death of kittens and cats

Grieving, Death
of a Cat, a Friend




Did I Do EVERYTHING I Could for My Cat??


I wrote to you last week about my kitten, Berretta.
She had been diagnosed with an Upper Respiratory Infection. Yesterday Berretta was bleeding profusely from her nose and mouth. The Vet did not even have an emergency number so I went to an emergency hospital. When I went to get her, she had passed a piece of what appeared to be tissue. It was quite large.
It came out with such force that it actually hit the closet door splattered and landed a foot away. By the time I got her to the hospital she had passed 2 more pieces of tissue and was bleeding. The vet said he had never seen anything like this. She died soon thereafter. That poor little baby fought until the last moment she was full of nothing but love. Although she was dying, she just wanted to love me and be loved. I am just sick over what happened and do not want anyone to go through that.

Berretta was doing well until she presented with symptoms of an obstruction and I allowed that vet to convince me that she was fine and just needed a few more days of medication. Cat folks, trust your instincts! When little Berretta took a turn for the worst my gut instinct was that she had an obstruction as she was acting as though something was in her sinuses and she was trying to get it out. During the first visit, the vet just shined a light on her and claimed that it was a stuffy nose and that her loss of appetite was due to her being unable to smell. I was treated as though I was overreacting. Had I had not allowed him to intimidate me she may have had a chance. Please do not let a Vet intimidate you. Insistence may not have saved her life, but had he examined her further I would be more at ease that Berretta was treated well. I have never seen anything so horrible in my life.

I know that it is expensive and many of us do not have the means to come up with a lot of cash in an emergency. But you do have the right to demand that our Vets address our concerns. In memory of Berretta, trust your gut instinct and do not let Someone ignore your concerns. DMJ

Dear DMJ,
So sorry to hear of your loss. Readers, take note and ask questions. It is always better to err on the side of caution. Simba

Kitten Deaths



Dear Simba,
My Kitty is pregnant again. She had just one kitten during her first litter. The kitten did very well for the first two weeks and then the day after he opened his eyes he stopped breathing and we were unable to revive him.

Is it possible that my momma cat smothered the kitten? Should we be concerned that this could happen again? She was very good with him so I hate to think she did anything to harm the kitten. Thanks Karen


Dear Karen,
Kittens die sometimes. Some studies show that only ½ of kittens born survive long enough for weaning. It is very sad, and a terrible thing to see. While it is natural to want to assign blame or look for a cause, these things just happen and there is very little we can do.

It is not uncommon for apparently healthy kittens to die after the first week of life. Often their mothers infect these tikes with bacteria during birth. This infection festers and can cause internal sores and pneumonia, which are fatal to kittens. Sadly, many kittens are born with birth defects, viral/bacterial infections and have their days numbered from the start.

Remember that the most important sign of health in kittens is body weight. A kitten should weigh 100 grams +/- 10 grams and should gain 90-100 grams a week during its first 6 weeks. Low weight is usually associated with:
  • immaturity
  • metabolism problems
  • birth defects
  • infections
  • nutritional deficiencies
  • maternal neglect
So be sure to pay attention to the runt in the litter. Lending credence to the smothering theory, obese momma cats are known to experience higher loss rates. From what you say, it sounds like your momma cat was a good mother. I doubt she killed her kitten. For your peace of mind, keep an eye on this next litter. Care for them and be a good grandma. Keep me posted. Simba


Grieving for a Lost Friend



Dear Simba,
Unfortunately our little Simba was put to sleep last week. He was very ill and our vet said there was nothing she could do for him…. we miss him terribly. We were very lucky to have him for eleven days and he was very much loved and taken care of. It seems he just never had a chance. Maja is fine and although we could never replace him it might be better for her if we get her a little friend. Maja is going to be immunized this week so I'll talk to our vet about it. Thank you for your advice. Maja's family

Dear Maja's Family,
So sorry to hear of your loss. Be well. Simba



Dear Simba,
I am writing you to hopefully get some closure and stop blaming myself. I cannot stop crying. I thought I was doing well with this orphaned kitten. I got him when he was 3 days old, and yesterday when he died he was 2 weeks old and had just gotten his first teeth. He was purring and doing the patty paws one moment and 6 hours later he was dead.

