’s like an open sore
You think my life has ended and you won’t see me anymore.
But for those of us bound tight by love, death is not the curtain call;
It’s really the eternal beginning that waits for us all
So, dear Master as you live your life I patiently await
For us to be together when you pass through Heaven’s gate.

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Hi Sweetie,

I am so very sorry for your loss - I know precisely how you feel.  I had to put my Baby Leon to sleep 2.5 weeks ago because he had kidney cancer, and it just about broke my heart.

I had the same special bond with him that you had with Riley - and cannot tell you how special he was.  Some parts of your post made me smile, because Leon used to jump up on my shoulders and rub his head against mine.

I can only advise that you take it one day at a time, cry when you want to cry, and come on here a lot to read the messages that people leave - I found it enormously helpful.

Leon has been to visit me twice in my dreams now, most recently two days ago when he looked me in the eye, gave his special 'hello' meow and jumped on my shoulder.  I was stroking his fur which was so silky, and he wasn't skinny any more.

I will ask Leon to take care of Riley - and tell him to visit you when he can.

With very much love and best wishes,

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