How to Say Goodbye to a Dying Cat

Comfort a Dying Cat

Death is part of life…A time to be born, a time to live, a time to die. This is how it goes whether you are human or pet. Sad as it is, our most cherished cats, will leave us at some time. None of us are ever prepared to say goodbye, but it is reality.

If you have never had a pet before when this time comes you may not know the best way to manage the situation. Keep reading and we will give some tips for recognizing a sick cat, caring for him, and knowing when it is time to say goodbye.

When saying goodbye to a dying cat, your cat’s comfort is most important. Make sure your cat is in a comfortable, quiet, and warm place. Keep their bedding clean at all times and a littler box nearby. Spend as much quality time with your cat as possible so you can let go when the time arrives.

How do you know if your cat is dying? There will be indications that things in your cat’s life are changing. Here are some of the more common signs that your cat could be approaching the end stage of his life.

7 Signs a Cat is Dying of Old Age

Your vet is your best resource for knowing if your cat is dying, but your cat may also have these symptoms.

1. He is Not Eating

Many times a cat will stop eating before they reach the end of its life stage. If your dying cat suddenly stops eating, it could mean they will die soon. The best thing to do in this situation is to get them into the vet as quickly as possible. Try to feed your cat small amounts of canned cat food or tuna or salmon.

2. He Sleeps More Than Normal

Cats are creatures of habit. They have a certain time they sleep and wake up each day. When dying cats start sleeping more than normal it could be an indication that death is near. If your cat is sleeping too much, try getting them to eat or to drink. This can sometimes give them some energy to help their bodies function better.

3. His Behavior is Changing

Cats are very sensitive animals. When they are dying they often feel vulnerable and insecure. They won’t show this to you but it could be causing them to change their behavior. If your cat is sleeping more than normal, not eating, or hiding away from you altogether it could mean that death is soon approaching. He may be more of a loner. And on the other hand, he may want to cuddle more.

4. He is Losing Weight

Cats need a certain amount of food in order to maintain their weight. If you notice that your cat is shedding pounds at an alarming rate it could be an indication that they are dying. If this is the case, try to feed them as much high-quality food as possible to keep their weight stable. If you can’t feed them high-quality food, then feed them small amounts frequently.

5. His Appearance is Changing

Just like humans, death causes changes to the body. The elderly will appear to be much older than they were a few months before. Their skin becomes wrinkled and dryer overnight. Their hair may fall out in patches or become dull. When a cat is dying, its body goes through a lot of changes that can be easily noticed.

6. He is Not Using the Litter Box Anymore

Cat’s can become incontinent and this could be a reason he is not using the littler box anymore. Additionally, they just may not be able to get to the box. You may have to take your cat to the litter box or at the very least place his litter box close to him so he can get to it without exerting much energy.

7. He is Not Grooming Himself Anymore

Dying cats don’t have the energy to groom themselves. While the thought of a dirty cat may seem repulsive, it is actually important for them to maintain their hygiene. A dying cat will not be able to clean himself. One option is to take him outdoors on a regular basis to use the bathroom and let him roll around in fresh dirt or sand.

How to Care for a Dying Cat

While it is important to let your cat know you love him, it is also equally as important not to over-love them. This can cause stress on their bodies that they do not need at this time. Although the temptation may be high, try not picking up your dying cat and snuggling with them. This can be very stressful on their systems and may make it more painful for them to pass.

Keep Your Dying Cat Warm, Comfortable and Quiet

Try to keep your dying cat as warm as possible. If they’re not already inside a heated environment, be sure to turn up the heat in the surrounding area so that it’s especially cozy for your cat. Draping hot water bottles over their beds can also help improve their quality of comfort. There are also a number of heated beds and blankets available to keep your cat warm. Make sure you keep him in a quiet area so that they don’t have to deal with lots of outside traffic.

Keep Your Cat’s Bedding Clean

As a cat gets closer to death, its bowels and bladder will not function as well. Make sure you are cleaning up after your dying cat regularly so that they don’t get soiled in the bedding or have to walk on the mess themselves. Be sure you give them enough water and quality food to keep their poop regular as well.

Let Your Cat Express Natural Behavior without Human Interference

Dying cats often have a strong drive to move around. They may not be able to walk, but they will still try and do so as long as you allow it. Do what you can to keep your dying cat’s environment free of things that would hinder their movement like curtains.

Spend Time with Your Cat

Your cat is living his final days. Let him know you are there if he allows it. We gently pet our cat as he periodically during his last few days. He still purred when we touched him. Getting attention and eating were the two things in life he enjoyed the most.

How to Know When Its Time To Let Go

Here again, your vet will be a great resource when it some to make the decision to let him go.

If your elderly cat is ready to let go now, then there’s nothing you can do but wait patiently for it to happen. For some owners, this is hard, especially if the death of their pet was not his or her decision. Instead of getting angry, try forgiving yourself for a decision you may have made to end your beloved cat’s suffering.

Remember that cats are naturally designed to live a very long time and they can live satisfying lives even when they’re elderly. When it’s time to let go, remember that nature is taking its course.

How We Said Goodbye to Our Beloved BoBo

Boy (BoBo) had the biggest personality in the world. He spent 13 years, 6 months, and 16 days with us. He took his first breath in my presence and he also took his last breath with me. When we knew he no longer had a quality of life and was struggling to breathe, we took him to the vet to be put to sleep. We talked to him softly and told him how much joy he had brought to our lives and how much we were going to miss him. We gently rubbed his head and wished him well as he became a pet angel.

​Final Thoughts

How do you say goodbye to a dying cat? There is no right or wrong way to say goodbye to a cherished member of your family. Being with your cat when he draws his last breath is the best thing you can do for him. That will give him as much comfort as anything can. Cherish the memories and the time you had with him. When his quality of life is gone, help him start his life as a pet angel.