Monday, December 26, 2011
No, you read that right, folks....my CAT has asthma. Now we, as the feline lovers that we are, know that cats are notorious for triggering "people" asthma. Well, following in the freak-like fashion of our feline-lovin' lives, we recently found out that Squeebert has asthma. I'm sure you have 2 (or more) questions:
1. How did you find out your cat had asthma?
1 1/2. (what is he allergic to??)
2. HOW the heck do you treat asthma in a cat??
1. How did you find out Squeebert had asthma?
He was doing this weird snuffy sneezing...like "snuff, snuff, snuff, SNEEZE!"...but it was a dry sneeze. Then I noticed he'd assume the "hairball position" (a bit flattened out with neck extended) and cough, but it was a dry cough...not a moisty hairball cough. I thought that was weird. So I looked it up on (click on the light blue words to jump to the video) youtube....yep, fears sadly confirmed, and I made a vet appointment for the next day. After the vet did X-rays, the official diagnosis was/is: moderate asthma with mild symptoms. Trust your gut instincts, kitteh owners. If you think something is up, you're probably right.
1 1/2. What is he allergic to???
Who knows. At the time, the neighbor had just bought tons (literally) of burned hay that came from a feed store that caught on fire. The smell was acrid...horrible. We had to leave our windows closed all the time and run air purifiers just to make it comfortable for us to breathe. But the hay could have just been the straw (ha.) that made the symptoms noticeable. Since then, we vacuum more regularly, I got rid of all scented candles (WAAAH!) and only use natural cleaning supplies. We replaced curtains (dust gathers here!) with blinds in the bedroom. I use a humidifier when the air is dry, and make sure we're on top of flea control. Could it have been any one (or more) of those things? Could he still be allergic to something in his food??? Let me tell you, it's frustrating as all get out. We even had a consulting vet say it could be caused/aggravated by Squeebert being overweight from his hypothyroidism...sigh... The bottom line is we have no earthly idea and that it will be a matter of slow elimination to figure out a truly perplexing mystery.
2. How the heck do you treat asthma in a cat???
Oh yes, my friends, we use an inhaler. A regular old human-type inhaler, with something called a "spacer". They use these on infants/toddlers who have asthma, and you can purchase one called an Aerokat that is specifically designed for kittehs. Thank GAWD we clicker trained both Beastly and Squeebert when they were younger!!! It made it easier to introduce the spacer/inhaler to Squeebert, but the MOST important thing I think we did was NOT have the vet's office give him the first dosage from the inhaler. We wanted that to be at home, where he was more relaxed and things were a lot less skeery! We took it slow, training him to accept the wee mask and then to accept the noise of the inhaler when it gave a "puff". Here he is 2 months later....although he's not thrilled, he accepts the treatment...and we're so grateful!!! Now if we could only get him to do the dishes....