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Young, healthy cat died suddenly  

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

My name is Jake, and until yesterday I had three cats, two females, one a little over 2 years old, the other a little over a year, and one male, probably about 9 months old. Yesterday I found the older female, Newcat, dead, in one of her favorite napping spots. It was an absolute shock, the last time I'd seen her she was in perfect health. I don't mean to sound lame but I loved her very much and her death has me extremely depressed and confused.

There are foxes and raccoons in my neighborhood, but she didn't have any wounds on her whatsoever. She was very experienced outside, was big and could fight well and was the ruler of the block in terms of other cats. She once disappeared for two weeks and came back healthy as ever. I used to keep her inside but she was very unhappy and begged to go out all the time. I let her out the cats during the day and take them in at night, except for Newcat who I couldn't find sometimes. She was much happier outside, and while I knew the risks, like I said earlier, she had no wounds at all.

Can anyone explain how this could have happened? She was just over 2 and was in great health, running around all the time, in good spirits. This has me baffled.

Thanks very much,
post #2 of 28
No answers, and you'd probably have to have your vet do a necropsy (autopsy) for a definitive answer, but I"m so sorry for your loss - especially of such a young and active cat.

Prayers for you and the rest of your kitties.
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
Is this normal at all? It doesn't seem like young healthy people ever just suddenly die, do cats? Could she have gotten into some antifreeze or something?
post #4 of 28
lAs with people, there is always a reason. She may have been hit by a car. An animal can get hit, and leave no marks. That happened years ago to me. My cat, Bob, was an inside cat that I would let out with us. One day, he did not come when I called. It turned out he was hit and wandered back into our barn to die. We took him to the vet, and the only way he could tell was his pupils were unequal, indicating a head injury. He had no marks whatsoever. But because he was able to make it to the barn, we had no clue as to what happened. I would almost bet your cat was hit.

There could have been a heart problem. Again, compare to humans. Recently a 15 year old girl just dropped dead during a soccer game of heart failure. No one ever knew she had a problem. That could have happened to your kitty. Heart probs don't show themselves sometimes until it is too late.

A blood clot. She could have gotten into something. As was said, the only way is to have a necropsy done. Outdoor cats have so many dangers lurking.

I am so sorry you lost your little friend. It is always so hard to have no answers.

God bless.
post #5 of 28
Aw, I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope you'll stay with us and keep us posted about your other kitties from time to time.
post #6 of 28
Iam so sorry and understand your grief and confusion. And yes, young apparently healthy animals (and humans) do die sometimes. She certainly might have been hit by a car, though if she was in her usual napping spot that seems less likely. I would think a heart attack or stroke more probable, which at least means she didn't suffer. If it were poison there would more likely be signs of body spasms or vomiting. I had a four year old cat drop dead in the garden once, no signs of any illness prior to death. It is very sad, but it happens.
post #7 of 28
Jake, I am so sorry for your loss, and no, you don't sound lame; an open caring heart is what all humans should strive for.
post #8 of 28
I'm so sorry for your loss. Something very similar happened to me a few months ago so please don't be too hard on yourself wondering what could have happened. I agree with having the necropsy done just to know what happened though if it eases your mind. You said she was just over 2. So was my cat. In fact, we had had him since the day he was born so he was exactly 2 years, 1 month and 2 days old. I have 11 cats right now and had 10 at the time. Out of the 10 he seemed to be the healthiest and most energetic one. About 2 weeks before he died he seemed a little off, but the ER vet and the regular vet couldn't put a finger on what was wrong. They discovered that he had polycystic kidney disease, though that likely wasn't what was causing him to feel bad at that point. A week after my first vet appointment, I brought him back in for some more tests. And then right there at the vet, he suddenly collapsed and died. I'm thankful that it happened at the vet and not at home, but it was still such a shock - to me and the vet. That morning he had been acting completely normal. He was running, playing, eating - acting COMPLETELY normal. And then 2 hours later he was dead. The vet attributed it to undiagnosed HCM - heart disease. Apparently heart disease is the #1 cause of sudden death in cats. I was miserable and I felt guilty, but he honestly hadn't shown one single sign of heart disease until he died. Even 2 weeks prior when he was acting a little off, he just seemed a little lethargic, but nothing that would have specifically diagnosed heart disease.

