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13 Year old healthy cat passes away, ideas?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I am new to this forum and full of questions about what happened to my healthy feline on December 12, 2005.

My cat was brought into the vet by my daughter on Dec 11, 2005 at approx 7:00pm. I got a call from the Veteranarian explaining what he thought might be happening.

He told me she lost the use of her two hind legs, that her breathing was irregular and she appeared to be in pain. There was no sign of impact and she is not an outdoor cat, so that ruled out being hit by a car. He said she could be suffering from poison but it was highly unlikely. I told him that Strauss (her name) eats any plants she can get her teeth on, he said he wasnt really going that direction. He said he thought she might have a clot that does this same type of thing, or that she had fallen from something with significant height. He said that due to her age he wasnt sure if I wanted to proceed with tests and treatment... due to her age, she was 13 and fit as a fiddle. There was nothing wrong with this cat until now.

I told him that her age didnt matter, do whatever it takes to save the cat. You see, I am currently posted North of the Canadian 53rd parallel and the cat was living with my daughters grandparents temporarily until my daughter got her own place, so for me I felt helpless way up here and was in shock by this phone call.

He said he was going to give her an anti-inflammatory to see what that would do as he was convinced there was swelling of the spine.

The next day he called me and said that she hasnt changed much. Her white blood cell count was high, she was just lying there and still had no use of her hind legs. He suggested Euthanising her. I couldnt do it without a second opinion. My regular vet was in the city 4 hours away and I trusted him so I asked this vet what he thought of transporting Strauss to the city. He said that I should seek a second opinion and if I was to transport her I should have it done this day. So my daughter loaded Strauss into the car and headed to the city. The vet injected Strauss with liquid because she hadnt drank any water since she got there and he feared dehydration. He did not give her any sedatives because my daughter had to cross the USA border to use the shorter route, not sure what that has to do with sedating a cat....

The drive for my daughter was horrible, Strauss had a seizure half way... her eyes glazed over and she went stiff, was unresponsive, my daughter pulled the car over for 20 minutes thinking Strauss would die. She didnt, she came out of it but was panting. My poor daughter was at her witts end, this cat was her companion since she was 6 and to her it was like dealing with a very sick sibling.

About 5 minutes befor arriving at the city animal emergency clinic ( we knew waiting to see our vet the next day was out of the question) Strauss went into another seizure and reached her paw to my daughter.... and we think that is when she died. My daughter ran into the clinic and brought out the receptionist who carried the cat in her basket to the emergency... Strauss was foaming at the mouth... she was indeed dead.

I am crying as I type this because there are so many unanswered questions for me, its like surreal.

According to Mandy's grandparents Strauss was not eating for two days before this happened but they just thought she was under the weather and didnt make a big deal out of it. It wasnt until Saturday when they came home from shopping and saw her trying to drag herself towards them with her two front paws and was meowing quite loud that they phoned my daughter for help.

The cat has been cremated, I am upset at myself for not getting an autopsy... because I cant sleep, I keep trying to figure out how a perfectly healthy cat can all of a sudden be gone in 28 hours.... does anyone have any idea what this could have been.... I am really beating myself up for not being there and being able to do more.

This really sucks, I feel like I lost a child.

post #2 of 25
I don't have any answers, but I just wanted you to know my thoughts and prayers are with you. I'm crying as I read your story. I'm sorry
post #3 of 25
I don't have any answers either i'm afraid but why don't you post about the passing of Strauss in Crossing the Bridge as well
post #4 of 25
It really sounds like poisoning to me but I am no expert. Maybe she got into household cleaning products. RIP poor kitty
post #5 of 25
I'm so sorry for your loss.
I have no idea if there could be any connection, but we just lost a young cat who had previously seemed healthy-- she died of cardiomyopathy, which she was born with, and was just a ticking time bomb.
I am wondering if you cat could have had some congestive heart failure, and thrown a clot? It sounds like it could have been her heart, but I am no expert. The clot and the seizures could be the end stage of heart failure.
Our little one died as soon as I walked through the doors of the emergency vet; it was awful. She was only 1 1/2.
Rest assured you did everything you could have done. It was probably just her time to go. Sucks, I know.
post #6 of 25
I am terribly sorry for the loss of Strauss. May she RIP.

