Cats Dying

QUESTION:

I have lost 4 cats due to some unknown reason. My house is clean and they have fresh water and food everyday. Is or could there be something in my home making them die?

Last night, I took a shower and my kitten got into my children’s room and let out a huge cry. I went in to find him and, all of a sudden, he was having a hard time breathing. My husband tried to give him CPR and he just stopped breathing.

I can’t figure it out and am in need of some serious help. If something in my home has killed 4 cats, is it affecting our health? I have 2 beautiful kittens. I have been keeping them in the bathroom. They seem ok for now, but I can't handle them dying, too.

ANSWER

I'm sorry. I would love to help you, but you have not given me nearly enough information. You have only mentioned slight details about the death of one of them. I would need much more information about their age, sex, details about their symptoms and how they died, etc. before I could make any kind of educated guess.

The one cat whose symptoms you described sounds most like a case of heart disease, but it would be impossible to say for sure. Sudden death, especially when difficulty breathing is involved, is most often from a heart condition. However, there are other things, for example toxins, that could cause a cat to die rather suddenly, also.

If all four cats died the same way and within a short period of time, I too would be concerned about something around the house. Another possibility is a virus. Cats have several contagious viruses they can pass to one another or acquire from the mother cat that can be fatal. These include such things as feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus, and feline infectious peritonitis. If all four cats were young kittens, feline leukemia or feline infectious peritonitis could account for their deaths or a really serious respiratory virus could be responsible.

It certainly would be in the best interests of the kittens you have now to be thoroughly examined by your veterinarian and tested for the above diseases. You need to find out what is happening to the cats in your home before bringing in additional ones.

I am very sorry for your losses,
Dr. Neely

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