Sudden Death of 11 year old cat no answers

tryton1

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Our absolute beloved cat Wilma died on Monday 11/27 in the most terrible way and I'm wondering if anyone has experienced anything similar because we are struggling for some sort of answer. She was an 11 year old cat that I had since she was 3 weeks old. I found her outside my office building and she's been my best buddy ever since. We do not have children yet, so this cat is absolutely beloved. She always had her check ups and blood work done. We have a long standing relationship with the same vet, and she had her yearly physical on 11/11/23, just a couple weeks before this incident. I'm so grateful and thankful we took Monday 11/27 off from work. Her behavior was absolutely normal. No signs of any changes in appetite, drinking, behavior, vocalization, etc. Our morning routine that day was perfectly on schedule, she greeted me when I woke up and we did all the things we normally do. She, like our other cats sleeps during the daytime. She retired to her normal spot after mid morning as usual and my wife and I got some things done we needed to do. Around 2pm, I came downstairs where my wife was sitting at the kitchen table with her computer. I sat with her for about 5 minutes and Wilma hearing my voice, came out from her nap spot as she normally would hoping for some brush time, some treats or whatever we decided to do. I asked her if she wanted treats, and she meowed. I grabbed 2 and put them in her bowl, while giving a couple to our other cats as well. She ate up her treats and went outside on our screened in back patio lanai. All the cats were out there and she walked around her normal spots, gazing out back at the trees, etc. As I talked with my wife, about 3 minutes later I looked out the sliding glass door and saw Wilma contort sideways almost as if she lost balance or something. I rushed out to her and found her on her right side. Her pupils were 100% fully dilated black, she made a single cry sound and I did notice her left leg (the one on top was fully extended and toes were splayed out almost in a seizure stance. I'm typing all this information but it was literally instantaneous. She went limp all over and did a few of the agonal breaths. I immediately told my wife "Get the car" picked her up and ran to the car. My wife drove as fast as possible (about 3-5 minutes) to the nearest 24x7 emergency vet place by our house. She made no moves, sounds, or anything during this time, I pumped on her heart to try and keep it beating. We rushed in, screamed help to the team and they took her back where they tried for several rounds to do CPR/airway but she was gone. They told us she had no heart beat when she arrived and only did 1 or 2 agonal breaths. They could never restore a heartbeat. We were in such horrified shock that we asked them to do a post mortem exam on her (they don't do tissue samples or brain, just major organs of body) They called us back and told us her lungs, heart, kidneys, all looked fine. Her heart was not enlarged and they couldn't really say what happened (they warned us about nebulous findings before we told them to proceed) When I got home I found a pee trail from where I had carried her from the patio to the front door which to me means she was already gone that fast when I tried to rush her to the ER.

I called her regular vet and he was shocked too. We went over her blood work from 2 weeks ago and he said everything was normal. Her calcium levels were ever so slightly elevated but he said well below the threshold where he would consider it a problem.

Background of her:
11 year old indoor only female cat. spayed when she was 6 months old long ago.
  1. she eats science diet dry adult light food always give her high quality food
  2. she only drank filtered water (she was spoiled)
  3. low to zero stress, she was absolutely adored and pampered. She came first!
  4. Only known health condition is slight asthma but it was considered "progressive" she would work it out of her lungs, and was fine again a minute later
  5. We took careful measures to control this using dehumidifiers, never used harsh chemicals, air fresheners or even scented candles. Always maintain a clean neat home with low levels of dust. We even used an expensive cat liter made so that it creates no dust when scratched by the cats.


We are devastated. I totally understand the concept of she didn't suffer, and the positives of that. BUT we adored her and lost her despite the fact we seemingly did everything correct all these years. I have read a lot of articles on cat sudden death but I just don't know. The only thing I can think of is some stroke or brain aneurism that just took her immediately. We are horrified and just wonder how such things happen or if this was somehow preventable.


I'm sorry for the long post, we are desperate for answers and if anyone who had this happen or a vet reads this, please let me know. Thank you.
 
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tryton1

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Is this something that could have been preventable? Or is it just some spontaneous thing that happens for no reason? We have other cats and I don't ever want to deal with this again if I can avoid it. I just don't understand.
 

IndyJones

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Often a stroke comes on very suddenly in cats. The first few muinits are the most critical. I don't belive anything could have been done to prevent it in this case if it was stroke.

Either a blood vessile ruptures or a clot blocks blood from reaching the brain. Thats what causes the brain to be starved, animals (and people) that survive a stroke often have neurological symptoms for the remainder of their life including memory loss.
 
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tryton1

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Thank you for taking the time to respond. I think that's probably it. Do you think she ever even knew what happened? I sure hope not. It seemed like immediate unconsciousness. We are devastated.
 

DeesCats

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I'm so sorry for your loss T tryton1 !

I had a similar experience with a spayed female a number of years ago, she just walked down the stairs and let out a cry, fell over with legs outstretched and was just gone. She was probably over 10 years of age, an adopted stray who lived indoors with us, had regular vet checkups and I never knew why it happened. My vet and I just guessed it was a stroke or heart attack, I never had an autopsy done though.
 

di and bob

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I am an RN and can say if it happened that suddenly she was not aware of what was happening, she was gone almost instantaneously. She did not suffer.
Bless you for loving her so much, I am so sorry. Please take care of yourself, she is at peace because she has your love…..RIP beautiful Wilma…..
 

sidneykitty

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I am so sorry for your sudden loss of Wilma. It is heart-breaking. From what you described, I am sure she passed quickly without suffering but knew she was so loved and was in your company and loving care in her final moments, which I think means a lot. Sending you and your wife love.
 
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tryton1

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Thank you so much. This is the very last picture I took of her. As you can see, she really was beautiful. She was doing what she loved to do the most, take a nap right between my legs, over a blanket. This was 2 days before it happened.
 

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