No pet owner wants to think about the day when their beloved pet will no longer be a part of the physical world. Sometimes the most humane thing to do in these moments is to help your pet pass peacefully and as painlessly as possible. Being able to recognize when your cat is nearing end of life is an important responsibility of being a cat parent. As difficult as it is, it can be the best thing for your cat. Here are some of the signs to watch for:
Significant Behavior Changes
Cats are biologically wired to minimize signs of weakness to help them survive in the wild. Because of this, it can be hard to tell when your feline’s health is starting to decline. You know your cat’s normal behavior, though, and any significant changes in daily conduct could clue you in when something is extremely wrong. If your once active cat is suddenly very weak and lethargic, you should call the vet. Cats who are getting closer to end of life might have noticeable weakness in their hind legs. Does your cat usually tell you exactly what she’s thinking and is suddenly very quiet? Did she completely lose interest in toys she once loved? All of these behavior changes could be signs the time is coming.
Difficulty with Temperature Control
As a cat’s body starts to break down, he or she might not be able to regulate temperature as well as they once did. This could present in cold extremities (specifically the paws and ears). It might also make it difficult for your cat to stay warm in the cold or vice versa. Pay attention to your cat to see if it seems like it’s becoming difficult to regulate temperature.
Lack of Appetite or Thirst
Cats nearing the end of life might also lose interest in food and water. Sometimes, though, non-fatal illnesses can lead to this same behavior. If you notice that your cat’s appetite has changed, you should definitely schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to determine the extent of the illness.
Changes to Grooming Habits
The way a cat grooms can tell you a lot about his or her health. If your usually-clean cat has completely stopped grooming, or if their coat is starting to look disheveled, call your veterinarian. You might also notice a foul odor coming from your cat as end of life nears.
Hiding When Your Cat Is Nearing End of Life
Many cats will start to hide when they sense the end of life is near. When cats in the wild can no longer cover up signs of weakness, they will often try to find safe hiding places far away from potential predators. If your cat is usually very social and friendly and is suddenly nowhere to be found, it might be time to schedule a visit with the veterinarian.
At Westarbor Animal Hospital, we know how hard the end of life stages are for pet owners. We want to do whatever we can to help you and your pet through this difficult time. If you suspect that your cat is nearing end of life, we are here for you. Call (734) 769-5391 to learn more.