I blame myself because I thought he was sleeping and did not try to wake him for 6 hours. He had had a very swollen anus and I was putting a cream on it that the vet gave me. He usually awoke every two hours because his bottom hurt. Yesterday his bottom looked so much better that I thought he was just getting some good sleep. He had also had some mucous-like blood coming out in his stools and the vet de-wormed him saying that it was probably parasites causing this. The blood subsided but ever since he was de-wormed his stools had become very soft and yellow. He also seemed to go a lot (is it normal for a movement after every meal?).

I was giving him KMR. I just do not understand what happened. Is it typical for them to be OK and then go down that fast. I blame myself for not checking him and should have known that him not crying was not normal. I put my heart and soul into this cat, getting up all hours of the night and now feel like such a failure. Does this sound like anything medical or did I dehydrate him when I did not feed him for the 6 hours? When I took him to emergency he had cardiac arrest when the doc put the needle in. He says it could have been hypoglycemia or pneumonia or anything else. Kara

Dear Kara,
You have done well for this little kitten. At the very least you nurtured him and loved him for two wonderful weeks. He is much luckier than the many that do not have even that luxury.

It is good to cry and to grieve. That shows you loved him as he surely loved you. You were his mommy his playful patty cake partner and in his source of purring. It is not uncommon for kittens to die. A kitten as young as yours and with the problems you describe had a hard road to tow from the beginning. Do not blame yourself. You gave him more than he could have had. Be proud of what you have done. There are many other wonderful kittens out there looking for homes and the care that you can give. Go out and make a kitten's life wonderful. Be good, Simba


Dear Simba,
My name is Cassandra I am Brian's daughter. Hanana Banana was my cat she was my very first one and she died while she was very young. I wish I could've taken better care of her. I miss her so much and I loved her a lot. Please tell me how it feels to lose a cat. But what if it was someone's first pet in their life and they lost there pets life by dying when they were young. I do not know what to do anymore. I blame myself for not taking care of her. I wish she and Alvy were still here we all had good times with them and they had to leave us especially Hanana.Thank You for listening. From Cassandra


Dear Cassandra,
You seem to be a very caring and attentive mother to Hanana. She was fortunate to have such a supportive parent as you have been. Losing a friend is never easy, especially one that loved you so unconditionally as did Hanana & Alvy. Be comforted in the fact that they were happy with you and that you loved and cared for them. Be comforted in your memories of them. You will never forget Hanana & Alvy. They were your first pets and will always be with you in spirit. That is a good thing and future friends of yours will benefit from all that you have learned from these two wonderful creatures. Be well, Simba

Follow-up
Our vet did find Hanana developed liver problems probably due to lack of appetite from the loss of Alvy. We had a feeding tube put in and started a medication routine, which has helped other cats bounce back but we couldn't save Hanana. Her liver had hardened and she was hemorrhaging. We sent her to be w/Alvy this morning. Our vet was compassionate enough to stop me from going into the "I should've done this & that phase". But we did learn a big lesson in the pets do have feelings dept. When it comes to loosing a friend and maybe we could've waited a little longer in getting her new playmates. Thank you very much for your words Brian

Cat in Mourning


Dear Simba,
About a week ago one of our 2 cats died. Our remaining cat is insecure and seems lost and very lonely without his brother. We would like to adopt and were considering a 3rd cat before this happened, but would like to wait for the New Year before we do so. Should we just add one kitten to our family or bring in two from the same litter, and how long should we wait before we add on? Sad for Kitty

Dear Sad for Kitty,
So sorry to hear of your loss. I think your cautious approach appears well thought out. Brining in a single cat / kitten may be less disruptive to your resident cat. Too much change following a loss is not a good thing. At the same time, I am a big fan of brining in cats in pairs. One idea is to stagger the kittens' arrival. That is, bring in a littermate, introduce him/her to your resident cat and let them get to know each other. A week or two later bring in the other littermate. The advantage of this is that your resident cat experiences gradual change and you get to have 3 kitties! Simba

PS
Be sure to check out Life Changes for tips on introducing cats to each other.


Dear Simba,
My cat Cookie passed away two weeks ago. I miss her deeply. I have another cat, Cosmo, who is Cookie's age and was her companion. Cosmo does not seem to be quite the same since Cookie has been gone.

