What Are The Signs That A Cat Is Dying?

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It is always a hard reality that our cats will one day leave us. More often than not, we as pet parents avoid this topic because it’s even painful at just the thought of it. Usually, cat life expectancy indoor is between 12-20 years, and in some cases, they live even longer. Cats are beautiful, loving, and cuddly and the best companions in times of need. That’s why we get attached to them because they become family the moment we get them home.

When the inevitable moment to say goodbye to our loving furry babies comes, we have to let them go. Although there are no specific signs of a cat dying, there are some indications and behaviors that would let you know that your cat is almost dying.

How Do You Know If Your Cat Is Dying?

1. Loss of appetite and no interest in water

Usually, if the cat has been severely ill, he may lose appetite and the urge to drink water. This is because they may feel tired and lack the energy to eat or drink the water. Therefore, dehydration is likely to occur in the cat’s last days.

2. He becomes weak

For a cat that has always been energetic and playful, you may notice that he has become sluggish and lose interest in any physical activity. Usually, this happens to cats as their bodies are trying so hard to fight the disease that is ailing them. Therefore, your kitty may become too weak to walk or even eat and may spend more time than usual sleeping.

3. Low body temperature

Temperature dropping is one of the major signs the cat is dying. Mostly, a cat’s body temperature drops during the final days and may get as low as 100oF. Usually, the paws and the ears might feel cooler.

4. Change in appearance

When a cat is healthy, they spend a lot of time grooming. Cats are generally very neat animals. So, when your cat is almost dying, they will not be able to groom themselves since it requires a lot of energy.

Therefore, they may look messy and dirty and may sometimes emit an odor. Odors are a result of toxins build-up due to sickness. This is because the cat may have trouble urinating and pooping leading t toxins build up in their body.

5. Hiding and avoiding contact

Do cats run away to die? Cats do not necessarily run away to die but they hide when they are very ill. Why? You may wonder. This is because, when they are very sick, they know that they could be an easy target for a predator. Therefore, to protect themselves from predators, they hide when gravely ill and almost dying.

Thus, you may find that a cat who has been very social hiding when they are very ill. It is a dying cat’s behavior. Therefore, a cat dying will hide in rooms that are not used frequently or under the furniture to pass away peacefully.

6. Change in their social behavior

Some cats may become clingy to the parents as their end of life approaches. Thus, they may seem more affectionate that they were during their healthier days. Contrarily, other cats may avoid social contact and become disinterested in any physical engagement.

The final days and weeks as your pet come to their end of life can be not only devastating but also tensed. If your cat seems to be in pain, you can talk to your veterinarian on other options to say goodbye to your furry baby humanely.

7. Lower heart rate

For a cat that is dying, their heart rate is lower since the cat is getting weaker. To measure your cat’s heart rate use a stopwatch and place your hand over the kitty’s left paw side. Count the number of heartbeats you will fell in one minute.

A healthy cat’s heart rate is usually between 140-220 beats per minute. Due to the reduced heart rate in a dying cat, their blood pressure may also drop drastically.

What Are The Signs That A Cat Is Dying

How to Help a Dying Cat

1. Make him comfortable

After confirmation from your vet that your cat is no longer responding to medication, ask about how you can keep him comfortable as he nears the end. The vet may prescribe pain medicine to manage pain if your cat’s ailment is causing him pain. Also, they may recommend gadgets that will help him feed if he is not feeding well.

2. Home care will keep your cat comfortable for as long as possible.

Additionally, to ensure that they are comfortable, provide a soft and warm bed for your kitty to rest. This is because, as he nears the end of his life, he will be spending more time resting hence he would need a comfortable bed. Moreover, ensure that his blankets are kept clean for a more comfortable environment.

Read Also: How to Care for Indoor Cats

3. Help him access the food and water bowl and the litter box

Your cat may have trouble moving around the house. Therefore, place the food and water bowl where they can easily access them. Also, place the litter box where that can access them without much effort. If your cat is not able to access the litter box, carry him and place him in the litter box so that they can relieve themselves.

4. Get help to manage your cat’s pain

If your cat’s ailment is causing him pain, the veterinarian will prescribe meds to help ease the pain. When a cat is in pain, he may be reluctant to move, struggle to breathe, and act more reclusive than usual. However, when a cat is in too much pain, he may not cry or flinch when you touch him. Therefore, administer the pain meds as prescribed to ease their pain as they near their end.

5. Decide on whether to put your cat to sleep

Euthanizing a pet is never an easy decision to make. Most pet However, in some cases, it would be the most humane thing to do to your pet especially if they are in severe pain and suffering. If you choose to put your furry baby to sleep, the vet will administer a sedative then a medication that will help him pass away peacefully.

Deciding to put your pet to sleep is heart-wrenching. However, it may be the best option if your pet’s quality of life is deteriorating. You as the cat parent, however, are the best-placed person to make this decision.

But how do you gauge your kitty’s quality of life? What are the signs that your cat is not doing so well and it’s time to make the call?

Here is how:

  1. If your kitty no longer interacts with people or other pets in the household and enjoy doing the things that they did. For instance, if your cat loved cuddles but now wants to spend time alone.
  1. If your cat is going through extreme pain and discomfort probably from their ailment. Thus, this could make it difficult for him to move around to feed off even access the litter tray. Excessive pain may also cause stiffness and trouble for your pet to get to a comfortable resting position.
  1. If your cat is suffering a critical injury that will negatively impact his life. Also, if your cat has a terminal illness that is getting worse with time. They may lack appetite and lose weight if they are experiencing these situations. This may impact their life’s quality greatly.
  1.  If your cat loses cognitive functions such as sight and hearing. Also, if they are going through periods of stress and confusion.

What To Do When Your Cat Dies

If your furry baby dies at home, ensure you store his body I a cool place until you can go on with the burial or cremation plans. A cool environment will ensure that the body does not deteriorate and pose health risks to your family. Placing the body in a cold concrete floor while wrapped with a paper will preserve it. However. If your cat was put to sleep by the vet, they will preserve the body for you.

If you want your cat cremated, look for options around your area. You vet will be able to suggest any pet cremation services around your area. However, if you want to bury your kitty, research for local pet cemetery near you. Besides, if you want to bury your cat on your property, check if it is legal in your state.

It is okay to grieve after the death of your pet. Losing a pet can be very difficult for you and your family members. It is advisable to speak to a qualified grief counselor who helps people who have lost their furry babies.


 It is important to consult your vet if you notice any of these signs of a cat dying. This is because they could be signs that your cat is seriously ill and needs urgent veterinarian care.  With proper treatment, some chronic cat ailments can be treated and managed. There could still be hope for your cat even if they show common signs of a cat dying. For instance, during the final stages of feline leukemia, your kitty may lose appetite, lose weight, and have a poor coat condition. These signs are similar to signs of a cat dying.

Read Also: Feline Herpesvirus Life Expectancy- What You Need to Know

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