Cat Quality of Life Calculator
We designed this cat quality of life calculator to help you determine your cat's quality of life, and assess whether proceeding with hospice care is the best option for your cat, as opposed to euthanasia.
Being a caregiver for a precious feline approaching the end of their life can be challenging. When you're in such a position, assessing whether your cat is living a comfortable life is essential. Come along to get answers to the following questions:
- How is the quality of life measured for cats?
- What is the quality of life scale for cats?
- How does the cat quality of life calculator work?
- How do I improve my cat's quality of life? And more!
What is home hospice care for cats?
Home hospice care is a treatment plan that provides special care and comfort for cats approaching the end-stages of their lives (whether it's due to old age or terminal illness) under the guidance of the veterinary team. The main aim of home hospice care is to maintain an adequate quality of life for cats in their final days.
Remember that if a cat can't enjoy an adequate quality of life, the most humane choice can be euthanasia, regardless of how much effort the caregiver puts into implementing the treatment plan. Therefore, it is essential to carefully and systematically assess your cat's quality of life to determine whether it is living as comfortably as possible. Keep reading to learn how the quality of life is measured in cats in hospice care.
How is quality of life measured for cats?
Many factors can contribute to a cat's quality of life, and each case is unique. To address these various factors, Dr. Alice Villalobos developed the Quality of Life Scale (The HHHHHMM Scale) to best answer the question – "Does my cat have a good quality of life?"
This Pet Quality of Life Scale consists of seven crucial criteria that may contribute to assessing your cat's quality of life. The domains and questions incorporated in the scale are:
- Hurt. Adequate pain control and the ability to breathe are primary concerns for your cat. Trouble breathing outweighs all other criteria included in the scale. As a pet owner, you can evaluate this criterion by asking questions such as: is my cat's pain well managed? Can my cat breathe properly? Is oxygen supplementation necessary?
- Hunger. It is essential to observe your cat's feeding habits. Is your cat eating enough nutritious food? Does it need to be fed by hand or with a feeding tube?
- Hydration. This criterion assesses your cat's fluid intake. Does your cat consume an adequate amount of fluids? Do subcutaneous fluids assist in adequate intake of fluids?
- Hygiene. This domain evaluates your cat's hygiene levels. One of the factors you can consider is whether your cat can be kept clean and brushed, especially after elimination.
- Happiness. Besides physical health concerns, observing whether your cat enjoys its typical favorite activities is essential. Is your cat responsive to family members and toys? Does your cat express joy, fear, or other emotions?
- Mobility. This item evaluates your cat's ability to move around. Can your cat get up and walk around effortlessly, or does it need assistance? Does your cat show interest or go for a walk in general? Some caregivers think euthanasia is a better option for a cat than amputation. Keep in mind that a cat with limited mobility can still have a good quality of life — if it receives proper care.
- More good days than bad days. Your cat's bad days must not significantly outnumber their good days. Unfortunately, if there are no means to bond with your beloved cat and bad days are filled with harmful and uncomfortable experiences, a caregiver must acknowledge that the end could be near.
How to use the cat quality of life calculator — how does the pet quality of life scale for cats work?
Now that you know what factors contribute to assessing your cat's quality of life let's discuss how the Omni cat quality of life calculator works.
To determine the quality of life of your cat, you have to score your cat on each criterion on a 10-point scale. The criteria included in the quality of life scale for cats are hurt, hunger, hydration, hygiene, happiness, mobility, and having more good days than bad days. When scoring your cat, try to be as objective as possible.
In the end, this cat quality of life calculator will determine whether:
- Your cat does not have an acceptable life quality to continue with cat hospice;
- Your cat has acceptable life quality to continue with cat hospice; or
- Your cat has an excellent quality of life and scored perfect on the scale.
The score could serve as a starting point for you to further explore your cat's quality of life with the help of your veterinarian.
How do I improve my cat's quality of life?
If the cat quality of life calculator grabbed your interest, you're probably also wondering how to improve your cat's quality of life. You can take some steps to make your cat as comfortable as possible during hospice care.
- Consider modifying your home environment to accommodate your cat's mobility needs. For instance, you can raise your cat's feeding and drinking bowls and consider purchasing nonskid floor surfaces. Make sure your furry best friend has easy access to the litter box.
- Physical therapy can assist in pain management, joint problems, and mobility. Consult with your veterinarian regarding the physical therapy regime that your cat can undertake.
- Ensure to assist your cat with maintaining proper hygiene by brushing and cleaning it, especially after eliminations. Try to keep all wounds clean, if any, and avoid pressure sores (bed sores) by providing your feline with comfortable bedding.
- Make sure your cat has a peaceful and calm environment with no unwanted stimulation, such as other animals bothering it or knocking it down. Try to make your cat comfortable by spending time with it and giving it the attention that is preferable for its usual temperament (i.e., do not initiate physical interaction unless your cat is comfortable with it).
- Ask your veterinarian about medical acupuncture. Medical acupuncture can not only assist in treating a variety of health issues but also can help in alleviating pain. Adequate pain control is significant for your cat's quality of life.
What is quality of life in pets?
Quality of life in pets is an evaluative concept that refers to your pet's comfort, health, and ability to enjoy daily activities. Some indicators that determine your pet's quality of life are adequate pain control, food intake, hygiene, hydration, mobility, and happiness.
How do I score Quality of Life Scale (HHHHHMM Scale)?
To score the Quality of Life Scale (HHHHHMM Scale):
- Sum all items in the scale;
- Compare your result to the table below:
Quality of life
Not an acceptable life quality
Acceptable life quality
A perfect score
- That's all! Your results can serve as a starting point for you to further explore your cat's quality of life with the help of your veterinarian.
Is 20 an acceptable score in Quality of Life Scale (HHHHHMM Scale)?
If you assessed your beloved cat using the Quality of Life Scale (HHHHHMM Scale), and your final score is 20, you may need to consider that your cat does not have an acceptable life quality to continue with cat hospice.
What are different feline quality of life scales?
Some of the feline quality of life scales that you can use to assess your cat's quality of life and condition are:
- JOURNEYS Quality of Life Scale;
- Pet Quality of Life Scale and Diary; and
- Quality of Life Scale (HHHHHMM Scale).
For each item below, score your pet on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is unacceptable and 10 is excellent.
To learn more about the scale and each item, see the "How is quality of life measured for cats?" section in the article.