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19 year old cat died.

Species: Cat
Breed: Domestic Short Hair
Age: More than 15 ye
My 19 yo childhood cat died this morning and my parents, who aren't the sort of people to spend money on vets (sorry, but they're ex-farmers!) and can't really afford it anyway, are wondering about the cause of death. He had been showing signs of old age for a couple of years now - general loss of muscle condition, more frequent stomach upsets. I also suspect he may have had a melanoma when I saw him a few months ago. He was found yesterday morning with a nosebleed and over the next 24 hours gradually lost all motor function starting from meowing and swallowing to eventually lifting his head etc. He had apparently been off his food in the last couple of days and, I've just found out, may have been losing his sight over the past year or so.
My gut feeling is possible anuerysm (spot the human nurse!), but my parents are wondering whether it was poisoning and are thinking about which neighbour could have done it. The bit that I can't figure out whether it's common in cats or not is the nosebleed, as different information sites say it's a cause of different things. Would be nice to be able to give them an answer before they bring out the pitchforks!


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Unfortunately no one is going to be able to say what happened to your cat without doing a post mortem exam. Really though, at 19, it is very likely that this was a natural death and not poisoning.

There are a great number of possibilities. The nosebleed doesn't really tell us much. It could be that the body was starting to shut down and going into something called DIC. When animals go into DIC then the body uses up all of the platelets. Platelets are required in order to clot blood and so we would see bleeding.

A tumor in the nose or chest is a possibility as well.

We don't tend to see aneurysms in cats, but anything is possible.

So sorry for your loss.

---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.