There are several signs that could be an indication your cat is dying. These include; lack of energy, loss of appetite, they have a foul odor, low body temperature, want to be alone, sleeping a lot, weight loss, rapid/irregular breathing, can’t move well, and seem to be in pain.
While these issues could just indicate an illness, as a responsible cat owner, it is good to know what the signs are when your cat is more than just sick, but getting ready to die.
Your cherished cat won’t live forever. There will come a time when you must say goodbye as old age takes a toll on your cat’s health.
Although it’s a tough list to make, here are some ways you can tell if your beloved cat is more than just ill.
What Are the Signs of a Dying Cat?
Remember, if you suspect any health issues or notice obvious signs of illness call a veterinarian immediately.
If your cat is getting older and you think it may need medical attention at some point it is good to establish a relationship with an emergency vet that is available 24 hours a day.
Is Your Cat Lethargic?
Cats are known to sleep most of the day. Whether it’s a sunlit window or crammed between the boxes under the bed, cats relax the best.
Cats, however, can also play for hours running all over the place. If you start to notice that your senior cat does not have much energy when they are awake, it may be a good idea to keep an eye on other behavior changes.
Lethargy can be the first sign that your feline friend is starting to slow down because they are dying.
Cats Eating Habits Have Changed
Cats are one of those animals that can keep eating if you keep feeding them. When you see obvious appetite changes in your cat, it is best to make sure there is nothing wrong.
Loss of appetite can be a sign that your cat may be in the final stages of its life.
Bad Breath and They Smell Bad
While bad breath could be a result of many things such as what you fed your cat for dinner, chronic bad breath may be a sign of terminal illness.
Cats also can exude a foul odor as they enter their final days.
Is Your Cat Experiencing Weight Loss?
Cats are known for being cuddly…okay…maybe even fat. With all of that sleeping, weight gain is a natural thing for a cat.
If your cat begins to suddenly experience weight loss it could be a sign that there is a bigger health issue at hand.
Rapid weight loss in cats is most common with kidney disease or the shutting down of vital organs.
Is Your Cat More Reclusive Than Normal?
As we have mentioned before, cats do like to sleep all day in quiet places, so it’s not that unusual for a cat to disappear for some rest.
In healthy cats, they will come around for affection as they love to be pet and cuddled. Watch their body language for signs of chronic pain.
If your cat is continuing to be reclusive and does not come around for affection, your cat may have an underlying health issue.
Some cats know when they are dying and just disappear.
Is Your Cat’s Behavior Changing?
Cats very rarely change their personalities. Most cats maintain their behavior towards their owners throughout their lives.
Behavior changes can possibly be your cat telling you that something is wrong. If they are experiencing any kind of discomfort in their body they will react and behave according to that discomfort.
If a once mild-mannered cat all of a sudden becomes aggressive, that is a warning sign that something may be wrong.
Has Your Cat Stopped Using the Litter Box?
As cats near the end of their lives, they sometimes find it difficult to get into and out of the litter box.
If your cat has started to use the bathroom on the floor, it may be a sign that they may have started their last days.
How Do I Know If My Cat Is Sick or Dying?
Check Their Temperature
Cat’s have a certain body temperature they maintain throughout their lives. A healthy cat has a 102-degree temperature.
When they are sick or nearing the end, their body temperature drops significantly which is a sign it may be their final days.
Does Your Cat Disappear For Days?
If your cat disappears entirely for days on end, they may be hiding from predators.
Even though your home is safe from predators, it is natural instinct for sick animals to protect themselves since they are weak.
If you have an indoor cat and they are hard to find or if you have an outdoor cat who starts to only come home occasionally, then you may have a dying cat on your hands.
Check Your Cat’s Breathing and Heart Rate
A simple way to see if your cat is not well is to check its breathing and heart rate. If your cat is having difficulty breathing there may be something more serious on hand.
Same with your cat’s heart rate. Press your ear to their body to hear their heart. See if it seems to be beating slower than you feel it should.
If so, let your vet know as your cat may be at that stage where they are entering the end of their life.
In mature cats, as they age, their vital organs begin to shut down and stop working from years of use.
If you feel there may be some heart disease or kidney disease with your cat, see your vet for the proper treatments for their condition.
How to Make a Dying Cat Feel More Comfortable
If it has come to be known by visiting your vet that your cat’s death is imminent there are a number of ways you can make them feel more comfortable in their final days.
Make a Comfortable Space For Them
Many cats as they near the end of their lives will find it hard to move around and will develop mobility issues.
Just like in humans, the muscles and bones slow down with many years of use, and your cat may not be able to move around like she used to.
