All animals including cats show some typical signs that indicate they are approaching death. Your adorable kitty may behave way differently than its normal temperament that will leave you amazed for a while. However, if your feline companion does not seem more affectionate, do not take it personally, because it is a normal instinctive behavioral change in all cats before dying.
You can always help your beloved pet to pass away with ease just by comforting and being close to it till the end. However, if your pet suffers a lot more than normal with excruciating pain and uneasiness, approach the veterinarian right away. In a state of incurable and unbearable pain, a vet may suggest the process of euthanasia to relieve the cat from discomfort as early as possible.
Changes in Temperament
This is the most striking behavioral change in a dying cat. You may wonder, how is that such an outgoing and active cat has confined itself to a secluded area under the bed? Well, it is a sign that your pet is aware about the approaching death and wants to be more relaxed and calm during this period. A cat who loved being petted and held, would now become irritable because of the pain it might be suffering from. On the contrary, an independent cat may want to be closer to the owner and seek comfort from petting. Some cats may become very affectionate and be around the owner all the time.
Wants to Be Alone
Since cats and other animals have an amazing sense of the death approaching them, they prefer quiet and lonely places for comfort during this phase. If your cat is a frequent wanderer and goes out of the house very often, it will seek a cool and shaded place outside the house to rest comfortably before death. If this disappearing act is frequent than normal, it's a sign that your kitty is nearing death, and you should investigate the dark and cool places, like under the bushes, vehicles, or around the house to find it. If your cat is an indoor pet, you will find it under the bed, in unused storage rooms or cellars, which are the typical hiding places that your cat will migrate to when nearing its end.
Trying to Find Comfort
Some cats may want to be alone while on their final journey, but some of them may feel comfortable by being closer to their owners. They will probably go back to their favorite bed, pillow, or blanket for comfort or follow their loved ones wherever they go. Understand that they are doing all this to gain comfort and because they do not want to be alone at the end.
Pain and weakness are the factors that keep the cat from moving around, or playing and exercising. Don't be surprised to see your pet not responding to your calls or not following you to the kitchen as it used to do earlier. Its physical condition does not allow your ill cat to be active like before. Also, your otherwise overactive cat may be seen lying on the ground for the whole day without doing anything.
Loss of Appetite
An animal may normally skip a meal or two, but when your pet cat refuses two or three meals in a row, understand that it needs a medical examination. The main reason behind loss of appetite may be the change in behavior occurring before death. However, it is not the only reason; your cat may have parasites or some other medical condition. When you try to tempt your cat with favorite food and your pet refuses to eat, it might be a sign of behavioral change before dying. Overall, a cat starts eating less and eventually stops it completely until death.
Susceptibility to Seizures
Cats, when nearing death, may experience a series of seizures. A cat suffering from it may holler while throwing the head backwards, making an uncomfortable curve in the back. Your pet cat may experience one or more seizures several hours before death. That is why, it is essential for you as a pet owner to provide a safe and comfortable place for your kitty while it is nearing death.
Changes in Appearance
Dying cats do not have much energy to groom themselves and hence look messy, unkempt, and untidy. They also experience shedding while losing the fur in clumps. Also, since there is a tremendous loss of appetite and lack of water content in the body, your kitty will grow thinner and thinner while getting closer to death.
As the days draw closer, you may notice slowness and steadiness in the behavior of your cat. The brain begins to slow down, which may affect the vision of your pet. Your adorable kitty might start hitting objects or bump into walls and wander while looking at the ground. To prevent any serious accident, you can comfort your cat by petting and giving more time than usual.
Changes in Breathing Pattern
All the organs of a cat's body become weak and eventually stop working. The respiratory system starts closing down, and hence, the cat may show varied breathing patterns during the last moments. Wheezing and panting may be observed during the final hours, and the cat may keep the mouth open with the tongue hanging out. Also, some cats are known to make certain gurgling sounds during the last moments.
Death is an unfortunate event of life, which cannot be avoided, and when you have to let go of your loyal and loving companion - your cat, it is even worse. Hence, understand the need of the time, and help your cat to depart its life peacefully.