It’s a heart-wrenching sight: a beloved cat passing away with blood flowing from its mouth and nose, often indicating internal bleeding.
He/she might have been involved in a traumatic incident or poisoned by an anticoagulant rodenticide. Additionally, cats suffering from blood clotting disorders or congestive heart failure may experience bleeding post-mortem. Infection, inflammation, or tumors of the respiratory tract or oral mucosa are potential culprits as well.
To confirm your cat’s passing, gently check for signs such as the absence of breathing, incomplete eye closure, dilated pupils, no pulse in the femoral artery, pale gums, or body stiffness. If your cat is really dead, gather information about the potential cause of the death and isolate him from the other cats especially if the cat died from an infection.
For proactive health care and emergency readiness, consider having a cat health monitoring tool and a first-aid kit within easy reach. My recommended cat health monitoring tools can be a lifesaver in unexpected situations. Learn more about these essential items here.
Gently clean the blood and reach out to your veterinarian promptly. Normally, vets have the necessary facilities to preserve a deceased cat’s body until you decide on the next step. You can also opt for a post-mortem exam to confirm the cause of your cat’s death.
Decomposition, often noticeable by an odor, starts within 24 to 48 hours after death. If you’re not planning an immediate burial, consider these preservation methods, or if the laws within your locality prohibit garden burial or even if you live in an urban area. Some cat owners may also prefer cremation. In situations where you can’t take your dead cat to the vet immediately, put it in a plastic bag and store it in a freezer.
Why Did My Cat Die With Blood Coming Out From His Mouth And Nose?
Let’s take a deeper look into the various reasons why your cat might be bleeding from his mouth and nose after dying:
Trauma, a common cause, may occur from accidents such as falls, vehicular impacts, animal fights, or other forceful injuries.
Injuries resulting from traumatic experiences can either be external or internal. External injuries might be evident, like wounds or lacerations. However, internal injuries can be more covert and may affect the lungs, heart, blood vessels, or other organs.
Internal bleeding can eventually manifest as bleeding from the nose and mouth, especially if the respiratory system is involved or if there’s a significant amount of blood building up inside. Sometimes, residual blood can exit the body through the nose and mouth due to gravity.
Platelets, also called thrombocytes, are small blood cells that play a crucial role in blood clotting. When a blood vessel is injured, platelets stick together to form a plug that prevents excessive bleeding.
In platelet disorders like thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) or thrombocytopathy (malfunctioning platelets), a cat’s blood clotting is compromised.
Both scenarios can lead to a diminished ability to form clots, making the cat more susceptible to spontaneous bleeding or prolonged bleeding after injury.
Without proper platelet function, minor irritations or injuries in the nasal passages or oral cavity, which might otherwise be inconsequential, can lead to noticeable bleeding. In severe cases, spontaneous bleeding can occur without any apparent injury or stimulus.
Ingestion Of Anticoagulant Rodenticides
While common, anticoagulant rodenticide poisoning poses a serious threat to cats.Warfarin and other anticoagulant rodenticides act by preventing the liver from recycling vitamin K, disrupting the vitamin K-dependent clotting factors, which are essential for blood coagulation. As a result, even small injuries can result in uncontrollable bleeding.
As the cat’s blood loses its ability to clot due to the poison, spontaneous bleeding can occur in various parts of the body. The cat may show signs of internal bleeding, such as blood in urine or feces, or from areas like the mouth and nose.
Congestive Heart Failure
n Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), a cat’s heart struggles to pump blood efficiently, leading to fluid buildup in the lungs, leading to a buildup of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) and sometimes in the space between the lungs and the chest wall (pleural effusion).
The buildup of fluid in the lungs can make it hard for a cat to breathe. This can cause distress and result in an increased respiratory rate and effort.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common cause of CHF in cats. In HCM, the muscular walls of the heart thicken, which makes it harder for the heart to pump blood effectively. As the condition progresses, the heart’s efficiency in pumping blood can decline, leading to CHF.
In CHF, the increase in pressure within the blood vessels of the lungs, due to the fluid buildup, can lead to leakage of red blood cells out of the vessels. This can result in bloody froth or fluid coming out of the nose and mouth, especially if the cat is in severe distress or if there’s a sudden cardiac event.
