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How To Comfort A Dying Cat – Things To Consider

A cat passing away is something that all cat owners must experience at one point, but it is not one that anyone looks forward to. Cats are lifelong friends, so, naturally, you will want to comfort your dying cat. You cannot stop the inevitable, but you can make it easier for both you and your cat:

There are numerous ways to comfort a dying cat, but it is most important to keep your cat comfortable and stay with him if he is at home.

Comfort is an essential part of your cat’s final moments, and if you are unsure of what you can do to help, think about using some of these tips:

Make Your Cat Comfortable

Find a comfortable place for your cat to rest. You may not want to put your cat on your bed, so choose your cat’s favorite pet bed or a soft blanket that will make him comfortable.

Stay With Your Cat

You probably won’t want to leave your cat regardless, but you should stay with your cat. Give him attention as you would and pet him to keep him calm. If you stay with your cat, he will not get up to walk around and follow you.

1. Talk To Your Cat

Your voice will comfort your cat, so you should continue to talk to your cat as if everything was normal. Petting your cat and talking to him as you usually do will go a long way in making him feel calm and at peace.

2. Stay Calm

Staying calm will show your cat that everything is okay. If you are upset, this may, in turn, upset your cat. He may become anxious because he does not know what is happening. I know it is difficult to do, but you do not want your cat to feel like something is wrong in his final moments.

3. Keep Food And Water Nearby

If your cat is close to death, he may not want to eat or drink, but it is a good idea to keep it nearby just in case. He may feel thirsty, so you do not want him to start wandering around the house, especially if he is sick.

4. Give Your Cat A Great Treat

Your cat may still be up for eating, and if that is the case, then you should offer your cat a fantastic treat that he has never gotten before. This will be one last snack for him before he passes away.

How Long Does It Take For A Cat To Die

The length of time it takes for a cat to die varies based on the cat and situation. Most cats have a relatively long lifespan, so this is not something you need to think about for a long time.

Although you might want a hard and fast answer about what to expect when your cat is dying, it is more difficult than that to estimate.

A cat dying with old age may live a few more days and pass away while he is asleep. You may not even notice that he is no longer breathing.

On the other hand, your cat could pass away extremely suddenly. I have heard stories from people to say that their cat was fine one moment and then dead the next.

This could be the result of a health crisis that was largely undetected. If your cat has an internal issue that no one knew about, it could happen very quickly.

Euthanasia is also a somewhat quick process if you choose to go that route. The process itself can take a little while when you are at the vet’s process, but once your cat gets injected, he will die rather quickly. It is similar to your cat going to sleep.

If you get a cat and are already worried about the day that your cat will pass away, this is not something that you have to worry about immediately. Compared to other animals, cats have a considerably longer lifespan.

Most healthy cats live at least ten years, but the average age of a cat is usually about 15 years old. Some cats have an even longer lifespan and live for up to 20 years (or more!).

Stages Of Cat Death

If you know that your cat is close to passing away, I think it may be helpful to have an idea of what you can experience. Unfortunately, not every death is the same, but if you have an idea of what to expect, you will be less shocked.

DayStages Of Cat Death
Day 1This may be around the time that you find out your cat will pass away soon. Assume that this is one week from your cat’s death.
Days 2-4Your cat will become less interested in eating. He may still eat  a few mouthfuls and drink normally, but he will not eat as much as he used to.
Day 5Your cat will start to become weaker. This is partially due to eating less He may also start to sleep in places where he can be alone, like under the bed or in the closet.
Day 6Your cat’s body temperature will become lower and lower. He will not be cold to the touch, but he will feel considerably less warm than he used to, especially in his ears, paws, and tail.
Day 7This is your cat’s final day. You may notice trouble breathing, but this will not last very long. Your cat will pass away peacefully at home. If you opted to take your cat to be put to sleep, then you are prepared to take your cat to the vet.

This chart is the ideal outcome for your cat. Often it is difficult to know exactly when your cat will pass away, but hopefully, this chart will give you an idea of what to expect.

If you know the process of your cat dying, then it will be less scared if they start to happen, whether they happen sooner or take longer.

What Are Symptoms Of A Dying Cat

Your cat will experience different symptoms depending on what your cat is dying from, but no matter the reason, here are a few symptoms that you might experience.

• Loss of motor skills, especially on older cats
• Tiredness
• Inability to stand up. Your cat may manage to walk a few steps but will need to lay down again or fall over if he tries to stand.
• Incontinence, most notably at the very end
• Stiff spine and joints
• Howling that sounds pained

A younger, sick cat may experience different symptoms from an older cat that is about to die from old age, but there are a few things that will be the same in both situations.

No matter what symptoms your cat is experiencing as he is dying, it is essential to make sure that your cat feels comfortable and loved.

Is It Humane To Let A Cat Die Naturally

If your cat is not in pain, then yes, it is humane to let your cat die naturally.

Many cats die at home with their owners. Even more, they pass away in their sleep during their last days. You should not feel guilty if you want your elderly cat to die naturally.