I did a lot of reading about HCM and I found one website (that I can't seem to find again right now) that gave the average age that a cat with HCM will live. This isn't the exact number, but if I can find the page again I'll post it, but it was something close to just over 2 years old. Granted, thats an average and not true for every single cat, but my cat was about 2 weeks older than the average age to die from HCM.

So while I obviously can't diagnose your cat, just know that you're not alone, and you're not the first person this has happened to. Its scary to me because now I've become overly paranoid about all of my other cats because I just have no idea if any of them are sick. Even with regular vet appointments, I still didn't know that my cat was sick.

It may not have been heart disease, but its very possible. And sadly, both animals and pets can just collapse and die very suddenly. Back in 1994 (I think it was 94, or somewhere close to there) there was a Russian figure skater who suddenly collapsed and died on the ice one day. He was only in his 20's. Up until that point he had been healthy and active and completely fine, but when he was autopsied it was discovered that his heart was so bad, that there was only a pin prick sized hole for blood to flow through, and ultimately, thats what killed him. I'm not sure why that story is sticking in my head right now, but I guess my point is that sadly, animals and people do often go undiagnosed with diseases, and its no one's fault because the signs and symptoms just aren't there. And cats especially are very good at hiding when they're sick.

So once again, I am so so sorry for your loss. Your little girl is probably playing happily with my Meepers at the Rainbow Bridge now .
post #9 of 28
Jake I am so sorry this has happened to your baby. Please do not blame yourself for this at all. The exact same thing happened to a friend of mine with her young cat. Her cat was strictly indoors and had never been outside. He was acting perfectly normal and playing with her other cat the day before. She thought he was taking a nap in his spot in her bedroom until she went to pet him. There was no warning and this young cat had his vet check up not too long before this. You could have the vet do a necropsy if having answers would help you. My friend chose not to do this because she was not comfortable with having her baby put through that. Without the necropsy her vet believed that it was possible her baby had a heart attack or stroke while he was napping.

Hugs to you during this difficult time. Please know that there is probably nothing you could have done to prevent this.
post #10 of 28
Jake, I'm sorry for your loss! You will probably never know why this happened. I lost a happy healthy 6 year old cat that died in her sleep--no warning.
Whenever we lose a cat it always leaves a painful emptiness, but to have one taken so suddenly is like getting kicked in the gut!
I can tell you from experience that this site IS a wonderful place to share your grief. We all know what it feels like. So come back and share...
post #11 of 28
Im sorry to hear of your Kitty too. Same thing happened to one of mine back in April of this year. He was almost 4 and he just killed over at the water dish. I just lost another one this morning. A 1 month old, but he had problems last week. I just came on here to post that news and saw yours first....
post #12 of 28
It is natural feline behavior to hide to the best of their ability any symptoms of illness, the opposite of what a person would do, and yet on rare occasion even seemingly healthy people with an internal defect can die suddenly.

Or she may have just gotten into something or been hit, but the important thing is that by no means are you responsible and she was lucky to have had a caregiver that always wanted the best for her.

Do you have any pictures of her from earlier you'd like to share?
post #13 of 28
Jake, I'm so sorry for your loss. They give us so much joy when they are with us, but when our animals pass away it hurts to lose them and say goodbye. You are not lame in the least.

You lost a family member in the form of your beloved cat, and it will take time to heal. While the pain never really goes away completely, it will get a little easier to deal with and become managable. The shock of losing Newcat so suddenly will slowly be replaced with your memories of her, and those memories will fill your heart instead of sadness and loss you feel now.

