Dying Cat Symptoms: Signs That Show a Cat is Dying (2023)


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How to tell if your Cat Is dying. Check out for these signs your Cat is nearing end of life….

You have been a spectacular parent throughout your cat’s life and will be a comforting one during the feline’s last days of life.

(Video) Dying cat signs and symptoms | how to know your cat is near to die | kitten die

Noticing, thesigns of a cat dying, is hard for the family, however, it is harder for the cat to get disconnected as well. Besides thephysical symptoms of a dying cat, some often show social detachment and hide away from the family.

Cat dying processis the toughest part which they find hard to cope up with and experience alterations in the cognitive function and undergo self-preservation once the body begins to shut down.

Read:Sick Cat Symptoms: How to Know When Your Cat is Sick

Though the symptoms may vary if there are severecat health problemsor the cat is terminally ill or has been suffering from some incurable disease, the primarysymptoms of cat dyingare more or less the same.

Many medical practitioners believe that a cat knows when it is about to die, and the behavioral changes are hard to ignore.

Try to minimize loud noise or uneasy events near the dying cat. Provide good bedding to the cat to make the last few days more comforting.

Dying Cat Symptoms: Signs That Show a Cat is Dying (1)

Behavioral Changes of a Dying Cat

  1. Social Isolation

The behavioral changes caused by any kind of disease or sickness are very common in cats. However, distinct behavioral changes are common at differentdying cat stages.

One of the primedying cat signsissocial isolation. In this situation, cats often hide in a lonely place, usually in a bush or trees, away from any attention.

The emotional distress through which they undergo causes them to get secluded from the world and find a place where they can peacefully die alone without any kind of interaction.

However,cats dying at homemight not show this symptom as they are used to staying indoors.

(Video) 7 Warning Signs Your Cat Is Dying

  1. Depressed and Crying

Crying is another change in thedying cat behavior. A cat is found to be depressed during the last few days. However, they might also cry or remain inactive because of some disease or other reason.

  1. Loss of Interest

A number of cats are found to have little or no interest in the surrounding and the events that occur around them. They often walk away from their owners and find a place to hide.

  1. Change in Cognitive Function

Dying catsexperience changes in cognitive functions that include confusion and imbalance. They might not respond as before and show unexplainable behavioral symptoms before dying.

Read:First Time Cat Owners: Important Things to do Before Bringing a Cat Home

Physical Symptoms of a Cat Dying

  1. Distressed Breathing

A number ofcat health problemsmight lead to death. However, adying catsuffers irregular breathing, either too fast or too slow. Just seconds prior to death, the cat might be seen rasping to compensate for the respiratory system shutting down.

During the last few seconds, the cat might breathe at longer intervals of time or experience rapidspasmsbefore it finally stops breathing.

Dying Cat Symptoms: Signs That Show a Cat is Dying (2)

  1. Lowered Heart Rate

During the last few hours of a cat’s life, the heart weakens and is unable to pump blood efficiently. The muscles of the heart gradually weaken thereby causing an inadequate supply of oxygen in the blood.

This causes a significant decrease in the heart rate, and the pulse begins to fall and eventually stop at the time of death.

  1. Loss of Appetite

Loss of appetite is one of the very commonsymptoms of a dying cat.Thesigns of a cat dyinginclude weakened muscles and loss of interest in food and water.

This can be noticed from a few days prior to the feline’s demise. Just before the day of death, the cat might feel thirsty but will be too weak to drink water.

(Video) What Are The Symptoms Of A Cat Dying Of Kidney Failure?

  1. Lowering of Body Temperature

The average body temperature of a cat is usually between 100 – 102.5°F. However, the signs of a dying cat include lowering of body temperature up to 1-2°F with the temperature of the paws to drop in the very beginning.

  1. Urination and Defecation

Frequenturinationanddefecationcan be experienced during severalcat illness, and it is quite common. However, it is also a prominentsymptom of a dying catand might indicate diarrhea.

In some cases, cats might experience no defecation at all. After death, the cats body discharges waste products from the body.

