Research has shown that only a few cats die while they are asleep, peacefully, in their home. Essentially, all animals reveal signs that they are getting to the end of their lifespan, and cats are not any different. Some cats will not show any signs as they may die peacefully in their sleep, but most cats would display some behavioral changes.

Usually, it is difficult to tell because the transition from life to death in cats would like a lot like the transition to sleep.

Learning to discern the signs they display towards the end of their life, can make the end of their lifespan more comfortable as the owner would be able to give proper care during this period.


If cats die peacefully in their sleep, their posture and body position will be at ease. It will mostly seem like they are asleep. Most of the time, if the body is not at ease, it is believed that the cat struggled before death.


Asides from the cat being terminally ill, some cats in their usual active shape, die in their sleep too – but usually, in cases like this, the cat must have suffered a severe health condition in the past or must have been bitten by a poisonous animal or insect, and this wasn’t noticed.

Some of these severe conditions are highlighted below:

Diabetic seizures: Some cats may be diabetic, and the owners would have no idea. Usually, in cases like this, the cat ends up showing no signs of being sick and may develop diabetic seizures in their sleep and die in their sleep without the knowledge of the owner.

When a cat develops a seizure, they lose functions in their body, and because they end up biting their tongue. Getting a necropsy is the only way to know what caused the death of the cat.

Cardiac Arrest: This is also another reason why a cat would die in their sleep. When this happens, they would remain in a sleeping position but have foam around their mouth and nose. Also, their eyes would be slightly open. The foam around the mouth usually often occurs after death.

Stroke and Blood clot: Stroke could also be one of the reasons cats die in their sleep. If they have suffered a massive stroke while asleep, then they would die in their sleep.

Poisoning might be intentional or unintentional. Unintentional, being that the cat may have eaten a poisonous substance such as expired medicines, caffeine, oil, poisoned rodents, etc., substance you didn’t give the cat to it and substance no one necessarily gave the cat to eat.
If you keep your cats indoors, you would not necessarily need to bother about this being the cause of death in their sleep.

If you keep your cats indoors, you would not necessarily need to bother about this being the cause of death in their sleep.

To discover the main reason behind the death of your cat, you need to take the cat to the vet for a quick necropsy lab exam as soon as you discover it.

Feline Heartworm Disease: This is one of the common diseases in cats and also one of the reasons why healthy cats die in their sleep. Occasionally, this disease gives no warning. This is usually caused by a plague of an organism called Dirofilaria immitis. And the seriousness depends on the number of worms already infested in the body of the cat.


Unfortunately, every living being must die at some point in their lifetime. If you own a pet, you would understand how painful it is to watch your dear friend reach the end of their lifespan.

There are certain behavioral changes to look out for in your cat. Most acts would display these behaviors before they die.

  • A LOWER HEART RATE: This could signify that a cat is reaching the end of its life. A healthy cat’s heartrate should be between 140 and 220 beats/minute (bpm). If you feel any changes in the way a cat is breathing, feel the cat’s heart rate – If, after checking the heart rate, you discover that the heart rate has dropped to a fraction of the normal heart rate, this could be a sign that death is near for the cat.
  • THE TEMPERATURE OF THE CAT: The temperature of a healthy cat should be between 100- and 102.5-degrees Fahrenheit. The heart would become weak for a cat nearing death, which would cause the cat to be lower than the healthy temperature – below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If you think your cat’s temperature is falling, you can check the cat’s temperature by using a thermometer.
  • LOSS OF FOOD APPETITE: Towards the end of a cat’s life, they tend to stop eating and drinking as much – this is very common with cats reaching the end of their lifespan. If the water and food dish of your cat seems always to be full, this may be because death is near

They may also start to lose a lot of weight, have loose skin, and start to look anorexic. While this particular symptom might not mean the cat is dying, it is always better to very vigilant and visit a vet for a veterinarian examination as a loss of appetite might say there is also an underlying medical condition.

  • CATS MAY ALSO DEVELOP AN ODOR: Toxins build up in the body when the cat’s organs begin to shut down, and this tends to create a foul odor. Because there is no way of getting rid of toxins in their system, this smell gets worse over time.
  • THE CAT SEEKS OUT SOLITUDE: Cats, particularly those in the wild, understand that during the near-death period of their life, they are more vulnerable, especially to predators, so they isolate themselves in a quiet place where they can pass away peacefully.

Indoor cats who are dying can choose to hide under a piece of furniture, in an empty room, or if you usually let your cat out, it looks for a cool place outside even away from the owner. They may decide not to come out for meals, water and to use the litter box.

  • CHANGES IN BREATHING PATTERN: As their respiratory systems begin to fail, they pant more and make wheezing or gurgling sounds; this, they do with their mouth open and tongue sticking out.

A cat panting and throwing itself around would mean they are suffering, and death is near.

  • CHANGE IN APPEARANCE: The appearance of the cat changes as it reaches its end of life. They groom less and less, and because they are too weak to take care of themselves, they begin to look untidy.

Some cats would experience problems with their sight – some become blind while some develop some kind of white coat around their eyes, or the eyes may generally appear dilated.

Their Furs shed in large amounts and may even develop a matted fur by peeing on itself.

  • SEIZURES: Cats tend to exhibit frequent seizures when they are about to die. The cat would not be responsive between convulsions and will be too weak even to try to get up.

If your cat exhibits any of the signs mentioned, it does not necessarily mean the cat is about to die. You still have to take your cat to a vet who would be able to decipher if your cat is dying.


Even as most people would prefer their cats to die peacefully in their sleep, this is not always possible because the cat might be terminally ill and in much pain.

The goal is to give your cat the longest and most comfortable life, not just the longest. So, if you think the pain endured by your cat is more than the happy days, there are some tough decisions you would have to make after the vet’s diagnosis. The bad days in this context could be one of the signs mentioned above that will tell you there is something wrong with your cat.

Euthanasia is one option your vet would recommend to you if you think your cat is in severe pain and has untreatable cancers, kidney failure, heart disease, respiratory diseases, pancreatitis, etc. When you visit the vet with your cat, the vet would decide and advise you if it is time to let the cat go. In this case, you would need to decide what to do with the remains of your cat.

In some cases, making the cat very comfortable and providing a very comfortable environment would help the cats die at home peacefully.
This can be done by placing the cat in an airy room or a large cage, including water, a litter box, and a comfortable bed, reducing surrounding noise, keeping the lying area clean at all times, depending on the time of day, adjust the lighting wherever the cat is placed.


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