My 24 yr. old cat died recently (at home, in her bed)& I'm devastated I wasn't there for her. She only weighed 4 pounds

My 24 yr. old cat died recently (at home, in her bed)& I'm devastated I wasn't there for her. She only weighed 4 pounds & I'd only left her for 3 hours - but when I came home, she was already "stiff" (rigor mortis). I'm trying to determine when she died, & I'm hoping it wasn't "minutes" after I left! Someone told me it only takes 1 hour for rigor mortis to set in, in a small cat. My girl was only 4 lbs. with no real diseases. How long did it take for rigor mortis to set in? Thank you very much for any help!

Asked by Member 1064389 on Oct 18th 2011 in Answers
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im very sorry about your loss i hope you had a swell 24 years with your cat

ps. i hope you feel better about her death soon

Member 1063842 answered on 10/18/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I'm so sorry about your cat.

I can't answer your question about rigor, but please don't beat yourself up about not being there when she died. For your cat to have lived for 24 years she must have been very well loved and cared for. Perhaps she waited until she was alone to slip away. The fact that she was able to go naturally, peacefully at home in her bed, is a sweet end to a very long, obviously happy life. She must have known she was loved.

I know this is a very sad time for you. Please try to think of the happy times you had with her. You must have so many wonderful memories to choose from.

Member 1046384 answered on 10/18/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

Izadore (Izzie)

You have our most sincere sympathy for the loss of your kitty. PLEASE don't feel guilty about anything that happened when she passed over to The Rainbow Bridge. I can guarantee you that she's up there, young again, doing her favorite things, making new friends and waiting for you to come claim her again. If you find yourself consumed with thoughts of her death, it's always a good idea to speak with your vet. They have special talents at putting bereaved owners at ease. Our love and prayers go out to's so much easier to leave than to be left behind.

Izadore (Izzie) answered on 10/18/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


My mom heart breaks for you but you know us cats we are very dignified creatures and usually choose to be alone to die a majority of the time.It;s to comfort our owners needs that they feel they need to be with us.Your cat was not thinking about you not being there but was probably remembering the 24 wonderful you gave her.She sounds like she was really loved.I will welcoime her to rainbow bridge.

Harley answered on 10/20/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Contrary to what you might read, rigor mortis in a small cat starts setting in within 10 minutes. There's a website called chemistry dot com that states this and I can confirm it from first-hand experience. My 20 year old cat Bud died yesterday. Like you, I am totally devastated. He died of renal failure and had become very thin. He slipped into a coma and was still breathing when I left him for 20 minutes. I had covered him with a light blanket to keep him warm because of the a/c. When I came back to check on him, his body still felt warm under the blanket, but he wasn't breathing, lifted him up and he was stiff as a board, listened for a heart beat, none. I tried to open his mouth and his teeth were clamped tightly shut. I checked his gums and they were purple--he was dead. Apparently the blanket had trapped the warmth of his body. He weighed 4 lbs. and the room was 79 degrees. The warmth and time of death had me confused, so I began searching for answers that made sense.

Member 1132776 answered on 9/26/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer