Symptoms of a Cat Near Death

By Andromeda Agnew

Many cats can live up to 18 years, so losing them often is distressing. If your cat is showing signs of a specific illness, seek qualified medical help immediately, however, if your pet is old and coming to the end of her life, here are some tips that can help you tell when her time has come.

Loses Appetite

A cat near the end often will lose interest in food and drink.

white angora cat turning away from food bowl image by Stephen Orsillo from

When a cat is gravely ill, he no longer is interested in food or drink, according to pet resource site Practical Pet Care. As a consequence, you'll probably notice him go to the litter box less, and when he does urinate, his urine will be darker. They also may lose waste control completely.


When your cat is near death, she will begin to lose her sight (and often hearing, too). You'll notice this if your cat starts knocking into furniture suddenly or no longer responds when you call for her. You also will notice your cat become extremely distracted. She probably will lose interest in the sights and sounds around her and instead spends hours staring into the distance. She may not even recognize you, so treat her carefully; approach her slowly, and if you must move your pet, do so gently.

Sleeping More

Oversleeping also can be an indicator that your cat's life is coming to an end.

sleeping cat image by tim elliott from

If you have noticed your cat sleeping for unusually long periods, this also can be a sign he is at the end of his life. Try not to wake him up when he is sleeping. You won't prolong his life, and in his waking hours he may be in pain.

Picking a Final Spot

When a cat knows she is about to die, she'll often pick a comfortable spot where she feels secure. Just like humans, as a cat's heart slows down, her body temperature drops as she loses circulation. The cat gradually will lose feeling in her body and be unable to move. Breathing will change; in some cats it is fast and shallow, in others it is slow with large pauses as the end draws near. Sometimes due to lack of fluid, a gargling sound can be heard from the chest. Eventually, the heart will stop and she will pass on.