Cause of sudden death in young cat? ? - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 11-27-2005, 03:42 PM
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My son's girlfriend had two indoor cats; female siblings that are less than a year old. A couple days ago, one cat was found lying down on the floor in some kind of distress (lethargic, making unusual noises when moved). The family didn't have a chance to get the cat to a vet before it died. Does anyone have any ideas as to what could cause so sudden a death in a young cat? I'm concerned about the remaining sibling falling similarly ill if it's something contagious or in the living environment. The only thing I'm sure of is that the cats were well-cared for, and not neglected.

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#2 Old 11-27-2005, 03:49 PM
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Could be one of so many things.

This vet gives some clues as to what can cause death in young cats:
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#3 Old 11-27-2005, 04:27 PM
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You could get a necropsy on the cat?

Something like heart failure could have occured and the cat could have just died. Sometimes cats, like people, are born with heart defects, and you don't always pick it up in a young cat since they don't routinely have EKGs or Echocardiograms unless the problem is obvious upon listening to it.

Cat could have also eaten something it wasn't supposed to. Lilies, for example, are extremely toxic to cats. Animals are also attracted to rodent poison and antifreeze, both highly toxic.

I believe a necropsy is going to be the only way you find out for sure.
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#4 Old 11-27-2005, 05:18 PM
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This happened to a kitten of mine a couple years ago.. just like karenM described. I found my kitty laying under my dresser, after searching for him for nearly an hour. He was wheezing, making strange noises, and having odd little spasms when I'd move him (have a lovely scar all the way up my arm from getting clawed during one of those spasms). It was so sudden, and happened at night, so we didn't have a chance to take him to the vet either.. he died about 5 minutes after I found him. Sorry to hear about the cat, karenM. I hope you figure out what happened.
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#5 Old 11-27-2005, 07:06 PM
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...Very sad.

Terrible as it is, some cats die from ingesting styrofoam peanuts, Toilet paper that they attack for fun, and other seemingly harmless items. If they're under a year old, I would "kitty-proof" a room and keep the other one in it for a little while.
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#6 Old 11-27-2005, 07:50 PM
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There's no paintball places near you is there?

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#7 Old 11-28-2005, 08:05 AM
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Diana, Rabid_Child, Cass, VeganForHeath & bjorn again veg, thank you all for your responses. I don't think they have any paintball products in the house, but from Diana's and Rabid_Child's posts, it sounds like a heart problem could have been the cause of death. I knew cats could have heart defects (a cat we took in had a murmur and required an echocardiogram), but had no idea they could kill so suddenly.

I'm also going to try to find out if the cats might have ingested anything like the items mentioned here. It's bad enough the remaining cat has lost her sister/companion; I sure don't want her to become sick herself. Thanks everyone, for your help!
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#8 Old 11-28-2005, 09:48 AM
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One of my neighbors while in vet school lost their young cat (~1.5-2yrs) very suddenly from an undetected heart problem. That morning she was running around and jumping up on things and that afternoon she had difficulty breathing. When she was examined, she had a huge amount of fluid in the pleural cavity (area around the lungs that should have no more than 1-3 cc's of fluid). I'm not sure if she actually died or was euthanized at that point.

Heart problems are probably the most common reason for sudden death in young animal aside from trauma and toxicosis and often aren't detectable on necropy (the proper term for an after death exam, drilled into me during vet school even though the general public has no clue what it means).

Unfortunately, the island I was on has a reletively inbred population of cats and heart problems are more common than in the US. That's why as soon as I could I had my kitty checked out by a cardiologist (since I was a student on that rotation, it was free!!!) Luckily no problems were detected on ECG or ultrasound.
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#9 Old 11-28-2005, 09:57 AM
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We also lost a kitten once to what I can only describe as Sudden Kitten Death Syndrome. She was only a few months old, and we found her dead in the garage (where she and all her littermates lived) one day with no apparent explanation. It appeared to have happened very suddenly, as we found her body poised in the act of crawling under the utility shelf. There didn't appear to be anything under the shelf but dust- certainly nothing likely to kill her. We didn't have a lot of chemicals in the garage (mainly some cans of paint), and what there was was out of reach and sealed up tight, with no sign of disturbance, so we don't think she ingested a poison. We speculated that perhaps she disturbed a spider and it bit her. :shrug:
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#10 Old 12-02-2005, 04:19 AM
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Hello I think that you should watch over your cat better and then there will be no problems! I am sure that nothing wrong will happen again! I LOVE CATS!
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