Thanks to modern veterinary medicine and dedicated owner involvement, the cats in our care continue to live long lives. While longevity is important (who doesn’t want their sweet ball of fluff and fur to live forever?), it is the quality of their last few years, weeks or days that may take precedence.
Whether your cat has been diagnosed with a chronic condition, or they’re simply experiencing age-related illness, palliative cat care may be a great option to consider as the end draws near.
The Fine Lines
Palliative cat care focuses on managing pain and providing every possible comfort measure. This approach allows us to optimize the quality of a cat’s life, ensuring that they are comfortable, happy, and secure.
Moving the Goalposts
If your cat struggles with day-to-day life, it’s important to get to the bottom of issues preventing them from comfort or satisfaction. Reducing symptoms, managing pain, and decreasing distress are huge priorities for cat owners. Some days are more victorious than others, but making the effort to maximize a sick or aging cat’s well being is crucial.
Redefining the Focus
Throughout a cat’s life we work toward providing the best possible care to all but guarantee a long, healthy life. However, when a cat becomes sick or simply grows old, we have to redefine what it takes to keep them at their best.
This can be as easy as shifting their diet to meet changing nutritional needs (from dry to warm, wet food, or hand feeding), or adding things around the house, such as anti-slip mats or ramps, to facilitate comfort and safety.
Alternatively, prescription medication for pain, appetite stimulation, or anti-nausea, diagnostics, life-sustaining treatments or surgery may be considered to extend a cat’s life. These options may delay humane euthanasia for a time.
Palliative Cat Care
This approach typically follows the diagnosis of an untreatable disease or prohibitively expensive treatment. Sometimes, cats can live quite a while with a slowly progressing disease. Other times, owners opt-out of intense treatment to save their cat from extensive tests and potentially painful experiences.
Starting palliative cat care as soon as possible can ease pain and keep them comfortable for a greater period of time. Please let us know if you have questions about timing, and if you think your cat may benefit from our supportive strategies. We can always come to you.
It is never easy to face the idea of living without your best friend. Knowing when to say good-bye to them may be less difficult when you answer these questions:
- Are they in pain?
- Are they eating, drinking and going to the bathroom?
- Are they cleaning themselves?
- Are they withdrawing from you or the family?
- Do they act like themselves?
- Are they getting around without assistance?
- Are there more bad days than good days?
As your partners in your cat’s health, we aim to be of service to you during this challenging time. Working closely, we can identify the ways to make them as comfortable as possible. This may mean choosing humane euthanasia as the final call.
Preparing for the end of life is heartbreaking, but when your bases are covered you can support your cat through their last moments with kindness and grace. Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital is always here for you and your cat.