The causes of death in cats can be so many things and will be discussed in this article. As much as we appreciate our pets, it’s inevitable that eventually, they will pass away. That’s why it’s important to know the causes of cat death.
Knowing the reasons behind your cat’s passing can help you determine if any preventative measures can be taken in the future.
The cause of death will also affect which treatment is necessary to make your pet comfortable during his or her final moments of life.
So without further time-wasting, let us explore our countdown on few reasons why a kitty might die…
#10: Intestinal blockage – (causes of death in cats)
As mentioned above, constipation caused by hairballs is a common reason for intestinal blockage in cats and dogs alike. As a result of a blockage, a cat can develop abdominal pain and vomiting. Small amounts of undigested food can also accumulate in the intestine, causing it to swell.
Not all types of constipation are the same. In some cases, the kitty’s poop is small or hard enough to pass through without obstruction. In other cases, blockages may be caused by the presence of hairballs – items such as fur balls and seashells can cause painful intestines to swell with waste.
A final type of constipation includes impacted teeth; teeth removal should be considered if this is suspected in your pet.
Symptoms of intestinal blockage include vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. An x-ray will be able to determine the location of the blockage. Treatment for intestinal blockage includes surgical removal of the hairball or other obstructions, feeding a special diet to promote regularity, and removal of impacted teeth if applicable.
#9: Heart attack –
As with humans, heart attacks are another unfortunate cause of feline demise. Cats can suffer from many different types of heart disease, including cardiomyopathy (a disease of the heart muscle) and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (enlargement of the thick part of the heart wall). Heart attacks can be caused by a variety of factors, including diet, exercise, and genetics.
Symptoms of a heart attack can include lethargy or weakness, difficulty breathing, and abdominal distention and pain. Treatment for heart attack includes surgery to correct any problems with the heart.
#8: Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) –
This is an often fatal viral disease that affects the lining of the abdomen. The severity of symptoms varies widely from one cat to another. Typically slow-growing and showing mild symptoms for long periods of time, FIP is difficult to diagnose early on;
many cats with FIP are eventually diagnosed while veterinarians attempt to diagnose other health problems. The disease can progress to the point where the cat’s intestines rupture and spread bacteria throughout the body.
Symptoms of FIP include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, abdominal distention, and pain. Other symptoms will include fever and a cough. Treatment for FIP includes supportive care to maintain comfort until symptoms subside or treatment can be given.
#7: Diarrhea – (causes of death in cats)
As cat owners already know, cats are notorious for going outside their litterbox due to certain dietary habits (e.g., dry food) or a lack of water – but that doesn’t mean that this is a good excuse for going to the bathroom outside of their litterbox.
Feces left behind can harbor harmful bacteria and parasites that can cause diarrhea and even death in severe cases.
The most common cause of diarrhea in cats is a result of intestinal bacterial infections. Other causes can be attributed to viruses or parasites, as well as certain types of medications, poisons, or other foreign substances.
Symptoms of cat diarrhea include frequent stool production, soft stool, pain when defecating. Treatment for the underlying cause of diarrhea will vary depending on the reason for its presence.
#6: Kidney failure –
While most people associate kidney disease with dogs, it can happen to cats as well. The causes of kidney failure in cats are similar to those in dogs but there are different treatment protocols for this disease.
Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, and swelling in the abdomen. Treatment is supportive care including pain management and fluid therapy.
#5: Cerebellar hypoplasia (CH) –
Also known as feline wobbles, cerebellar hypoplasia is a neurological disorder in cats that causes them to lose their balance and suffer from tremors and seizures. The cause of cerebellar hypoplasia in cats can be attributed to a lack of taurine in the cat’s diet when they were kittens.
Taurine deficiency during the first few weeks of life can cause cerebellar hypoplasia when combined with other neurological disorders such as FIP, which weakens the immune system and makes it more likely for other diseases to develop.
Symptoms include tremors, seizures, loss of balance and coordination.
#4: Cystitis –
Cystitis is a very painful, recurring urinary tract infection that usually involves the bladder. Symptoms of cystitis include sudden tenderness in the region of the urethra, blood in urine, painful urination, and straining to urinate.
Other symptoms include repeated urination, frequent urging to urinate after cats have already gone to the bathroom, failure to urinate after drinking water or eating.
