Cats are stoic creatures. They are best at hiding their sickness and vulnerabilities, keeping the symptoms of sickness under the rug until it becomes impossible to hide. However, there are subtle signs that can help responsible pet owners identify if their cat is sick. Similarly, there are some signs your cat is dying, thereby helping you identify if your cat is nearing the end of her life.

It is hard to lose a pet, especially when they have become an integral member of your family. And it is unbearable to hear about the sudden death of your cat. But sooner or later, the time will come when you will have to say goodbye to your feline fella. Therefore, you must familiarize yourself with the signs of a dying cat so that the cat’s death does not take you by surprise. In fact, if you pay attention, you might make it easy for her.

Signs Your Cat Is Dying

There is nothing more excruciating than watching your cat in pain, nearing her end.  If your cat has gotten old or has recently been diagnosed with a deadly feline disease such as kidney diseases, feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), diabetes, and feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), you need to get extra observant of her health.

Noting small behavioral changes may tip you off that there is something wrong with your cat. This would help you reduce your cat’s pain by proving the best possible care to your feline fella.

Signs your cat is dying

Signs your cat is dying may differ depending on the underlying sickness of your cat. However, there are some common signs of a dying cat that almost all cats exhibit.

Lower Heart Rate

The normal heart rate of cats varies between 140 and 220 beats per minute. For a resting cat, it would lie near the lower end of the spectrum; for an active cat, this may touch higher end. But when a cat is about to die, the heart rate will drop dramatically. The heart rate dropping to a fraction of the normal heart rate of a cat is a sign of a dying cat. The pauses between the heartbeats will continue to get longer until the heart stops beating altogether.

You can measure your cat’s heart rate by simply placing your hand on her left side, behind the front legs.

Lower Respiration

On average, a healthy cat has 15 to 30 breaths per minute. Lower rates are not usually a cause for concern if your cat is healthy. But when your cat is sick or quite old, and her heart has weakened, a significant change in breathing pattern is considered a sign of a dying cat. As the heart weakens, your cat will start breathing rapidly as she is not getting ample oxygen. But as your kitty’s organs start to fail, the breathing will drop until she is too weak to go on.

Lower Body Temperature

The normal body temperature of cats ranges between 100.5°F to 102.5°F. As the cat is nearing the end, her body will start to cool down, and the temperature will drop below the normal range. You can check your cat’s body temperature by using a thermometer, but if you do not have one, you can feel her paws to get an idea about her body temperature.

Little To No Eating And Drinking

Just like humans, when cats are sick, they don’t want to eat or drink anything. A cat disinterested in eating and drinking is not necessarily a sign of a dying cat, but it indeed is a sign for you to take her to the vet. However, when death is imminent, almost all cats stop eating and drinking. Therefore, if a sick or senior cat stops eating, you should prepare yourself for parting.

Little to no eating and drinking leads to sunken eyes, rigid skin, and darkening color. If your cat is not eating despite the vet saying she is fine, it may be time to bid farewell to your cat.

Signs Your Cat Is Dying

Foul Odor

Cat nearing death will develop a foul odor, which will get worse as the time is approaching. This occurs due to the failure of the body organs and toxin build-up in the bloodstream.

Cat Seeking Solitude

If your cat has been hiding or seeking solitude, this might means that your cat is about to pass away. Actually, in the wild, since sick and dying cats are more vulnerable to predators, they try to seek solitude and safe places where they can die in peace. On the contrary, a dying cat may also get clinger than usual.


Developing litter box issues is not necessarily the sign of a dying cat. In fact, more than 10 percent of cats develop litter box issues during their lifetime. But incontinence is not a litter box issue. Actually, nearing death, the muscles of a cat’s body start to relax, and the time comes when cats lose control over eliminations. This may also occur right after a cat passes away. This is a normal thing and should not be taken as a sign of life.

These may be some of the signs your cat is dying. But it may happen that your cat has a sign, or some of the signs discussed above and still may not, thankfully, die. Similarly, just one sign may not suffice; look for many signs to know if it is time to say goodbye. Lastly, the information presented here is for general purpose and cannot substitute the opinion given by a vet. If the signs displayed by your cats are unusual, it is recommended that a vet thoroughly examine her.  

Whether to Euthanize Your Cat or Not

The decision to euthanize your cat is not an easy one but at the same time seeing your cat in excruciating pain becomes unbearable for cat owners. Unfortunately, when a cat’s suffering becomes extreme, many cat owners call their vets as they prepare to say their goodbyes.

Home euthanasia is peaceful not only for the pet but also for their owners. In more than 95 percent of the cases, pet owners do not witness anything upsetting, they only see the cessation of breathing and motion. After the departure, pet owners take solace in the fact that their cat’s spirit left peacefully.

We know, even the mere thought of losing your cat is heart-wrenching for feline lovers, and this is the reason that many of them go into a state of denial. They fail to recognize the signs. They are just not ready to accept the fact that the time has come.

Therefore, it is advised that you come out of denial to recognize the signs your cat is dying and prepare yourself for the sad moment.

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