Why might a cat suddenly die after being sick one day?

Written by clint hale
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Why might a cat suddenly die after being sick one day?
Sick cats may pass away for any number of reasons. (cats image by Hubert from Fotolia.com)

Like humans, cats get sick too. Unfortunately, unlike humans, cats can't vocalise what ails them. Sadly, a cat can be sick one day and pass away the next. This happens for any number of reasons. That's why it is important to get a cat to a licenced veterinarian at the first sign of illness.

Heart Attack

While quite rare in cats, heart attacks do happen occasionally in cats, some of which can result in death. "Snycope" is used to describe fainting or collapsing due to an abnormality/infarction of the heart, most likely a result of poor heart function as caused by heart disease or abnormal heart rhythms. Once an episode takes place, a cat may die instantly or exhibit symptoms of lethargy. If not treated by a licensed vet immediately, this can lease to permanent damage, and in many cases, prove fatal.


A seizure, essentially an epileptic fit caused by a brain condition, may appear very much like a heart attack. Often times, a cat that experiences a seizure will limp and feature stiff movement during and shortly after a spell, upon which the cat will return to normal. Other times, however, this limping and overall sick appearance can prove fatal within days, or even hours, if not treated by a licenced veterinarian.


A common illness in cats, distemper's official name is "feline panleukopenia." This disease, caused by a virus, is spread through infected litter boxes, food and water. Cats with distemper will appear tired and lethargic, and will also likely refuse food and water. This can also lead to diarrhoea and vomiting, and if not treated by a licensed vet, will typically prove fatal. Hence, if a cat experiences any of these symptoms, it's best to get them to a vet immediately.


Also caused by a virus, feline peritonitis is common in homes with more than one cat. The most common symptom of this virus is a swollen abdominal area, while other symptoms include weight loss, appetite loss and fever. As is the case with distemper, if not treated early by a vet, peritonitis is a serious illness that will likely prove fatal in cats.


This is one cause of death in cats that is easily preventable by pet owners. Household toxins, such as household cleaners and rat poison, can prove fatal if ingested by a cast. However, these toxins will first produce a sick reaction in cats, most notably diarrhoea, loss of appetite, lethargy and even bleeding from the mouth. However, these symptoms may quickly give way to death if not treated by a licenced vet. Get a cat to the vet immediately upon witnessing any of these symptoms.

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