We hope you have an extra-large box of tissues close at hand because this story is a real Marley & Me kinda’ tear-jerker. You’re encouraged to hug your furbaby … now.
These two little girls from Illinois in the US have received an outpouring of support in the form of gifts and cards from all over the world after their best buddy Bailey passed away right before Christmas.
The girls’ mother, Erin Merryn, shared a series of heartwarming photos on social media that showed her daughters surrounded by messages from France, Sweden, New Zealand, Scotland, the Netherlands, Canada, Argentina, Germany, Australia, the Philippines, the UK, Italy and the US, with even more arriving every day.
Along with the accompanying photos, Mrs Merryn expressed how touched she was that Bailey had made such an impact and that there was still a selfless side to humanity.
“In a world where you hear a lot of the negative, you’re seeing right here some of the positive,” she said.
Erin was just a university student when she first met a tiny, ginger Bailey and realised immediately that he was a very special boy and one to be shared with the rest of the world.
Bailey No Ordinary Cat became quite the internet sensation when videos and pictures of him with his adoring little sisters circulated the web.
With 93,000 Instagram followers and more than 54,000 followers on Facebook, it’s easy to see just how popular he was with his international fanbase.
Mrs Merryn has shared hundreds of heartwarming posts giving an in-depth insight into the love Bailey had for his family and that which they had for him.
Videos of Erin’s eldest daughter Abby singing to Bailey, photos of the girls playing dress-ups with him, giving him baths, driving him around in a mini Mustang, decorating the Christmas tree and sharing endless cuddles are just some of the sweet moments Bailey’s fans would get to see on a daily basis.
The Bailey No Ordinary Cat account is something that’s universally wholesome and loved by many, so when news broke that the 14-year-old cat died on December 9, it was no surprise his fans were shaken.
Despite a deluge of grief felt by the feline’s social media family, they rose to the occasion and offered a wave of support in hopes of cheering up four-year-old Abby and her younger sister Hannah.
The letters and parcels received by the family have provided much needed support and “shows that there are good people in this world,” Mrs Merryn said.
She also shared that Abby in particular had been deeply saddened by the loss of her best friend, asking “why did Bailey have to die?” and “why can’t we go visit heaven?”
The pair were inseparable and fans of Bailey have fallen as much in love with Abby as they have him.Just three hours before Bailey passed, Abby sang ‘You Are My Sunshine’ to her best friend one last time.
Cue the tissues.
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You Are My Sunshine ☀️ one last time. Bailey died three hours later. WARNING: Grab the tissue. When the animal hospital called on Saturday and said there was nothing more they could do for Bailey I took him home for a few hours to let my girls sing to him one last time. Abby did not know when she was singing this it would be the last time. I told her after. RIP Bailey. You certainly were no ordinary cat you were extraordinary! Blessing this mommy with 14 amazing years. 😿👧🏼🎶😭 Thank you @theellenshow @goodmorningamerica @abcnews @mtv @thedodo @scarymommy @cats_of_instagram @ladbible among the many others that shared Bailey’s video to millions. @bailey_no_ordinary_cat
Though nothing can take the loss of the much-loved pet away, the generosity of Bailey’s loyal following has helped to console the family.
“Thank you to all who sent cards, they loved opening them. You made this difficult time a little easier,” Mrs Merryn said.
As we know, there are few things sadder than the loss of an adorable pet or the subsequent grief of equally adorable young children, it’s really one of life’s saddest scenarios — thankfully, the kindness of good people can restore our faith in humanity when difficult times arise.
Bailey really was no ordinary cat and although the family will likely get another pet in the future, they “just have to wait until they find a special one”.