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Why did my cat die?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
My thirteen year old cat has just died, yet I really feel that I have no idea why.

A few months ago, my cat had a bout of vomiting. She was doing so several times a day, but didn't seem bothered by it. After bringing up her meal, she'd simply go back to her plate for a refill. After a couple of days of this, we were thinking it was time to take her to the vet, but the problem went away.

Then about a month and a half ago there was a repetition. This time we did take her to the vet, who found that she was very constipated. He gave her an enema, and did a barium meal examination which showed nothing. Blood was sent to the lab for tests, and came back showing nothing out of the ordinary. The vomiting had stopped, so I was reasonably confident that she was healthy apart from a possible tendency to become constipated. She came back home, and all was fine until about two weeks ago.

Then it started again. Clearly another trip to the vet was called for. I fully expected that constipation would again be found, but there was none. She was put on an anti-nausea drug, for a couple of days, but it did not prevent the vomiting. She also started not wanting to eat. So we took her back to the vet.

The vet recommended exploratory surgery, which was duly done. It showed nothing, so the vet was thinking in terms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and started treating her with cortisone. A stomach biopsy was taken, and sent to the lab. It came back indicating no IBD, but the presence of helicobacter. So she was weaned off the cortisone and started on amoxicillin. We took her home, but she still wasn't eating, so we were having to force feed her, using food supplied by the vet for this purpose (Hill's Prescription Diet). For the first couple of days, after we let her go after feeding her, she was going to the kitchen to look for food as well, but not showing much interest in what would normally be her favourite. Then on about the third day, we let her go, she yowled apparently in pain, and practically collapsed.

We took her back to the vet the next day, and he diagnosed severe anemia. More blood tests we taken, which confirmed the anemia, and a lack of new blood cells being created in the marrow. She was put back onto the cortisone on the assumption that it was an auto-immune disorder. The idea of giving her a blood transfusion was discussed, but by this time we increasingly sceptical about her chances, so decided not to further traumatize her. In the evening my vet called me to tell me the cat was experiencing cardiac arrest, in pain, and vomiting, and suggested that it was time she was euthanased, which we agreed to.

I fully understand that pets die, and my cat, at 13, was not young. But the sequence of events leading to her death seem bizarre. There was nothing so suggest anemia at the beginning, yet that's what ultimately killed her.
post #2 of 12
So sorry about your Cat. My 5 year old Cat was Pts Dec 5th and she would throw up sometimes but act normal. I was about to take a Shower and went in the other room to see the Cats first and found her with thick Saliva and she was falling over. we went straight to the Vetand they tried to save her. We were told she would not live through the night and if she did she would still die. we had to have her pts. It was Acccute Renal Failure and maybe Cancer. I wish I knew it was her that would throw up. I thought it was Coco my old cat because she throws up when her Asthma is acting up. there has not been any since Stormy died so it was her. I am here if you need to talk. I have Stormys Mom and she is 15. Coco had Severe Anemia at age 9.5 and almost died. It was caused by Fia and they said she was in Grave Condition and might need Blood. She was in the Vets for a Week and was 4 pounds then.
post #3 of 12
My prayers go out to you and your family. I am not sure and can't explain why your baby passed away. I would call the vet and ask them if they could give you a more detailed explanation.
post #4 of 12
Do you know if the vet did a necropsy? If you can, you may want to ask whether they are still able to do that--it wasn't clear whether this happened today or not. There are a lot of different possibilities, including cancer and pancreatitis ( It sounds like you did everything that you could.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies, people.

As far as I know, no necroscopy was done. Our pet has now been buried in the garden, and I strongly doubt my co-owner would agree to digging her up again. There is, sadly, also the issue of cost. We've spent in excess of $2000 on veterinary care over the past couple of months, and it would be hard to justify further expenditure just to satisfy my curiosity (which it in any case might not do). I should really try to put this behind me, rather than obsessing about it (which I can very easily do, as is probably indicated by my original posting).

It would be nice if there were some sort of take-home lesson from all this, but even with the benefit of hindsight, there doesn't appear to be any justification for having followed a different path.
post #6 of 12
wow. You did everything you could.....i don't know if there was another course of action??? sometimes these things just happen.......but maybe somebody else will have experienced something similar!!!!

I'm sorry for your loss, you obviously loved your baby very much. My condolenses
post #7 of 12
I am so, so sorry about your kitty. We've never had cats before, and our oldest kitty is just 5, so we haven't had to face this yet. I can't bear to think about what will happen, and I can totally relate to wanting to understand what happened.

From what you've mapped out, the only lesson I can see in all of this if another kitty adopts you is get a second opinion. I don't know how much time passed between the discussion of a blood transfusion and the night she needed to be put to sleep, but one of our kitties developed an autoimmune disease. His PVC got down to 7%. There were people here who suggested we consider putting him to sleep. The difference was that he was not in any pain, and he'd already been fighting his disease with us for about a year - we could tell he was fighting with us, because he had a 45 minute drive (and 45 minutes back) to the vet every day for months, and he didn't fuss AT ALL - even when his hematocrit was close to normal. We could just tell he wasn't giving up, so we didn't. We decided to go for the transfusion - that, in combination with the Epogen, put him on the right track. I hate to say it, but changing the steroid that was being used was all that took to keep our kitty alive. Our vet called specialists around the country as his disease progressed, and determined that the anemia would respond better to depomedrol as opposed to prednisone. He was right. It did.

I get the feeling that the amount of time your kitty was anemic prevented this type of research. I don't know how often her blood work was being done during all of this - but that's the only way to discover something like that.

I don't want you to look back and say "I could have" or "I should have." You did everything you could, and that's apparent. The only thing you could have done differently was to get another opinion somewhere along the way. But her symptoms were so subtle, you had no reason to second-guess your vet.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

post #8 of 12
So Sorry for your loss... YOU did the best you could and DONT feel like you didnt .... Some ailments are $$ we do what we can and are comfortable doing ... CRF I thought wasnt too bad and I was able to monitor and deal with Kandies issues for over 4 yrs ... then I get a liver issue dog , just to get a clear as mud diagnosis was around 2000 I wont tell you what her total for this yr is ...
post #9 of 12
I'm so so sorry for your loss.
I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for you to not know why.
to help you heal
post #10 of 12
am so sorry to hear of your loss.. my heart goes out to you.. i lost my first cat when i was just 16, was awful and it's something you never forget
post #11 of 12
I am so sorry to hear that your lost your precious furbaby. But you did everything you could; it is not your fault..

I once had a cat who was perfectly healthy and suddenly died at the age of two: the vet thought he had a stroke or brain aneurism (sp?). He told me he could send Damian's body to a specialist to confirm his death, but I didn't have the money to do so, and even if I would have agreed to the autopsy to find out what caused his death, it wouldn't have brought Damian back, anyway. Sometimes these things just happen, and there's nothing you can do..

RIP, precious one.

post #12 of 12
I am so sorry to hear of your loss, I have lost 4 of my cats to undeterminable things, and it is the hardest way - my vet admitted this year that she would have liked to have done an autopsy on the cat I lost last December, as she wanted to know what had caused it - I wish she had said something at the time, I would have agreed. The cat I lost last month had stumped the vet as well, we know she had either cancer or chronic inflammation in a knee, plus arthritic hips, and possibly something else as she had a low thyroid count, but what actually caused her to last illness we dont know, she wouldnt take pain meds, and was visibly miserable, plus had an infection that didn't seem to respond to AB's - my vet would love for me to have a healthy kitten, but I can't do that, there are too many oldies needing me, and as much as they cause me heartache with illness, they are the ones that need someone more than other cats do.
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