When you brought your kitty home for the first time, end of life decisions were far from the mind. However, your kitty changed as the years passed and may now look old or ill. As a parent, you wonder how you will be able to put your friend down when the time comes. The most common concern among owners of sick or old felines is about the right time to euthanize their loved pets.
Quality of Life Scale is a tool that helps pet owners make the right decisions for their four-legged friends who are suffering. In this post, we try to learn more about the feline quality of life scale and discuss in detail how to use and benefit from the HHHHHMM scale.
Quality of Life Scale For Cats – UPDATED 2021
Facing the pet’s mortality is a concern that no parent wants to talk about. However, if your cat has been diagnosed with a life-threatening condition or is growing too old, euthanasia should be a kind thing to do. Owners are often confused about identifying the right time to put their pets down. Though vets recommend waiting for the signs, the Quality of life scale is a tool that helps us ensure we are doing it at the right time.
The quality of life scale helps you understand how the symptoms and organ failure affects your pooch’s life. There are many situations that require assessing its quality of life to be able to maintain the best possible. It also helps determine whether a specific treatment deteriorates the cat’s quality of life further and decide whether you should continue or abandon the treatment.
Quality of life assessment is specifically useful for owners of pets in their end of life phase. There are many quality of life scales available and each of them is pretty easy to implement. One of the most used tools is the HHHHHMM scale developed by the founder of a pet program Pawspice, Dr. Alice Villalobos. It was created with the aim of helping parents use comprehensive ways to track the pets’ well-being.
Feline Quality of Life Scale – What You Should Know?
The feline quality of life scale serves as a useful guideline to help vets and pet owners work together to make the right decisions as the pet’s end-of-life approaches. This scale is particularly beneficial at measuring the success of a treatment plan for a cat with a life-threatening condition and allows fine-tuning it to ensure the utmost well-being of the animals.
The quality of life scale introduced by Dr. Villalobos considers seven different categories and assigns scores to each of them from 1 to 10, where 10 is the best. A total score of 70 is considered to be perfect while any number above 35 indicates an acceptable quality of life for the cat and suggests continuing the end-of-life treatment, care and support.
Quality of life is a highly subjective topic but this scale intends to make it possible to measure it quantitatively on a daily basis. You can decide to assess the pet’s quality of life for every hour, week or month depending on the situation to make the most difficult decision objectively. This scale serves as a guide to your pet’s end-of-life care and treatment and saves you from the guilt that often comes with the decision of euthanasia.
The HHHHHMM Scale measures the quality of life of the pet across seven categories, each represented by a letter in the name. These are Hurt, Hunger, Hydration, Hygiene, Happiness, Mobility and More Good Days Than Bad. Let us try to understand what each of the categories means.
Hurt. The first consideration is the ability to breathe and control pain. This criterion assesses whether the cat can manage pain successfully and whether it faces breathing difficulty.
Hunger. Kitties generally hide their weight loss behind the coat so it is important to monitor the weight of your sick or elderly pet on a regular basis. Based on this rating, your pet can be prescribed appetite stimulants and introduced to alternative feeding methods.
Hydration. This factor ensures the cat receives adequate fluid levels every day. If it is found to be dehydrated, it can be given supplementation and care to improve its quality of life.
Hygiene. The most important consideration for a healthy kitty, hygiene forms an integral part of the quality of life assessment.
Happiness. This evaluation helps you find out the mental health of your aged or sick cat and better guide your end-of-life decisions. For a lower score, there are several methods recommended to encourage and stimulate the pooch.
Mobility. This is a highly relative metric and helps you introduce aids into the cat’s life. Mobility issues can arise regardless of the pet’s condition and can be solved with the help of the vet.
More good days than bad. Identifying bad days with occurrences of diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, seizures or collapse helps understand much about the cat’s quality of life. If there are many bad days together, it is easy to conclude that the quality is poor.
A Complete Guide to End of Life Decisions for Cats
A two-way exchange is highly important for a healthy bond with the pet. When the exchange breaks, it is time to take the end of life decisions for your friend. Planning for these days is quite essential and the quality of life scale helps perfectly. Assessing the parameters in the HHHHHMM scale on a daily basis helps evaluate how well the cat’s needs are being fulfilled and how you can maintain a satisfactory daily life experience for the feline.
As you rate the factors on a regular basis and evaluate the assessment, a total score of 35 or more out of 70 is desirable. Any number between 35 and 70 represents a good quality of life and suggests continuing the care until the cat meets a peaceful death. A lower score indicates poor quality of life and the cat can be put down. The assessment helps clarify the euthanasia decision for the family, relieving them of the anxiety and regret about the end of life decisions of their beloved pet.