10 Signs of a Dying Cat & How You Should Prepare

April 8, 2021 3:04 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Every cat has a unique personality and brings great joy into its owner’s life, but cats always have a few secrets. Owners really need to pay close attention sometimes to tell what their cat is thinking or feeling. Unfortunately, this also includes times when they are in pain and suffering. And even when the cat has a feeling that the end is near.

Lower Heart Rate

The normal heart rate is 140-220 beats per minute, but this rate drops dramatically near the end of a cat’s life, it pauses between each beat, and each pause gets longer until the heart stops.

Lower Respiratory Functioning

Healthy cats breathe 20-30 times each minute. When a cat begins the dying process, they may start to breathe more rapidly than usual, and more labored. This may happen for a short time but eventually slows when the cat is too weak to keep up. Sometimes, the rapid breaths can cause spasms in the cat which can lead to him becoming unconscious before they go.

Body Temperature Drop

Cats feel warm normally because they are warmer than humans. This may not be true for a dying cat. Instead of the normal 100-102 degrees, the cat’s temperature will lower below 98 degrees, lower than your own, and he will feel cool rather than warm to the touch

Weight Loss/ Anorexia

Clearly there are some cats that could stand to slim down a bit. but if weight loss is coming from not eating or drinking properly, there is cause for concern, not every cat that is refusing to eat is dying, but a dip in appetite is definitely a reason to see the vet. If you have ruled out treatable conditions, and your cat stops eating and drinking it could be a sign that their time to go is near. They will become dehydrated and lose elasticity in their skin and well as having darker and less frequent urine.

Foul Odors from Your Cat

Healthy cats are normally notorious about keeping clean, so when a cat doesn’t care anymore, it is cause for alarm. In a sick cat, there are often excess toxins that become more pronounced, resulting in bad odors coming from the cat. They also lose control of their bladder and spinster muscles, leading to more accidents, including one more soon after they pass away.

Personality Changes

When a cat is sick or dying, they may become more irritable and less friendly than usual, especially if you are used to them being a cuddly type of lap cat. Being touched in a typical way could cause them pain. It is also possible that the opposite could happen with a cat that is unwell. Independent cats may become clingy and seek out bonding with their owner near the end of life. Whatever direction your cat’s personality goes it is important to give them space or companionship that they ask for.

personality changes

General Weakness and Lethargy

As cats get older and closer to the end there will be a big drop in energy, and they will likely spend much of their time sleeping. There may also be signs like a lessened ability to jump and navigate around the home when they are active.


Many cats like to be alone and feel safe when they are feeling unwell. If the cats normally go outside, they may spend more time under the porch or in the bushes. If they are indoor cats, they may look for similar spaces, such as closets, under stairs or beds or corners away from household traffic.

Loss of Interest and Ability to Groom

Cats that are not grooming may become more matted and develop bald spots because they are not keeping up with their care.


Some cats experience seizures before they die. This can be convulsions accompanied by yowling noises. The cat may have several in the hours before death, may seem to not recognize their owner or understand where he is.

Preparing Yourself and Your Cat for Death

A cat’s life is relatively short compared to the typical humans, even if they are among the ones fortunate to live 20 years or more. If your cat is very sick or old, you may want to talk to your veterinarian about euthanasia. With this choice, your cat’s heart will slow, and they can be comforted by your presence as they die, rather than suffer. You will also want to decide how you are going to lay your cat to rest. There are several options. You can pay a fee to the vet to take care of things, but many cat owners need something more personal because their cat was a beloved member of the family. At Animal Family Advanced Pet Preservation can help you honor your cat through affordable cremation services or taxidermy services that will allow you to have an ongoing reminder of your loved one. Both services can be done at a relatively affordable cost. If you are looking at either of these options, contact us at 740-703-3937 to discuss the best option for you.

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