As far as her passing, it does sound like a blood clot or something of that nature to me. We lost our family dog last year due to one, he was also paralized in the back. Although I don't know what to think about the foaming at the mouth, that kinda sounds like poison. I am soo sorry that you are going through this, and I hope you find your closure soon.
post #7 of 25
Did the vet test for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy? This can occur suddenly, often includes rear leg paralysis and is often fatal even with treatment. Regardless, i'm very sorry for your cat and for your loss.

From, http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/ClientED/hcm.asp: "Some pets show no sign of illness, especially early in the disease. In other cases, signs of left-sided congestive heart failure (fluid accumulation in the lung) may occur. These signs include lethargy, decreased activity level, rapid and/or labored breathing and possibly open mouth breathing with excitement or exercise. Sometimes left and right-sided congestive heart failure develop with fluid accumulation inside the chest or abdominal cavity causing greater respiratory (breathing) effort and abdominal distention. Once fluid accumulations have occurred, clinical heart failure is present and aggressive medical therapy should be sought. Other signs of this disease can include sudden weakness, collapsing episodes, and unfortunately even sudden death due to disturbances in heart rhythm. In some cats with a very large heart chamber (i.e. left atrium) a blood clot may form and if it enters the circulation may cause weakness or paralysis (usually of the rear legs). If this occurs, contact your veterinarian right away to determine if complications related to heart disease (or another disease) are present."
post #8 of 25
Hmmm, sounds like Cardiomyopathy to me...she probably got clots in her legs that then spread to her heart.

I'm very sorry for your loss.
post #9 of 25
I'm so sorry for your and your daughter's loss

Rest in Peace over the bridge, Strauss

I could be completely wrong, but the paralysis sounds just like what happened to my cat Macumba when she developed cardiomyopathy. (In her case the cardiomyopathy went undetected until the paralysis hit, even though she was getting regular treatment for kidney failure and hyperthyroid, so I think it must have come on quite quickly.)

The vet called it a 'saddle thrombus', and said that they could try physical & medication therapy for her, but since she already had another clot in her heart showing on the ultrasound that might let go at any time, and since she had kidney failure too, that her chances were not good - knowing that, we chose to have the vet euthanize her.

It was so hard to go through that - my heart goes out to you & your daughter. A pet from childhood always holds a special place in your heart

Strauss is at peace now, sweet girl.

Article on 'saddle thrombus'

Article on cardiomyopathy
post #10 of 25
Michelle, I'm so awful sorry... what a shock, to lose her so suddenly. But maybe you can take comfort in the fact that she had a healthy life right up to very nearly the end. You did everything you could, and more than many people would have... and the kitty must have known your daughter was trying to help her, too. I hope you can both find peace with your loss, and I hope another kitty will come into your loving home someday soon.
post #11 of 25
I am so sorry for your loss. Anything anyone says about what happened to your cat is just a guess at this stage. I know how much it hurts and just what you are going through. My twelve year old tuxedo cat, Max, got sick in July on Friday and was gone on Monday after a weekend spent at the dr. office. He had never been sick in his life and I had him since he was just over a year old. His kidneys failed and we knew no reason why. He was an outside cat, but confined by a fence and in no contact with other cats. I read everything on the internet and asked my poor vet so many questions. But we didn't do any tests, etc. to determine the cause of the kidney failure. One sympton he had was much foaming at the mouth. I wanted him to die with dignity and I wanted to bury him in our back yard. But it is still hard for me when I have an answers as to what happened to him. I pray that you will find peace in your heart. Cry when you feel like it, it helps. Your cat was blessed to have been so loved. Rest in peace sweet kitty. You are sorely missed.
post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks Stephen

I was thinking it could be this very same problem after doing research on the net. We move around a lot and when she got excited she did the open mouth breathing, we just thought it was because she was a little overweight. When she was young we were told by one vet she had a mild heart murmur but a year later by another we were told she didnt. We had her teeth cleaned a few years ago with a full exam and they said she was fit as a fiddle. But, everything you said is about what happened. I guess in a way its better not to know, my daughter feels enough guilt about leaving Strauss with her grandparents temporarily, blames herself for the whole thing, and what if it was poisoning..... then she would feel worse. I dont know, this is actually really hard for me. I am still grieving, still not sleeping.... its weird. I loved that cat but she has been away from me for awhile due to work.... but well... she went through many changes of my life as well (divorce, lots of moving, living alone)... and you realize how much that little animal helped you. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to write what you thought.

