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Hello, JACustomer. I have been a Veterinary Nurse for over 15 years and would be happy to help you today. I'm reviewing your question right now.
1) Any history of illness or injury? 2) Was she ever diagnosed with a heart murmur? 3) Any sign of issues? Was she eating and drinking well up until this point?4) Did it appear that she simply passed away spontaneously?
It can be inferred from the information we have that she did not suffer. Spontaneous deaths like this where cats are fine one moment and deceased the next are often related to heart issues. Unfortunately, in cats, we commonly see that there are no signs of heart problems until the cat has suffered either a major problem or they have passed away altogether. If you want an answer with almost complete certainty, having a necropsy performed in the morning would be ideal. Would you like me to give you some details on how to preserve her body until morning so that this can happen?
With a heart issue, yes. When there is a malfunction with the heart, any animal with a heart (cats and humans included) can go from completely normal to dead in just a matter of seconds.If it was a snake or spider, she'd have shown symptoms and it would not have been spontaneous.Heartworms could be to blame, of course, as it could have caused a major heart malfunction which resulted in death.
Heartworms can cause issues without obvious problems and cause spontaneous death. Often in cats that are symptomatic we see signs like coughing, lethargy, weight loss, seizures, collapse, difficulty breathing, fainting and acute death.I would be surprised if this were a spider or snake since you do not describe having seen either in the vicinity. Chances are she would have been stressed out and hiding. Spiders tend to be less toxic than snakes, especially in your area, and it would probably have taken days for the average spider to kill a cat where a very venomous snake could have killed her in a matter of hours. Still, we'd expect her to be having some problems and not just laying on the floor as though there was no warning.
Checking in, JACustomer. Are there any other questions I can answer for you?
It would be very unlikely that pain was suffered as cardiac-related deaths that are spontaneous happen very quickly.