Did you Know that Hospice Care is for Cats Too?

hospice care for cats

When hospice becomes necessary for anyone, it’s a horrible situation. It means only one thing; the end is near. At this point in a life, there is nothing that can be done medically for someone to feel better and heal. At this point, hospice can do nothing more than make you comfortable while you wait for the end to arrive. It’s a heartbreaking realization to know that the end is coming, and it’s not something that only happens to humans, either. It is something that happens to cats. It’s unfortunate, and it’s difficult. Our cats are some of the most important members of our family. They are always there for us, and it only makes sense that we would want to be there for them, too.

When a cat is sick, there is very little that you can do. You can ensure that your feline friend has the best medical care possible, but that’s about it. Other than hoping and praying that the vet can do something to save the life of your cat and make sure that nothing like this happens again, there is nothing you can do. You sit back, wait and hope for the best. You make promises to your cat about how much you love him or her, you make promises about all the things you will do for your cat if only she gets better. It’s difficult; and it hurts. And you can call hospice to come in and care for your cat for you.

Hospice is not just for humans. It’s actually a great concept. In the past, many people felt that they had no choice but to put their cats to sleep as they suffered at the end of a terminal illness or old age. A sick cat was one that was put down after a trip to the vet because it was considered humane. It was considered this way because so many people had no idea that there was more they could do. I remember vividly when I was 15 and I adopted a cat.  My parents told me I could find a cat and adopt him; and I did. He was my darling. I had that cat for a decade. He was cool. He did not like many people, but he loved me.

And he loved my husband. I met my husband after I’d had my cat for three years. He and the cat instantly bonded and became the best of friends, and that’s how I knew that my husband was the kind of man I wanted in my life. One day, shortly before my husband and I had finished building our home and it was almost time for our wedding date to arrive, Foxy became sick. I noticed one morning that he did not seem to be doing very well. He was very lethargic, and he was not using the bathroom. I decided to give it a day or so to see if he would improve. He did not. I was devastated, and I took him to the vet. The vet did some tests and came back to tell me that Foxy’s internal organs were failing and that he was very sick.

They said he wouldn’t live much longer, so they were going to put him down and wanted to know if I wanted to go into the back and say goodbye to my cat. I was devastated and heartbroken. I didn’t know he was sick, I didn’t see this coming and I did not have time to prepare for anything like this. My heart hurt. Today, I would know that there were other things that could be done for him, such as hospice care. He might not live long, but he would have lived longer and it would have given my entire family a little more time to come in and say goodbye to our friend that had been with us for so many years. It would have prepared us.

What is Hospice?

It’s not a solution to your cat’s illness, but it is an alternative to being euthanized. Your cat will come home with you, or stay in a facility, so that he can be kept comfortable while he passes. It’s designed to keep him free of pain while he lives his last few days. It’s a good idea for anyone who needs a little more time with their pet and anyone uncomfortable with the idea of putting their cat to sleep. It’s a compassionate and dignified way to celebrate the end of your cat’s life rather than to resort to euthanization.

Is Hospice Right?

There are no real answers I can give your personal situation; this is up to your vet. If your cat is not in any pain, or his pain is manageable, you might be able to utilize hospice care. However, if your cat has a disease that is contagious, dangerous or causing him so much pain he cannot be comfortable or treated, it might not be the best option for your cat. You will want to speak to your vet about the cat and how he will survive in hospice. He or she will give you a solid answer.

Hospice Expectations

What’s going to happen to your cat in hospice care?

  • Help feeding your cat
  • Help getting around
  • Help provide medications
  • Help with comfort
  • Help with pain management
  • Help with veterinarian visits

There is no black or white answer for this question. It all depends on what your cat needs from hospice care. Whatever it is, though, you will find that it is offered and that it is available for your cat. You will want to speak to someone in a cat hospice facility so that you know whether or not this is the right choice for you. This is not a situation that is easy to deal with, nor is it one you should turn into a quick decision. Take your time, educate yourself and consider your family’s financial position, your cat’s life and what you can live with.

Photo by Getty Images

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