My kitty died unexpectedly - full story

Hi friends-

My kitty of 11 years died over the weekend, and I'm left feeling heartbroken and bewildered by what happened. The vet could offer us little information, and was very impatient and insensitive with our questions. I'd like to describe what happened, and see if anyone here can shed any insight to help us understand what could have possible caused this sad and unexpected event:

Nonie was 11. We'd raised her from a kitten. I believe she was a Maine Coon. She was very active, very sprightly, very energetic, and above all else, extremely vocal. The whole neighborhood was charmed and amused by how much, and how intensely, she "talked" to people. She seemed to have an insatiable appetite her whole life, always "talking" when it was time to feed her. At times she seemed dissatisfied with her food, which we dismissed as her simply being picky, though now I'm feeling ill with guilt at the thought that perhaps she couldn't eat what we provided her.

Leading up to her death, she showed zero signs of illness. She was not lethargic. She was not overactive. She was not drinking more, drinking less, eating more, eating less. She was not crying more than usual. She was not going to dark places to be alone. She was not urinating less or urinating more (so far as we could obviously see), we did not find any diarrhea or vomit. Absolutely nothing was out of the ordinary. I know that cats are notorious at hiding their illnesses, but given what happened next, it seems extremely odd that NO signs would be present.

Friday morning, I was awoken by the sound of Nonie crying out. It was different from her usual "talking." She sounded in distress. I assume she was probably trapped somewhere, so I got up and set out to find her. I found her sitting in the hallway. She looked deep into my eyes, and let out a loud, distressed moan. It was obvious she'd been calling for me. I picked her up, and her body felt extremely weak and limp in my arms. She closed her eyes, and the moaning ceased, but she was clearly in distress. On the drive to the vet ER, her mouth opened and her tongue hung out as though she was panting, though her breathing was not heavy.

At the vet, she was just as sedated, despite knowing that she must have clearly been nervous about the dogs and other stressors of a vet's office. In the examining room, she was very limp on the table, clearly very sick. She moaned out a few more times as the vet examined her. He touched her a few places, and pulled her eyes back, and said she was severely dehydrated. He said the dehydration looked like it had been longer than 24 hours. At one point, she lost her urine. But the urine was clear.

The vet explained that the clear urine was a bad sign, because if she was dehydrated, her urine should have been dark yellow. He said that clear urine from a dehydrated body meant that the kidneys were not working, were not flushing out the toxins. He took a sample of the urine for analysis.

He then curtly told us our cat was dying, and that there was little hope. We were totally shocked. He said we could hospitalize her, run a number of tests, and, if we found it to be kidney failure, put her on their version of dialysis, but A) he didn't know if it would help (in the event that she was too far gone), and B) he didn't know if she would survive it, if she was already close to death. He also said it would be close to $1,000, which we did not have.

We asked if there was anything we could try at home. He said we could try taking her home with some antibiotics and pain killers to give her through a mouth syringe, and to feed her some pedialite and baby food the sameway. We agreed to try this. In the meantime, he gave her some fluids, antibiotics and a pain shot.

On the drive home, her mouth fell open again and she moaned more. By the time we got home, she had clearly deteriorated significantly. We tried to make her comfortable on the bed, but at one point she got a bout of strenght and tried to get off it, but she fell to the ground and couldn't move, and moaned horribly. I cradled her, but she panicked and tried to run under the dresser. Because she was so weak and disoriented, however, she stumbled and couldn't hold herself straight, eventually just banging into the side of the dresser. It was truly heartbreaking to witness.

I took her and placed her on some blankets, where she proceeded to decline rapidly, trying to get comfortable, moaning occasionally. She eventually dragged herself under the bed, so I placed her on blankets under the bed and tried to give her some pain medication. The end was near, and I wanted her to die comfortably.

Shortly thereafter, she slept- Curled in a ball for the first hour, and then she dragged into a different position and slept. Within the last hour, her legs moved gently as though she was running in her sleep. Then, finally, it looked as though she had stopped breathing, however she "squeaked" every 30 seconds or so, presumably taking her lasts few breaths. Her life ended with her a brief, swift jolt of motion from her body, most likely the body's last fight. And then she was gone. We found her at 9am, and she was gone by 6pm. The entire episode took about 7 hours, and moved so very quickly.

The vet called the next day to say that her urine suggested there may have been diabetes, and that "she must have had something going on with her kidney as well." I do know, however, that stress can cause raised glucose levels, so I question the diabetes claim.

We are heartbroken, stunned, and confused. I realize knowledge won't bring her back, but we are feeling sick over the suddenness of the death, and a thousand scenarios are running through our minds, many of them leading us to believe we must have somehow been responsible.

As the vet has given us very little, and google searches have lead me nowhere, I'm reaching out in hopes that anyone here can help shed some light on what might have happened to our beloved Nonie. As it happened so suddenly, and so dramatically, we are truly at a loss. Any insight would be helpful.

Please help.

Thank you

~B.

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