Q: Catalytic failure identifying the cause

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My 1996 Ford Taurus Wagon has Cat Efficiency code P202 I think!! Has been like this for years!! It is no longer my daily driver but I want to analyze the source of the failure!! Many mechanics state that Catalytic Converters don't just die, they are murdered?? If that is an appropriate assumption, what diagnostics must I perform to determine if the repair is justified. Engine starts immediately and does not appear to be burning oil.. ODO broke at approx 62K and car may have as much as 200K but well maintained. As of late when I drive the car you can smell an unusual odor as well as temp gauge swing..-
My car has an automatic transmission.

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