Foreign Objects Stuck In Cat’s Mouth
When a cat ingests or gets foreign material stuck in its mouth, this comes with potential harm.
Foreign material, depending on its nature, can cause mechanical injury or chemical irritation. Sharp objects can puncture, lacerate, or cause abrasions in the mouth, throat, or esophagus, resulting in bleeding.
The presence of foreign material, even if not sharp, can lead to inflammation, which can make the mucosal lining of the mouth or throat more prone to bleeding. Inflammation can cause swelling, redness, heat, and pain. Over time, if not addressed, this inflammation can erode the mucosal surfaces leading to ulcers or open sores.
The distress caused by such inflammation or injury, especially if it affects the upper respiratory tract, can lead to increased blood pressure in the capillaries of the nose, causing nosebleeds.
Gingivitis or Stomatitis
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums, while stomatitis refers to a more generalized inflammation of the oral mucosa.
Both conditions can cause redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums and mouth. This is particularly true when the cat eats, chews, or when the inflamed areas are touched.
Severe stomatitis can be incredibly painful, and cats may drool excessively, sometimes mixed with blood. The pain may cause them to refuse food.
Secondary bacterial infections can further exacerbate the inflammation and bleeding.
Infections in a cat’s mouth, whether bacterial, viral, or fungal, can lead to ulcerations, abscesses, and inflammation.
Such infections can cause the mucosal lining of the mouth, throat, or even further down the respiratory tract, to become inflamed and bleed. Upper respiratory tract infection is a common cause of nosebleeding (epistaxis) in cats.
As with other causes, if there’s significant inflammation or bleeding in the upper respiratory tract, blood could also be expelled from the nose, especially if the cat coughs, and when the cat dies gravity may pull out the blood in the respiratory tract.
Systemic infections (infections that affect the whole body) can also cause coagulation issues, leading to spontaneous bleeding from various orifices, including the mouth and nose.
Oral cancer in cats can manifest as growths, ulcers, or masses in the mouth. Some common types include squamous cell carcinomas and melanomas.
Although tumors are quite rare in cats, these malignancies can erode blood vessels or cause tissue destruction, leading to bleeding.
In these tough moments as the disease progresses, the affected areas may bleed more readily, especially when disturbed, such as during eating or grooming.
In advanced stages, there might be a combination of inflammation, infection, and tumor erosion, all contributing to the likelihood of bleeding.
Additionally, some cancers can metastasize (spread) and cause secondary issues, including bleeding disorders, which could manifest as bleeding from the mouth, nose, or other areas.
For any pet displaying signs of illness or distress, it’s imperative to consult with a veterinarian for a definitive diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
What To Do If Your Cat Died Bleeding From Mouth And Nose
Stay Calm And Keep Yourself Safe
This is understandably an emotional and stressful time, but it’s crucial to keep your composure to handle the situation effectively.
Wearing gloves is important, especially if you do not know the exact cause of death. This protects you from potential infections or poison that might have affected your cat.
Confirm The Death
Before taking any further steps, it’s vital to ensure that your cat is indeed deceased. Sometimes, unconscious or severely ill cats may show signs similar to death. You should call your vet to help you through this but you can check for:
- Breathing: Observe the chest and abdomen for any movement.
- Heartbeat: Place your hand or ear on the left side of the cat’s chest.
- Pupil Dilation: A cat’s pupils will typically be fully dilated if they have passed away.
If there’s any uncertainty, take your cat to a veterinarian immediately.
Take Note Of Important Details
If your cat’s death was sudden and unexplained, take photos of your cat and its surroundings. This can be helpful if you decide to seek a post-mortem examination. Document any unusual behavior or symptoms your cat displayed before death. This can help in diagnosing the cause.
Isolate the Deceased Cat
In the unfortunate event that your cat has passed away, it’s essential to move the body to a quiet, undisturbed area, especially if you have other pets. This not only minimizes potential health risks but also shields other pets from the trauma of encountering a deceased companion.
