It is a fact that sooner or later, pet owners will outlive their pets.

Cats can live from 12-20 years, enough for a pet parent to be overly attached to them.

Being familiar with the signs that your cat is dying can help you prepare at the same time to make your pet’s life more comfortable during the last days or weeks of its life.

Recognizing the signs or indications that the end is near will help you give your pet the proper care it needs. So, what are the signs if a cat is dying?

Lack of appetite

It is common for animals or cats to lose interest in eating and drinking. A dying cat may be too tired to process any food intake; too weak to consume anything. Loss of interest in eating and drinking is often caused by weakness and sickness.

Once your cat stops eating or drinking, it can quickly affect its organ functions. If a cat has skipped a meal 2 or 3 times in a row, then it is time to consult with a vet for examinations.

Lower body temperature

Another indicator when a cat is sick or near its final days is the sudden drop in body temperature. Consider checking your cat’s ears and paws if these are become cooler, if body temperature is below 100 degrees, then your cat is dying. As the heart weakens, the body temperature will start to drop below.

Lowered Respiration

Labored breathing and organ failure is experienced when your cat is sick or nearly dying. A healthy cat takes about at least 30 to 30 breaths per minute. So, lower oxygen flow means less breathing and respiration weakens.

Foul odor

Sick cats begin to develop foul odor and breathe due to toxins building up in the body due to illness. The foul odor will get worse over time when the internal organs start to shut down.

Change in appearance

Sick cats do not have the energy to groom and tidy themselves. One of the most common signs of change in appearance is weight loss. When your cat is sick and dehydrated, it can give your pet cat a scruffy appearance. Help in giving your cat gentle grooming. Prepare soft food or consider spending more time with your pet to observe her condition.

Hiding or seeking solitude

Sick cats are known to go hiding to protect themselves from being a vulnerable target. Cats instinctively know that sick animals can be easily taken advantage of. Most of the time, cats seek a comfortable place while hiding away from their owners during their remaining days. When sick, cats seek dark and cool rooms like a storage area, under the bed, cellars, or vehicles.

Odd behavior

Although it is known that cats try to protect themselves by hiding when sick, some cats become clingier to their pet parents. If your cat is naturally outgoing but then suddenly becomes irritable, then your pet may be in pain or something.

When cats are dying they tend to sleep a lot and seek out hiding places. Even there is a decline in eating and drinking, make sure your cat has access to clean drinking water, food, and litter box when in hiding


If your cat has shown several episodes of seizures, make sure to provide your pet with a comfortable place. Your cat may scream and throw its head backward which can lead the cat unresponsive. Series of seizures can cause its death.

How to tell if a cat is dying (for specific conditions or diseases)

  • Labored breathing, restlessness, rapid breathing, paralysis in the hind legs, and panting are signs of heart disease which is one of the most common forms of illnesses in cats. Feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common cardiac disease in cats which medication for this can often worsen the cat’s other medical conditions.
  • Extreme weakness, seizures, weight loss, slowness to the point of being unresponsive, and mouth ulcers are signs of renal failure. Feline chronic renal failure is another common disease in aging cats which requires more frequent blood tests and other examinations. Renal treatments are available but are not guaranteed to save the lives of your beloved pets.
  • Open sores, lethargy, labored breathing, foul odor, nasal and eye discharge are indications of immune failure and infections. Aging cats experience lower immunity and infections become frequent.

When your cat ages, means greater risks to its internal organs. Although old age is a natural cause of death, it contributes to the complications that may arise in the future. So, when your cat is aging, you may need to anticipate the following:

  • Frequent visit to your veterinarian.
  • More complex treatment of diseases and medical conditions.
  • Your cat is more susceptible to infections and other conditions
  • Your cat may be resistant to medicine or medical procedures.

What to do when your cat is dying?

Knowing that your beloved pet is nearly dying, you can do these things to at least make its life easier and more comfortable:

  • Provide your pet cat with a soft and cozy bed.
  • Consult your veterinarian for proper care. Make sure to communicate with your veterinarian on how to give your cat a quality life before it gets to the end of its life.
  • Keep your cat’s bedding clean.
  • Carry your cat to the litter box especially when your pet is too weak to get up.
  • Put your cat in a quiet room if there is no cage available. Make sure to include a litter box and clean water in the room.
  • Place waterproof underpads to minimize clean-up whenever your cat misses the litter box.

Have you noticed any of these signs in your cat? If so, it is time to talk to your vet. An animal doctor can give options and recommendations when it comes to treating your cat’s medical condition.

Or even if the existing condition is untreatable, your vet can give you information and ways on how to make your cat’s remaining days more cozy.

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