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Cat died suddenly :(
crazycreative posted:
I volunteer for a local cat shelter, helping to clean/feed/play with the cats. Recently we were there, and when we entered the room one of the cats who was normally always in his own corner was walking around and hissed at me. He has hissed at me before (he was semi-feral) but usually only if I we do something he doesn't like.

He seemed otherwise fine so my husband got out the laser pointer to play with the cats a bit before we fed them. The cat who had hissed at me went nuts for it and was chasing it like crazy for about five seconds when he suddenly fell over. One leg went rigid, and started to twitch, and he couldn't get up. He started to gasp/choke/growl, and before I could even think of something to do he went still. I ran to get the others and they confirmed he was gone.

This was a very heartbreaking experience to say the least, and my husband is convinced he killed the cat by stressing it's heart (he was an FIV kitty, so he had that disease but was otherwise healthy). But I think maybe it was a blood clot that was just waiting for any moment of excitement to break loose.

What could have happened?
Sandy Willis, DVM, DACVIM responded:
Thank you for writing and your patience,

Boy, it sure sounds like heart disease to me and sometimes we see young cats die suddenly of heart disease. FIV cats can live for years and the stress of playing fanatically with the laser pointer would not cause this to happen. There are other causes but this seems most likely. Was it a clot or arrhythmia" hard to know. Sounds like the kitty wasn't feeling right with the hissing. IT is always easy to say "What if" but sometimes there is no way to pick up these subtle or not so subtle diseases. But I am so sorry to hear. Thank you for all you both do for your local shelter. They couldn't do their great work without volunteers like you. Dr. Sandy


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

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