There is an option to euthanize your cat, which makes sense in certain situations. Euthanizing is often scary and confusing for your cat, but for a cat in pain, it could be the best way to let your cat pass.

Some people are against euthanizing their cat, and if you are one of those people, then a natural death is a perfectly acceptable option for your cat.

Usually, your cat’s state will dictate the best way to allow your cat to pass.

Do Cats Feel Pain When Dying

Your cat may or may not feel pain when dying, depending on what is wrong with your cat.

If your cat is old, then your cat may pass away peacefully during the day or while he is taking a nap. There may be no pain associated with your cat dying in this case.

Elderly cats pass away every day, and little can be done to help your cat in this case. If your cat was otherwise healthy, find comfort knowing that your cat was not in pain.

I do not want to spend too much time on this, but your cat could also feel pain when dying. This, however, happens more often when your cat experiences a sudden death.

If your cat was hit by a car or got severely injured, then your cat may feel more pain than a cat who has lived a full, good life.

What Can I Give My Dying Cat For Pain

You have a variety of options for pain medicine for a dying cat.

Your vet can prescribe your cat drugs like opioids to help with any pain that he may be experiencing.

If your vet writes you a prescription, then you will have the correct dosage to give your cat when he needs them. Any drugs that your vet gives you will also be stronger than anything else you may find.

You can also choose to give your cat baby aspirin. Usually, you should only give your cat human medicine under the guidance of your vet.

If you notice that your cat is in pain and cannot get to the vet in time, human medication might be a good option to help him in his final moments. There is a chance that is something that you will have on hand in your home.

Even so, if at all possible, you should consult with your vet to give your cat the best medication possible, especially if you are expecting that your cat will live for a few more days.

What Do Cats Do Right Before They Die

The symptoms your cat experiences will be different depending on what is wrong with your cat and how far they are from death.

Though symptoms can vary, there are a few that you can expect:
• Change in their temper: You will start to notice that your cat has a different temperament, and even the friendliest cat may start to hide more than it used to
• Changes in eating and drinking: Chances are your cat will start eating and drinking less. If your cat is diabetic, the opposite may be true, and your cat will be drinking an excessive amount.
• Lower body temperature: Your cat usually has very warm paws and ears, but as time approaches, you will notice that your cat will start to get closer.

Overall, your cat will act and feel more lethargic than he usually was.

At the very end, your cat may experience difficulty breathing, but this should not last long.

Is It Time To Put My Cat Down

Your cat may be acting in a way that makes you believe you should put your cat down.

A cat does not need to be elderly to put down. Other factors could play into that, including:
• Dementia
• A broken bone
• Cancer or an incurable disease
• Loss of quality of life
• Another severe injury

No one chooses to put their cat down lightly, so there could be other reasons why you want to put your cat down.

If you think that it is time to put your cat down, it is a good idea to have a conversation with your family and vet about what options you have.

Your vet can tell you if putting your cat down is the best option or if you have some other choices to help your cat.

Do Cats Know They Are Dying

Since cats use body language, they know when they are dying or when another cat is dying.

Cats have a keen sense of smell and can tell if another cat is feeling weak. If another cat is close to dying, then other cats will know. You may notice that another one of your cats stays near the cat to be with him.

In the same vein, cats may also know that they are dying. If you have been around cats for a long time, you may have heard stories about how cats will often hide when they are about to die.

In my own experience, I recall one of my childhood cats escaping outside right before he died. He found a comfortable spot on our porch and hid away. We found his body a few hours later and were shocked to know that he was self-aware enough to go somewhere where he was comfortable.

If your cat is attempting to hide somewhere to die, know that this is only natural. Allow your cat to find a place that he is comfortable in because it will make it easier for him.

Things To Consider

The death of a cat is never easy to deal with. I talked about the end stages for your cat, but I also want to spend some time talking about you.

Cats often have very long lifespans, so you could be dealing with the loss of a cat that you had for 15 or even 20 years. That is never a manageable loss, even if you were thinking that your cat was going to pass away.

Use Therapy As A Resource

Some people may think therapy is extreme, but you may have known your cat as long (or even longer) as some of your best friends. Talking about your feelings to a professional could help you cope with the sense of loss you feel after your cat passes away.

Think About The Memories

People feel better when they think of the positive memories they had of your cat. This could be difficult to do at first, but after the initial pain and shock passes, you can relive some of the best moments you had with your furry friend.

Adopt Another Cat

The timeline on this one will be different for everyone, but adopting another cat may be a good way to cope.

A new cat will not fill the space of your cat that passed away, but if you are used to having a cat, it could help you feel less alone.

You do not need to jump into buying or adopting a new cat immediately. No one will blame you if you take some time for yourself before you get another cat.

Whatever you feel after your cat dies, remind yourself that it is normal. Everyone deals with this loss differently, so you must do what is best for you and your family. There is no rulebook to deal with this loss.

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