How Skinny Can a Cat Get Before It Dies? (There Is No Exact Number)

How skinny can a cat get before it dies? That’s a difficult question, but the general answer might be that your cat might be dying if her weight is under 7 pounds. What we can say for sure is that the cats lose weight before death.

There are lots of reasons why cats start to lose weight.

Whatever that may be, we can be sure that weight loss, weakness, and death go hand in hand with felines.

Let’s get into it more!

Do cats get skinny before they die?

As I said, dying cats often get weak and lose weight. For this reason, we can say yes. Cats do get skinny before they die.

To be more accurate, getting skinny or weight loss is a sign of dying due to old age.

Although felines sometimes pass away due to accidents and illness, the rest of them, like us, tend to live out their lives.

Felines that die of old age show many signs, and one of these is weight loss, which starts with loss of appetite.

As felines grow old, they also get to change their eating habits. If your pet is already of its old age, then you may notice a change in its diet.

Some old felines start eating less and less until they stop eating anything at all.

The loss of appetite can be due to many complications. Whatever that is, losing appetite can lead to a faster weakening of felines.

Cats don’t get skinny due to approaching death. Still, we can say both weight loss and death interlink each other.

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Is it normal for old cats to be skinny?

Yes, it is quite familiar for old cats to be skinny since they start losing their appetite as they get older.

A study shows that weight loss in old cats happens due to many kinds of complications.

I wouldn’t go far by explaining each cause. One inevitable thing is that complications are typical as cats age, the same as we do.

As we get older, our bodies tend to have many complications, leading to many effects, among these are appetite loss.

With felines, complications happen most in their late age as well. As a result, they tend to affect their appetite, and they eventually get skinny.

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Will cats starve themselves to death?

skinny old cat

Cats don’t starve themselves to death, at least not intentionally.

It’s a common thing for felines to lose their appetite, mostly if they’re quite old.

In our perspective, a dying cat may look like it’s starving itself by not eating.

However, we should keep in mind that these old felines happen to lose their appetite.

Accordingly, a feline’s body enters a state of starvation after 24-48 hours without eating anything.

At this point, their bodies start converting their remaining fat to energy to survive.

It’s also the reason why they get so skinny as their death approaches.

Generally, a feline can survive one to two weeks, as long as they are drinking water.

However, without protein intake, they’ll likely pass away after 3-4 days.

Without both water and food, a cat won’t survive more than three days.

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How do you nurse a starving cat back to health?

A starving cat may be quite challenging to feed, especially since they already lost the appetite to eat.

However, you can do something to provide some nutrients for it.

Give the starving feline some wet food that has a lot of protein content.

Instead of dry food, the wet one would help hydrate the cat while providing it some protein.

You can also add some fish oil or brewer’s yeast for additional energy.

Lastly, you can take to the vet so that it can get immediate medical attention.

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What are the signs of a cat dying?

If a cat is already in its dying stage, it will show some signs that are quite noticeable for us. These are the following:

Loss of Appetite

As I said above, it’s a common thing for cats to lose their appetite as they age.

Like other animals, a feline’s body knows that it takes quite an effort to work its way to food and drinks.

If a cat is dying, it gets weak enough to consume anything.

Extreme Weakness

A dying feline also lessens its movement and activity. We all know that cats are active pets, and they move around almost all the time.

Thus, if your pet stays lying down most of the time, it means it’s weak enough to move. Older felines also sleep a lot more than usual.

Their temperature goes down

As a feline’s heart weakens, the whole body temperature drops down drastically.

If you feel their paws are cool to the touch, it can mean their heart is already starting to slow down.

Changes in Appearance and Scent

Cats love to groom themselves, and that’s a pretty obvious act since they spend most of their time doing it.

As our feline pets start to get weak, they start losing the energy to groom themselves. Thus, they start looking messy.

Further, dying felines develop a particular odor as their organ starts to shut down. It only gets worse as their death approaches more.

Seeking Loneness and Solitude

As soon as old felines get too ill, they start seeking time alone. These cats do so out of instinct since they know they’re in a vulnerable state for predators.

Thus, hiding is their responsibility to protect themselves until they die.

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Cats have a shorter lifespan than us, which means we can witness how they start as kittens and how they’ll die of old age.

As saddening as it is for us, our feline pets do get to live out their lives and die in a weakening state as well.

The important thing is that we were able to respond to all their needs. Further, we were able to let them rest in peace by the time they get old.


Veterinary Medicine at Illinois study about older cats and weight loss

Image credits – Photos by Lucas Ludwig and Cédric VT on Unsplash

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