Yes, cats tend to hide when they are dying depending on the severity of their condition, your cat’s personality and how much they are impaired cognitively. Severely ill cats tend to forget their relationship with their owners while those with dementia do not really know what they are doing anymore.
According to researchers, dying cats also seem to revert to the instinctive behavior that is common among cats in the wild. They tend to seek hiding places away from the colony to protect their colony-mates from contracting disease and to evade predators.
Cats may also hide from their owners when they are dying because they are in great pain and they are in a sensitive state. Being petted or touched could be uncomfortable in their condition. Thus, they tend to seek out isolated and dark spots to hide in and to be alone.
Dying felines that have access to the outdoors tend to hide in cool and shaded areas like thickets of wild grasses or under vehicles or bushes. Indoor cats typically hide in the cellar, a storage room or under beds. Aside from hiding, they will rarely come out for their meals, to drink water or to use their litter box.
Signs that your cat is dying
These are the signs that your cat is nearing her end aside from hiding:
- she is extremely weak, lethargic and refuses to move
- she sleeps more than usual
- she has lost interest in eating and drinking
- she has a lower body temperature
- she has seizures
- she loses interest in grooming herself and has a detectable odor due to the build-up of uneliminated toxins
If your indoor cat is manifesting the signs mentioned above, the best that you can do is to provide her with a cozy, soft and warm bed so she will be comfortable. Keep her bedding clean as a dying cat will not be able to control her bladder anymore. Carry her to the litter box if she doe not go there herself. Most importantly, consult your vet on what to do in administering end-of-life care for your cat.
Do cats hide when they are sick?
Yes, cats will hide when they are sick. However, this will depend on the personality of your cat. Some cats tend to become more clingy and will demand attention while some will become cranky, aggressive and irritable. Sick cats tend to have lower energy levels and they are not their usual selves.
Other symptoms of a sick cat aside from hiding include the following:
- unpredictable mood change
- dilated or constricted pupils
- loses interest to play
- may become more vocal or will stop meowing
- changes in eating or drinking habits
- sudden weight gain or loss
- difficulty in breathing
Do cats prefer to die alone?
Cat experts believe that cats do not prefer to die alone but their instincts dictate them to do so. It is instinctive for cats to hide in a dark, cool and secluded area when they are very ill or dying. They do this to hide from predators, be alone to get rest and to seek comfort.
Do all cats hide when they die?
While most cats tend to hide when they die, some will not. This will generally depend on how much they are impaired cognitively, their personality and the cause of death or severity of the condition. However, most cats will hide when they die since this behavior is driven by their instincts.
Where do dying cats hide?
Dying cats will usually hide in cool and shaded places like thickets of wild grasses, under cars or among thickets of wild grasses. Cats that are mostly staying indoors will retreat into dark areas of your home like the cellar, under a bed or closet or a vacant storage room.
It is heartbreaking to realize that your once affectionate and frisky cat is nearing her end. Aside from noticeable signs like weakness and loss of interest in eating, drinking and playing, your cat will also seek out and hide in dark and isolated areas. Cats tend to hide when they are dying since they may be pain and want to be alone to rest and self-soothe. It is also instinctive since, like cats in the wild, the purpose is to evade predators and to stop the spread of disease to other cats in the colony.
Image: istockphoto.com / MarinaZg