Saying Goodbye: How to Make the Most of Your Cat’s Final Days
Saying Goodbye: How to Make the Most of Your Cat’s Final Days

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Saying Goodbye: How to Make the Most of Your Cat’s Final Days

As a cat owner, you know a few things for certain: that cats are wonderful and amazing creatures, that nothing beats a purring cat on a warm lap, and that one day, sadly, your cat will leave you for good. Realizing that your cat is nearing the end of their life is never easy, but hopefully these tips and insights will help you navigate through this emotional, often painful process.

Knowing When It’s Time to Say Goodbye

Letting your cat go is the most difficult decision a pet owner has to make. Like people, cats’ bodies eventually begin to decline due to age. To help you make the most informed decision for your cat, here are some signs it may be time to say farewell:

 

  • Your cat is no longer eating, or eats very little.
  • Your cat has lost a significant amount of weight.
  • Your cat is increasingly lethargic or has lost interest in favorite activities.
  • Your cat is no longer using the litter box.
  • Veterinary care or treatment has not been successful.

 

As you weigh your options, make sure to reach out to your vet, as well as friends or family who have lost a pet: 

 

  • Discuss your cat’s condition with your vet: Their professional medical opinion and training will help reassure you that it may be better for your cat to move on.
  • Talk to friends who’ve lost a pet: Discussing your situation with friends who have lost a pet is a comforting way to know you’re not alone. You can also learn what to expect from their experiences.

 

two cats

 

Helping Your Cat Enjoy Their Final Days

While you won’t be able to prevent their eventual departure, you can still ensure your cat’s final days are comfortable and full of love.

 

Spend Quality Time Together

Take extra time to remind your cat of how much they mean to you. Give them extra ear skritches and cuddles, and say anything you want to tell them.

 

Keep Them Warm

Older cats tend to be thin, making it harder for them to stay warm. Make sure they’re able to catnap in toasty areas: near heating vents, in a sunny spot or a cozy cat bed, or — their favorite — your lap.

 

Give Them Easy Access

Your senior cat isn’t as athletic as they once were, so give them an assist with steps or ramps so they can still hang out in their favorite elevated places. Also make sure they can easily get to the litter box. Getting a lower-sided box or putting one on every floor of your home helps reduce the risk of accidents.

 

windchime cat

 

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cat memories

 

Help Them Maintain Their Senior Style

Cats of a certain age have more difficulty grooming themselves. You can help by gently brushing them more often and clipping their nails. This not only keeps them looking as beautiful as ever, but is also a great way to spend some quality time together.

 

Provide Peace and Quiet

Cats are creatures of habit, so now is not the time to make any drastic changes in their routine or introduce a new pet to the household. They love the life you’ve created for them and will be more relaxed if their established routines continue uninterrupted.

 

Give Everyone a Chance to Say Goodbye

Allowing family members — including other pets — a chance to say farewell will go a long way toward easing their grief. Be very clear about your decision so everyone knows you have your cat’s best interests at heart. 

 

Preserving Your Cat’s Memory

It’s OK to feel sad when a beloved cat moves on to the big catnip field in the sky. Pets are members of the family, after all! Don’t be afraid or ashamed to grieve your loss. To help ease those feelings, try some of these suggestions.

 

Remember the Love (and the Head Boops)

Your pet may have passed, but all of those wonderful memories are yours forever. That cute thing they did with their head, their funny meow, how they always insisted on sitting on your computer … don’t be afraid to reminisce and enjoy those memories.

 

Hold a Memorial Ceremony

Some people find holding a memorial provides a sense of closure and pays tribute to everything their pet meant to them. Cremation is common with pets, so you can put their remains somewhere on your property where they’ll be close. Feel free to make a speech or raise a toast — whatever you want to honor their memory.

 

Keep Mementos

There are a number of ways you can keep your cat’s presence around your place to help evoke happy memories. Many vet offices offer to make an impression of your cat’s pawprint in clay as a keepsake. Maybe you’d like to hang some pictures or keep their collar or favorite toy on a bedside table. Even more important is the fact that all those memories will live on forever in your heart.

 

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cat memories
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windchime cat
  • gray and white kitten licking lips ready to eat healthy cat food containing taurine
    gray and white kitten licking lips ready to eat healthy cat food containing taurine

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    The Importance of Taurine in Kitten and Cat Food

    Taurine is an important component found in all IAMS™ kitten and cat foods. This important amino acid is essential for cats of all ages, and critical for healthy development, normal heart muscle function, vision and reproduction. It even aids in digestion!

     

    Unlike other amino acids, taurine is found as a free amino acid in body tissues, such as the heart and eyes, and is not incorporated into proteins.

     

    Most mammals manufacture taurine from other amino acids, but cats and kittens need more than their bodies can produce and rely on their food to make up the difference. Pet food’s animal-based protein ingredients are natural taurine sources, and the amino acid can also be added to pet food recipes on its own.

     

    Why Does IAMS™ Add Taurine to Kitten and Cat Food? 

    All IAMS™ kitten and cat foods are formulated with high-quality animal-based proteins that are naturally rich in taurine as their primary ingredient. So why supplement these foods with additional taurine? Two reasons: natural variability and the production process.

     

    IAMS™ Dry Cat Food: The Natural Variability 

    IAMS™ dry cat and kitten foods include taurine to supplement each food’s primary source of the amino acid — an animal-based protein like chicken, egg, lamb or fish. These natural sources naturally vary in their nutrient content, so adding supplemental taurine helps ensure your cat or kitten is getting enough in their diet every day.

     

    IAMS™ Wet Cat Food: The Production Process 

    For wet food, the canning process itself may affect the complex taurine balance of the food. That means IAMS™ wet cat foods must contain more taurine, as much as twice the taurine found in dry food, to ensure cats are getting enough.

     

    black kitten and white kitten laying on each other under a blanket, relaxed and full on healthy cat food containing taurine

     

    Symptoms of Taurine Deficiency in Cats and Kittens

    Cats and kittens need their taurine! Kittens need taurine for healthy growth and development, and adult cats that don’t get enough taurine can develop serious health conditions. Low levels of taurine put your pet at risk for preventable health conditions that can become serious over time.

     

    Impaired Vision and Blindness 

    Taurine is essential to the proper development and ongoing health of feline eyes, particularly the retinas. Without enough taurine, retinal cells can’t function properly and may die, which can cause impaired vision and even blindness (a process called feline central retinal degeneration).

     

    Heart Disease 

    Taurine plays a key role in supporting cardiovascular health, too. A lack of taurine weakens the heart muscle, which, in turn, can lead to heart failure. This condition is known as dilated cardiomyopathy and can be fatal.

     

    Decreased Reproductive Performance and Growth 

    Optimal reproductive health and growth also rely on taurine to complete a number of important health processes. Maintaining adequate levels during pregnancy, nursing and early growth helps ensure proper structural development for kittens and wellness for the mother.

     

     

    Feeding your pet well is an important part of taking care of them. Learning the importance of ingredients like taurine is one way you can ensure you’re giving them exactly what their body needs. By giving your kitten a healthy start and understanding  their nutritional needs, you’re giving them the best shot at a long, healthy and happy future. Your cat would thank you if they could!

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