Is he grieving? Eventually, I will probably get another kitty and I wonder about Cosmo's reaction. Should I get one quickly, will he take to another cat? How old should the new cat be, his age (14) or younger? His health is good and I do not want to cause him undo stress. Lucy


Dear Lucy,
Yes cats do grieve. Like the attachment Cookie formed with you and you with Cookie, Cosmo also formed strong bonds. Because of that this is a difficult time for him. Cosmo needs a lot of love and affection and reassurance from you. Be with him, pet him and love him as you have done. In time, Cosmo will adjust to a house without Cookie. As for getting a new kitty, take your time. Be sure that you are comfortable with Cosmo's adjustment. A new kitty can be distracting to you, and you do not want to give Cosmo the impression you love him any less. Simba

PS
When you are ready to get a new kitty, check out the Choosing Kittens and Life Changes for tips on finding the right kitty and making the right introduction. I do recommend that you get a younger cat, one that will look to Cosmo as a role model and who will be easier to train and adapt to your home.


Dear Simba,
We have a 4yr old English short hair cat named Hana Banana and 2 new kittens from our humane society. The kittens replaced Alvy, an 18yr buddy who succumbed to an intestinal cancer. Our vet recently gave all our pets updated exams & clean bills of health. However, Hana Banana has recently started to show the same signs of not eating & hollow features that Alvy experienced. We thought it might be an anti-social thing because of the kittens. We will return to vet, but might you have any ideas on this? We do not want to loose her. - Brian

Dear Brian,
When one goes through a loss, it is common to be worried about the health and well being of the surviving pets. A couple of thoughts. As you probably know, cats can experience a sense of loss and do mourn. It is likely that Hana Banana is picking up on the fact that Alvy is gone. She may perhaps also sense the pain that you are experiencing.

Another cause for her state may be a feeling of isolation. It is possible that Hana no longer feels as though she is as important given the attention you are rightly paying to the kittens. Remind Hanna that she is still loved. You may find some good information on the loss of a pet in the community sections on the front page of KittenCare.

You are right in going back to the Vet. Talk to him/her about the symptoms and to be safe, also make a note of and inquire as to the effects of the water quality and the materials used in your cats' feeding plates. Let me know how things work out. Your Pal, Simba

Sad note:
Soon after this letter, Brian informed me of Hana's passing (liver problems). Please join me in passing along our deepest sympathies to Brian, his daughter Cassandra and the rest of his family. God be with you. - Simba

Heart Wrenching Decisions


Hello again.
I have sad news. My kitten Sage will be put to sleep this evening at 5:15. She has, despite our best efforts, not improved...only gotten worse. The vet said that she had a heart murmur of a 3 on a scale from 1-5. The vet said that it is not your typical heart murmur for a kitten. This murmur is low-pitched and quite loud. This in itself is not the factor that we have been concerned with. She has been on stool softeners, had several enemas, and several vet visits. The vet concluded that she has a stricture right before the exit to the butt. This causes the poop to back up and become a large mass - causing no poop for long periods of time - and then one huge 1/4 to 1/2 an inch diameter 1/2 to 1 inch long segments totaling to about 3 segments each movement. In the past month, she has had, no word of a lie about 8-10 bowel movements. In order to fix this stricture, they said we would need to have a soft tissue specialist come in and do massive reconstructive surgery...and told us that it does not guarantee how she will do in terms of the long run...including the heart murmur.

After sobbing for 4 hours about making this decision last evening...Sage had another spell of trying to go poop again and we tried to do a warm soap enema again...but with no results except drips...no poop. She was in pain...kept us up until 1 a.m. - - - -She is not her lively self today...and I am so sad that this is the last experience in her short little life. In some ways, my fiancé and I feel like it is SO NOT fair that something so small, sweet, cute, and innocent could have to suffer this way and have her life cut short...but unfortunately, it happens...and unfortunately, it happened to her. So, I leave you now to prepare for the most difficult thing any pet owner could face...a decision to stop the suffering for the animal.... but a decision that leaves me caged in guilt and full of questions. Thank you for giving your advice and guidance... Heartbroken, Stefani

Dear Stefani,
My heart goes out to you. Be well. Simba