Newcat is playing happily with our Rainbow Bridge kitties, and she's making new friends, no doubt with my Kitty, Lucky Lee, Victoria, and Grace. Knowing Kitty and Victoria, they are hosting a cat nip party for the rest of them.

Sending prayers to you and your other furkids.
post #14 of 28
I am very sorry for your loss

My outdoor cat Mr. Buddy died mysteriously just recently. She was healthy, showed no signs of ailing whatsoever. But there she was on the front lawn. It caught me completely off guard and absolutely floored me.

I wish I had some answers as to what she experienced in her final moments and what (or who) exactly was to blame but I just try to focus on the fact that she was deeply loved by my family and me. And she made a difference in our lives.

In the end this is all we can do. Hold onto the memory of what these kitties brought to our lives. Seeing as how you came here to share your story it is clear you loved your kitty very much.

post #15 of 28
We had two cats who suddenly died in our back yard a few years ago. We found Twisty dead one day and not long afterwards we found Cairo dead. It was so shocking to us as all our cats spend time outdoors. Neither one showed any sign of trauma.
post #16 of 28
Heartworms can also be a cause of sudden death in cats and with them being outside, its possible.

So sorry for your loss.
post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for the kind replies. It was really a shock to lose her, but the other two cats are doing fine. In fact Newcat was really hard on the youngest cat, wouldn't allow him outside, and we were thinking about giving him away for both their sakes.

I'm sorry to hear about some of your losses, and I really appreciate your perspectives.

I would post a picture, but I can't seem to figure out how...
post #18 of 28

Hi Jake i am also very sorry or your loss. I stumbled across this thread as i was searching the internet because the same just an hour ago happened to my daughters much loved 3 year old persian cat. We returned from holiday tonight her cat was waiting at the door for her. She gave him a huge cuddle and put him on the stairs. He took 1 step and simply collapsed. I  grabbed the cat and and ran in to my office. He shook and then just flopped in my hands. I have been left completely mystified and heart broken for my daughter. My friend that looks after our pets when we are away said that he had been absolutely fine and had been walking around the house a lot. He assumed that Ollie was looking for my daughter. Ollie was an indoor cat and never went out. The only thing i can possibly think is the excitement of us getting home triggered a heart attack. I have to say that is the hardest thing i have ever had to do when i told her he was dead. It is a very cruel world!



post #19 of 28

So sorry to hear this.  I too had a cat 2 years old healthy, die suddenly.  The ER vet I took her too said usually when a cat dies suddenly at a very young age such as this it's primarily due to a congenital heart defect.  Like in people who suddenly collapse because of this, so do cats.   Many times even vets don't detect it until it's too late. :(   I know your sadness and depression.  It is so devastating when they pass so young. You feel like they got cheated on life, and you cheated as well. :(  I wish you love and peace during this most difficult time.

post #20 of 28

I am so sorry for your loss.

post #21 of 28
Danny, I'm very sorry about your daughter's cat. It's quite possible that Ollie suffered from a heart defect or Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy , even at that young an age. Our 12-year-old cat suffers from it, and our vets have warned us that sudden death due to a blood clot or change in heart rhythm is a distinct possibility.
post #22 of 28

Oh no this is terrible,I am so sorry for both Jake and Danny.x

post #23 of 28

It sure is a shock to have such a young cat die suddenly, and it's happened to a lot of us. 


In addition to being hit by a car, it's possible for cats to be assaulted by cruel humans, poisoned (purposely or accidentally), and, depending on your location, bitten by poisonous snakes, etc. 

post #24 of 28
So sorry to hear of your loss Danny. I too lost a cat suddenly from an undetected heart condition.

