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Posts: 9
Hi everyone, I am reaching out to you because everyone seems so nice on this board.

I lost my cat this past Wednesday and I just feel so terrible. On Monday he fell down my stairs. I ran to him and steadied him but he walked like he was drunk, then did a strange thing with his eyes (looked back and forth at nothing in the room). He was fine in about 3 minutes but did loose bowel control and pooped in the front room. Side note, I did give him and my other cat some wet food on Sunday night. They both ate it and she is just fine (and blood work was fine, so I don't suspect it was bad). I noticed when I came home that Sunday morning there was poop next to my bed. This never, ever happened-they always go in the liter box, so I am thinking he may have had an episode on Saturday too?

Tuesday we were playing and hanging out. I took some photos (talk about intuition!) and noticed his two front legs shaking ever so slightly. I had already called the vet and got him an appointment for the next morning before I saw the shaking (I was grooming him so he would look even more handsome!).

The vet took his blood, temp, listened to heart beat BUT I don't remember her looking in his eyes. She was a new vet, never saw her before. I should have insisted on my old vet, but did not.

After the appointment I brought him to my parents house as it is near the vets office (in the suburbs of Chicago). He lived there for 6 months and LOVED it there. It was a beautiful day and he laid in the sun, ate grass, played with twigs, rubbed himself against my Mom and I while we ate lunch outside. All in all, it was a wonderful day.

Here is where it gets Mom had to go, so I put him in his carrier-a nice new one. It was a bit warmer so I faced the side flap towards the AC (which blocked my view of him a bit). I proceeded to chat on my cell phone all the way home. He meowed once (not unusual, he was good in the car). I gave him a pet through the flap. About 10 minutes from home, he pooped in the carrier (only a 35 minute ride). While I should maybe have been nervous, my other cat ALWAYS poops in her cage so as I was almost home I lowered the windows for fresh air.

As I carried him in, he freaked out in the carrier to the point the soft sided flap almost ripped opened. I let him out in the hall and he walked funny inside. Then I noticed he was panting and salivating terribly. I freaked and my friend, who has a sick cat, told me to get him back to the vet. I tried to give him water the carried him out to my patio for air. He crawled under a bench and laying on his side began pawing at the dirt and rocks above his head. I was in a sheer panic. My vet, of course, happened to be OFF that afternoon and the emergency operator could not get through-there went 5 minutes (which felt like days). I googled ER vet, first one too far. Found another closer to my condo in the city. I scooped him up and ran for the car, no carrier just him in my arms-which he did not like at that moment at all. I set him in the passenger seat and began frantically driving to the office. He jumped up and down from the foot well of the car to the seat and seemed upset. He calmed down for a couple minutes and I pet him and reassured him thinking things were calming down. Then he started doing almost flip flops and just freaking out, which caused me to start crying hysterically and driving even faster. At one point he looked up at me and his left pupil was completely dialated. His right was normal. He then vaulted into the backseat and curled up very tightly under my seat. I kept talking to him and feeling his breathing, but in all the drama I managed to get totally flipped around and lost about 5 minutes being lost (in my own city!). By the time I got him to the vet, he was dead.

Everyone says there was nothing I could have done. They remind me I had him at the vet that morning, I was "tuned in", etc. I cannot help but be upset he suffered, although until that moment I do not believe he suffered a day in his life (except maybe when I accidentally stepped on his tail once or twice, lol).

He was 15 and a solid 18 pounds. He always had bad teeth and I refused to have his teeth cleaned recently because of his age (they put them under for the cleaning). His blood work, which came back on Thursday morning was 100% perfect too.

I know this is long, but I am suffering and wanted to know if anyone had anything this traumatic happen with their kitty. I miss him so much, but feel like I have not even come to terms with his departure from my life because I keep beating myself up for the way he died.

