Elderly Felines and Symptoms of the End of Life

Written by sarah arnette
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Elderly Felines and Symptoms of the End of Life
An elderly cat may be signalling the end of his life by sleeping excessively. (Cat image by Kondretnko Max from Fotolia.com)

An elderly feline will often show signs and symptoms toward the end of his life. Understanding and properly reading these symptoms can help prepare you for the final moments of your cat's life. It is vital that you continue to provide comfort, care and support for your cat as he enters this phase of life and eventual death.

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Feeding Changes

According to Kelly Roper of Love To Know, an elderly cat who is close to the end of his life may cut back the amount of food and water he takes in, or refuse it. The fecal matter and urine amount will decrease, and urine will appear dark due to lack of hydration. This could be because of organ failure. Still, you should continue to offer the cat fresh food and water as long as he lives.

Disorientation

A cat may appear disoriented or unable to remember who people are. This is similiar to the disorientation that may be seen in humans during their final days. Roper suggests that when you approach your cat, move slowly and speak softly to him. This will help eliminate his anxiety about being approached. Even though you may have known him since he was a kitten, he might not know you now. If he reacts badly, do not punish him or feel hurt by this action. It is simply due to his disorientation.

Restlessness

A cat may feel uncomfortable as the end of his life approaches. He might frequently feel the need to move and may move to a secure area that is difficult for people to approach. Do not expect the cat to curl up on the middle of the floor to die. If he is frequently hiding in a quiet, secure area instead of stretching out along the window sill as he used to do, he may be reaching the end of his life, states Roper.

Excessive Sleep

According to the website A Cat Doctor, a dying cat may feel the need to sleep through the process. Perhaps this is because of the stress that the cat is feeling as his body fails him. Or it might be because of the weakness that accompanies death. Cats customarily sleep for hours straight; however, a young cat will wake up and play, whereas a cat at the end of his life will simply sleep and when he wakes up will go back to sleep.

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