Cats are notoriously good at hiding pain and discomfort. Recognizing the signs that your cat is dying from old age can help you make sure they are comfortable and cared for in their final days.
Signs of a cat in the early stages of death include weight loss, lack of appetite, lethargy progressing to unresponsiveness, seizures, and an abnormal odor from their breath or body as toxins build up.
1. Loss of Appetite
As a cat enters the final stages of life, her appetite may drop significantly. This is normal, but be sure to offer her favorite foods to try and get her to eat as much as possible. A veterinarian can also prescribe anti-nausea and appetite stimulants to help.
As time passes, a cat’s body will start to accumulate excess toxins that give her a foul odor. Additionally, she may begin to have accidents in the house as she loses control of her bladder and bowels.
Behavioral changes in a dying cat can be difficult to interpret. Some cats will become more reclusive and shy away from physical contact. Others will be more clingy and demanding. A change in sleeping habits is another common sign that your cat is getting closer to death. Whether she’s sleeping more or less, provide her with a quiet and comfortable place to rest. Her body temperature will also likely decrease, making her extremities feel cooler to the touch.
Lethargy is one of the most common signs that your cat is dying from old age. This can be accompanied by weight loss, dehydration, and a lack of interest in activities they usually enjoy.
Your cat may also experience changes in their sleeping patterns. They may sleep more during the day and less at night or start sleeping in odd positions. The change in sleeping habits is due to the brain’s chemistry changing as they get closer to death.
Another sign is a decrease in their normal body temperature. This can be checked by using a thermometer or by feeling their paws. A lower body temperature can cause a cat to become cold to the touch. This is caused by decreased blood flow to the paw pads, which can make the paws paler and turn bluish-grey.
3. Difficulty Breathing
Difficulty breathing is a common sign that your cat may be dying. As their body shuts down, their organs will begin to fail, and toxins build up in the bloodstream. This can lead to a foul smell on their breath or on their fur.
Your cat’s heart rate may also slow down, which can make them feel lightheaded. It is also common for cats in their last days to have decreased control over their bladder and bowels, leading to accidents around the house.
In the final stages of death, your cat will become more and more withdrawn from physical contact with you. They will hide in new places or avoid sitting on laps. This is a natural instinct to protect their vulnerable bodies. They will also be sensitive to noise and may start sleeping more than usual. It is important to provide them a quiet place away from children and other pets to ensure peace in their last days.
Seizures are not common in cats, but when they do occur, it is usually a sign that your cat is nearing the end of their life. They may also lose their appetite at this stage as they no longer have the energy to process food and drink.
Seizure symptoms include impaired consciousness, pupillary dilation, kicking and twitching of the head and neck, and autonomic release (urination or defecation). The ictal phase of the seizure can last seconds to minutes and may progress to status epilepticus.
If you notice that your cat is having seizures, it is a good idea to ask the vet for an appointment as soon as possible. It is also important to note how long the episodes last, as this can help the vet diagnose the problem’s cause.
5. Decreased Mobility
Having trouble moving around is one of the common signs that your cat may be dying. They may also be panting heavily or struggling to breathe. If you notice these changes, talk to your vet about what steps should be taken to help them feel comfortable during their final days.
If your cat has stopped grooming their fur and has a matted coat, this is another sign that they are in their last days. They may also start spending more time hiding in quiet places, such as underneath the bed or inside a closet. Hiding is a natural instinct for cats when they are sick or dying because it helps them avoid predators and stay calm.
Increased meowing is another common sign of a dying cat. Cats are not typically vocal creatures, so an increase in meowing can indicate that they are stressed or uncomfortable. They may also become more sensitive to loud noises and disturbances.
6. Changes in Hygiene
If a healthy cat is grooming themselves regularly, a sudden lack of interest in this activity can be an indication that they are dying. A decline in hygiene may also be accompanied by frequent bathroom accidents or matted fur.
In addition, cats who are not feeling well become hypersensitive to noise and other disruptions. They may seek out quiet, dark places like behind the sofa or under their bed to spend time alone. They may become skittish and avoid interaction with other family members – even the most loving and affectionate ones.
Cats are fastidious groomers, so a lack of interest in this activity is a sign that they are not feeling well. You should also watch for a change in their body odor. The buildup of toxins can make their breath and body smell unpleasant. These are signs that it is important to take them to the veterinarian for a checkup and advice on end-of-life care.
7. Abnormal Smells
There are a number of things to look out for as your cat gets close to the end. Some signs include a loss of interest in the things she usually loves, such as playing with her toys or purring when being petted. She may also stop taking part in the activities she always enjoyed and lose her ability to access her favorite perches and resting spots.
A foul odor coming from the mouth or coat can be a sign that a dying cat is nearing the end of life. This smell is due to toxins being released into the bloodstream through organ failure.
Other olfactory signs include breathing heavily with effort, wheezing, or opening her mouth. In addition, a cat with severe organ failure might start having bladder and bowel accidents. A sudden drop in your cat’s temperature is another important symptom of a dying feline. She will most likely seek warmth and hide in a quiet spot to avoid disturbances.
8. Changes in Sleeping Habits
A cat who is in the beginning stages of dying may sleep for longer periods during the day and shorter periods at night. This may also be accompanied by a loss of appetite, changes in hygiene, and labored breathing. In addition to these physical symptoms, a cat may start to experience a change in mood and become more clingy or demanding.
Another sign that your pet is nearing the end of their life is a sudden loss of bladder and fecal control. It is common for cats to lose this ability as their health deteriorates. Blood in the urine and feces is an indicator that your cat’s body is shutting down.
A dying cat may also begin to hide more often from you or other family members. They may spend more time under furniture or hiding in a dark, quiet spot outside. This behavior is a natural instinct that occurs when a cat senses their death is near.
9. Frequent Hiding
Cats hide frequently as they near the end of life. This is a natural instinct since they may feel vulnerable to predators and need to be hidden from them. This may also be a sign of pain and discomfort that can easily be eased with medication from your vet.
Some causes of death are reversible with proper treatment, such as kidney disease and cancer. It is important to consult with your vet right away if you notice any of these signs so they can give you an idea of how long your cat has left and help make the decision about euthanasia as easy and stress-free as possible.
While most of these signs indicate that your pet is dying, it is also possible for them to be a result of an underlying illness and should be checked out by a veterinarian as soon as they are noticed. They can often provide an approximate prognosis and suggest medications to ease your pet’s pain and discomfort.