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Black widow spider bite.

Species: Cat
Breed: ??
Age: 1-2 years
Hi,
A good friend of mine woke up this morning and found her cat dead in her bathroom. She said her cat was perfectly fine the night before because she let it outside and it was running around and playing then before bed she let it back in the house. It was still acting the same way, like itself. When she woke up this morning, she found it laying dead in her bathroom. She said one side of its mouth was swollen and there was a dead spider laying by the cat.

What could have caused the cat to die, with just one side of her mouth swollen? Could the spider have bit it?

I don't got the money to pay for a quick reply back but it has really upset her and I feel terribly bad because she rescued this cat when it was just a few weeks old when she found the momma cat dead. She has grown amazing attached to this cat and has had it for a little over a year.. I would really appreciate it if someone could help me with what could have caused this to her cat.

Please, please help. Thank you so much.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend's cat.

Where I live there are no spiders that have a fatal bite. However, if you have black widow spiders in your area then the bite of this spider can be fatal, especially to cats. The black widow spider produces a toxin that seriously affects the central nervous system.

If this wasn't because of a spider bite, then the most common reason for a young cat to die suddenly is something called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which is a heart condition. Cats with this heart condition can sometimes have no outward symptoms and then suddenly the heart can fail. If this is the case then there was nothing anything could have done to prevent the cat's death.

However, as HCM doesn't cause swelling by the mouth, I'm guessing this was indeed a bite from a black widow spider.

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.