Today I thought I would talk about my cat with asthma and how we are coping.
How Do You Cope With A Cat With Asthma?
Starting The Day With An Asthma Puffer
My day always gets off to an early start when Barnet Boy gets up and takes the two dogs, Ringo and Spud, out for their morning walk. Usually these days (unless I am being really lazy) I get up with him. My job is to handle some of the ‘first thing’ activities. These include cleaning the cat litter boxes. But more importantly our cat Malteser has his first medication of the day using his asthma spray. Because we have a cat with asthma.
Malteser Is Diagnosed With Asthma
Regular readers of my blog will remember that we nearly lost Malteser in March this year owing to a urinary blockage. This led to all sorts of problems including with his colon not working as it should. On a recent check up visit to the vets, including an x-ray checking on the colon and bladder, we were shocked to be told that Malteser had asthma!
Signs Of Asthma in Cats
I had never heard of a cat having asthma. Given how many cats I have taken care of in my life and all their medical problems you would have thought little could surprise me. But surprised I was. Also because Malteser hadn’t been showing any of the classic signs. No cough whatsoever. In fact according to my reading of the signs of asthma he had no recognizable symptoms. The vet said to me that he would have been coughing – well we never heard him! If we had he would have been taken to the vet before now. It is a life threatening condition so thank goodness the vet discovered it.
Cat Flu As A Kitten
Thinking back, Malteser had cat flu as a baby (he and his brother and sister were abandoned on our door step). That left him with a permanently snotty nose that our previous vet had diagnosed as a form of rhinitis. And boy can he snore at night. But we couldn’t point to any other possible signs of a lung problem.
Cat asthma can be brought on by stress. If you think about it, the urinary blockage and near death must count as stressful! He certainly didn’t have any problems with his lungs at that point and no sign on the x-rays taken then.
Treatment For A Cat With Asthma
Malteser was given antibiotics and cortisone pills and has to have puffs of his asthma medication twice a day. At the point of diagnosis, I asked the vet, incredulously, how on earth you give a cat an asthma inhaler puff? She suggested a plastic cup, cut a hole in the end, put the cup on the cat’s face and press the puffer. She could see I wasn’t convinced!
Finding Help On The Internet
Thank goodness for the internet. I brought Malteser home and spent ages reading about cat asthma, causes, symptoms and treatment. I was relieved to see that there was little more I could do in the home as I already avoid scented litter, strong perfumes, perfumed cleaners etc. Plus I keep things dust free as BB has issues with his lungs and I have various allergies. No cigarette smoke was easy as neither of us smoke.
And then, as I was reading how to deal with a cat with asthma,I hit gold. I discovered there was something to help you give your cat his puffer. It is called ‘Aerokat‘. I read up on it and immediately ordered one. It was not cheap but it has been fabulous and made the whole medication issue less stressful for both Malteser and us.
It is easier to show you how it works than explain it! Only a short video, no sound.
Malteser Has Adjusted Well To His Puffer
Malteser has taken to it surprisingly well. I can think of other cats we have had where we would stand a good chance of losing a hand trying to do this! We started by just putting the mask to his face for a bit and then added the chamber. The first time we used the puffer we were pleased to find that the chamber muffles the sound so he is not frightened by it. Getting him to breathe a few times and take in the medication is harder. He just wants the mask off his face.
The first time I did it I had the mask clamped far too tightly to his little face and Malteser wouldn’t breathe at all. As I eased the mask off he started breathing. To give his medication, I hold him so his back end is against me and lift his front end so his paws are off the ground, with a hand firmly around his neck area. The other hand does the work of holding the mask in place and pressing the puffer (remembering to shake it first of course). There is a little flap on the device that moves so that you can see his actually breathing. This means you can’t count his breaths to make sure he has taken in what he needs.
It is now over a month since the diagnosis and our cat with asthma has responded well. Even though we hadn’t obviously seen prior symptoms, Malteser has more energy, he is less snotty, he has stopped snoring. He generally seems brighter. He has another check up in ten days’ time.
Thank goodness for a chance diagnosis! Asthma can’t be cured and it needs careful management. Without treatment, Malteser could have had an asthma attack that could have killed him. With treatment, his prognosis is good providing we respond immediately if we see him having any breathing problems or looking unwell.
Update 14 December 2020
In November 2019 we were told that Malt’s kidneys were starting to fail. So he now has special renal food as well as all his medication. At time of writing this update, I am pleased to say Malt is still going strong though he is a bit odd at times (we are thinking a bit of dementia). He also doesn’t always keep his fur as clean as he should but he is still Malt. He can’t have many lives left and he has cost us a fortune but he is worth every penny.
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!