So my husband and I went on allexperts.com and got the following reply. This seemed to help somewhat.
I also have a blog http://christellize.blogspot.com/
where I posted a slide show of Simba in honor of his memory and tribute to the extraordinary (almost) 4 years we were blessed to have him in our life.
We were able to get Darla a new friend. She's not the fondest of him yet but they progress day to day. We're still trying to find a name for the little guy. Any suggestions please send them-- you can read a description of him on my blog and see some pics (I'm not yet sure how to post pics here). So far we're thinking Milo, Remy (if you're a Red Sox fan you'll know where we got this) and Chewie short for Chewbacca cause of his long tan hair.
Thanks again for your thoughts and sympathy. I don't know when this will ever get better but of course time heals...we'll miss him always.
I'm so very sorry for your loss - these things can very devastating for
everyone in the family.
Usually in a situation like this, the kitty has died due to a
previously undetected heart condition. Cats with heart disease (the most common
is a condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, but there are other
congenital conditions as well) can often die suddently due to the
formation of tiny blood clots that can lodge in the lungs, leading to sudden
death. The vomit you found as well as the prominent blood vessels
sound very consistent with this type of problem. Unfortunately, heart
conditions in cats often go undetected - since cats are so good at hiding
their illnesses. Heavy breathing can be a sign of heart disease - but
it can be very subtle and can be seen in perfectly healthy cats on
occasion as well. In my experience, when a young cat has heart disease, it
tends to progress very rapidly and there is generally very little that
can be done, even if it is diagnosed. It is a bad disease, and very
very sad. Other than some type of intestinal obstruction, I can't really
think of any other cause of death that fits with what you are telling
me. In most cases of sudden death in a young cat - heart disease is the
Again, I am truly sorry for your loss - I know how upsetting this must
be for you, but please take comfort in knowing that there was most
likely nothing you could have done to prevent this from happening.
My thoughts will be with you during this most difficult time,