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Do cats ever just die naturally in their sleep?

(21 Posts)
noarguments Mon 30-Aug-10 15:20:33

I have a very elderly cat (18) who I've had and loved dearly since she was 12 weeks old. She is very arthritic, quite deaf, very matted (can't reach to clean herself), she sleeps all day and all night, doesn't eat much these days etc etc.
She has always hated going to the vet and I'm hoping sad hmm that she is going to just go in her sleep when the time is right.

While she is still eating and just about moves about from day bed to night bed OK, I'm happy to leave her. But now I think I need to something about her matted coat - I've tried clearing it with a fur comb, but its impossible and it must feel horrible for her. I've spoken to the vet who says she needs to go in for a GA and a de-matt - this sounds too risky for an old cat, and she would hate being there.

Any views?

I've had cats all my life, but never known one to die naturally and peacefully at home - always have to be PTS because of illness. Does it happen? - I'd so like her to go like that IYSWIM.


Meow75 Mon 30-Aug-10 15:24:38

I think it does happen, but maybe if your vet was able to sort out her coat, she might have a decent spell left.

FWIW I'm in a similar position, but ours is a short hair and doesn't mind being groomed, so that helps a lot.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

LuckySalem Mon 30-Aug-10 15:24:40

Yes any animal can pass peacefully but i'd be reluctant to leave her so matted as it is pulling on her skin but like you say a G&A is bad for such an age.

Try ringing a few grooming places and seeing if they could do anything for her?

Northernlurker Mon 30-Aug-10 15:34:27

i think your options are to take to the vet and go for the GA to see if that will improve her quality of life. There is a chance she won't make it through - and that would be a peaceful end for her though pretty hard on you. Or you could have the vet come to the house and have her pts there. I don't think you should leave her as she is as fur cleaning is such a bidg thing for cats - it must be making her uncomfortable.

noarguments Mon 30-Aug-10 15:35:59

Never thought about cat grooming places. But she doesn't like me grooming her, so she'd be awful with anyone else, so I don't think that would work. Too stressful for her.

Poor puss cat.

Chaotica Mon 30-Aug-10 15:41:18

Our cat died peacefully in her sleep at 18. I'm so glad we didn't take her to the vet. But she wasn't uncomfortable as far as we can tell.

LuckySalem Mon 30-Aug-10 15:43:10

You can't allow her to carry on this way.
Ring the groomers anyway, some just have a knack - even with those who HATE it.

expatinscotland Mon 30-Aug-10 15:44:17

yes! MIL's 19-year-old ginger tom, Ginger, died in his sleep.

Lancelottie Mon 30-Aug-10 16:36:04

Our elderly cat died in her box on the way to the vet (asleep, I hope, rather than from the stress of the journey sad).

sorrento56 Mon 30-Aug-10 16:38:48

I don't know. Is having matted fur causing your cat any problems? Is it likely to cause her death? How risky is the GA? I would feel very upset to have gone the GA route to get her groomed and she then dies when she could have lived with the messy fur iygwim.

My cat is nearly 16 and I worry about her going.

musicmadness Mon 30-Aug-10 21:54:30

They can die naturally in their sleep. My neighbours cat did at 19. My neighbour thinks he knew his time was almost up, as the day before he died he came round our house and got me and my mum to fuss him (we looked after him regularly for neighbours holidays etc), then went and curled up next to my dog for a while. Apparently when he went back home he snuggled up to their little girl for a while then went and sat on the womans lap (his owner, she had the cat before she had met her husband!) and fell asleep and he died in his sleep. She thinks he was saying goodbye to everyone. Very sad but at least he didn't suffer.

BelleDameSansMerci Mon 30-Aug-10 21:58:02

musicmadness that's brought tears to my eyes...

I have heard that they do know when they're going to die. Probably just another old wives' tale but I think cats are very special (says the woman currently sandwiched between my most beloved old boy cat and the new young whippersnapper kitten).

kid Mon 30-Aug-10 22:04:01

My parents had a cat that was suffering from heart failure. The vet gave them some tablets to make him more comfortable. He was okay for a while but it become clear that he wasn't going to survive much longer so my dad took him to the vets just down the road. By the time they got there, he had passed away sad

imamissandamummy Mon 30-Aug-10 22:12:07

brought a tear to my eye. my dear old boy cat looked so tired today and didnt eat a thing until bedtime when i managed to tempt him with a slice of ham. he had a drink of water then went off to the garden.
he sleeps outside and each morning its a heart-stopping moment when i call them both (him and sister) and they dont both come together. if he goes in the night, i hope i can find him straight away. i would keep him in overnight, but he gets stressed and mews at the door as doesnt like soiling inside the house. he likes his routine and would be selfish of me to keep him in when he wants to be out.
oh why are they so lovely, i dont want him to go

feelingafailure Tue 14-Dec-10 06:26:25

we did know tootsie was dying.i found him dead.he was dead when he he wasnt in pain. went vets.not nice to see an animal suffer.he didnt really.he was lucky.

stealthsquiggle Tue 14-Dec-10 07:21:46

One of mine went off and went to sleep behind neighbour's shed and didn't wake up.

Sadly it was some time before she was found - unmolested but frozen - so I had all the stress of searching for her and imagining she had been run over sad

OP - I think it is a judgement call as to how much her matted fur bothers her.

FWIW, current DCat is 18+ and still capable of behaving like a kitten - she has just got more vocal and stroppy in old age hmm

deltoro10 Mon 18-Jun-18 06:39:58

Dear nonargument, i do not know if i am doing this right, haven't posted here, not that i remember. 2 of my kitties are nearing moving on. as far as grooming, i have always hired a groomer to come to my house. and i have always had to pts too. wish my kitties would just go on their own in their sleep. i also have a 24 hour vet service that will come to my own to let them go. i so hope i don't have to do that. i am so very sorry about your kitty. s

Grumpyoldpersonwithcats Mon 18-Jun-18 07:51:41

One of mine did aged 17. We found him curled up in a sunny spot by the river at the bottom of a neighbouring garden. Great way to go.

Els1e Mon 18-Jun-18 08:07:12

My friends cat did at age 21. Just went for morning snooze in her day bed and quietly died. She was a long hair cat who had given up on grooming. My friend just cut the matts out. Looked odd but who cares. She was comfortable and not stressed by a visit to the vets.

Weedsnseeds1 Mon 18-Jun-18 22:59:06

My old girl got matted in her latter years, she hated being brushed, but, oddly, would allow me to use clippers on her.
Looked like the sheepdog from the old Specsavers advert, but did the job.

AlexaAmbidextra Tue 19-Jun-18 00:12:38

The thing that bothers me about hanging on, hoping that unwell animals die in their sleep is this. Animals, especially cats are extremely good at masking pain and illness. They have to be as if they showed any weakness in the wild they would very quickly become prey. For this reason I don’t think it’s easy for an owner, however caring, to make an informed judgement on whether their cat is suffering. The temptation to tell yourself they’re not suffering and to hope they die without intervention is very strong. I know, I’ve felt it. However, at times like this I think we need to be brave and do what’s right for our beloved pet and not take what will be the easier way for us.

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