How Well Is Your Cat Doing?
By using this scale, you will be able to better evaluate and determine the Ouality Of Life for your sick cat. Grade each criterion using a scale of 1 to 10, with the highest score, 10, being ideal.
|HURT - Adequate pain control, including breathing ability, is the first and foremost consideration. Is the cat's pain successfully managed? Is Oxygen necessary?
|HUNGER - Is the cat eating enough? Does hand feeding help? Does the patient require a feeding tube?
|HYDRATION - Is the patient dehydrated? For cats not drinking or eating foods containing enough water, use subcutaneous fluids once or twice daily to supplement fluid intake.
|HYGIENE - The patient should be kept brushed and cleaned. This is paramount for cats with oral cancer. Check the body for soiling after elimination. Avoid pressure sores and keep all wounds clean.
|HAPPINESS - Does the cat express joy and interest? Is the cat responsive to things around him (family, toys, etc)? Does the cat purr when scratched or petted? Is the cat depressed, lonely, anxious, bored, afraid? Can the cat's bed be near the kitchen and moved near family activities so as not to be isolated?
|MOBILITY - Can the cat get up without help? Is the cat having seizures or stumbling? Some caregivers feel euthanasia is preferable to adefinitive surgery, yet cats are resilient. Cats with limited mobility may still be alert and responsive and can have a good quality of life if the family is committed to providing quality care.
|MORE GOOD DAYS THAN BAD - When bad days outnumber good days, quality of life for the dying cat might be too compromised. When a healthy human-animal bond is no longer possible, caregivers must be made aware that their duty is to protect their cat from pain by making the final call for euthanasia. The decision needs to be made if the cat has unresponsive suffering. If death comes peacefully and painlessly at home, that is okay.
|A total score higher than 35 points represents acceptable quality of life to continue with cat hospice.
Original concept, Oncology Outlook, by Dr. Alice Villalobos, Quality of Life Scale Helps Make Final Call, VPN, 09/2004; scale format created for author’s book, Canine and Feline Geriatric Oncology: Honoring the Human-Animal Bond, Blackwell Publishing, 2007. Revised for the International Veterinary Association of Pain Management (IVAPM) 2011 Palliative Care and Hospice Guidelines. Reprinted with permission from Dr. Alice Villalobos & Wiley-Blackwell.