During the last few days of the cat, they get fragile and are unable to move. Keep the food tray and water bowl close to the cat so that it does not have to get up.

Symptoms of Elderly Cats Dying

Thesymptoms of elderly cats dyingare quite obvious. With age, the organs in the body start to fail which causes undue weakness, physical stress and eventually death.

The complexities occurring due to the failure of organs often get merged with the symptoms of a cat dying.Cats old age dying symptomsinclude irregular breathing – too fast accompanied by rapid spasms; too slow accompanied by reduced heart rate.

However, once a cat begins to age, it slowly progresses towards emaciation. Besides, they tend to have a foul odor which is hard to ignore. Sometimes the odor can be strong enough which makes it necessary to consult the vet.

Signs of dull appearance and sunken eyes are noticed during theold cat dying process. Besides, the cat might also choose seclusion and might be too weak to move around.

Dying Cat Symptoms: Signs That Show a Cat is Dying (3)

Must See:Aggression in Cats: How to Effectively Handle an Aggressive Cat

Euthanasia of Cats

Cat euthanasiais one of the toughest decisions for a cat owner. However, it is also the best option in cases where the cat is terminally ill and left with no cure. It is harder to see the beloved suffer than it is to take the decision.


Thus, there comes a time when the cat has to be relieved of the unbearable pain. Neither the owner nor the vet has the right to allow the innocent life to suffer and the only option left, in such cases, is to bid adieu to your dear pet with dignity and pride.

The process can, however, be accomplished after the recommendation of vets.Euthanasiais aquick and painlessway ofdeath for the catsand is far better than the suffering.

Usually, the vet administers a high dose of anesthetics which causes the cat to fall asleep and within seconds die with a gasp or exhalation. Signs of defecation and urination may be observed as it is a part of naturalcat dying processfor most of the cats.

If you have kids in the family, do not break the news of your cat dying all of a sudden. Talk to them and make it easy for them to cope up with the loss.

Must See:Understanding the Death Rattle in Cats: Symptoms and Causes

Wrapping Up: Signs a Cat is Dying

Losing a pethas never been easy. Time and again, we are haunted by the thought of the time when we have to bid them goodbye. Losing a cat or any other pet for that matter, is equally painful and saddening.

However, keep a check on thesick cat symptomsand strive towards making their last moments as happier and comforting as possible.

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Dying Cat Symptoms: Signs That Show a Cat is Dying? ›

Physical Symptoms – Certain physical symptoms can also signal that a cat is near the end of their life. Loss of appetite, weight loss, and poor coat condition are all common signs of illness in cats, as well as difficulty breathing or laboured breathing.

How do cats act at end of life? ›

They may eat less, groom themselves less, and behave differently than normal. Some cats may become irritable and growl or hiss when interacting with other animals or humans. They may also seem anxious or restless.

What are 4 signs your cat is suffering? ›

Behaviour signs of a cat in pain

Lethargy. Decreased interest in positive things like playing, social interaction and exploring outside. Being withdrawn and hiding away. Appearing lame and experiencing increased sensitivity to touch in specific areas of their body.

How do you tell if a cat is hurt internally? ›

All symptoms to watch for are as follows:
  1. Distended abdomen.
  2. Bruising of the ventral abdomen.
  3. Inability to get up.
  4. Visible wounds.
  5. Broken bones.
  6. Limping.
  7. Weakness.
  8. Difficulty breathing.

How do you know if your cat is crying for help? ›

Signs Of Obvious Distress

Cats are typically very stoic animals, so if your cat suddenly seems to be in distress, it is a cause for concern. Howling, crying, hiding, and otherwise acting in a way that is out of character for your pet should alert you that something may be seriously wrong.

What happens right before a cat dies? ›

Cats will often become more affectionate as they approach their last days, wanting more attention than normal and being more vocal. Other cats may become less active and more withdrawn, sleeping more than usual and losing interest in playtime or interaction with humans.

