As heartbreaking as it is, the reality is that our pets don’t live as long as we do. That’s why we should cherish every moment we get to spend with them because we don’t know how long they’ll be with us.
Having owned an orange tabby cat named Bailey since college, Erin Merryn understands this all too well. When she met the ginger kitten 15 years ago, the tiny feline leaped into her arms and refused to let her go.
Erin was smitten and immediately decided that she would keep the cat against all odds. She even snuck him into her dorm on the 8th floor. That’s how much she wanted him in her life, and Bailey felt the same way for her.
Erin believes Bailey was no ordinary cat.
“I have always said if everyone had a Bailey there would be a lot less people in this world lonely or depressed. I always told people there was a little human inside Bailey,” she said.
Fast forward to over a decade later, Erin started her own family and had her first child, Abby. At first, she wasn’t sure how Bailey would react to the new addition to their household.
But as it turns out, she had nothing to worry about. She told Love Meow that it was love at first sight when Bailey first saw Abby. And since she arrived, the cat has become her guard and best friend. He would always stay by the little girl’s side, snuggle with her, and shower her with love like there was no tomorrow.
As Abby grew, Bailey became her protective brother and watched over her every step of the way.
The little girl picked up a book one day and decided to read it out loud with Bailey by her side. Meanwhile, the cat just stayed there and served as her audience. This activity became the duo’s typical bonding.
When Abby turned two, Erin gave birth to another baby girl named Hannah. Once again, Bailey’s caring instincts kicked in. Just like with Abby, the cat became Hannah’s babysitter and protector.
Eventually, the trio became the best of friends. But there was no denying that the bond between Bailey and Abby was extraordinary. She would still read him stories all the time, and the cat would just curl up in her arms and watch her read. She would also sing to him and play with him all the time.
Bailey was very patient with Erin’s daughters. He would let them dress him up, bathe him, and push him like a baby in a stroller. He was even willing to sit in a high chair with a bib on. The cat was there for their little picnics, to play school with them, and serve as their companion at their lemonade stands.
“He just loved these girls and let them do whatever they wanted to him. It was incredible,” Erin said.
The girls’ bond with Bailey was so special that Erin wanted to share their incredible relationship with the rest of the world. That’s why she began capturing their precious bonding moments and sharing their photos and videos on social media.
Every post she made about Bailey and the girls was adorable, but one, in particular, gained massive worldwide attention: a video of four-year-old Abby singing “You Are My Sunshine” to Bailey. News outlets and even talk show host Ellen DeGeneres picked it up.
In August 2018, that footage went viral and had Bailey gaining new followers on social media. Sadly, the world didn’t get to know the cat for very long. On December 8, 2018, the 14-year-old cat passed away from kidney failure.
It was “one of the worst days” of Erin’s life. But the most awful part of it all was telling Abby that she had to say goodbye to Bailey.
As a tribute to the cat’s special bond with her girls, Erin shared a video of her two daughters serenading him with “You Are My Sunshine”—the song Abby had been singing to Bailey since she learned to talk—for one last time.
Three hours after the video was filmed, sweet Bailey passed away. Thousands of people across the globe sent their condolences to the family.
“So sorry for your loss… this is a tough one but your pet wants you with them for their last hours on earth…and you did that so your pet is happy,” said one Facebook comment.
Although the cat is no longer here, the Merryn family continues to run Bailey’s social media pages, sharing heartwarming memories of him to make other people happy. Erin also released a book about the beloved cat.
Here’s the heartwarming video of Abby singing to her feline best friend for one last time.
Even during his final hours on earth, Bailey’s family made sure that he leaves knowing how deeply loved he is. And that’s the kind of love that every pet deserves.
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