One of the ways to make them more comfortable is to create a bed for them that is easy for them to get in and out of and is close to where they eat and use the litter box.
Making it fluffy for them so they are comfortable is optimal. Remember not to make it too difficult for them to get into or out of as it will be hard for them to stand.
They may not have the energy to lift their body up to get out of bed.
Move Their Things Closer to Their Bed
If your old cat is not moving around as much as they used to, move their water bowl and food bowl closer to their bed.
This will make feeding time easier for them as they won’t have to travel far to get water and nourishment.
This will make your elderly cat feel more comfortable and less stressed about getting around to the things they need the most.
Keep Their Litter Box Near to Them
Cats are very clean animals, so put the litter box in close range to their bed but not next to their bed because the cat may not want to use the bed if the litter is near.
Keeping the litter and the bed in the same room but far apart is a good idea.
Make Their Food Easier to Eat
Many senior cats have dental issues with tooth decay that will cause them to lose their teeth.
Many older cats also go through the same thing with their nails and you will notice that they will start to lose their claws.
If your cat is having a difficult time eating due to this issue, mix their food with some warm water or add soft food to their diet.
If your cat’s appetite is still healthy, then they are still healthy and full of life, so make it easy for them to continue getting the nourishment they need to stay alive.
Make Their Space Comfortable
If your furry friend is indeed in the last days of their long life, as a pet parent, you can make the atmosphere of the home ideal for your pet.
As with any living creature, peace and quiet are optimal when they’re not well. Do your best to keep the room in which your pet is living as quiet and comfortable as possible.
Keep the area free from loud noises and chaos. Find a nook in the house where no one goes and make the area belong entirely to your cat.
That way they know they can rest as they begin the process of leaving.
Spend Quality Time With Your Cat
Give your furry friend some extra attention while they are not well. One way to show your feline friend that you know they are entering their last days, give them special treats that may make them feel better.
The treats will make them feel more comforted and will enable them to notice your love and affection more.
These small gestures will make them feel really good and give them a sense that they are being taken care of.
How Can You Manage Your Cat’s Final Days?
Talk to Your Vet About Pain Medication
Although some vets may be hesitant to take this route, finding some pain medication for your cat may be a great alternative to making them feel as comfortable as possible.
Ask your vet what kind of medication they feel is best and how best to administer the meds to your cat.
This method may keep your cat as comfortable as possible, however, it may not be recommended as a long-term solution.
Feline Hospice Care
Yes, there is such a thing as hospice care for cats that are in their final stage of life. But it is not a place you take your cat, it is a philosophy of care.
There are many resources you can find online to provide you with a guideline for the final days of care.
Be There for Your Cat
Cats are very grateful creatures. They are not lost to the fact that you have loved, fed, and nurtured them their entire life.
This is why cats build such a great sense of loyalty with their owners. The best way you can show your cat that you love them and that everything is going to be okay is to sit with them and spend quality time.
That equal show of loyalty and love is exactly what your pet needs as they begin to start their final journey.
This physical time spent together will soothe your cat and make him or her feel right at home.
What Happens After Your Cat Dies?
There are several services (and people) available for those who have lost their cat. Losing a pet is exactly like losing a family member to many people.
Many of these services are great for helping you cope with the emotions and things that need to be done.
There are cremation services available for your cat after they pass. The services will take your cat’s remains and cremate them for you so that you can make a memorial for them.
You also have the option of taking the ashes and spreading them at your cat’s favorite spot or at a spot that holds special meaning for you.
Look online for the right pet cremation service that suits your needs.
In many areas, there are pet cemeteries where you can bury your cat. You will be able to choose a plot and have your cat’s remains put in the ground.
You can choose which grave marker is right for you and your pet, and your pet can be laid to rest with other beloved pets who have passed on.
Pet Grief Counseling
Your pet may be your best friend. Grieving their passing is hard to do alone.
There are several pet grief groups available where you can talk with a professional in a setting of common loss.
You can meet other pet parents who have lost their most beloved pet, and you can utilize community energy to heal and move on from the pain of losing your pet.
Check online for where the nearest group is to you so you can start your own healing journey.
Pet Bereavement Support Service
Lap of Love offers a toll-free hotline to call if you want to speak to someone about the loss of your cat.
It is one of the most difficult things to say goodbye to your cat. After so many years of companionship and love, losing them is like losing a small part of yourself.
If you can recognize the signs that your cat is entering their final days, you will be able to take the necessary steps to prolong its life as much as possible.
Making them comfortable until it’s time for the final goodbye should be your goal.
With plenty of services to help you memorialize your pet saying goodbye doesn’t have to be too painful Still, it may be one of the hardest things you will have to do.