While it’s unpleasant to think about, the truth is that eventually, our beloved cats will die.
We hope that our cats live full lives and eventually die from old age, and thanks to advances in veterinary care, that’s often the case. Sometimes, though, illness or accidents take our kitties from us prematurely.
Knowing the facts about feline longevity and mortality can go a long way in preparing you for the eventual death of your beloved pet. While it’s difficult to think about, having the facts and knowing the warning signs can be immensely helpful.
In this article, we’ll cover the following:
Everyone has their own ideas about what happens to our cats after they leave this life. Many people rely on religion to help them cope with their pet’s death, while others take a less dogmatic approach.
Still others don’t believe in an afterlife at all and choose to treasure their pets during their mortal life without the expectation that there is anything after death.
Different religions have different ideas about what happens to animals after death. The Ancient Egyptians believed that cats would go to heaven (which they called “ The Field of Reeds”) and revered in the afterlife just as they were admired in life.
Many Buddhists believed in karmic rebirth (“samsara”) for both animals and humans.
There is much debate within the three major Abrahamic religions (Islam, Judaism and Christianity) about whether or not animals, including cats, go to heaven after death. Despite the varied theological responses, many faithful members of all three of these religions believe that their beloved cats will join them in the afterlife.
Another popular theory is that of the “rainbow bridge.” This narrative, which is relatively modern, tells us that our pets (cats included!) wait for us when they die. Upon our own death, we are reunited with our pets and cross the rainbow bridge together.
Your beliefs about where cats go when they die will depend a lot on your views about death and the afterlife in general, as well as your thoughts on whether or not cats have immortal souls.
Many cat owners find that studying up religion isn’t helpful, and choose simply to go with what they feel in their hearts to be true.
The rainbow bridge story gives a lot of comfort to many cat owners all around the world.
Most cats that are kept as domestic pets die of old age. Cats are hardy critters, and with proper veterinary care, many of them enjoy long, happy, lives.
Serious illnesses such as cancer sometimes take our pets from us prematurely, as do accidents (such as being hit by a car).
Many accidents can be prevented with proper supervision and by keeping your cat indoors. Many illnesses can be prevented by feeding your cat a healthy diet, making sure they are current on their vaccinations, bringing them to their annual vet visit, and keeping an eye on their general health.
While there is no way to prevent your cat from dying eventually, there are some steps you can take throughout their life to help them have the longest life possible. It’s important to:
All living beings die, including our beloved feline friends. If properly cared for, many cats can live long and happy lives with their human companions. In fact, cats have one of the longest lifespans of mammalian pets and have been known to live upwards of twenty years!
Most cats die from old age and illness. While many illnesses can be prevented with proper care, not all of them can be. Some cats die because of accidents, though this is more common with cats that live outdoors.
Luckily for all the cat lovers of the world, cats have relatively long lifespans. That’s one of the reasons why cats make such wonderful pets; we get to love them for a long time!
The oldest cat to ever live was a beautiful cat named Creme Puff. Crème Puff, who enjoyed a quiet life with her owner in Austin, Texas, died at the ripe old age of 38!
Crème Puff was extraordinary though, and sadly most cats don’t live to be nearly 40.
If properly cared for, many house cats live between 13 and 17 years old. Feral cats live much shorter lives, sadly, and rarely make it past a few years of age.
While some cats die suddenly either because of an accident or a sudden illness, many cats simply die of old age.
In these cases, there are a few telltale signs that the end is near. Recognizing these signs is important, as it allows you to be emotionally prepared and to help your cat during their final transition.
Some physical signs that your cat may be dying are:
If you know that your cat is sick or if your cat is very old and they start exhibiting these signs, bring them to the vet before jumping to conclusions. Some of these signs are simply a sign of illness. However, if your cat exhibits all of these signs, the end may be near.
Some owners choose to let their cat die naturally at home, which can be soothing and comforting for both the cat and the owner. Others choose euthanasia, or “putting them to sleep,” especially if the cat is suffering.
There is no wrong or right choice when it comes to how you handle end-of-life care for your beloved companion. You and your vet can make the choice that feels right for you and your pet.
Your thoughts about where your beloved cat will go once they leave this earth are yours alone! They may depend on your religious beliefs, your feelings about animals in general, and your beliefs about an afterlife for human beings.
Most cat owners give plenty of thought to their cat’s afterlife. And why not? We love our cats and it makes sense that we would think about what comes next for them.
No matter what you believe, one thing is certain: we have the power to help our cats live as long as possible. Keeping your cat indoors, feeding them a high-quality food such as Blue Buffalo, and paying attention to their health throughout their life will all go a long way in helping to ensure you have your kitty with you for as long as possible.
What do you think happens to our cats after they die? Has any particular story or belief system given you a lot of comfort? Tell us about it in the comments!
After moving to New York City from Rome, Italy, I began working in the nonprofit world. Despite my day job, my passion has always been animals, especially dogs and cats, and writing. What better way to combine the two? I’ve been a pet owner for 15 years, and my menagerie includes dogs, cats, hamsters and the occasional hermit crab. My beloved cat, Mozart, who I found as a newborn kitten, sparked my love for felines and is now nearly 15 years old. I am an enthusiastic volunteer at the local ASPCA, where I enjoy spending time with the cats and cleaning up after the dogs. I’ve been writing about pet ownership and care for the past five years.