As your cat nears the end of her life she will probably be less active. She will sleep more and more and may be weak when she is awake. Some cats may also appear depressed and listless.
Some common signs of a cat dying are obvious changes in their normal temperament, a noticeable increase in hiding behavior, a loss of appetite for both food and water, and changes in their overall appearance. Cats dying will often have seizures as well and will have difficulty breathing.
Because cats rely primarily on body language to communicate to one another, they must be attuned to biological and behavioral changes in the other animals around them. This includes detecting weakness or changes in body temperature and odor. They are also intuitive in that they often know when they are about to die.
As cats age, we generally see changes in their behavior. Other signs of pain include:
Some cats will become more reclusive, and may be cranky and more irritable (this might be due to pain or cognitive dysfunction). Other cats become more friendly and clingy, wanting to always be close to you. Some cats experience cognitive dysfunction, similar to dementia in humans.
You should always let a vet handle euthanization. If you decide to let your pet pass away naturally, make sure you contact your vet in advance and arrange a plan should they suddenly deteriorate after hours.
Signs that your cat is in pain and may no longer have a good quality of life can include:
Weight loss in itself is not an indication for euthanasia but if the cat’s body score falls to around 1.5 / 5 the cat is likely to feel weak, and lacking in energy. If there is no prospect of her gaining weight, you must consider euthanasia. If the body score falls further, to 1/5 then it is time to let her go.
While dying cats may show their contentment through purring, they may also purr as a coping mechanism — purring has been shown to strengthen the cat’s muscles, and may even release endorphins that help her deal with whatever pain she’s going through.
Communal Cremation: The remains of the cat are cremated along with other deceased pets and disposed of according to law. Usually, there is no charge for this service. Individual Cremation: The remains of a cat are cremated, and the remains are returned to the cat’s owner for final disposition.
Your cat may vomit or have diarrhea and often shows a loss of appetite with corresponding weight loss. The buildup of toxins in the blood can lead to a depressed cat or even more severe neurologic signs such as seizures, circling, or head pressing. Some cats will die from these toxic buildups.
Cats that are towards the end of their life may lose all interest in food. One of the ways to take care of a dying cat is through force-feeding. If this sounds cruel or unhelpful, try to think of it as a way to help your kitty be less hungry. You can force-feed with your bare hands or by using a syringe.
Most scientists agree that animals understand the concept of death. Scientists have also witnessed chimpanzees, magpies, and llamas grieving. So it’s pretty clear that animals understand what death means, and many different animals grieve for loved ones.
The truth is, cats understand affection just like any other animal, and domestic cats might actually see us as their real-life mommies and daddies. So when an adult cat meows at you, they are doing so because they trust you, they love you, and deep down, they know you love them too.
But paradoxically enough, cats who are sick or are dying may also purr. “An increase or change in purring in combination with other signs that the cat’s not feeling well, it’s definitely an indication to see your vet,” says Crowell-Davis.