Posts: 1,205
I am so, so sorry for your loss.  It must have been such a terrible shock, and so terrifying.  I really have no idea what happened, but there are some very knowlegible people here, who I am sure, will perhaps be able to give you some idea. 
I am thinking of you, much love, Di xxx


Posts: 180
Dear Percysmom,
I am very sorry to read of your kitty's death.  I lost the love of my life on March 3, and he suffered for 6 months before he died. I did everything I could for him, but he was beyond help.
In my opinion, you did everything you could to help your kitty. You took him to the vet as soon as you realized he was ill, you didn't leave him, and you did everything you could do to keep him comfortable.
Did your vet make a suggestion about what he/she thought may have been wrong with your kitty?
Based on what you have written, about his one pupil being dialated, and his erratic behavior, I suspect he had a stroke or some other type of neurological hemorrhage.
My dog had a brain tumor / lesion, and as the situation progressed, his one pupil was dialated more than the other.  He also began having seizures.
I am so sorry that this happened.  Please accept my deepest sympathies.
Dakotah's Mom

Posts: 445
Gini I want to say how very sorry I am for your loss and that was awful for you.  I think you did all you could for him but I have to say I don't think the vet did a very good exam.  I guess if you didn't have a neocropsy done there won't be any way to tell what happened.  You might however try calling a vet hospital or school and asking for an opinion telling them just what you wrote here.

Again I am sorry you lost Percy and please try not to beat yourself up.


Posts: 9
I have gotten some feedback from the vet.  He thinks it was a stroke of some sort.

I emailed another vet and she said this:

"There are several possibilities but they are only going to be guesses because the only real way to know is a necropsy. But certain things are caused by other things and statistically some things are far more likely in cats then others to cause a pretty sudden death with no lingering illness. I think That cardiomyopathy is most likely and that he may have thrown a clot or two. Heartworm disease is the second most likely cause of sudden death in adult cats with clots but I'm not sure how endemic heartworms are in Chicago.

Cat do get brain tumors but I think you would have seen some indication sooner.

Clots from heart events like cardiomyopathy can cause lameness in the front, difficulty breathing and hypertension. He likely had the first one Monday night when he fell down the stairs and just kept throwing clots. That would have been a vestibular event because he had nystigmus (the eye movement) and can be caused by a inner ear problems or cerebrovascular injury or infarct..cardiomyopthay again, hypertension, kidney failure or thyroid disease are the two other common causes of hypertension."

So, there are some likely causes.  My opinion is most people out there reading this thread might have insight because they went through something like this.  I was not thinking clearly or I would have had him autopsied.   I guess I will never know for sure.  I am finally getting some peace about it and got his ashes already.  It helps to have him back with me....

Thank you to everyone writing.  It does help to hear such kind words.


Posts: 12
Dear Percysmom,

I am so so sorry about everything you and your little baby had to go through! I am a  chiropractor and have lots of experience with head and spinal cord injuries. After reading your story, I really believe that you poor little kitty had one of the two. It sounds to me like you did ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING that YOU could!! This is not on you! The vet just missed the signs!

(Please forgive me if this gets clinically or sounds as if it is lacking emotion, as this is not my intention. Your posting ask for any similar experiences. I am a huge animal lover, 3 dogs 2 cats and really FEEL your pain!)

It's probably harder to diagnose a head/spinal cord injury with an animal than with a human, since they can't actually TELL us what hurts, but....?  A person can show obvious signs like, confusion over dates, nausea, loss of bowel control; stuff we can ask a person and get a verbal answer. More specifically, if a human has a lower spinal cord injury, they can walk strangely, become paralyzed, or lose all bowel control. A head injury would show signs  like unequal pupils, decreased reactivity to light when shined in eyes, coordination problems, gait issues, nausea temperature & BP irregularities; symptoms similar to a stroke.  Sometimes, after a injury, such as a fall, the brain can have a slow bleed that can take a few days to get to this point. All of these problems require immediate professional intervention. You took your kitty to the vet! You did your part and then some!!! The vet blew it!  I'm sure that this doesn't make any difference to the ultimate outcome. I am totally pissed off FOR you and so, sooo sad for you, too. This is just awful! Most vets are wonderful, animal-loving people that would give their own lives to save the life of an animal. But, sometimes they make mistakes. I think this one may have done just that. I'm so sorry.

I wanted to give you an similar example that I experienced. Once I saw a kitty run across the road and run head first into a moving car wheel. I pulled over and cried as I ran to help the poor kitty. When I reached the cat he started to flip flop from his face to his feet, back and forth. It was awful! He eventually ran away and I could never catch him to take him to the vet. My point here is that this cat had an obvious head injury and did that awful flip flopping.

I'm not sure what you want to do or even what your options are at this point.I guess you could call the regular vet and tell him/her what happened, but I don't really know what they would do or say?? But, it may help you. I know that I would HAVE to call and let the vet know! I'm sure that this vet that examined you kitty is only human and could have just made an honest mistake, but I think this is unacceptable. Maybe your regular vet would get this new vet some TRAINING or fire her so that nobody else has to go through such a horrible experience! Maybe I am totally wrong, but I would need more information!? Whatever you decide, I am so very sorry that you have to go through this pain. Please rest assured that YOU did everything within your power!

