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Hospice care for cats

Make my last phase happy
Make my last phase happy
Karla Kirby

Veterinary care for cats is becoming more and more complex and more and more cat owners are grasping the extreme importance of a lifetime of preventive care, cats live much longer lives. But in the face of all of that, cats still get ill, and when they do, there are often plentiful treatment options. Yet, some illnesses are considered terminal, and in the past, euthanasia was frequently the lone option pet owners would consider at that stage. An option to premature euthanasia that is gathering more attention in the world of pet care is hospice care.

Terminal illness is an illness for which there is no cure. It is a vigorous, progressive, permanent illness with an incurable prognosis. Hospice care gives a loving alternative to extensive suffering and is made to give supportive care to cats in the final stage of a terminal illness. The objective is to keep the cat at ease and free of pain, with a focal point on quality of life and living each day as completely as possible.

The choice to stop treatment and begin hospice care can be made at any phase in the progression of a terminal illness. Decisions may vary from choosing to do without aggressive surgery in receipt of a cancer diagnosis due to a poor prognosis, stopping radiation or chemotherapy because the feline is not responding or is dealing with side-effects that are speedily diminishing her/his quality of life, or putting an end to medications because medicating the cat is very hard or impossible for the cat owner. Instead of opting for euthanasia, cat owners may opt to provide hospice care for their cat.

Hospice care is not a final resort, and is not about giving up altogether, or just plain dying. It’s truthfully about finding ways to live with a terminal illness, and it may in reality involve providing more care and not less. The assessment to afford hospice care should be made in combination with your veterinarian, who will become a fundamental partner in the process.

Hospice care gives calm. It provides clean, comfortable bedding with easy right to use to water, food, litter boxes, preferred sleeping spots and contact with family members. Cats are handled very gently since a lot of terminal medical conditions generate discomfort and pain.

Sick cats may not be able to clean themselves. You can help your cat out by gently brushing, and keeping ears, eyes, the area around the mouth and around the rectum and genetalia clean if kitty can’t do it by herself anymore.

Felines are exceptionally good at hiding pain. Closely keep a vigilant eye on your cat for signs of pain – delicate signs may involve avoiding contact with family members, hiding, or changes in sleeping positions. Seldom will cats vocalize when they are suffering. Work with your veterinarian to build up a suitable pain control program for your feline.
There are numerous non-invasive, gentle holistic therapies that can give relief to terminally ill cats. Energy therapies such as Healing Touch and Reiki, Tellington Touch and others are predominantly effective.

Even with the management and emotional challenges hospice care presents for cats and their people, it can also be a time of immense peace and increased bonding with your much loved feline companion. It also permits a gentle preparation for the looming loss for both cat and human. Diagnosis of a terminal illness doesn’t have to be the bitter end – it can be the beginning of an expanding, peaceful, final segment of life for both cat and human.

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