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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.

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

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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.


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4:35PM PDT on Jul 23, 2014

Our sweet Dusty is getting ready to complete her life. She's not in any pain and still enjoys going out on the patio with us for a little sunshine, but I know, every day, that it's getting to be that time. I sit and talk to her for hours just to let her know we LOVE her so much. We've had Dusty over 15 years, but it's never enough.

7:12AM PDT on Jul 21, 2014

I have seen too many cats being kept alive by owners who selfishly will not them go, even though they know the cat is in pain and great distress and is dying. Peritoneal dialysis, force feeding by syringe, steroids, constant antibiotics, leaving them lying in unstoppable pain. All the while saying that they are helping kitty and making his/her last days more comfortable. Wake up, idiots!
If your cat is suffering and will not get better, have the poor, innocent soul put to sleep. If you love your cat so much, why do you let it suffer?

9:29PM PDT on Jul 17, 2014

Loosing your family pet is without a doubt one of the most painful, sad and yes, traumatizing events in life. I lost a few and every single one of them has been painful. When I lost my Mimi, I stay quiet and keep him as comfortable as possible and he would give me his usual look of gratitude. The last night with him...there is no words to describe the overwhelming sadness, as I can't not still today even though years has past. RIP. my kitty baby.

5:27PM PDT on Jul 16, 2014

Losing a beloved pet is painful. It is a comfort to know you did everything you could to make it easier for your pet.

6:32AM PDT on Jul 13, 2014

Thank you for this article.
This year we lost Pitzi, Wissie and Negrutza. Pitzi and Wissie had severe diseases and we have tried to make their last weeks as comfortable and good as we can. We have found Negrutza, dead in her beloved garden, no reason apparently. It hurts, a sharp knife into our hearts.
Thank yoy again for this article.

1:44PM PDT on Jul 10, 2014

Thanks for such a touching article - loosing your feline companion is an unforgettable experience and being with your cat right up to the end is an essential part of pet ownership - strangely it can often be a source of great comfort!

8:08AM PDT on Jul 4, 2014


2:28AM PDT on Jul 3, 2014

If it doesn't hurt Kitty then wrap her in a favorite blanket or article of your clothing she really likes and just hold her, pet her, talk to her and hopefully ease her passing. I had a fairly young tom who became very ill while I was on vacation and my now ex but then fiance refused to take him to the vet. He said I should have been there to do it. So kitty ended up being put down to ease his pain. My poor darling actually cried huge tears down his sweet fuzzy face. He knew what was happening and he was scared. He kissed my hand goodbye and I held him a long time after. Yes they need us to help them thru the last phase of their corporeal life. It made me feel better to be there too.

7:29PM PDT on Jun 30, 2014

Good article

6:29AM PDT on Jun 22, 2014

Infact she, left her body in the arms of a close family member.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Very nice and emotional story. Thank you for sharing it.

THANK YOU! i'm have terrible memory and such aha.

If your not breeding to improve the breed, you probably shouldn't.

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