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Why did my kitten die?

Species: Cat
Breed: Mixed
Age: 6-12 months
I came home last night to find my kitten laying dead in her kennel. We rescued her and another cat 3months ago from the shelter and hadn't yet been able to get her shots, although the other one already had his before we got him. She seemed perfectly healthy, very playful but was pretty skinny for her age and still as tiny as when we brought her home. She did have worms when we first brought her home but we dewormed her as soon as we found out. Ever since then, we haven't had a problem with her except for her being so small still. My husband buried her last night and we ended up giving the other cat, who was still alive away. When my husband buried her, he said her body felt really stiff but her neck felt broken. The only thing we can figure is that the other cat accidentally broke her neck cause they were sharing a kennel and there were numerous times we had to yell at the older cat because he kept jumping on her and trying to lay on her, not realizing she was so much smaller than him. He wasn't ever vicious so I doubt he tried to kill her. Could you help me understand if this sounds plausible that he could have killed her or whether her non growth pointed to a more serious problem. We don't have any money to take her body in and find out what killed her and I'd just like to get a professional opinion. Thanks. I would greatly appreciate it.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

The most common reason for a young cat to die suddenly is a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is a heart condition that cats can be born with. They often have no symptoms and can suddenly die.

However, with her being so small it's also possible she had a liver defect such as a portosystemic shunt as well.

It is extremely unlikely that the other cat broke her neck, if not impossible.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Dr. Marie.

---This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.---


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.