I adopted Toby Thanksgiving 2016 when I found him living with some feral cats. He was so outgoing, sweet, and lovable. He's the only cat I've ever had that wanted to snuggle and be held all the time.
I got back from traveling for Christmas Wednesday night and I could tell he didn't feel well. After noticing that he was breathing too quickly, I brought him to the vet and they diagnosed him with congestive heart failure due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. He was only five, so they said it must be a genetic condition.
He did well on oxygen and came home the next day with several medications and the caution that he probably wouldn't live much longer, but might have several months, at most a few years, left.
However, I could tell he still didn't feel well and wasn't eating much (which isn't like him at all!). I called the vet and she prescribed an appetite stimulant. I asked if there was any reason not to go ahead and give it to him, and she said no, so I did.
We settled in on the couch to watch a movie, but about an hour later, he got up, walked halfway across the room, then laid down and started crying in distress. He tried to get up again and started panting, so I brought him to the vet.
I was holding him in the car and he absolutely started freaking out. He lost his bladder and was panting and trying to get away. It was horrible. He was so scared and I couldn't do anything to calm him down.
When we got to the vet, they suggested we euthanize him, which we did. It wasn't peaceful; he was in distress until they gave him the first shot to sedate him.
I feel so guilty; I feel like he was doing okay until I gave him the appetite stimulant. I've read up on it since then, and the possible side effects include increased heart rate and panting. I wish I would have just waited and seen if he would eat on his own, and I might still have him, even if for a short time.
I hate that his last few days were so terrible. He was such a sweet cat and didn't deserve that.