What happens when a cat dies at home? ›

You can choose to take your cat back home to bury, perhaps in a favourite spot in the garden, or you can opt for a pet cemetery. If you decide on a burial at home, you will need to check with your local authority that this is permissible.

How do you know when a cat has no quality of life? ›

When there are too many bad days in a row, or if the cat seems to be turned off to life, quality of life is compromised. Bad days may mean nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, frustration, unrelenting pain/discomfort, or inability to breathe.

What's the average lifespan of a house cat? ›

The average cat lifespan is between 13-17 years. Some lucky felines have been known to live 20 years or more—the world record holder for oldest cat on record, adorably named Creme Puff, lived to be a whopping 38 years old.

What are the first signs of internal bleeding? ›

The signs and symptoms that suggest concealed internal bleeding depend on where the bleeding is inside the body, but may include:
  • pain at the injured site.
  • swollen, tight abdomen.
  • nausea and vomiting.
  • pale, clammy, sweaty skin.
  • breathlessness.
  • extreme thirst.
  • unconsciousness.

How do cats sit when in pain? ›

A cat in pain may express themselves in the following ways:

The cat may sit hunched over with their head lowered and back curved higher than normal. The cat may appear as if they are trying to curl up in a tight ball.

What do you feed a sick cat that won't eat? ›

Try buying a few types of canned food (pate-style, flaked, etc.) in different flavors. Place some on a small plate and warm it slightly. If your cat shows no interest, try adding a little fish oil, chicken broth, tuna juice, or cooked egg.

What sound does a cat make when in pain? ›

A yowl or howl (they sound like loud, drawn-out meows) tells you your cat is in some kind of distress—stuck in a closet, looking for you or in pain. Find your cat if they're making this noise.

How do cats act when they are sick? ›

Sick cats usually become withdrawn and may hide, although this does depend on the personality of the individual cat. Some cats become more clingy or demanding of attention, while others just become cranky. As a general rule, cats that are sick will have lower energy levels.

What is the meatloaf position in a dying cat? ›

Pay particular attention if your cat settles down in a so-called meatloaf position, where her nose is on the floor and her front paws are out of her body. This position often describes a cat in pain. If your cat replaces her bread loaf position with this one, it is a time to visit your vet.

What do cats do when a cat dies? ›

When a cat loses a companion, whether animal or human, she most certainly grieves and reacts to the changes in her life. Cats alter their behavior when they mourn much like people do: They may become depressed and listless. They may have a decreased appetite and decline to play.

Do cats pass away in their sleep? ›

Some cats die peacefully in their sleep, but for others the final step is not so easy. Consider whether you want your cat to have a "natural" death or to opt for euthanasia.

What to do if your pet dies in the middle of the night? ›

Contact Your Veterinarian

Alternatively, if it is during the middle of the night or a holiday, you can try to contact a 24 hour emergency office (if one exists nearby). They may also have a way of getting you in touch with someone who can pick up your pet's body (like a pet crematory or mobile vet service).

What to do if cat dies at home at night? ›

If your pet dies at home, stay calm and follow the below do's and don'ts.
  1. DO make sure that the pet is deceased. Animals often sleep very still for long periods. ...
  2. DO contact your vet as soon as possible. ...
  3. DO place a towel under the tail and mouth of your pet. ...
  4. DO let other pets smell the deceased pet.

What age is a senior cat? ›

In recent years, feline ages and life-stages have been redefined, cats are considered to be elderly once they reach 11 years with senior cats defined as those aged between 11-14 years and super-senior cats 15 years and upwards. When caring for older cats it sometimes helps to appreciate their age in human terms.

How old is a 13 year old cat in human years? ›

68 years

Is 14 old for a house cat? ›

Time Flies for Humans and Cats

By 12 years of age your cat is becoming a senior citizen, and by 15 she is considered "geriatric" (see chart below). While the average lifespan for a spayed or neutered house cat is 14-16 years, many felines are now living into their late teens and even their early twenties.

