Not long ago, when cats spent more time outdoors, many owners noticed that their cats would sense when they were about to die and would spend some time with each family member before vanishing into the night for the last time. Now that more cats spend their entire lives indoors, it can be harder to notice this behavior, but many owners say it still occurs. The word is that they will let you know when it’s their time.
But can cats really tell when their time is up, and can they tell when your time is up too, as many experts suggest? While there are symptoms and behavior that can suggest your cat knows it’s close to the end of its own life, it seems that cats can pick up on certain scents that the human body produces just before death. Keep reading while we dive deeper into these peculiar answers.
Can Cats Sense Their Death?
While no one is quite sure what a cat knows or feels, there are some strong indications that your cat knows when its time is coming to an end. Most owners notice a change in the cat’s behavior early on. A cat that was aloof will now become cuddly, while a cat that always loved attention will withdraw. It may spend less time grooming, and its appearance will suffer. The fur can become dirty and matted, and there may be other changes in appearance as well, like a sunken face or glazed-over eyes that rarely blink. It may also eat and drink less, break housetraining, and even cry when you pick it up due to being in pain.
However, these symptoms can be signs of other illnesses as well that may not be life-threatening. We recommend taking your pet to the vet immediately if you notice these symptoms in your pet.
More serious symptoms of impending death include seizures, which often occur when a cat reaches old age and is in failing health. Sudden changes in breathing can also be a bad sign, like wheezing or walking with their mouth open and tongue hanging out. Your pet will also look for a comfortable and quiet place to spend its last minutes. If your cat spends time outside, it will look for a cool shady area, like under a car, bush, or thick grass. If your cat stays inside, it may begin hiding under a bed or in a closet in a less populated part of the house.
As the end nears, it may refuse to leave this place to eat, drink, or use the litter box. These symptoms often indicate that the cat is near the end of its life, and there is little you can do for it but try to make it as comfortable as possible.
Euthanizing A Cat
Unfortunately, the best thing to do for some cats is to have them euthanized to protect them from extensive suffering, and most house cats will end their life this way. When doctors can no longer treat your cat for severe pain, cancer, respiratory distress, kidney failure, and a few other illnesses, you will need to say goodbye to your cat. It’s never easy, but recognizing your cat is reaching the end of its life can help you take the proper steps to make it comfortable and enjoy what time you have left.
Can Cats Sense When Humans Are Going To Die?
There is plenty of evidence that cats and many other animals can sense when a person is about to die. One example is of a two-year-old cat named Oscar that accurately predicted more than 25 deaths of patients in an advanced dementia ward in a nursing and rehabilitation center. In each case, Oscar would jump into the bed of the ailing person, cuddle up with them and begin to purr, to help bring some comfort to them and to their family members. If put out of the room, Oscar would stand at the door and cry and scratch to get back in.
In each case, the person died within a few hours of the cat’s visit. Many other people have experienced something similar, and most experts believe it is more likely due to their keen sense of smell than an ability to predict the future.
It’s quite likely that as the body is shutting down, chemical reactions occur that could affect our natural scent. Cats have sensitive noses that can detect the pheromones they use to mark their territory, and there’s a good chance they can smell our death approaching. If the cat is friendly like Oscar or cares for you like your pet, there is a good chance that they will take the opportunity to spend the last few minutes with you.
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There is strong evidence that cats sense their death and the death of humans. Far too often, our pets are gone before we know what happened, so it’s important to watch for these signs so we can get them the help we need and maximize our time with them. Their ability to smell death on humans allows them to provide comfort in a person’s last moments.
We hope you have enjoyed reading and learned some new things about your cat. If we have answered your question, please share our look into if cats can really sense and predict death on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured image credit: g3gg0, pixabay