Cats make some of the best companions in the world, but like anything living their life will come to an end at some point. It has been said that a cat will go off by itself to be alone to die.
And this is how it was done in the wild because it made a weaker cat less vulnerable to other more predatory creatures to isolated and alone.
Cats don’t prefer to die alone. However, a sick or dying cat will prefer to be in a warm and comfortable spot where they can rest. A calm and quiet environment is also preferred.
Keep reading to find out more about what you should expect as your cat nears the end of her life and what you can do to help her be comfortable.
Where Do Cats Prefer to be When They Are Sick or Dying?
I have had cats throughout most of my life. Recently they have been all indoor and very spoiled felines. In the past, some have been indoor/outdoor cats. Some have enjoyed the freedom of the outdoors but always came home at night to lay their heads on a warm, dry pillow.
All these cats except for one, ended their lives in our home or at the vet (humane euthanasia). They all had the choice to go outside and be on their own, but they did not do that. They chose a comfortable isolated spot in our home.
The one cat that did choose to leave, was a Siamese mix. He had been sick and when the vet treated him, I was told he would most likely not recover. One day I opened the door and he walked out as he had done so many times before. And I could just tell by the way he was walking; I would never see him again. It was in his personality to take care of things on his own and he did.
Is It Okay to Let My Cat Die Naturally?
In some cases, you are not going to have a choice. You may walk into a room one day and the cat may no longer be living. This was the case with Mary. She was playing at 3 pm in the afternoon and at 8 pm, we realized she has passed away. There really was no indication she was not doing well.
If you have a cat that is sick and approaching the end of life, your veterinarian should help you make the decision about whether your cat will be able to pass naturally in your home. In some cases, your cat may suffer and that would not be something that I would want for my cats.
I have a wonderful vet and she was a great source of knowledge support though out the later years of their life. She helped us understand what our cat was experiencing and what our options were.
8 Signs Your Cat is Dying
When a cat is getting sick the signs are usually there. It may take some time for you to notice the differences and you could see a quick decline in your cat’s health. Here are some of the signs you will see in your cats as they approach the end of their life.
- Not wanting to eat or drink – It takes a lot of energy for the body to digest food and with their body weakening, your cat may not have the energy to eat or drink. I had the best luck getting my cats to eat with small cans of food.
- Not grooming themselves – Cats love to groom themselves. Unfortunately, that is another activity that takes a lot of energy, and your cat may not have the energy that it takes to keep himself clean and groomed. Sometimes their fur becomes matted and greasy looking.
- Being weak and lethargic – Your cat will probably get weaker and may have difficulty walking long distances. They will also spend more time sleeping than they have in the past.
- Being isolated – Your cat will probably start spending more time alone. He will be tired and spend time in a quiet isolated area.
- Sleeping more than normal – A cat that is at the of its life will sleep more than normal. Having a warm quiet place for your kitty to sleep, will go a long way towards keeping them comfortable.
- Behavioral changes – Your cat may become moody. She may want to be left alone. She may also want to cuddle more. They tend to sleep in places they have never slept before.
- Their heart rate and respiration slow down – When animals get to the last stage of their life, everything starts to slow down and that includes your cat’s heart and respiration. They may also have a lower body temperature as well.
- They may have difficulty getting to the litter box – getting to the litter box may take more energy than your cat has in her final days. You may want to locate it close to your cat and help her get there if necessary. Your cat at this stage of life may have bathroom accidents. It is important to keep their bedding clean.
What I Did to Comfort My Cat in the Last Days of His Life
There are few things that will impact you as much as the loss of a cherished feline family member. You just want to take away their pain and make it all better, but sadly, that will not happen. So, what can you do to make things as good as possible for your cat in his final days?
For my family, these times were always very emotional. I know each time I adopt that I will have years of joy and companionship with my cat, but this is how it will end. Here are some of the things we did for our cats.
Went to the vet - As soon as something did not look right with our cat's health, we immediately took him to the vet. We needed to find out what was going on and what treatment was available. We also discussed what we could expect for his future. We also talked about things we can do to make him comfortable.
Blocked off his hiding spot - He had found a very tight spot between the wall and a piece of furniture. We did not want him passing away behind the furniture, so we blocked the entrance.
Created a warm, comfortable spot for him - Our home is quiet as it is. I created a few comfortable spots for him throughout the house. He enjoyed sitting next to me all day, but in the end, it became uncomfortable for him to get on the couch. So, he had a spot close to me on the floor.
Fed him his favorite foods - He loved to eat and that never stopped. He got lots of yummy canned food. He ate smaller amounts, but still enjoyed every bite.
Made sure he was close to the litter box - Although he was able to get to his litter box, he did need to rest several times before he got there. So we did relocate it where he could get there with less steps.
Put his favorite toys close to him - Maybe this was more for us than for him, but we kept his little stuffed mouse next to him whenever possible. This was his favorite toy over the past several years.
We gave him and as much love and attention as we could - He loved attention and would fight for it. We gave him gentle attention without causing him anxiety or stress. I laid on the floor next to him and stay near him without disturbing him.
Rubbed his head while he took his last breath - We met with the vet when we thought our boy was struggling to live and discussed our options. When we all came to the decision it was best to let him go, we made sure we were with him when he took his last breath.
The best advice I can give someone with a sick or dying cat is to work with your vet. Your vet has a vested interest in animals and their health. Many of the vets I have been associated with, have beloved pets of their own.
Even though I have been through the loss of a cat a number of times, it does not get any easier. I always try to make decisions based on the best interest of the cat even if that means letting him go.