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post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I took my three cats, Jack (turned four on October 6), Alys and Celes (littermates, turned three June 23) to the vet today to have the girls spayed, declawed, and chipped and Jack declawed and chipped. Jack was neutered a long time ago and it was an easy surgery, and I knew that spaying was not as easy. I put it off because I could not bear the thought of voluntarily cutting open my cats -- Jack was neutered and it was non-invasive. Also, I don't really like the idea of declawing my cats -- I was really uncomfortable with doing it, but I cannot control where they claw and they've already destroyed so much of my furniture and I want to buy a house in the next year. So I took them this morning, and was nervous and guilty about it, and pet and said goodbye to them.

Jack made it through surgery fine. When I went to visit a few hours ago, he was awake and alert.

Celes was still coming out of anesthesia, but she was breathing.

Alys did not make it.

When I showed up to visit, I asked to see them, and one of the techs was coming by at that time to check on them. She noticed that Alys was not breathing, so they took her from the cage and began to intubate her, inject her, give her reverse anesthesia, and even something that resembled CPR. I lost it mid-way through when I saw the tech shake her head. They were never able to get her to begin breathing again. After letting me have a few minutes alone with her, I asked them to autopsy her, because they did not know how she died and since her sister was a littermate I was worried that something could be wrong with her too (they said Alys had fluid in her lungs when they intubated her that she did not have post-surgery). They just finished the autopsy, and they told me that she had an enlarged left ventricle. I am a PhD student in biology, studying disease, so I am not a stranger to what that means (however, that is human disease, not feline, so I can only make guesses based on what I know about people). However, they said she was fine post-surgery, and they had trouble getting her to go under (she was freaked out before the surgery and they could barely control her -- Alys was my scardy-cat and she was nervous around anyone that was not me or my boyfriend -- she absolutely adored us though). They said they eventually had to gas her as well.

How common is it for a cat to have this sort of thing happen, post-surgery? I asked them to have an ECG on all three during the surgery, so I would have expected that something would have happened. Is it possible that she had this defect and then the anesthesia caused her heart to fail? They said they also listened and she did not murmur before the surgery. They suggested an ultrasound on Celes's heart just in case (I said to do it). Is this necessary?

Since this just happened today, I am still in shock and very upset. This should have been a routine surgery, and I was told they'd make it through ok, because they were very healthy cats, even though they were older than most cats when spayed. I am not blaming myself (I did at first, but then my boyfriend reminded that I did nothing wrong, only what I thought was best and healthiest for my cat), and I am not sure if I should be blaming the vet or not (reserving judgment -- I know they didn't try to hurt her, but I'm wondering if this is something that should have been caught before). I am just worried for my other cats now, especially her littermate.

I miss Alys already. She is my second cat to pass away, my first one that passed away died three years ago due to a terminal illness she had before I got her.

Thanks for any advice. I may post something about her passing in the other forum at a later date, but I'm concerned about this heart condition and the possibility of my other cats having problems now.
post #2 of 4
I've never had a problem with mine, but a lot of the oriental, siamese and similar types (and some Maine Coon lines) have a big problem with the cardiomyopothy.

Sorry to hear of your sudden loss. Sometimes cats just react badly to anesthesia.
post #3 of 4
I am so very sorry to hear of the loss of your sweet little girl Alys and having gone through losses so many times, I know how painful it is to lose a loved one, especially unexpectedly like this. Honestly, we will never know all of the facts as to why she did not make it; and yes, it is a good idea to keep careful eyes on Celes. The decision to do the ultrasound would have to be yours; I hope and pray she is healthy and that she and Jack will be with you for a lifetime of love and joy.
post #4 of 4
My Manx calico, Alice, passed away suddenly last January. She was approximately three and had shown no signs of illness, murmur, etc.

One morning, I heard her make an odd cry, which I had never heard her do before. I was not necessarily alarmed, but went to check on her. She was lying on her side below the window she was sitting in. And her eyes were already fixed. She went that fast. I was devastated. I had never had this happen with any cat - this sudden, inexplicable death. I cried for days.

I had my vet do an autopsy because I wanted to know if it was something that could affect her kittens (I have her three kittens too- Atticus, Ella, and Cleo). The vet said her heart was smaller than it should have been, the walls thick, and he said it was a type of cardiomyopathy. He stated that sometimes, cats will show no signs that anything is wrong, they just pass quickly.

I am sorry for your loss. I brought my Alice home and buried her outside of her favorite window. I also made a flower bed over the grave, so that I can keep flowers for her there as much as possible.
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