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
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 Cat-World.com.
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.