START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

6 Ways To Comfort a Dying Cat

6 Ways To Comfort a Dying Cat

Thinking about life without my cat isn’t something I like to do. She brings so much joy and love into our lives, that it makes me almost nauseous to think that someday she too will grow old and pass away.

However, responsible pet owners must realize that illness and even death is just as inevitable for our felines friends as it is for the human ones. To make our furry loved ones as comfortable as possible, it’s necessary to know the signs of death, and how to deal with them in a way that’s compassionate and medically-sound.

If you’ve got a young cat, rest assured that you probably won’t need to implement any of these ideas for a long while. The notion that 1 cat year is equivalent to 7 human years is a myth. It’s true that cats age faster when they’re younger, but this slows down as they get older. Now that more cats are “indoor only,” it’s not uncommon for some cats to live to be 18 or 19 years old. Still, this means it’s likely your cat will become elderly and pass on long before you do. If you can’t bring yourself to euthanize your cat when the time comes (and there are medical reasons why you might), keep these tips in mind.

6 Ways To Make A Dying Cat More Comfortable

care for a dying cat 2

1. Pay attention to the signs. Cats can’t tell us when something hurts or when they’re feeling sick. So it’s up to us to pay attention to the clues in their behavior. Loss of appetite and rapid weight loss, lethargy and abnormal lack of interaction, obvious signs of discomfort or crying when touched, urinary and/or fecal incontinence, and breathing difficulties are all signals that something is wrong. A trip to the vet is in order.

2. Consider pain medication. If the ailment isn’t something that can be treated, our job is to make the cat as comfortable as possible. In many cases, this means administering pain medication. Sometimes, this can provide relief and extend the cat’s life. However, if you can’t afford meds or they don’t seem to work, euthanasia must be considered. After all the love your cat has given, why prolong her suffering to ease your own?

3. Emphasize hydration. Since it’s likely that a dying cat will be reluctant to go get food and water, make sure to bring it to him instead. Add water to your cat’s food (both wet and dry) to make it easier to eat. Also use a medicine dropper to keep your cat hydrated if he’s no longer making it to the water bowl.

4. Be quiet. When we’re not feeling well loud noise and chaos just makes everything worse, and the same is true for your cat. Make it a point to keep household noise to a minimum, or reposition the cat bed in a quiet corner of the house so that other animals can’t bother her.

5. Give warmth. “Very unwell cats, especially senior cats are often not as good at maintaining body temperature. Make sure your cat has a warm and comfortable place to rest. It should be easy to clean as very sick animals often have elimination problems,” explains

6. Say Goodbye. Cats love it when their human friends talk to them and say their name. Especially if your cat is an old friend, now is the time to speak to her in low, reassuring tones. I firmly believe that cats understand us–if not the literal words–than the mood that’s conveyed by the pitch of our voice. Speak to her in a calm manner, say her name, and remind her of your love.

Have you cared for a sick or dying cat? What tips would you add to this list? Share them in a comment.

Yes, Your Cat is Actually Ignoring You
6 Tips for Winterizing Your Pet

Read more: Behavior & Communication, Cats, Everyday Pet Care, Pets, , , , , , , , ,

Images via Thinkstock

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Beth Buczynski

Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog or check out her blog.


+ add your own
11:51AM PST on Jan 26, 2015

Mine have liked lying with me, rather than alone.

4:27AM PST on Jan 20, 2015


8:13PM PST on Dec 28, 2014

I just lose my beloved baby Ninja the cat, these days are so difficult. i had been taking great care of him for lone time 3 feedings and 2 injections daily. so sad but nothing to regret. now i have another one to continue great care for.

thanks for useful info

5:17PM PST on Dec 17, 2014


5:16PM PST on Dec 17, 2014


5:09AM PDT on Oct 16, 2014

My cat, Gugus, who looked just like the darling in this article, died on 17/07/2013 at age 22. He was diabetic for 8 years, meaning insulin injections x 2 each day, and no vacation for me, but that’s irrelevant. It’s vital to be attentive at all times, respect their space, give them a stress-free environment and have them checked by the vet regularly, whatever their medical ailment. I waited until it was truly the right moment to have him euthanized. The dignity with which he accepted the injection was testament to his courage, bravery, and acceptance of the inevitable, but most importantly, that it was really the right moment. I learned so much from him. I wonder if I’ll be as brave when my time comes.

6:43AM PDT on Oct 14, 2014

"However, if you can’t afford meds or they don’t seem to work, euthanasia must be considered. After all the love your cat has given, why prolong her suffering to ease your own?"

I fail to see how killing a cat so you no longer have to look after it does not qualify as "easing your own".

3:50PM PDT on Oct 1, 2014

the last one made me cry. my cat is 19 and I love him so much :(

1:27AM PDT on Oct 1, 2014

nice to be this mindful in an emotionally charged situation

10:02AM PDT on Sep 30, 2014

Sad to think about, but good to know.

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Advice I try to live by, thanks

High quality garment's are definitely an investment. There are way's of tastefully pairing high/low …

I enjoyed scanning this article for perhaps a detail that I may not be aware of. To each his own. Ju…


Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.