Clean the Area
Cleaning is crucial for several reasons, including preventing the spread of possible diseases and maintaining a hygienic environment. While handling any blood or bodily fluids, always wear disposable gloves. Use disinfectants or a bleach-water solution to sanitize the affected area. After you’ve finished cleaning, ensure that you dispose of the used cleaning materials safely and wash your hands thoroughly.
Contact Your Veterinarian
Your vet can provide guidance on the next steps, whether it’s performing a post-mortem examination to determine the cause of death or having your cat preserved till you are ready for burial or cremation. In a case where you can’t make it to the hospital immediately, putting the cat in a sealed plastic bag and storing it in a freezer is recommended.
If the death is mysterious and you wish to know the cause, you can ask your vet to perform a necropsy. This can provide closure and help ensure the safety of any other pets you might have.
Burial Or Cremation
Some municipalities have rules about pet burials or cremation. Ensure you’re compliant.
Many vet clinics offer cremation services. Some even provide communal or individual cremations, depending on your preference.
If you choose to bury your cat at home, ensure the grave is at least 3 feet deep to prevent other animals from digging it up. Place the body in a biodegradable container or wrap it in a natural cloth.
Grieve and Seek Support
Losing a pet is a traumatic event, and it’s natural to experience a wide range of emotions, from sadness to guilt to anger. It’s essential to reach out for support, whether that’s from friends, family, pet loss support groups, or professional therapists. Everyone grieves differently, so find what works for you and take the time you need.
Cat Vomited Blood And Died
When a cat vomits blood and then dies, there could be several underlying causes. Some potential reasons include ingestion of a toxic substance, internal injuries, gastrointestinal ulcers, tumors, infections, or diseases like feline leukemia or feline infectious peritonitis.
It is always essential, in such cases, to consult a veterinarian immediately if you notice any alarming symptoms, as rapid intervention can sometimes make a difference in the outcome.
If your cat has already passed away, it’s essential first to give yourself time to grieve. If you are seeking answers about the cause of death, consider taking your cat’s body to a veterinarian for a post-mortem examination. This can provide closure by determining the exact cause of death. It’s also important to ensure the safety of any other pets in your home.
Cat Bleeding From Mouth Hit By Car
This represents traumatic injury, likely from the impact. The blood vessels in various organs might be damaged, leading to internal bleeding that manifests from the mouth.
To help the cat, you have to first ensure you’re safe from traffic or other dangers when approaching the cat. If the cat is still alive, gently wrap it in a towel or blanket, being cautious about potential fractures, and rush to an emergency veterinary clinic.
My Cat Died With Eyes Wide Open
It’s not uncommon for cats (or other animals) to die with their eyes open. This can be a simple physiological response. When an animal dies, the muscles that keep the eyes closed can relax, leaving the eyes open.
The presence of open eyes in a deceased cat doesn’t necessarily provide specific information about the cause of death. However, it can be an emotionally jarring sight for the pet owner.
If you’re comfortable, you can close the eyes by gently passing your hand over the lids. Depending on personal preferences and available services, consider cremation, burial, or first, post-mortem exam your vet might offer.
The loss of a cherished pet, particularly under traumatic circumstances, is an emotionally shattering experience. Cats that pass away with visible signs of distress, such as bleeding from the mouth and nose, may have suffered from various ailments or traumas, from internal injuries, poisoning, heart failures, infections, to oral cancers. Recognizing the potential causes is important for understanding and gaining closure, although the precise reason can only be determined through a detailed post-mortem examination by a veterinarian.
Immediate steps to take after such an incident include ensuring the cat is indeed deceased, cleaning the area, documenting the scene for potential medical investigations, isolating the deceased from other pets, and reaching out to a veterinarian for guidance. Decisions regarding the final resting place, whether through burial or cremation, need to be made, keeping in mind local regulations.
Losing a pet is a profound experience that leaves an indelible mark on the heart. It’s essential to allow oneself the space to grieve and process the loss. Seeking support, either from friends, family, or professional counselors, can offer solace and understanding during such trying times. Remembering the love and companionship provided by the pet can offer some comfort, even in the face of sorrow.