That can be the effect, yes. Cats tend to hide when they aren’t feeling well. This isn’t a sense of death, but a survival tactic: they’re in no condition to run or to fight back if attacked, so they try to avoid discovery until they’re better. A cat that has one or more humans trying to look after it would do better to let them know of the problem and stay near, and some will do just that, but instinct is strong. Think about it: you, too, when you’re sick, probably want to curl up in bed and be left alone.
Cats that have access to the outdoors may pick a hiding spot you cannot find, or don’t know to look for, and die there. In a sense, they’ve left you to die, though that wasn’t their intention. If yours doesn’t seem quite well and then disappears, please try your best to find it and get it to the vet. Maybe they can treat the problem, maybe they can only shorten the suffering, but even then, if you have any business at all having a pet, you don’t want it to suffer needlessly.
Indoor only cats have a harder time vanishing, but if yours suddenly starts spending all her time in a relatively isolated, closed in space, please get her checked out. My cat took to hiding between the bathroom sink and tub and wouldn’t come out, and turned out to have a broken tooth. One vet visit later and she’s back to her old happy self, but if I hadn’t known the hiding was a sign, she could have gone on for months like that, and you probably know how much pain she was in.
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