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How To Know If My Cat Is Dying? Help!

How To Know If My Cat Is Dying? Help!

Since you have likely developed a bond with your cat, it can be difficult to say farewell.

It can be even more heartbreaking when their departure is unexpected.

Although cats instinctively know when their time is approaching, they are unable to verbalize this to their owners.

However, cats do exhibit certain behavioral changes when they’re dying. Awareness of these signs can help you be more prepared to face the loss.


How To Know If My Cat Is Dying?

When cats are dying, they will eat less and begin to lose weight. They’ll become too weak to stand and loiter. Their heart rate and body temperature decrease. They may also have a foul-smelling odor. They’ll hide more often and isolate, as well as becoming more irritable or less affectionate.


Warning Signs that Your Cat is Dying


Reduced Appetite and Weight Loss

As with all animals, the first sign that a cat may be dying is that they lose all interest in eating and drinking. This is often a byproduct of feeling tired and weak.

However, you should still continue to offer your dying cat fresh water and food.

Consuming and digesting food requires energy that they no longer have.

However, you may still be able to coach your cat into eating canned food or fish during the early period of this stage.

You can also water your cat’s food down or offer them baby foods that are meat-based.


Fatigue and Weakness

Even healthy cats are known to lounge around, but if you notice an increase in this behavior, it could be a sign that your cat is dying.

A cat that is dying may be unwilling to get up and move around at all.

Cats that are nearing death often become too tired and weak to even make it to the litter box.

Placing their food, water, and litter box close to where they sleep can increase their comfort level by reducing their need to move around much.


Decreased Body Temperature and Heart Rate

When a cat’s heart is beginning to fail, its respiration and body temperature will change.

If your cat’s temperature is lower than one-hundred degrees Fahrenheit or their paws feel cool, they are most likely dying.

Initially, your cat will begin to breathe faster when they are dying, followed by an eventual drop in respiration as they start struggling to breathe.

The normal heartbeat for a cat is between 140 to 220 beats every minute, but when approaching death, your cat’s heart rate will decrease dramatically.


Poor Grooming and Foul-Smelling Body Odor

When a cat is feeling ill and approaching death, they will begin to neglect their grooming habits and they’ll begin to emit a foul odor that progressively worsens due to the accumulation of toxins in their body.

If your cat is usually meticulous about its grooming but is beginning to look ragged, this could be a warning sign that they are about to die.

You may have to start assisting your dying cat with their grooming by softly brushing their fur for them.

The foul odor is unmistakable, but the nature of the odor depends upon your cat’s health condition.

The odor may be exemplified by your cat becoming incontinent as they approach their last days.


Tendency to Isolate

If your cat’s spending more time hiding under the bed or is disappearing more frequently, there’s a good chance that the end is near.

Hiding’s part of their instincts to protect themselves from predators as their body weakens.

A cat that is increasingly preferring solitude may very well be reaching their last days (unless, of course, they have a litter of kittens).

Dying cats may exhibit additional behavioral changes in their temperament and in expressing affection.

If you notice these behavioral changes, you may need to start preparing for their end-of-life care.


Frequently Asked Questions About How To Know If My Cat Is Dying


What can I do if my cat is dying?

Of course, the first step would be to make a veterinary appointment to confirm that your cat is dying and discuss any possible treatments for their condition. If death is imminent, then you can either have them put to sleep or you can make them comfortable at home.


How can I make my dying cat comfortable?

Although you can’t change the course of fate, you can increase your cat’s comfort level during their last days by providing fresh bowls of water, offering baby food made of meats, watering down their food, and giving them extra cushioning to lay on in a quiet darkened area of the house.


Do dying cats feel pain?

Though they can’t tell us how they feel, cats can definitely feel pain depending upon the condition that’s causing their demise. You will need to consult a veterinarian, but there are medications available that can alleviate a dying cat’s pain.



Although cats are unable to tell you they are dying, their behavioral changes during their last days speak volumes.

No, it is never easy to say goodbye to your feline friend, but it’s an inevitable fact of life.

Fortunately, there are measures that you can take to ensure your cat’s maximum level of comfort while they’re preparing to pass.

You may not be able to save your cat, but you can cherish the final moments that you have together with them.