I would like people who post here to note that this thread originally opened up in 2010. Danny revived the thread yesterday after the loss of his daughter's cat. The OP is no longer an active member.
post #25 of 28

Hi Thanks you all for you very kind messages. We have been to the vet today and i have also been told by the vet that he is 90% sure that it was Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. Brooke my daughter is with me and really appreciates your kind words. We have been out today and got a special treat for her.






post #26 of 28

hi,I'm new on here and will put pic on soon,i had 5 cats until yesterday when my cat charlie boy suddenly died.he was a year and 2 months old and he was as healthy as can be.i have 5 cats,the moma cat just turned up at the house pregnant so she ended up staying with us.she had 5 kittens and we kept 2,the other 3 went to a friend.the other 2 i had already had as house cats because they nearly got hit by a lorry and boy racers.moma cat and her babies lived in my shed which we converted into a catio/cat house.they were let out in the day and locked in at night.


there shed was really cozy(will upload the pictures of that too)i bought two big beds,tunnels,toys,humungas litter tray that was cleaned constantly.anyway,i let them all in about 3 o clock in the afternoon(they always stuck together and followed me to the polly tunnel and played in there)when i fed them,only two of them ate food and charlie went into the catio area(which he always does)


i went to my bin to throw away the cat food wrappers,came back and charlie was still not eating,he would normally have a bit by now,so i went into the enclosure area where they would sunbave when in there together,i looked through the door and saw him(through a gap)so i called charlie boy as i always movement so opened the door and he was laying there with his eyes wide open but dead.his tongue was also hanging out.i was stroking him 2 or 3 minutes before that and he was the happiest,liveliest one out of them.he was the only male so don't know if that means anything.he was amazing,the friendliest thing you could ever imagine.when it happened i ran into my house and told my mum(I'm 28)i said charlie was dead,my mum ran outside and checked him.i needed her to confirm it for some reason.i was nearly having a breakdown,I've never cried so much in all my life.when she said he was dead i felt like dying myself and i don't think i cared whether i died or not,i think i just wanted to be with him.



when they used to be let out of the catio in the morning i would stay with them for hours so they didn't go in any roads.i live in ireland and the garden is 2 was like a playground for them but i still watched them anyway(cats always want to explore past what they need to explore,we all know that:) ) moma cat walked off on her own because she was streetwise but the two babies were looked after constantly without any restriction of freedom.


before he was buried i was shaking him and begging for him to wake up.i thought he was going to suddenly just wake up and make a little noise.i gave him 2 big kisses on the head and my mum and dad buried him with me watching from a close distance,i had run out of tears by the time he was buried and just watched in pure....dont really know what the word is,it felt unfair and i was angry as hell because he was such a lovely boy.anyway,he is gone and he has a head stone with charlie boy on it.i looked after these kittens every day for over a year,i was scared of them getting attacked by dogs,run over,poisoned,you name the end he suddenly died in the catio/enclosure,i would say his favorite spot but that was his bed(he was the first one on,last one off):)i lost my dog 8 years ago and that still haunts me today.charlie will take a lifetime to get over,i love him with all my heart.i really hope he is happy where ever he is and he didn't feel any pain when he left me.i was a dog person before i got my cats.this really is crap!!i feel like i need someone to blame,or someone should tell me how he died.anyway sorry about going on about it,i don't know how the hell I'm going to carry on without nice if someone replied to my charlie xxx i know this sounds so cheesy but we all know how we feel.look forward to some kind of reply x

post #27 of 28

I am so, so sorry for your loss of your Charlie Boy hugs.gif.  My furbabies are my life, too!  I lost one of them earlier this year, and my heart is still grieving...I'll never forget him, or any of the ones before him.


No one will ever truly know what happened to your little guy, but at least you can take solace in knowing that he went so quickly, and that you were with him just a few minutes prior, loving him and seeing him so happy. 


When you feel up to it, you can post a tribute to Charlie Boy under the "Crossing the Bridge" forum, and maybe even post some pictures of him there.


Again, I am so sorry.


Run Free, Charlie Boy rbheart.gif

post #28 of 28

I'm so sorry for your losses  frown.gif


I'll close this thread now, but when your ready please start a thread in the Bridge forum so we can all help your babies to cross over the Bridge  rbheart.gif

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