Quality of life

Quality of life (QOL) refers to a standard of physical and social behaviour commensurate to what is expected for a particular cat’s age and social location.

QOL embraces the five freedoms that minimizes physical and psychological stress, and is a matter of consideration when euthanasia is being contemplated due to disease, abandonment and possibility of restoring a cat’s physical health and social welfare.

For example, a cat suffering from terminal chronic renal disease with unremitting vomiting and anorexia has poor quality of life.

Score Assessment Interpretation[1]
0 – 10 Pain Inappropriate vocalisation, dyspnoea, guarding, aggression, response to NSAIDs or other pain-management drugs
0 – 10 Mentation Awareness of surroundings, cognitive function, depression, predictor of degree of encephalopathy
0 – 10 Hunger Searching for food, appetite, interest in food
0 – 10 Hydration Dehydration as an interpretation of renal function, assessment of polydipsia and polyuria
0 – 10 Hygiene Grooming ability, self-care
0 – 10 Happiness Interest in usual bonding with owner or other pets
0 – 10 Mobility Degree of stiffness, severity of arthritis, ataxia due to lameness
Total out of 70, divided by 10 = No. of good days per week
<3 days a week is a poor score


  1. ↑ Adapted from Villalobos, A ((2010) Pawspice. In August, JR (Ed): Consultations in feline internal medicine. Vol 6. Elsevier Saunders, St Louis

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