How do you know when it's time to euthanize a cat in kidney failure? ›

You'll know it's time to euthanize your cat when your veterinarian has given a terminal diagnosis such as cancer or kidney failure and the quality of life has become dramatically affected. There may be drastic weight loss, difficulty moving and persistent breathing difficulties.

Why is my dying cat drinking so much water? ›

Kidney Disease: When the kidneys aren't working properly, your cat may be dehydrated. This causes them to drink more and urinate more. Common causes of kidney problems in cats can be kidney stones, a kidney infection, or even kidney failure.

Do cats smell with kidney failure? ›

When kidneys start to fail, they become less capable of removing waste from the bloodstream. As this waste builds up, your cat's breath will smell worse.

What are the symptoms of melena? ›

Melena usually means bleeding from this location. It takes 50 ml or more of blood in the stomach to turn stools black. One to two liters of blood administered orally will cause bloody or tarry stools for up to 5 days, the first such stool usually appearing within 4 to 20 hours after ingestion.

Why it is not advised to give water to drink to an injured person? ›

Don't give the casualty anything to eat or drink, because they may need an anaesthetic (numbing medication) when they reach hospital.

What happens if internal bleeding goes unnoticed? ›

Depending on the severity, untreated internal bleeding can lead to organ failure, coma, and in some cases death. Even with treatment, severe internal bleeding can result in death. It's very important to identify and treat internal bleeding early in order to avoid any complications.

When cats are in pain do they cry? ›

A cat in pain is seen as weak- therefore, making them prime targets for predators. In order to survive, they have adapted a deep natural instinct to hide their pain. Your cat will not cry out in pain, for fear that they will attract the attention of a predator.

Do cats vocalize when in pain? ›

Your cat can't tell you where it hurts but can communicate with you by vocalizing. If your pet meows more often than normal, pain may be the reason. Cats in pain may also hiss or growl, particularly if you happen to touch a painful area. Purring doesn't always mean that your cat is happy.

What do vets give cats for pain? ›

Only two NSAIDs are FDA-approved for cats: meloxicam (sold under several brand and generic names) and robenacoxib (sold under the brand name ONSIOR). Meloxicam is approved for cats as a one-time-only injection to control pain and inflammation after spaying, neutering, and orthopedic surgery.

Should I give my dying cat water? ›

Tip: Some cats may be more inclined to drink water if it's flavored with a little bit of low-sodium chicken or tuna broth. Offering this to your dying cat can encourage them to stay hydrated during their final days.

Why does my dying cat want to go outside? ›

Your cat didn't go away to die because of you

Cats are drawing from their evolutionary past in going away to be alone to die, as in the wild there might be larger predators they need to hide from. It is important to know that nothing you did caused your cat to behave like this at the end of his life.

Can I bury my cat in my yard? ›

There are no national laws regarding pet burial. In most cases, however, if you have lost a beloved companion animal and want to bury your pet yourself at home or on your property, you will avoid any legal ramifications as long as you take certain precautions first.

Is chicken broth good for sick cats? ›

Most cats love chicken, so a poultry broth is a popular option. Vets highly recommend giving chicken broth to cats who: Are unwell—Sick or recuperating cats may have no appetite for regular food but tend to slurp up warm chicken broth easily. This nutrient-dense dish can speed up the recovery.

How long can a sick cat go without eating? ›

Cats can survive for about two weeks without eating but only three days without drinking. The longer your cat goes without proper nutrition, however, the weaker they become, so it's important to contact your vet if you suspect they haven't eaten in a day or more.

How do I get my sick cat to drink water? ›

How can I hydrate a cat that won't drink water?
  1. Ensure that your cat's water bowl is not near their litter box. ...
  2. Provide fresh water daily. ...
  3. Try moving the bowl to a different location (even if it's not near the litter box).
  4. Try a different bowl or a bowl that provides running water for cats to enjoy.
Mar 15, 2022

What does it mean when a stray cat comes to your house and won t leave? ›

If you find a stray cat hanging around your house, or trying to gain access inside, it is more than likely looking for a safe haven with food, water, and a little bit of TLC.

