I’m sorry to hear that your cat is dying. It can be difficult to know what to do in this situation, as you want to do what is best for your cat. You’ve probably asked: should I leave my dying cat alone? Those final moments are truly hurtful, and it is never the right time to say goodbye. All cat owners are aware of that.
If you know for a fact that your cat is suffering or in severe pain, it is probably better to allow them to pass peacefully than try to prolong its life. But, if your cat is not in distress, you may keep her company and keep her as comfortable as possible.
That’s why the most important thing is to see the cat’s quality of life in order to decide what to do. Keep in mind that there is always the option to contact your veterinarian about it.
Should I Leave My Dying Cat Alone?
It can be difficult to know what to do when a beloved cat is facing a terminal illness or is in the process of dying. It is natural to want to be with your cat and provide comfort during this time, but it is also important to consider your cat’s needs and preferences. You need to observe your cat’s behavior.
If your cat is experiencing pain or discomfort, it may be more peaceful for them to be left alone. That’s why you can notice that your pet cat hides in unusual places, even though they are no predators around. Some cats may also prefer to be alone when they are feeling unwell. In these cases, it may be best to give your cat some space and let them rest.
However, if your cat is still responsive and seems to enjoy your presence, it can be comforting to spend time with them and provide them with love and affection. You may also want to consider speaking with a veterinarian or a pet hospice professional for guidance on how to best care for your cat during this time.
Ultimately, the decision of whether to leave your dying cat alone will depend on your individual circumstances and your cat’s specific needs and preferences. It is important to consider what will bring the most comfort and peace to your cat during this difficult time.
How Do I Tell That My Cat Is Suffering?
Your cat is probably suffering if she has health issues such as cancer, hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus, and chronic kidney disease that leads to kidney failure.
While some cats die unexpectedly, others experience gradual periods of deterioration. During that time, you can see several signs in your cat’s demeanor and appearance:
1. Lack Of Interest
A lack of interest in activities that your cat normally enjoys can be a sign that your cat is suffering. Dying cats won’t enjoy those things they’ve loved once as treats, toys, or favorite food, or they’re avoiding their favorite spot.
2. Weight Loss
One of the most obvious signs that your cat is near death is that it will rapidly start to lose weight. Weight loss is common with senior cats due to loss of muscle function, and the body becomes less efficient in digesting protein and food, which results in less defined muscles. Your cat will lose weight even if she eats.
Sick cats that suffer severe pain will become thin. Their spine, ribs, and hips will be visible through their skin, making them really unwell.
Lethargy is a state of being inactive and sluggish. It can be a sign that your terminally ill cat is approaching the end of its life and not feeling well. It will save up that little energy they have to place themselves in other sleeping positions.
Hiding can be a normal behavior for cats, especially if they are feeling threatened or stressed. However, if your dying cat starts hiding more frequently or for more extended periods of time than usual, it could be a sign that they don’t want to be bothered and touched. They want to be alone in their last days.
5. Reduced Mobility Function
At the end of their life, senior cats stop moving and become really slow. Pain, weakness, and muscle loss are the reason for this. Arthritis is one of the reasons, especially with old cats, as they can develop arthritis which can cause pain and difficulty moving around. They won’t even have the energy to go to their litter box.
6. Avoiding Water Bowl And Food Bowl
Loss of appetite is one of the most common reasons; dying cats won’t have the will to eat or drink and usually will be dehydrated. If your cat is taking some medications, that can affect their ability to smell and taste which will put them off the food. If the cat doesn’t eat, it cannot be better, no matter what.
If your cat has been a huge fan of wet food, try warming it up or adding some tuna to spice things up. If all of that doesn’t make your cat eat, the vet can prescribe something for a better appetite.
7. Bad Appearance
Your beloved pet will stop grooming itself when they’re approaching death, which will lead to a dirty and matted coat. Especially if your cat is long-haired. The skin also appears flaky and dry with cats of old age.
8. Bad Odors
Your furry friend, before death, will probably have abnormal bad body odor, which is the cause of the accumulation of toxins and the breakdown of tissues. The odor will depend on the health issue your cat is suffering, but you’ll feel it like ammonia, from sickly sweet to truly unpleasant.
Before death, your cat may develop an abnormal body odor caused by the breakdown of tissues and the accumulation of toxins. The smell will vary depending on the health condition your cat suffers from, but it could range from being sickly sweet to unpleasant, like ammonia.
9. Changes In Behavior
The dying cat will have good days in those final days, believe it or not. But mostly, the days will be bad, and for pet owners, it will be hard to watch.
Every cat is different, but cats in pain will become aggressive and irritable due to their discomfort. Others can be truly affectionate and seek more cuddles than ever, and some may be confused and forgetful and vocalize more.
It is vital that you remember that your cat is still your friend, just they’re not living their best at the moment and are in massive pain.
10. Labored Breathing
Labored breathing, also known as dyspnea, is a sign that your cat is having difficulty breathing and that your cat’s lungs are fragile and make your cat’s breathing shallow and fast, speeding and slowing due to muscle delay.
If you think that your cat is stopping breathing, look for these signs:
• Head and neck are stretching
• Open-mouther breathing
• Abnormal abdominal movements
All of those three signs require an emergency.
What Should I Do For My Dying Cat?
When a cat approaches death, their bodies are slowly shutting down, leading to the loss of various essential functions. The deterioration usually happens fast, so it’s the pet’s owner’s job to make the cat feel as comfortable as possible at the end of their lives. How will you do that? Follow this advice:
1. Give Pain Medication
It is important to consult with a veterinarian before giving your cat any medications, including pain medications. Pain medications that are safe for humans may be toxic to cats, and it is important to use the correct dosage.
Your veterinarian will be able to recommend the best pain management plan for your cat, taking into account their specific condition and needs considering your cat’s health.
