My 3 year old cat Gwen who seemed perfectly healthy suddenly passed away. She was found in her litterbox. At her last vet checkup she was given a clean bill of health. Needless to say, this was a very upsetting event, and I am wondering if you have any idea what could have happened, and if I could have done anything to prevent it. It would help me to know so that I can try to prevent the same thing happening to my other cats.

Mary
Boise, ID

Without an autopsy there is no way to know what happened with certainty. However, whenever an apparently healthy young cat passes away suddenly I become suspicious of heart disease.

Feline heart disease is not related to lifestyle in most cases, and it isn’t preventable. It is caused by an inherent irregularity in the heart that causes the muscles of the organ to develop improperly. In many cases it does not lead to a heart murmur or other detectable signs. For some cats, sudden and premature death is the first symptom. Feline heart disease is not contagious, but it can run in families.

Other relatively common causes of sudden death include poisoning (not common in indoor cats), trauma (also not common in indoor cats), urinary obstruction (in male cats only), and asthma attacks.

However, although many possible causes exist, I am most suspicious that a heart condition lead to the sudden loss of your cat. Please accept my sympathies.