Why do cats cry before they are sick? ›

Physical Illness

Vocalizations can be expressions of pain, hunger, or thirst. Discomfort associated with chronic disease may also cause excessive vocalizations. Chronic kidney disease or diabetes, for example, may cause excessive thirst, which in turn causes a cat to meow for water frequently.

Do cats want to be comforted when sick? ›

While hugging your ailing cat might make you feel better, it's likely not what your kitty wants. The best way to comfort your sick cat is to provide a warm and quiet place to sleep, make sure they have easy access to their litter box and food—perhaps you can move them closer?

Why is my elderly cat yowling all the time? ›

Senior cats often yowl because they have hyperthyroidism, chronic kidney disease and/or high blood pressure. Other reasons for yowling in elderly cats include pain, often from arthritis, and senile cognitive dysfunction, sometimes called dementia. Fortunately, all of these problems can be treated.

Do cats know when they are loved? ›

All in all, even the most aloof and brooding cat will be able to pick up on your warmth and devotion. Whether they choose to admit it or not, they can sense when a person loves them (and hates them). So always make sure you're emitting good, kitty-positive vibes, and your cat will be sure to indulge in the lovefest.

Is it okay to give water to dying cat? ›

If your cat is still eating, you can increase her liquid intake by feeding canned food and/or adding water to her food. In some cases you may be able to give her water with an oral syringe or a squirt bottle, but this should be done carefully.

Should you give water to a dying cat? ›

Keeping your cat well hydrated is key to keeping them comfortable. Leave fresh water out at all times and refill it regularly so that they can stay cool and quench their thirst as needed. If your cat isn't drinking the way they normally do, try adding water flavoring.

What are the symptoms of a cat dying of kidney failure? ›

Some of the symptoms of a cat dying of kidney failure include excessive thirst and increased urination, loss of appetite, weight loss, dehydration, lethargy, depression, and drooling.

Why do cats yowl before dying? ›

Seizures. Some cats experience seizures before they die. This can be convulsions accompanied by yowling noises. The cat may have several in the hours before death, may seem to not recognize their owner or understand where he is.

How do you know when it's time to put your elderly cat down? ›

Signs that your cat is in pain and may no longer have a good quality of life can include: not eating or drinking. vomiting. difficulty breathing.

What is Sundowning in elderly cats? ›

Signs of Sundowning

Disorientation means your pet wanders aimlessly, acts lost and confused, may not recognize family members or other familiar people and places, and gets "stuck" in corners or lost in the house.

How old is a 16 year old cat in human years? ›

A 16 year old cat is the equivalent to 80 human years old.

Where your cat sleeps on your bed and what it means? ›

They're marking their territory

PetMD also points out that cats are territorial creatures. They claim their turf by marking it with their scent. So when they sleep on top of you, they're actually marking you—and your bed—as theirs. We should be flattered by this behavior, apparently.

Do cats know we kiss them? ›

Most cats don't understand that kisses from humans are a sign of affection. A cat will surely let you know if they enjoy being kissed or not. The best ways to show your cat that you love them are to give them toys, treats, and plenty of one-on-one time.

What does it mean when your cat sleeps next to you? ›

Lying next to you, but not on you, doesn't mean your cat is not bonded to you. In fact, sleeping next to you means your cat trusts you enough to be in a vulnerable position while sleeping. Some cats are not comfortable sleeping on their cat parent because they prefer the security of a small buffer zone.


1. 10 Symptoms Of A Cat Dying From Old Age
(Senior Cat Wellness)
2. 7 Warning Signs Your Cat Is Dying
(Pets Motherland)
3. Older Cat Health Issues - Cats Old Age Dying Symptoms
(For Pet Lovers)
4. Stages Of Kidney Disease In Cats🐱Symptoms of Kidney Failure in Cats
(For Pet Lovers)
5. If Your Cat Does This, IMMEDIATELY Call The Vet (16 Signs Your Cat Needs Urgent Help)
(Jaw-Dropping Facts)
6. 19 Warning Signs That Your Cat Is Begging For Help
(Jaw-Dropping Facts)


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