A cat quality of life chart will help you determine your pet’s quality of life at the pet’s end. When the end of your cat’s disease comes, you may wonder if you should continue hospice care.
That will all depend on the pet’s condition, but with the help of your veterinarian and this quality-of-life scale, you won’t have any problems.
Cat Quality Of Life Chart (HHHHHMM Scale)
Feline cat owners can use this chart to see their cat’s health. Caregivers will have the advantage of grading every criterion with a scale from zero to ten. This way, they will know what quality of life a sick cat has at a certain moment.
Bond, Table 10.1, January 2007 and Quality of Life Scale Helps Make Final Call, Oncology
Outlook, VPN, 09/2004
How Do You Determine A Cat’s Quality Of Life?
How do you know when your cat’s quality of life is at an intolerable level due to escalating symptoms and organ failure? You are responsible for your cat’s quality of life and you need to help your cat to face the health issue or old age as easily as possible.
It’s crucial to assess whether the suggested course of action will worsen your cat’s quality of life. Does the potential gain justify the expense to your pet? At what point should you stop your treatment?
A renowned veterinary oncologist named Alice Villalobos founded the pet hospice service Pawspice and has spent the last 20 years setting the standard for animal end-of-life care.
She created the Feline Quality of Life (QoL) Scale in 2004 to assist veterinarians and families in evaluating a pet’s quality of life and assist pet owners in confronting difficult issues.
Making end-of-life decisions for your pet can be done more objectively if you evaluate their quality of life on a monthly, weekly, daily, or hourly basis as needed.
Focusing on the quality of life can help prevent unnecessary medical intervention, overtreatment, and reluctant early euthanasia in companion animals with terminal illnesses, according to the author.
The Quality of Life Scale may assist you in making one of the most difficult decisions of your life while also easing the guilt that comes with choosing to humanely put your cherished pet to sleep rather than keep her suffering.
According to Dr. Villalobos, “the QoL scale helps all caregivers to assess whether they are actually capable of giving their sick pet the necessary care to maintain their QoL.”
Quality of Life Scale
Seven fundamental factors are rated on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 representing the highest possible score: Hurt, Hunger, Hydration, Hygiene, Happiness, Mobility, and More Good Days Than Bad Days.
The ideal score would be 70, and anything over 35 is pretty much a good sign that you can and you should keep up with that hospice care or any given treatment option.
According to Dr. Villalobos, “modern pain management, high-tech medicine, and good nursing care can restore and maintain QoL and can extend the time between a terminal disease’s diagnosis and death.”
The seven stages of the Quality of Life Scale can be interpreted as follows:
The cat’s ability to breathe and adequate pain control comes first and foremost on the scale. People are unaware that the most painful experience in human medicine is being unable to breathe.
According to Dr. Villalobos, breathing is the most important function because if you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.
People say that having trouble breathing hurts more than breaking a bone. Watch the animal’s respirations for signs of labored breathing so you can act quickly to provide relief, the expert advises.
Respiratory distress is an emergency that needs to be treated right away, or there will be no quality of life for the animal and no humane reason to keep them in hospice care.
Increased vocalizations, panting or open-mouth breathing, frequent licking of one area, hiding from or avoiding interactions with family members, irritability when touched, inability to jump up to favorite places, altered litter-box habits, and constant purring. Cats tend to purr more when they are dying.
Kitties frequently conceal weight loss beneath their coats, so keeping an eye on your sick or elderly pet’s weight is crucial. If your cat isn’t eating on its own accord, your vet may recommend appetite stimulants like mirtazapine.
You can coax, hand-feed, force-feed, or even have an esophageal feeding tube surgically implanted while being closely supervised by your veterinarian.
Every sick cat needs to drink enough water: two teaspoons, or 10 ml per pound, per day. By lifting the skin between the shoulder blades and observing how quickly it retracts, you can determine whether your cat is dehydrated.
A hydrated animal’s skin will quickly return to its muscle, whereas a dehydrated animal’s skin will take longer to do so. Kittens that are dehydrated will have gums that feel tacky and possibly have sunken eyes.
The majority of the time, your veterinarian will advise you to administer subcutaneous fluids to your cat in order to supplement its fluid intake. Providing fluids at home can significantly improve your cat’s quality of life and help you save a ton of money.
Is your cat groomed and tidy? Has he matted his fur? Does he lie in his own eliminations or can he use the litter box? Cats that are unable to leave their waste will become bed sore and hurt. Because cats with the oral disease are unable to groom themselves, they quickly lose motivation.
By using a sponge that has been dampened with a highly diluted mixture of lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide, gently stroke your untidy cat’s face, paws, and legs in the manner that a mother would.
We can all agree that a cat’s happiness is important for the cat owner too, not only for the cat. According to Dr. Villalobos, you and your cat should be able to enjoy and be content with one another even as they near the end of their lives.
You must offer enrichment that promotes as much amusement and intellectual stimulation as you can. Plan an enjoyable time.
Is his favorite toy being pawed at or ignored? Does he share your bed? Does he still take pleasure in cuddling up on your lap? It is obvious that our pets speak to us through their eyes. Does he react when you give him some catnip?
Alternatively, does he appear down, lonely, nervous, bored, or afraid? Does he withdraw from others?
Can your cat move around and get up on its own enough to satiate normal needs? Is he stumbling or having seizures? Does he need assistance entering the litter box to relieve himself?
7. More Good Days Than Bad
On bad days, your cat might face seizures, nausea, irritability, diarrhea, or falling over. The pet’s quality of life is impacted when there are too many bad days in a row (or if the animal appears to have lost interest in living), according to Dr. Villalobos.
One of the hardest decisions you’ll ever have to make is whether to put your beloved cat to sleep through euthanasia.
What Health Conditions Can Affect Your Cat’s Health?
Most senior pets get one or more illnesses that usually get worse with time. Examples of medical conditions that affect older cats frequently include:
• Blindness can be caused by a variety of factors, including cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal degeneration.
• Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that can cause pain and stiffness in cats, especially as they age.
• Cancer is a serious condition that can affect various parts of a cat’s body, such as the lymph nodes, skin, and internal organs.
• Deafness can be congenital or acquired and can occur in one or both ears.
• Being overweight and obese can lead to a variety of health problems in cats, such as diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems.
• Chronic renal disease, also known as chronic kidney disease, is a common condition in older cats that occurs when the kidneys are unable to function properly
Cats can present unique health problems as they get older because they are already very good at hiding illnesses. Even for owners who are tuned in to their cat’s needs and regular behaviors, the symptoms of chronic degenerative conditions can be quite subtle.
Euthanasia is the most compassionate thing we can do for animals in pain, but every pet owner wants to be sure they are performing it at the appropriate time. It is even more challenging to determine a cat’s level of pain and comfort because cats are known for hiding their discomfort.
In order to help cat owners make the best decisions for their feline family members, this Quality of Life Scale was specifically developed to guide them through the challenging process of end-of-life care.
Dr. Alice Villalobos, DVM, who founded Pawspice, a quality-of-life program for terminal pets, developed this tool, originally known as the HHHHHMM Scale, to assist pet parents in discovering meaningful ways to monitor their cat’s life and well-being.
You can more accurately gauge your cat’s quality of life by scoring her appetite, mobility, level of pain and energy, and general attitude. To have your veterinarian review and score each section, print this form and bring it with you.
Making decisions at the end of life is very challenging. You are grieving the loss of a family member, which is never simple. You can guide yourself through the procedure and ensure that you are providing the best possible care for your cat by using the cat quality of life chart.