When you witness something so traumatic it is so hard to erase it from your memory. But, my prayer for you is that this memory fades quickly, so that you may think of your baby with only happy memories.

My heart breaks for you.


Posts: 9
Hi Ozzymama,

I am not sure a spinal or even head injury was possible.  I cannot quite figure out how it could have happened.  Percy was an inside cat, city cat with limited access to a walled in patio.  He slept most of the day and ate....he was pretty lazy.

The only head injury that was possible was when he had his seizure type episode on Monday and fell down the stairs?  I ran to him and caught him and don't think he hit his head though.....

Most people are saying it sounds like he had a series of mini strokes and that Wednesday, possibly due to the car ride and an elevation of his blood pressure from being in the car, that the big one happened.

As he was 15 years old and quite a porker (18 pounds) I think it possible he simply had a heart attack due to his age, weight and inactive fat cat lifestyle?

What do you think?  Oh and regarding the flip flop in the car, if he had a stroke and his pupil was blown (it was not blown even 5 minutes before he died) does it make sense that the blood flow was interrupted to his back legs or even front?  My parents cat had a stroke and it crippled his back legs and he had to be put down.


Posts: 558
Persy's Mommy,

I'm so sorry that you lost your dearest Persy so tragically.  I don't have any ideas for you, but just wanted to write and say how sad it made me to read your post.  I can't imagine how terrifying this was for you to go thru with sweet Persy.  Please know that you're in my thoughts and I pray that some day you'll be able to remember all of the wonderful memories that you and your Persy share.  huge hugs, Golda's Mom

Posts: 774
I am so sorry for you and your poor kitty.
Sounds like he had a few seizures and possibly had a saddle thrombosis or threw a clot to a front leg. It is very painfull and will cause what you stated. He also may have seizured again in the carrier on the way home and that caused the panting, and disomfort. Was he a maine coon?? They are predisposed to having cardiomyopathy. The eyes moving as they did sounds like nystagmis, an involentary movement of the eyes back and forth. It is neurologic. It could have also been a brain tumor. And yes they can come on that quick. I recently had a patient, I work at a specialty animal hospital, that deteriated so much from the begining of the day till the end. You wouldn't think it couldhappen that fast but it did.
Bottom line is, there was nothing you could have done but what you did. 5 minutes, 20 minutes, wouldn't have made a difference.
The only way to know for sure is to do a  necropsy, but you may not want to do that. That is up to what your comfortable with.
Once again please accept my deepest sympathy in the loss of your special furfriend, and know that there is a very bright star up in the sky tonight and it is sharing it's warmth with you. Or perhaps there is another little kitten born today waiting for you.
Please excuse the typos, I didn't have time to spell check.

Posts: 9
Hi Loudpurring (great name!)

I was thinking a brain tumor from the start.  One thing that was odd and mentioned to the vet multiple times was about 1 1/2 years ago I noticed one of his eyes darken slightly.  I kept talking myself out of it, thinking I was imagining it, it had something to do with age, etc.  After Monday's fall, his right eye was very slightly dialted.  I only noticed in photos I took Tuesday when I looked back on them after he died.  I did tell my main vet I don't recall the new vet even looking in his eyes!  While there may have been nothing I could have done, I still think that new vet failed both Percy and me that morning.  Even a heads up would have been better than nothing...Oh, my Father is an Optometrist and I told him about the eye and he really does not think it indicated a brain tumor.  In your practice have you ever caught a tumor this way?

Funny that you ask me if he was a Maine Coon....he was a very large cat and only really hit his top weight in the last 5 years of his life.  While I always thought he was a domestic short hair, something now tells me he might have had some Maine Coon in him (at least 1/4).  He was a brown tabby and he had very, very unique swirl markings on his body.  In fact, since he died I have decided if I ever get another cat, I cannot risk that it will be a small cat.  If I do get another cat it will most likely be a Maine Coon.  My other cat is very small and I miss the fat boy!!!  : )

Thank you to everyone's comments!!!  It is really helping me tremendously! 


