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Terri, Feline Healthcare Expert
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 32666
Experience:  Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
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was my cat dead or alive when I put him in a plastic bag

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My cat was 18 with kidney and pancreas problems.I found him in his bed not moving with his eyes half rolled back into his head and part of his whitish inner lid over his eyes.He was on his side.I put my hand under his back to raise him and he was as stiff as a rock slab. His back did not have warmth.I felt his stomach and it was slightly warm.His legs were pretty much out straight. I thought he was dead. Now I have found out that cats with kidney problems can end with seizures so now I do not know if he truly was dead.He was stiff an hour later as well.There was no blood.I did not think he was breathing, but I didn't check well because I thought that because he was so stiff when I lifted him and the fact of how his eyes looked that he was dead.Now I am concerned that he was in post seizure mode.Would post seizure have caused him to be stiff an hour later if he was not dead?Do you think he would have 'woken up' and had awareness again?If it was a seizure, do you think he felt any pain or wished I was with him? His tail was a little puffed, his back arched, and his neck arched low with his head in an odd, more upright position. He did not smell as far as I know(I am a smoker), but my yorkie who always barked when I would pay attention to my cat simply looked at him inquisitively this time.She sniffs the air stronger than I have ever seen her when we sit on the chair my cat's house box was sitting on when he 'died'.The first time I sat with my yorkie on the chair she shook like she was scared.(she was never allowed on the chair but had not been punished and learned quickly that the chair was my cat's. The reason i am mentioning my yorkie's reactions is because maybe they will help you tell me if my cat was dead or not. My cat stopped eating and didn't drink as much about 4 days before he 'died'. He did not feel well at least 6 hours before i found him at 9:20 a.m.
He seemed to jerk in my arms a little-I think it was his legs or hind part, did not purr as he always would in my arms. Also, right before I went to get him to put him in my bed he cried a ffew times loudly and each cry ended with a rather painful sounding cry. He did not cry in my arms. I put him in his chair box house right after that and that was the last I saw him 'alive'. Due to getting a 6 hr. a day job 3 to 4 days a week I was unable to give him lunch-only breakfast and dinner. Therefore he did not have Viralys or Pancrezyme or Omega 3 in his food for lunch for about 3 weeks before his death except for about 3 to 4 days a week. Do you think this lack of lunch medication led to his 'death'. Do you think he was dead ? He looked dead and I think I would have noticed if he had been breathing or do you think it would have been so weak that I wouldn't have noticed. Please answer all my questions when you have a chance. (the vet I took his body to did not take him out of the bag to confirm death-he simply put the bag I had him in into a body bag. I feel so dumb for not asking for confirmation, but at the time I did not know that he could have simply had a seizure and not been dead. (when I lifted him from his back, his hips did not droop-just like a slab of rock)Also, he was pretty hard and his back seemed to weigh more when I lifted it. (he was about 5 pounds before he died. ) Why do you think it seemed his stomach was warm?Was it a buildup of liquid that could have made it that way?Do you think he was still alive and that he could have survived after such a seizure?? Elizabeth
I read your question over five different times to make sure that I understood everything before I started this response.
I have been working with cats for thirty years, I have seen them have seizures and I have seen them die.
I want to assure you that your dear cat was indeed dead when you put him in that bag. Cats do not become stiff from seizures and then wake up two hours later.
The stiffness you felt is called rigor mortis and results when blood is no longer circulating in a body.
A cats normal temperature is 101 so of course he can still feel warm hours later. All fluid will drop to the lowest point of the body due to gravity.
He seemed to weigh more because he was dead weight and not supporting his own body any longer.
Your cat lived to eighteen. that is a ripe old age. It is a tribute to you and the superb care you gave him during his life.
you are a wondeful, caring and loving pet owner. I wish the world had more terrific people like you!
Your beloved cat passed over to the rainbow bridge in peace and dignity. And someday you WILL see him again.
your cat is with God now, Elizabeth - may God be with you as well.
Very, very sincerely,

If you have ANY more questions about this or just want to talk more - just let me know.
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Terri Riba's Post: Dear Terri,
So do you think it was possible that he was stiff from his seizure and do they get stiff from seizures and then wake up an hour or 2 later? Did his eyes help indicate to you that he was dead or do their eyes look like that after a seizure? How long does it take for a cat who died's rigamortis to set in like Benny's had and him still have a warmish stomach?Could the warmish stomach be due to kidney fluid backup or something? During a seizure, does the cat feel anything or want me with him or can he not think during a seizure? Do you think he died during the seizure or lay there for awhile in pain and scared before he died? Would he have given a little meow before the seizure started? (I thought I heard a little meow about an hour before I found him, but maybe it was something else.) Do you think he could have died around 3:30 in the morning and his stomach still feel a little warm? Do you think my yorkie's 'out of the ordinary' reaction at seeing my cat (yorkie was within one foot of my cat).Do you think she could smell he was dead and hence was not upset I was touching him? 2 vets told me he would probably die within 2 weeks and he was still alive a few months later so I got a 3rd opinion and he gave me the medicine for Benny's food (and also told me he would die soon).He lasted 8 months longer than my second opinion and 9 after my first opinion-and the last 2 months were after my third opinion. He felt better after the third opinion medicine was included in his catfood.Do cat's eyes look like that after a seizure or just when they are dead?
So are you saying that he probably had a seizure due to renal failure and that he couldn't have been stiff for an hour and half or 2 hours after the seizure and still be alive? Do you think that my not being here to give him his lunch with medicine that he died sooner than he would have and if so, how much sooner? A few days before he died he was acting normal(for a cat with his pancreas and kidney problems. (the vet I took his 'body' to was cold to me and rushed.I have another good vet, but I took him to the cold vet because the cold vet is near my house so that I can use him in emergencies and get them there fast. His co-vet was my second opinion. (I am going to find another vet close to my house for my yorkie because that one was not nice at all to me even though I was crying. I told him Benny's stomach was a little warm and he didn't say anything. I should have had him look at Benny, but I was so upset and the vet was so cold and I truly thought Benny was dead. Please answer these questions when you have time. Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX and thanks for telling me about the bridge.
When a cat has liver or renal failure - the toxins in food and medication are not being adequetely removed from his bloodstream. That is why he had the cannot be stiff from a seizure and then wake up because that is impossible.
During a seizure an animal or a person is not aware of it or the world around them.
I think that Benny died during the seizure or right after and was not aware of anything. there is nothing anyone could have done because all of Benny's organs were shutting down.
Your little dog knew that Benny had died, animals just know these things).
I do not think it would have made any difference if you were there at lunchtime because it was just Benny's time to leave this world for the rainbow bridge.
Please go to and read the rainbow bridge story as I think it will comfort you.
Elizabeth, please understand that it was Benny's time to go - he lived a complete and wonderful life because of you and he is at peace and happy now.
He knows you are grieving for him and that you miss him and he misses you too. But he also knows that he will someday be with you again on the rainbow bridge. Most of all Benny loves you and he does not want you to be so sad.
Do not mourn Benny's death, Elizabeth - instead celebrate his life!
with warmest best wishes,
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