Included in this section are ideas on coping with an asthmatic cat, as well as various useful tips on cats in general.
Taking A Vacation
It is often difficult to take a vacation when you have an asthmatic cat. Leave detailed instructions on medications, routines, food and vet phone number and address. It would also be helpful to leave a letter approving the cat sitter(s) to authorize any necessary medical care and a blank signed check to pay any vet bills that may come up while you're gone.
Reactions to An Asthmatic Cat
You may find that people are not sympathetic when you mention you have an asthmatic cat. Feline Asthma members have described over and over the comments people will make. Do not feel badly for trying to help your cat get better!
Identifying Your Cat as an Asthmatic
If your cat goes outside, it would be useful to get tags for their collar which indicate that the cat has asthma and needs medications, along with your phone number.
If your cat is gasping, falling to its side with its mouth open and its tongue appearing bluish, contact your veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately. It needs oxygen and rapid-acting broncho dilator medications to stay alive. Veterinarians suggest owners keep special medications at home in case of emergency.
Pet First Aid
The American Red Cross offers first aid classes for pets. Along with the class you get a book, "Pet First Aid" by B. Mammato (DVM), published by Red Cross.
If your cat will not eat, you might try using a small syringe to force small amounts of water and try wiping some soft food in your cat's mouth to see if you can give her some nutrition and possibly get her interested in food and water again. Gerber's second foods are a good consistency for syringe feeding after adding only just a little warm water.
Laxatone is a gel-like substance which used for hairballs.
ASPCA Poison Control
The ASPCA has a poison control hotline phone number for pets. If you have reason to suspect that your pet may have been exposed to something toxic, either internally or externally, this phone number will connect you with an ASPCA veterinarian specially trained to assist pet owners or other vets. This is the only dedicated animal poison control hotline in the world manned by veterinarians, not telephone operators. The number is staffed 24/7. (888) 4ANI-HELP or (888) 426-4435.
Heska corporation makes a trivalent feline distemper vaccination that is administered intra-nasally (as nose-drops). This is thought to reduce your cat's risk for vaccine site sarcoma although current research generally associates these cancers with FeLV and rabies vaccines.
A hint for getting rid of paint odor is to leave bowls of vinegar in freshly painted rooms.
Dr. Padrid suggests administering a bronchodilator, albuterol by inhalation for example-about 1 hr prior to induction of anesthesia. He also strongly suggest monitoring with a machine called a "pulse oximeter" and an electrocardiographic monitor during the anesthesia. Ketamine is a commonly used drug in this setting and is usually very safe for asthmatic cats- it acts as a bronchodilator itself- but it is important to pretreat with atropine and readminister atropine during the procedure to minimize the mucus and saliva accumulation that will predictably occur. Note that ketamine is a light sedative and cannot be used for major procedures. This protocol is typically followed for dentals.
To control mucous, a feline asthma member suggests this cupping procedure: With cupped hands LIGHTLY tap around your cats back, sides and chest for one minute about six (yes, that's the boring part) times a day. If the gurgle sounds like it's coming from the throat, lightly massage the throat and neck which encourages them to swallow. Also, steamy shower rooms are recommended for tough mucus, which shows itself more as a difficulty in exhaling (forced nostril motions on exhalation) and the steam can help loosen this up.
Cat - Human Age Correlation
Human age = Cat age
1 year = 15 years
2 years = 20 years
3 years = 25 years
7 years = 45 years
10 years = 55 years
15 years = 85 years
20 years = 100 years