Unexpected Death of a Cat

Image of a pet cemetery in the desert

It's always hard to lose our dear feline friends, but when there seems to be no obvious reason for a beloved pet's death, it is even harder to accept.

Visitor Questions about Unexpected Cat Deaths

Cat Died During Micro-Chipping

We had a stray kitten come to our home out of the woods. He was pure white, but his nose, ears and paws were pink. He had long white hair coming out from the inside of his ears. The vet thought it might be an Angora kitten. We had him for three months and thought he should be ID chipped and neutered before he started spraying. He passed away after he awoke from surgery. The vet said he had opened his eyes and looked around. The vet left the room for two minutes. When she came back into the room, he was blue. They did mouth to snout breathing and CPR on him, but he didn't make it. They did find a tapeworm after it was all over.

What could have happened? The vet cannot say. She has no answers or explanation about why he died. She did say he had a reaction from the anesthetic. She called us at work and told my husband one story and when we went to pick up his body she gave us another story. I want to know what happened to my poor baby kitten. How can I get truthful answers from the vet hospital?

~~Cinda

Expert Reply

Hi, Cinda,

I'm so sorry about the loss of your kitten. This is one of the most painful thing pet owners have to face and my heart goes out to you.

The thought of a cat going under anesthesia can be a scary prospect. However, this is a necessary evil when a cat is being spayed or neutered. The procedure would be far too painful without it. Death by anesthesia is actually very rare. However, if the cat had underlying problems that the vet missed during a routine physical, such as a heart defect, this could cause an adverse reaction and even death.

You may never know exactly what happened, but you can go back to the vet and request a copy of your cat's medical records from the surgery. The records should indicate what type of anesthesia was used and how much. You can then use that information to research the side effects of the specific medications used.

I wouldn't assume the vet did anything wrong, but it doesn't hurt to get the information for your own peace of mind. Is it possible her story changed because an assistant called your husband and then you spoke to the actual veterinarian? It's possible that the information was simply being relayed and something got lost in the translation. Again, maybe the medical records will help ease your mind in these areas.

Good luck, Cinda. I hope you're able to get a copy of the records easily and to heal from this horrible loss. You may want to consider adopting an older, already spayed or neutered cat from your local animal shelter. Not only do these animals need good homes, but the fear of death from anesthesia will be past because the cat should already be fixed. The chances of this happening again are very low, but I don't want you to worry.

~~Lori .

Unexpected Death of a Cat