My cat was healthy and just died – why?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra,

My beloved kitty, Muffin, passed away last Tuesday during the day while I was at work. She was never sick a day in her life. I did not have any test done to determine the cause of death as I thought it’s not going to bring my baby back to me anyway. But I’ve not stop thinking of how horrible this must have been for her. I am wondering if she could have had a heart attack or a stroke. She showed no signs of any illness. This is just too overwhelming for me. What could have caused her death? I know it’s going to be hard for you to help me but I just am so distraught over losing her this way. I’ve never lost a pet this way. I’ve always had to be the one to make that final decision for them. A very sad mommy.

Christine Clark


Hi Christine– thanks for your email and I’m sorry for your loss. You are lucky that your cat was never sick. I’ve seen the other extreme of sick cats that suffer for months before they die. Neither option is good but probably many cats would prefer the former. Sort of like people, I know several people that say they would prefer a quick death rather than a long lingering illness.

There are many pets (and people) that die and we never know why. I understand your frustration (I’ve experienced it myself).

If you REALLY want to know why she died, you could ask your veterinarian or local university Veterinary Hospital if you can still do an autopsy (we commonly call it necropsy) in pets. This may give you answer.

I know it is hard to accept a loss like this. At this point, there is not much you can do. There are no words I can say that will make it seem okay or bring her back. All I can say is that I hope you take comfort in knowing that you gave her a wonderful life.

A couple article that might be helpful to you are Coping with Pet Loss and the Rainbow Bridge I don’t know if you have read the Rainbow Bridge but it is a beautiful poem that gives many people some comfort.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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