When a cat knows that it is dying, it typically runs away in some isolated area where there aren’t any humans or other animals around.

 There are actually some interesting reasons why these animals do this. Learning about this will help you prepare for the inevitable with your beloved kitty.

Why Cats Go Away to Die

It is a fact that some (but not all) cats do in fact run away to die. These animals can often sense when their life is coming to a close, and they venture off to be alone. It is important to keep in mind that this isn’t personal. It’s not that your cat is trying to get away from you.

There are different theories about why cats have a strong instinctual impulse to hide away when they are dying. It is very likely that these animals do this because they want to be in a quiet space in their final moments. It is also possible that your cat just doesn’t want you to see it die.

Some cats are on the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of how they act when death is near. These animals sometimes curl up close to their owners when they sense death looming overhead. Not all cats are the same when it comes to how they behave at the end of their life.

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How to Tell if Your Cat is Dying

There are certain signs to look for when it comes to a dying cat. You will need to know if your cat is at the end of its life so you can take the proper actions.

1. Shallow Breathing

A cat that is close to death will exhibit very shallow breathing. This is due to the fact that their heart is weakened and cannot provide their body with enough oxygen to breathe normally. If you notice this in your cat, you’ll want to get them to the vet right away. There might be nothing that can be done, but it’s still something you should do.

sad old cat

2. Lower Body Temperature

Cats that are near the end of their life tend to have a lower body temperature than healthy cats or even ones that are just sick. You can tell that your cat’s temperature is very low just by feeling them once it hits 98 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Weight Loss

Extremely weight loss due to not eating at all is one of the most common signs of a dying cat. This is definitely something else that you will want to look out for in your kitty. It is not normal for your cat to refuse food entirely.

If you ever find that your cat is not eating, you’ll need to take them to the vet immediately to get checked out. This is most likely a sign that something is very wrong.

4. Slowed Heart Rate

When a cat is getting closer and closer to death, their heart rate drops precipitously. A normal heart rate for a cat is anywhere from 140 to 220 beats per minute. If your cat’s heart rate is under 140, you need to get them examined right away.

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There are lots of different reasons for a slowed heart rate in cats, so you need to keep that in mind. While your cat could just be sick, they might be close to dying.

What to Do When Your Cat Is Dying

If your cat runs off to die, you’ll want to stay by its side. While it might seem like the best thing to do is to honor its primal instincts, you don’t want your kitty to go out of this world alone. This is something that you will likely end up regretting down the line. Once your cat has passed on, you can take them to a local veterinary clinic to have their body cremated.

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Other Reasons That Cats Run Away

There are a number of other possible explanations for your cat running away, whether it is inside or outside your home. You shouldn’t just automatically assume that they are dying, as there are other reasons to consider.

1. They Are Just Sick

It is possible that your cat ran away to be alone just because it is sick. Just think about—don’t you want peace and quiet when you don’t feel good? Your kitty might just want some alone time until it starts feeling better.

If your cat is sick, you should closely monitor their condition while respecting their space. You don’t want to make them feel even worse than they already do.

2. They Want to Get Away from Another Pet

If you have another cat or a dog in your house that is bullying your kitty, they might run away in another area of the house to be alone. It is important that you watch how your pets interact so you know if something like this is going on.

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It might be necessary to get rid of the pet that is causing trouble if it keeps happening or gets even worse. The last thing you want is for your cat to get injured by another pet.


  • While not all cats run off when they sense the end is near, some of them do.
  • It is most likely the case that some cats run off to die because they want a peaceful place to rest before passing on.
  • It’s also possible that your cat wants to spare you the spectacle of its dying.
  • Some of the common signs that a cat is near death include shallow breathing, weight loss due to not eating, slowed heart rate, and lower-than-normal body temperature.
  • If your cat runs off to die, you should stay by its side to quietly comfort them in their last moments.
  • Your cat may also run off it is just sick and wants to be alone in a quiet place for a while.
  • Some cats that don’t get along with other pets in the house run away.
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Hi! I'm Anna and I´m a certified cynologist (KAU, ACW). Expert, blue cross volunteer, owner of Chinese crested kennel "Salvador Dali" and breedless friend called Fenya. "I can't imagine my life without dogs and I totally support the idea #AdoptDontShop".