Posts: 196
My Herbie -- gone 10 1/2 weeks may have gone thru similar things.  His kidney's weren't great, but holding steady, and in early N ovember he suddenly had a series of seizures.  The hospital tests of blood work, etc showed nothing, so they scheduled an MRI.  THey noted a heart murmer but put him under anyway and that's when he almost died.  Rushed him to the cardiologist and they said that in addition to the damage the MRI (anestiasia) had done to his heart and was likely killing him, he had mild to moderate heart disease.  Neurologist said he saw enough of the MRI to be confident there was no stroke or tumor.

The heart hospital said Herbie was dying and even called me in the middle of night to rush out and say goodbye, which I did.  But he made it thru the night and the next day I said i wanted to take him home.  THey said he might not make it off the machine, but weaned him off for 3 hours and gave me heart meds.  Herbie had one seizure when he got home, I had to force feed him, he was in pain at the litter box and hte smell was horrendous and he would throw up after.  I was planning in-home euthanasia but he must have popped out whatever was in his system (all the meds?) and suddenly started eating and drinking and playing!  Even after examinations, none of the doctors had any explanation.  he still had hypertension, heart disease and an enlarged heart and kidney disease, but I had my boy for nearly 4 more months before he had a rapid decline (and mreo vet and hospital visits) and bouts of pain in the final couple of days, and I made the decision to have him PTS -- I could not bear to see him suffer.

I chose to not have more tests or hospital visits for ultrasounds because I pretty much knew he was dying and I did not want his last days and hours to be that. Plus, whatever they'd find would likely be untreatable since he coudl not have surgery because of anesthesia or steroids becaus ehe was a heart patient.  My vet told me she thinks it was probably the combination of the kidneys, hypertension and heart issues -- just like what your vet said.  He was an older cat, too.

I hope this helps.

Herbie's Mom


Posts: 9

Looking back at photos from about 2 years ago, his eyes were both totally green.  The eye that dialated in the car had gradually turned brown since then.

If his blood work was perfect and his eye darkened, does anyone think it could have been a brain tumor?

I cannot stop wondering what might have taken my Per and if I could have done anything differently.



Posts: 196
I think that sometiems brain tumors and a slew of other things can be happening that really don't bother our pets or show up until the end.  I also think it can be a blessing.  If we 'knew' we would put them through so so so much that they would hate in order to 'save' them, but when a cat is over 14 years old, they are 'old' and each month or year after that is a blessing. 

Your baby had a good long life and things went downhill quickly rather than a long drawn out decline that required surgeries and hospital stays.  My Herbie had multiple small problems and while he required meds twice a day int he alst 3 1/2 months of his life, he got to do all of his normal Herbie things right up to the end.  Had I had him on hospice-type care, he would have been miserable -- would not have been able to go outside, etc. 

So over time, let's feel blessed that our babies went quickly and lived long lives and did not have to be treated old and sick by us and vets -- It's that quality of life issue again and it really does matter.  I miss my Herbie every minute of every day these past 11 weeks since he died, but as time goes on, I am so very, very grateful that he did not have a long drawn out ending.  I know he had a very happy life with me (and he needed it sicne he was a badly injured wild feral when he first showed up at my door).  I'm so glad that the rest of his life -- 12 1/2 years, was full of happiness, love, treats and all of his kitty friends.
I hope in time, you will feel the same way, too, about your Percy.  If you were playing and taking pictures at the end, then you had a happy boy!  ANd that conts for a lot.

Herbie's Mom

Posts: 774
Sorry I haven't responded before, I have been having a real bad time at work.

I did know a kitty that had green eyes. One of the eyes started looking different and it turned out to be lymphoma of the eye. The cat also had lymphoma of the intestines, or liver, I don't remember which. But, the lymphoma of the eye was secondary to the systemic lymphoma. I don't know if this helps or not.

While true a dialated pupil does not indicate a brain tumor, it can sometimes be a neurologic symptom of something. I am sorry I am so tired.

There is a neuro logic disorder in cats called "Horners syndrom" It has to do with the inner ear and I have seen it several times.One of the pupils will dilate and the other either constrics or says the same. sometimes the 3rd eyelid will also be prominent. I saw a cat get it from a bath once. I ahave seen them get it from ear cleanings.

I hope this helps a little. I don't think your cat had the Horners syndrome. I think he may have thrown a clot and had something like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and perhaps cancer and or a brain issue. Go with what you know in your heart to be true. That is most likely the truth.

But, does it matter. I know you're curious, but isn't that just because you need to find out it was something you can blame yourself for. Whatever it was, it wouldn't have made a difference in the end. It sounds like po little Percy was really sick, and it was really sudden. I am very sorry
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