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How Do Cats Act When Dying?

Updated: August 9, 2022 by Kristen Chapple

Nobody likes it but death is part of life. The event affects us emotionally even if the one passing away is just our little furry friend. Most people get attached to their cats so that when the time comes and that dear feline friend is living through his last days, it’s hard to watch him pass away.

Most cat owners would love to ease their little friends’ suffering, so knowing how cats act when dying might help them take action and make the life of their cat more comfortable as it reaches the end. Some cats won’t give any sign as they might die peacefully in their sleep, but most will give away some behavioral signs before that happens.

How Do Cats Act When Dying

A dying cat’s behavior will go through various changes as their final day approaches and these signs might help the owner give proper care during those times.

Behavior Changes

While living through their last days, cats will often change their behavior in a drastic way, becoming more irritable because of the pain they’re going through. This is a tricky sign to interpret because sometimes, cats that are usually independent and distant, might seek out the company of their owners as the end comes near. On the other hand, there are many diseases that may have the same result on a cat’s behavior, so be sure to check with your veterinarian.

Hiding is one of the changes that might occur. A sick or dying cat may choose to hide away even from his owners. Their natural instinct makes them hide so they won’t give away signs that they’re weak to other larger predators.

Appetite Changes

The lack of appetite means that the respective cat is either sick or dying. While avoiding food and water doesn’t always mean the cat is living through his final days, it should be taken seriously and a veterinarian examination is recommended, as loss of appetite may be a sign of other grave diseases.

If there are other symptoms as well, one should take things seriously. Sometimes, a dying cat might sit by a water bowl with their head bent over the bowl but without drinking from it.

Appearance Changes

As the nearing end draws away their energy, dying cats will groom less and less and look more messy as they become too weak to take care of themselves. In some cats, their fur will begin to fall in chunks and they might even urinate on themselves, making their fur look even more unkempt.

The eyes of a cat nearing death will change as well. Some cats become blind, others will have a sort of white coat on their eyes or they may appear dilated.

Breathing Pattern Changes

A cat living through his final days may change his breathing patterns. They might pant or make wheezing and gurgling sounds as their respiratory system begins to fail and even keep their mouth open with the tongue sticking out. Sometimes, they might have spasms as the breathing muscles are shutting down.

While all these signs may signal that your cat is living through his or her last days, it’s recommended you always double-check with your veterinarian before deciding anything.

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