I searched out this forum because I desperately need someone to help me get through what has happened. I pray someone takes the time to read this post in its entirety and be kind enough to respond. What I am going through is an absolute personal hell.
I have (or had) 3 cats. My oldest was 16 years old!! I have had Mister Big Boy through all aspects of my life. He has been my companion through so many years. Including the birth of my child, divorce and the death of my mother. He meant EVERYTHING to me!!
As older cats do, Mister was showing lots of signs of being an elderly cat. He had drastic weight loss, major constipation, occasional vomiting, protruding spine, joint pain, and weakening of the back legs. However for the most part he wasn't in any pain and continued to live a happy life. Up until the past couple months when he stopped grooming himself and his fur matted severely. I attempted to comb it repeatedly and couldn't brush it out myself. It made him uncomfortable so I took him to the vet. After an overall check-up, he only weighed 9 pounds and was constipated. The vet informed me that the mats were so severe that he would need to be shaved. So they sedated him and shaved him from his mid-back down to his tail. I picked him up and took him home. For the most part he seemed okay and seemed more comfortable now that the mats had been removed. It did take several days for the sedation to wear off and for him to walk normal again, but he finally did.
What happened next was so strange. Mister became very very clingy and clung to me at all times. He used to be very independent and now he would hardly leave my lap. Due to the constipation I kept him on a canned food diet because the vet said he couldn't tolerate the dry. He seemed to be doing okay, just extremely needy.
All 3 of my cats are inside/outside cats. They come and go as they please and this past Sunday was no different. I left the house and it was a cold day but sunny. All 3 cats went outside and were enjoying the sunshine. I decided the sun and fresh air would do Mister some good so I left, not planning on being gone past dark. Oklahoma winters can be very cold and unfortunately, I did not make it home before dark. In fact, I didn't get home till 10:00 pm and the temp outside dropped to around 32 degrees at nightfall. This meant the cats were outside about 10 hours with the final 5 hour being around 32 degrees.
When I got home I raced outside to get them. The younger two came right in and seemed unaffected. Mister wasn't moving. He was laying on his side in the grass. I ran to him and picked him up. I could tell something was terribly wrong. He wasn't stiff or frozen but he felt cold to the touch. He was lethargic and I held him close to me. He meowed once and I saw the life leave his eyes and he died about 3 minutes after I brought him in. My first thought was that he froze to death!! I killed my Mister Big Boy!!! I left him out too long and he got too cold!! OMG How could I do this?!?! What was I thinking?! I had been babying him and cuddling him and making sure he was dong well. I just thought the sun would do him some good. I didn't mean to be gone so long. All 3 cats were accustomed to being outside at night and coming in before bed. Why did this happen? Was it too cold? Too long? Was it due to the shave? I will never forgive myself and I just need someon!
e to talk to.
I cant sleep or eat or work. I cry all night long. I cant move past this. I killed my best friend!! Please help me :'(

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Your story just grabbed my heart. Oh Hun please,please don't be so hard on yourself. You've come to the right place for support,folks here are amazing. I have had cats all my life,my aunt rescues cats and I've probably seen 100 cats come her way too. Something was definitely going on with your kitty, before that night. We call what you were doing " sun therapy". I lost my best friend just three weeks ago,and sun therapy was his absolute favorite thing. It's good for the soul. Kittys have a pretty good way if self regulating their temperature. If he was cold and wanted in he would probably be huddled up by the door waiting to get in,not laying in the grass. Honestly I think he was enjoying the sun in the grass and that's where "it" was going to happen anyway. From experience it can take animals a long time to die naturally. Usually the mind is gone first and the body slows down. They go into a slumber. My guess is he fell asleep in the sun and things just naturally started happening. Guilt no matter how your friend passes is the worst part of grieving. I struggle horribly with it. I understand that feeling that you don't even want to get out of bed in the morning. You don't want to eat you can't sleep your whole world is devastating. And I know it's hard to hear that sometimes pets don't want us to be there when they pass. I have heard several people speak of dogs running away to pass. I'm not really sure why they do it it's different with them all. I cannot imagine how hard it must be not knowing exactly why he passed. I desperately want those answers too. Your beautiful Mister Big Boy is still here with you,in your heart. Honor the bond you had and try to celebrate that unique love you were blessed with and all the things you got through together. He would not want his mum to be hard on herself this way. Please keep posting and sharing,it's healing for us all. This is a community if amazing folks who are trying to help each other through this ugly hell of grief. Do you have any pictures you can share with us? Hang in there,it does get better,it takes time,be good to yourself you still have two kitties who need you so very much.
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Thank you
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I did read your entire story and I am so sorry for what happened to you.  IN NO WAY ARE YOU RESPONSIBLE.  I know that is easy to say and not so easy to apply to yourself.  Animals handle things differently than we think maybe they should but in some ways they are have that "wild" side and in the wild they must hide if they are sick to avoid being attacked by predators so that is a possible reason why they hide.  I agree that if he was "cold" he would have been up by the door trying to get inside, which he wasn't, so TRY to take some comfort in that.

I wish I could tell you what you are feeling will go away quickly, but most likely that will not happen.  I hope you are an exception.  I am 7 weeks away from losing my Molly and it is still so RAW and I wish it just all never happened.  I want my baby back.

