Several months ago, our three year old domestic cat died without warning. We didn't have a necroscopy performed at the time, but were wondering what the likely cause might be.
What happened (warning: somewhat graphic):
My spouse had been playing with the cat using a wand and string style toy which had some artificially-colored feathers and a bell at the end of the string (specifically this one). While playing with the cat, a feather (we think with the bell attached) fell off onto the floor. My spouse left the room for a few minutes and then returned, not seeing the cat. After another minute or so the cat approached her then collapsed. Her back legs twitched briefly and she made some sort of noise.
I arrived on-scene about 90 seconds later. The cat was on her side on the ground and entirely limp. I didn't see any evidence of breathing and could also not hear a heartbeat. Her eyes were open and unmoving. At the time we thought she might be choking on something, so I attempted to clear her throat with my finger but couldn't feel anything obstructing it. I also tried to perform the Heimlich maneuver on her following some instructions we found online. At some point when I lowered her head some of the contents of her stomach came up, but we never observed any foreign object. Afterwards, we searched the house for the missing feather/bell, but never located it.
Vets, I would appreciate your thoughts on likely causes of death and in particular if you think there's any chance she actually choked on something. Thank you very much in advance.