American Association of Feline Practitioners

Veterinary professionals passionate about the care of cats

Veterinary Hospice Care for Cats Position Statement

2010 Veterinary Hospice Care for Cats

Download - Full Position Statement on Veterinary Hospice Care for Cats

The American Association of Feline Practitioners supports hospice care as an important resource that allows clients time to make decisions and prepare for the impending loss of a terminally ill cat companion.1 Palliative or hospice care is a relationship-centered philosophy all veterinarians can use in practice. Hospice care provides a loving alternative to prolonged suffering either in the isolation of an intensive care setting or without treatment at home.2

Hospice is a system for providing comfort care to animals nearing the end of their life and emotional support for the clients who love them.
Palliative care focuses on the relief of suffering while providing for the best quality of life regardless of the disease outcome.

Qualifications/circumstances meriting hospice and palliative care are:

  • A decision not to pursue curative treatments.
  • Diagnosis of a terminal illness.
  • Diagnosis of a chronic illness.
  • Symptoms of a chronic illness that are interfering with the routine of the pet.
  • Disease process in which curative treatment was possible but failed.
  • Problems that require long-term intensive care Illnesses that are progressive.
  • Diseases or traumas that have health complications associated with them.

For the full position statement, download the full statement above.


  1. AVMA guidelines for veterinary hospice care, 2007.
  2. Shearer T. Hospice and palliative care. Handbook of veterinary pain management. 2nd edn. St Louis: Mosby, 2009: 588.