Last post was all about Soho’s birthday but she’s not the only one of our critters born in April. Cody, aka Shoo Bear, was born in April, 2002, back when I was on a tear of collecting Himalayan cats like other people collect baseball cards.
Even then, we knew that Cody was “special”. The breeder was reluctant to part with him, speaking in code words that danced all around the subject of “inbreeding”. No matter, we all have our imperfections, right?
We brought kitten Cody home to join the family. He fit right in with our imperfect crew.
A few years back, Cody started wheezing now and then. When the symptoms first appear, they are akin to the familiar hacking-up-a-hairball routine. But no hairball ever appears, and you finally realize something else is going on.
We took Cody to the vet, where he was diagnosed with asthma. The occasional cortisone shot seemed to do the trick. First it was every six months or so, but lately he has needed a shot every six weeks. Not good.
So I’ve done a bit of research, and here are some things I’ve learned about feline asthma:
1. Asthma is most prevalent in Siamese and Himalayan cats. Cody’s pronounced snub nose – there’s that inbreeding! – is probably a risk factor due to his shortened sinus cavities.
2. There is no cure for feline asthma. Boo.
3. But it can be somewhat controlled with the aforementioned corticosteroid shots administered by the vet. Some cat owners have had success administering an inhaler at home. I’m going to see how the CE feels about hiring a private nurse for the Shoo Bear.
4. Other recommendations are to use a humidifier in the home and to use a repiratory-relief brand of cat litter. We haven’t tried either of these things yet, so I can’t speak to their efficacy.
5. At least one soul on the Internet claims that having the cat lap up a little coconut oil can help control asthma. Haven’t tried that either, but I don’t see much of a downside. Off we go to Trader Joe’s…
6. I’ve also seen a recommendation that eliminating grain-based food from the cat’s diet can positively impact asthma symptoms. Maybe worth a try?
7. I’m willing to investigate the urban legend remedies because long term use of corticosteroids, (despite the fact that cats are supposedly “extremely resistant to side effects”) contributes to immune suppression and thus a panoply of potential afflictions, including urinary tract infections, diabetes and pancreatitis.
8. They say that long-term use of corticosteroids in cats can contribute to hair loss. Haven’t seen that to be an issue.
9. No, we have not observed that shaving his fur has any impact on the asthma. But the severity of his asthma does seem to correlate with seasonal allergies. I’m doing a fair amount of wheezing these days myself.
10. Cat owners are admonished NOT to administer any human asthma medications to their pets. These drugs are too strong for cats and could be fatal.
It’s hard to believe that Shooey the Shoo Bear has turned thirteen. Cat years are not calculated quite the same as dog years, but according to one format, Cody would definitely be getting the senior discount.
Getting old is no fun for any of us, but Cody’s asthma is proving to be, well, somewhat of a cat-astrophe . I’d like for him to breathe a bit easier now that he’s in his golden years. Let me know if you have any advice!