Act quickly if you notice any blood in your pet’s urine or signs of pain when they are being constipated. Treatment for cystitis includes antibiotics and pain relief medication.
#3: Lymphoma – (causes of death in cats)
Lymphoma is an extremely painful disease that affects the immune system. Although there are many types of lymphoma in both humans and cats, it is one of the most common forms of cancer in cats.
The signs of lymphoma in cats are slow-moving, swollen glands in the neck, facial region, lymph node enlargement, lethargy, weight loss, and loss of appetite.
Cats with lymphoma may also develop secondary infections if their immune systems are weak. Treatment for lymphoma is chemotherapy or radiation therapy; however, most cats succumb to this disease before treatment can begin.
#2: Sepsis –
Sepsis occurs when the body is exposed to bacteria without adequate controls. The body’s immune system can become overwhelmed and subsequently attack itself. Symptoms of sepsis include lethargy, fever, diarrhea or vomiting, rapid heartbeat, coughing or gagging, decreased urine output, and dehydration.
If left untreated, sepsis can lead to organ failure and death in cats; if caught early enough (and if your cat is treated promptly), then it can be treatable. Treatment for sepsis includes supportive care including fluids to maintain hydration and pain medication. In most cases, sepsis is a bacterial infection that can be treated with antibiotics if caught early enough.
#1: Hyperthyroidism – (causes of death in cats)
Now topping the list at #1 is hyperthyroidism. This disease occurs when a cat’s thyroid gland becomes overactive, which means it produces more of the hormone thyroxine than it should.
Symptoms include: a swollen throat, a thickened voice box, and a protruding Adam’s apple, weight loss, nervousness, and irritability, panting with no activity present, vomiting without cause, dilated pupils, and increased sensitivity to light.
Few steps that you can take at home to help keep your kitty healthy.
1. Keep your kitty hydrated – this means providing water at all times throughout the day, not just on a specific schedule. Treating thirst is more important than treating heavy-duty diarrhea.
It’s also important to remember that some cats are more prone to digestive issues than others, so be sure to monitor your pet for symptoms of any potential health problems.
2. Clean up after your cat – never leave feces on the floor around your home, as feces can spread harmful bacteria throughout the house
3. Purchase a litter box that is appropriate for your kitty’s size – if your cat’s litterbox is too small, they may use the bathroom outside of the box
How to keep a cat from dying
Now that you have read and understood the few causes of death in cats, it’s time to learn how to keep a cat from dying. The number one thing to remember when caring for your cat is that your feline friend is an animal, not a human.
If you do not understand how to take care of them properly, you will practically guarantee their demise. It’s much better to learn the basics now, even if it means buying a book than find out what went wrong after your adorable kitty has passed on.
Some of the most telling signs that your cat is dying are if they don’t want to eat or drink anymore or seem lethargic. They might also be in pain and have difficulty breathing.
Be aware that a cat’s personality may change as it is near death, so if your normally friendly kitty is hissing and biting at you, this is another sign to take to the veterinarian.
Your final decision to care for your cat should be to either do everything possible or allow them to “cross over the rainbow bridge”. The latter may be less painful for you because you won’t have to see your beloved furry friend suffer.
Whether you choose alternative medical care or a trip to your local veterinarian, you must understand the expected outcome of either choice. This way, there won’t be any surprises and you can say goodbye with a clear conscience.
● Go to your veterinarian right away for an examination. It’s also wise to bring potential signs that you noted earlier.
● If your cat is healthy at this point, the veterinarian will help you decide treatment accordingly. Did your cat have a stroke? Was there a sudden increase in pain? Was it a mild case of arthritis that wasn’t treated properly? Once the diagnosis is made, the vet will decide on appropriate treatments.
● Alternatives to traditional medicine include acupuncture, herbal remedies, and homeopathic medicine. Your vet might suggest these as alternatives if they are not a regular part of his or her practice.
● Your vet will schedule a follow-up visit to monitor the cat’s progress. They may also recommend a home care plan or even hospice for your pet.
● When it’s time to say goodbye, you have two options: traditional burial or cremation. These services may be provided by your local veterinarian. Or at a pet funeral home, such as Pet Cremation Services, Inc.
You can select their favorite toy and/or blanket with them, so they’ll feel most comfortable until the very end. If you choose cremation, you can keep the ashes if you wish and ask that they be returned in an urn at no additional charge.