Thanks to everyone for your condolences, it has really made me feel better knowing there are other cat lovers out there who understand. I am going to tell my daughter about this website, I think it will help her through this.

post #13 of 25

First of all, I am so sorry for your loss. I am on this site today looking for support after going through the same experience last night. When I read your post, a chill ran through me. My 12 year old kitty went through the same ordeal last night. I, too, am crying as I write this.

The vet diagnosed my kitty with Saddle Thrombosis which was the cause of her to suddenly losing the use of her hind legs. She recommended that I put her down, and I did. She was diagnosed years ago with a hear murmor as well. The vet said that was proably the underlying cause of the clot.

I hope Strauss and my Killian are over the Bridge playing together right now.

My deepest condolences to you and your daughter.
post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for your condolences. Strauss was a larger version of your cat, I wish I could post a picture but it wont let me. Do you know how or do you have to be a member for awhile first?

Yea, this is tough, I really didnt think it would be this tough... but I am still not sleeping... and crying off and on... I dont know how people bury their kids... I cant imagine.... this is hard enough.

post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
I am sorry about your Killian. I know, its so surreal. I mean people think "its a cat, get over it"... and I just dont see it that way.. of course these arent true animal lovers right? My poor daughter is on her own right now as I am the only other person who can relate to her pain. Everyone around her, including her employer dont get it.... like these pets are family, they love us unconditionally.... when we have bad hair, bad breath... are depressed.... angry... whatever, they just look at us like they know what we are and accept it... how many people can say that about themselves????

I still have three cats, a horse, two fish and two mice (younger daughter at home, loves animals, the horse is exclusively mine) and I am thinking... oh my, how am I going to get through all this death in the future when I am having such trouble now?

I am still not sure how this reply thing works, my responses to everyone seem to be all over the place and dont make sense... so be patient senior members.

post #16 of 25
In this type of scenario, you can't have answers, and even a necropsy had it been performed, could also have been inclusive. It could have been a clot being thrown or a brain injury. I wouldn't beat yourself up about this, although dealing with guilt and second-guesses is part of the grief stage. I am sorry for your loss, as sudden and unexpected as it was and that you were not around for the final goodbye.
post #17 of 25
Michelle, I am so, so very sorry for your loss. What a horrible thing to go through for both you and your family and your kitty.

KittenKiya's Clan would like to extend heartfelt headbuts and sorry, sorry licks for your loss.
post #18 of 25
Originally Posted by Mishelley911

I still have three cats, a horse, two fish and two mice (younger daughter at home, loves animals, the horse is exclusively mine) and I am thinking... oh my, how am I going to get through all this death in the future when I am having such trouble now?

I have had many animals over the years, and although each loss is mourned, it really is very different with each one. And having Strauss pass so suddenly and when you were not there of course complicates your feelings. But to Strauss, it was just a short time. She led a very happy life with you and your family, and now she is safely over the Rainbow Bridge, healthy and whole again. All thoughts of pain and confusion are gone now, and she is happy and well, awaiting the time when you will be together.

When someone says "its just a cat", that is because they have never known the love of such a wonderful kitty as your Strauss. May she rest in peace.
post #19 of 25
I recently went through a very quick and unexpected loss of my 8 month old kitten to FeLV. I am still grieving every single day, so I am feeling all of this with you. I know how incredibly hard this must be for you. Strauss was a loving kitty who I'm sure was thankful for the 13 years she lived on this planet and the love your family showed her. She is over the bridge now, playing with my Lola.
post #20 of 25
I was thinking a clot too, but would that show a high white cell count? If kitty was indoors, all the more strange, and if outdoors, it sounds too dragged out to be antifreeze....I'm so sorry for your loss....I hope you find the answers you seek...
post #21 of 25
Heres the gorgeous Strauss everyone

post #22 of 25
Strauss was a beautiful cat. I am so sorry for what happened. Prayers that you will find peace in your heart.
post #23 of 25
Oh, Michelle, I'm so sorry you lost your baby so suddenly. This must be absolutely heart breaking for you and your daughter. You are wise to realize that Strauss is so happy and healthy now in Heaven, and you absolutely will one day be reunited. God bless you during this painful time of grief.
post #24 of 25
What a beautiful kitty!
post #25 of 25
I am so sorry to hear about Strauss. I too lost a 9 year old to cardiomyopathy and his first symptom was lame back legs, loss of appetite and heavy breathing. They found a heart murmor near the end. It hits fast and can often take them before you can even diagnose the problem.

*hugs* to you and your family as you go thru these hard times.
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