They may prescribe meds or recommend other options such as massage or warm compresses. It is also important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions for administering the medication, including the correct dosage and frequency.
Signs of pain include:
• Loss of appetite
• Labored breathing
2. Toilet Assistance
If your cat is having difficulty using the litter box, you can try a few things to help.
• Make sure the litter box is easily accessible: Place the litter box in a location that is easy for your cat to reach, especially if they are experiencing mobility issues.
• Use a low-sided litter box: If your cat is having difficulty climbing into a traditional litter box, try using a low-sided box or one with a cut-out doorway.
• Use a litter box liner: Liners can make it easier to clean the litter box and may be more comfortable for your cat.
3. Provide A Comfortable Space
There are several things you can do to create a comfortable environment for your dying cat:
• Provide a warm, quiet place for your cat to rest: This could be a cozy bed or blanket in a quiet room of the house.
• Keep the room well-ventilated: Fresh air can help your cat feel more comfortable.
• Keep the room at a comfortable temperature: Cats are sensitive to temperature changes, so try to keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for your cat.
• Use blankets or towels to make your cat more comfortable: Covering your cat with a soft blanket or placing a towel under them can help them feel more comfortable.
• Provide your cat with a litter box: If your cat is able to use the litter box, make sure it is easily accessible and clean.
• Offer your cat familiar items: Surrounding your cat with familiar items, such as toys or bedding, may provide comfort.
4. Help With Grooming
Grooming can be a soothing and comforting activity for both you and your cat, especially if your cat is experiencing health issues or is in hospice care. Here are a few tips for grooming your cat:
• Gently brush your cat’s fur: Using a soft brush or comb, gently brush your cat’s fur to remove tangles and mats. This can help your cat feel more comfortable and reduce the risk of skin irritation.
• Trim your cat’s nails: Keeping your cat’s nails trimmed can help prevent discomfort and improve mobility.
• Clean your cat’s face and paws: Use a damp cloth to gently clean your cat’s face and paws. This can help prevent infection and keep your cat comfortable.
5. Make Perfect Temperature
Cats are sensitive to temperature changes, so it’s important that the room temperature where your cat lives is comfortable temperature. In general, cats prefer a temperature between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (21-29 degrees Celsius). Cat’s body temperature is a bit higher than ours.
To help maintain a comfortable temperature for your dying cat in their final days:
• Use a thermometer to monitor the room’s temperature: This will help you ensure that the room is within the optimal temperature range for your cat.
• Use a heating pad or blanket: If the room is too cold, you can use a heating pad or electric blanket to provide additional warmth. Just be sure to use these items safely and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Use a fan or air conditioning: If the room is too warm, you can use a fan or air conditioning to help cool it down.
• Dress your cat appropriately: If your cat is experiencing mobility issues or is in hospice care, they may need a little extra help staying warm. You can use a cat-sized sweater or coat to help keep them warm or cover them with a blanket.
6. Offer Tasty Treats
Offering your cat tasty treats can be a good way to provide comfort and enjoyment.
• Wet food: Cats can lose their appetite as they get older or when they are sick. Offering small amounts of wet food can be a good way to get some nutrients into your cat and stimulate their appetite.
• Cooked chicken or fish: Cooked, plain chicken or fish can be a tasty treat for your cat. Just be sure to remove any bones, as they can be a choking hazard.
• Commercial treats: There are many commercial treats available specifically for cats. Just be sure to read the label and choose treats that are appropriate for your cat’s age and health status.
• Homemade treats: You can also make your own treats for your cat using ingredients such as cooked chicken or fish, cheese, or cooked eggs. Just be sure to avoid ingredients that are toxic to cats, such as onions and garlic.
Basically, choose food that your cat always loved and enjoyed, and it is a really nice thing to do for your sick cat.
7. Be With Your Cat
Spend time with your dying cat, which is an excellent time to show your cat extra love and attention. Petting and grooming can be soothing for both you and your cat. Take some time to sit with your cat and simply be present with them.
You can talk to them, read to them, or just enjoy their company. Play with your cat also; if your cat is up for it, you can try engaging them in some playtime. This can help stimulate their mind and provide some enjoyment.
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7. Give Your Cat Space
It’s important to respect your cat’s need for space. Cats are territorial animals and may need some time alone to rest and recharge. Here are a few ways you can give your cat space:
• Provide a quiet, private place for your cat to rest: This could be a cozy bed or blanket in a quiet room of the house.
• Respect your cat’s body language: If your cat is showing signs of stress or discomfort, such as flattening their ears or lashing their tail, it may be best to give them some space.
• Allow your cat to approach you: Instead of trying to pick up or hold your cat, let them come to you on their own terms.
• Avoid disturbing your cat when they are sleeping: Cats sleep for a large portion of the day, and it’s important to let them rest undisturbed.
• Give your cat plenty of time to adjust to any changes in their environment: If you need to make changes to your cat’s environment, such as moving them to a new room or introducing new people or pets, give them plenty of time to adjust.
Should I leave my dying cat alone is the question every cat owner will face sooner or later. The death of a pet is never easy, and it is a difficult decision on what to do and how to deal with it.
It’s important to consider your cat’s individual needs when deciding whether or not to leave them alone. If your cat is in a lot of pain or discomfort, it may be best to have someone stay with them to provide comfort and support. On the other hand, if your cat is peaceful and seems to be doing well on their own, it may be okay to give them some space and let them rest.
It’s always a good idea to consult a veterinarian for guidance on your cat’s best course of action. They can provide recommendations based on your cat’s specific condition and needs. Euthanasia and cremation can be recommended.
In general, providing your cat with a comfortable, peaceful environment and showing them extra love and attention during this difficult time is essential.