25 February 2016

(Feline) Asthma Attacked

Well that was a long hiatus. Among all the stuff I was going on about in my last post, our lives suddenly changed. About a month ago, our cat Wilma started coughing a lot. She has a long coat, so she's always coughed a bit now and again, trying to get hair out of her throat. This was different. It was a wheezing, dry cough. I was really anxious and scared for her.

We took her to the vet and she told us that it sounds like Wilma could have asthma. She ran some blood tests and took a couple of X-rays just to be sure it wasn't anything more serious. Thank goodness it wasn't! We were sent home with an asthmatic cat, antibiotics, and cortisone tablets.

The first few days were rough. Wilma wasn't used to taking all kinds of medication and resented us for stuffing pills and liquid antibiotics down her throat twice a day. As if that wasn't enough, Wanda (our other cat, Wilma's sister from the same litter) was acting really aggressively towards her for a good couple of days.

Cats rely a lot on scents, so when Wilma didn't smell like herself, Wanda didn't even recognize her. She started hissing and growling whenever Wilma was anywhere near her. It was heartbreaking to watch, because the two of them have always been like peas in a pod. I usually take them to the vet together to avoid situations like these, but this time it wasn't really an option. No amount of rubbing Wanda's smell on Wilma helped. We tried to reintroduce them through a crack in the door, but Wanda wasn't having it. It took a lot of time and patience (which I lack, let's be honest), but slowly they became accustomed to each other again. Now they act like nothing ever happened, which is such a relief!

Wilma has been eating cortisone tablets for three weeks now and the coughing has stopped completely. We are gradually reducing the dose (according to the instructions our wonderful vet gave us) and seeing what happens. In the next month or so, we're planning on purchasing an inhaler and slowly introducing Wilma to it. It would be nice if she learned to live with an inhaler, since it's better if we can get the cortisone straight to where it's actually needed: her lungs.

If any of you readers have any experience with feline asthma, I would like to hear your stories (not the horrible, scary, negative ones, please). We are really new to this whole asthma-business; neither of us suffer from it or have family members who have it, either. Have any of you taught your cat to take an inhaler? I would love to know how you and your cat managed it!
Best friends again

A plethora of medication

Wilma, the little patient
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