The owners of cats are often distressed with the fact that their cherished pets try to leave the “native home” before the death. Some time after the sudden disappearance they are found by the owners, somewhere in the garden or behind the shed or even in the more hidden place. People are surprised and can’t understand why their pets refused the possible assistance when they had felt that they were seriously ill. Is it possible that even the most attentive and careful owners mean nothing for the cats? And leaving people in such moments proves this.
But don’t accuse yourself in vain. Phenomenon of “lonely death” is not new. One Eastern author wrote long ago, in 1708, that the special characteristic of cats is their disappearance from the observe field of people, and its aim is not to show to people the dying glance which is really horrible. Much later the writer Aldan Devo gave the same commentary: “He left home one day for never to come back. He felt that the death gradually was approaching and he was ready to meet it as wild animals did. It meant - alone. The cat didn’t want to die sensing and hearing people. And to the time when death had done its last sudden and quick stroke he crept to the place where the proud wild animal must die not to the soft thick pillows but to the lonely quiet place where he could leave this cruel world with dignity”.
The following descriptions are something more than the simple romantic stories, such stories we can meet in the books of many different writers. Most probably we have met special phenomenon. And such cases we can meet very often and they expels the typical feature of cat’s character. If we spoke only about some cases you could think that the death got the animals just at that moments when they were far from home. It is clear that the men who died because of heart attack during the walk along the forest hadn’t looked for the “lonely death”. But for the cats it is typical, so we can hardly explain their actions in such a way.
To understand the behavior of cats it is very important to answer the question how they understand the death. All the people know that the time to die will come and so they behave accordingly. But cats have not any idea about their own death and that’s why they can’t understand or feel it beforehand no matter how sick they are. The illness attack means for the cat as for any other animal that it something is wrong with it. If they feel pain they think that somebody attacks them. It is very difficult for the animal to differentiate one kind of pain from another. If the pain grows the animal understands that the danger is serious. If the cat can’t see the source of danger it means that it doesn’t know how to protect of. Two ways remains: either to run away or to hide. If the pain gets the cat during walks then its natural reaction is to hide from the “assailant”. If the cat sees a shed or any other shelter it will use it without doubts to hide there and wait while the danger goes away and the pain stops. It won’t go out while it feels the pain and that’s why it stays there dying alone. In spite of writers' suggestions at the moment of death cat thinks not about the feelings of its owners but just about that how to save itself from the terrible invisible danger which has hurt so much.
Even if we are so sorry for poor dying cat which doesn’t understand what is happening we must remember that it has the great advantage before us: it doesn’t know what the fear of death means which follows people during their whole long life.