Assessing a cat’s quality of life
As much as we might not want them to, fluffy kittens will eventually become grouchy cats. But at what point of their twilight years should you be thinking about letting them be free of their age? We certainly can’t tell you, but a pet that is suffering from a myriad of illnesses is most certainly not having a good time. With extreme age comes kidney problems, joint problems, organ problems and a range of other maladies that will make your pet’s existence torturous. As an owner, you’ll need to be prepared to say enough is enough on their behalf. But how do you rate an elderly cat’s quality of life? Can it be indicative of when to say goodbye? You’ll find all the answers you need below.
BEAM is an acronym for Behaviour, Energy, Appetite and Mood and is a good indication of how your cat is feeling overall – seeing as cats love to hide how they’re truly feeling. If your cat is snarky, sleepy, unconcerned by food and is overall a pain to be around, that can be an excellent indication of how their wellbeing; it can also be an indication that there’s some underlying pain or issue causing them grief. On the contrary, a cat that is aloof, energetic, hungry and playful is probably in high spirits and shouldn’t have their life cut short.
The HHHHHMM Scale
Five H’s, 2 M’s – HHHHHMM is another acronym for Hurt, Hunger, Hydration, Hygiene, Happiness, Mobility and More Good Days Than Bad. This scale can give you a better idea of how good your cat’s quality of life really is and, in truth, is very easy to follow. Is your cat in pain? Are they consistently hungry? Are they able to eat and drink properly? Can they clean themselves? Are they generally happy and happily vocal when petted? Can they run, walk, leap and jump? Do the good days you have with them outweigh the bad?
Rating an elderly cat using the above scale can give you an idea of their quality of life, more-so than using BEAM. For instance, if your cat appears to be in pain, is suffering from a loss of appetite, is refusing clean drinking water from a clean bowl, is unable to clean themselves, is generally grouchy or sulky, is limping or unable to climb as they once did and is experiencing these maladies more often than not, then it’s time to consider letting them be free.
When choosing the long sleep for any pet it’s important to put them first and foremost. It’s their life and the quality of their life that should be your main concern, and that’s hard for a loving owner to do!
Any decision to put a pet under should always be done under the consultation of a Vet. What could be a simple illness may be construed as a sign of your cat’s life winding down, but your trusted Vet will be able to discern one from the other. Regardless, there’s no hiding from the fact that it will be traumatic, but you can take solace in the notion that you’ve done the right thing. To let a pet suffer would hurt more than letting them go; trust us.
Saying goodbye is hard, but we always recommend two things; 1, that you have no regrets with them, and 2, that you give them the send-off that you want. When life returns to normal and all is said and done, having a bespoke token of their memory can make all the difference on days when clouds blot out the Sun.
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