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Dr. Dave
Dr. Dave, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 4125
Experience:  23 years small animal general and emergency practice
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Sadly ibfound my cat dead about 3 metres from the road in some

Customer Question

Sadly ibfound my cat dead about 3 metres from the road in some fir trees, he was stiff and quite cold, eyes open tongue out and biting it, his tail was also curled up parralel worh his back, are these all signs of sudden death? Eg hit by a car, shock? Minimal blood around his mouth too
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Dave replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Dave :

Hello, and thanks for writing in. I'm so very sorry for the loss of your cat.

Dr. Dave :

From your description, and from what I have seen with many deceased cats over the years, I would say he was most likely hit by a vehicle.

JACUSTOMER-g2kq1n72- : Yes he did have a bone inbetween his shoulders that felt like it was sticking out abit
Dr. Dave :

Many times there are no external injuries, but there are internal injuries, and the only thing you may see is blood coming out from the mouth like you mentioned.

Dr. Dave :

What you are describing (the bone sticking out a bit) could be consistent with a broken bone (i.e. leg, shoulder blade).

JACUSTOMER-g2kq1n72- : Im puzzled as he was about 3 metres from the road kind of out of sight which would suggest he struggled to that point as there was plenty of space for someone to out him in view of the public
Dr. Dave :

It's possible that he was hit, then walked/crawled to the spot where he passed away (where you found him).

JACUSTOMER-g2kq1n72- : Yes the blood was minimal though, more like stain on his furr, i was just wondering if the tail being ucurved up like it was, eyes open are signs of sudden death? Would he have eyes open if he struggled to his resting place then passed away? Also when i found him his front paws were crossed
Dr. Dave :

When animals pass away, their eyes typically stay open, no matter what caused them to pass away. The tail being curled up it not a specific thing that is seen when a cat passes away, so I guess it's hard to say for certain why the tail was curled up.

Dr. Dave :

The paws being crossed is also non-specific and may have just been the position they were in when he passed away.

JACUSTOMER-g2kq1n72- : Ah right, i was hoping it was shock from being hit and instant death, if he was stiff and quite cold, the tip of tongue had dried up abit but no signs of any maggots or flies on him, wouldn u be able to give a rough estimate of how long he was there
JACUSTOMER-g2kq1n72- : Yes paws beig crossed makes me think he wasnt out there but got there and lay to rest as he always crossed his paws at home
Dr. Dave :

From your description, I would venture to guess that he was there anywhere from 2 or more hours, as the things you are describing can all happen in that time frame (or of course longer).

JACUSTOMER-g2kq1n72- : Would u be able to say the time frame before maggots/flies start? As he was missing since friday and inthink it was friday night he got hit
Dr. Dave :

Maggots typically can show up within 2 days after flies lay their eggs.

JACUSTOMER-g2kq1n72- : He coems home everynight bar one in 5 months so im thinking surely it was friday night he was hit, iv been trying to get information to out my mind at rest that he didnt suffer but the more ibsearch the more it looks like he struggled to where ibfound him, which looks like he was trying to get home as at the top of our drive
Dr. Dave :

It's possible that he was alive for a short time after being hit, but I doubt is was very long - possibly minutes at the longest most likely.

JACUSTOMER-g2kq1n72- : Thankyou for your advice
Dr. Dave :

You're very welcome - glad to be here to help. Again, I'm very sorry for your loss, and you'll be in my thoughts during this time.