You have come to absolutely the right place though.  Everyone here is just beyond WONDERFUL and we ALL understand how you feel.  Doubtful there is anyone her that doesn't feel guilt in some measure, no matter what the circumstances.  I hope you feel some comfort now that you have people who have read and understand how you feel. 
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One thing to remember is that one of the stages of grief is guilt.  No matter what the circumstances, we all experience guilt when there is a death of a loved one.  I experienced it a year ago when my dog Kelsey died. I had him to the vet several times, but at the end he couldn't even walk up the steps. I felt so guilty that he had gone through that. 
  Now I am experiencing it all over again.  I had my brother's toy poodle staying with me a few months after Kelsey died, and was with me until yesterday. He had been having breathing difficulties, and had him to the vet who put him on lasix.  Beau went into severe respiratory distress yesterday and I almost didn't get him to the vet in time. I called my brother and after asking the vet questions, decided that since it was a poor prognosis that he didn't want to put Beau through that. I stayed with Beau when he died, but am having major difficulty with it now. I can't stop crying either. I keep thinking that if I had taken him a week before when he was breathing funny that something could have been done. The truth is, it wouldn't have made a difference.  He was 13. I just really miss him.
 Remember that your cat loved you unconditionally, and is in a wonderful place now until you see him again. Your guilt will gradually lift, but you have to forgive yourself. The other cats were fine, and it was just your other cat's time to go.  He was in a familiar place and was outside where I'm guessing he loved to be.  You were blessed to be able to be with him when he passed away.  I also have to realize that guilt serves no purpose except to torture us.  You will get through this, but continue to reach out here for support. This site has gotten me through the last year.
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Oh Teisha:  Please don't be so hard on yourself. You did everything for Mister Big Boy.  Sounds like after the vet visit,  despite his aging body, things with Mister & your other 2 cats were getting back to 'normal'. There is nothing that you did wrong. I understand regret & replay. I left my Lucy on the Sunday morning that she seemed 'off' b/c I had to get to work. (job #2)  Never in my wildest dreams did I think her cyst would burst & then lead me to the end of her life 9 days later. Mister loved you so much that he waited for you. He may have known that it was his time. But I think he wanted to be in your loving arms.
This is a welcome place to come because we are all grieving...feel regret or guilt...because we were so fortunate to love & be loved by our best buds. Moment to moment, hour to hour & day to day is all we can do to get through the pain. Hugs,KC
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I'm so terribly sorry for the loss of your baby. It was his time, but not before he could be with you one last time. I've heard of that happening where pets hang on until their loved ones can be with them. I wish you much peace and love to carry you through the darkness.
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If I could hug you, I really would. Dear lady, ITS NOT YOUR FAULT. Please believe and trust in this.

My little four legged son, "Little Boy" finally got overwhelmed by an incurable genetic kidney disease. I recued him from near starvation and neglect about four years ago. The last moments before euthanasia were the worst, Had he not been in such pain we would have never ever allowed it.
But, when your little baby looks up at you suffering, and squeaks because he's in pain, (and you have done all you could do) you step away from your own feelings and - well.

This is about YOU, though so I will save the details.

We sometimes think things happen( or don't happen) exclusively based on something we do or invoke. Yet life magically somehow goes on irregardless of us. Evidence tends to support the theory that life went on before our presence, also.
I say this to mute that thoughtstream that blames and says " shoulda, woulda, coulda" . It has been said that control is an illusion. Yet oh how we try. But people are always limited to only the best they can do. Nothing more is possible.
Your baby loves you. Yes, even now. The love we share with our fur-babies is alive and unique.
And iit lives on.

You did all that you could do and that's it. It's enough. Nothing more could have been done.

But I feel ya.

Just be as kind to yourself as you are to the furrbabies you love.

They'd want it that way.

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teisha, so sorry about mister big boy and he sounds like he was that constant loving soul with you.  I expect that he is looking down on you with no less but more now since he is your guardian angel fur-baby.  hon, you surely did nothing wrong and age catches up to all of us when we're off doing what we do daily.  God calls each of us home in his time, even if we want more time with our fur-babies, His will be done.  I think this happens because He knows what will happen to us and before each of us suffer too much we are called home.  try not to remember mister big boy with sadness (though please trust me as I am typing this to you i'm crying because I miss my roxie so much), but smile and remember all the good years you both had together.  think of him sunning himself in the meadow or by the lake where it is always sunny and warm; playing with our other lost fur-babies until that day we are all reunited with our loved babies.  i'm so sorry hon but just try to be kinder to yourself.  there will be some good days ahead even though we have those bad ones in between.  mister big boy may not be physically with you any longer but he is there with you as a very loving spirit so talk to him if you feel like it, visualize that you are stroking his head and fur, just keep giving him the love you always did and that love is what forever binds you together (this thought is for all of us who are in such deep hurt right now - our fur-babies are always with us as spirit watching over us as they did on earth).  hope you feel a little bit better today.  many hugs, thoughts and prayers to you sweetie.
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I feel the same way right now cause yesterday I had to put down the love of my life and I wonder what did I do wrong for her to have to be put down and the pain. I feel is hard and it hurts alot I know she is happy where she is and running and playing with all others. I wish I could of held on longer but the way she was feeling I could not take it anymore so we put her down yesterday and she was only 16 1/2 years old but I say to myself what could I have done for her I did everything I could do. There was nothing more I could have done but put her to peace and pain free. I still cry and dream about what she is doing right now.I loved her so so much and I know in my heart we will see each other again.
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Teisha,  I understand the guilt you feel right now. It is a natural part of the grief process, as we wonder what if we had done something different.  Last week I had to make the decision to euthanize my 9 yr old chocolate lab after complications from surgery. I replay the events in my mind, if only I had done something differently, my boy would still be with me. He was too young and I was robbed of 4-5 more years with him. This is a natural process, but from your post I believe you did all you possibly could have done for Mister.  It's not a given that being outside was the cause, and from your post Mister was starting to show his age.  At 16 years old, Mister lived a full and a wonderful life.  While its only natural to feel regret and wonder what if, think about the wonderful memories you made with him over the past 16 years.  Those good memories will be a great comfort in the days ahead. 
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