Life’s a Wheeze: Cody and Asthma

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.

Cody kitten back in 2002

Cody kitten back in 2002

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?

Me and Cody: imperfections r us!

Me and Cody: imperfections r us!

We brought kitten Cody home to join the family. He fit right in with our imperfect crew.

Kitten Cody with the Great Diz: Dizzy was the only perfect being that ever lived among us.

Kitten Cody with the Great Diz: Dizzy was the only perfect being that ever lived among us.

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.

Inbred, maybe, but what a gorgeous boy he is!

Inbred, maybe, but what a gorgeous boy he is!

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.

No hair loss going on here.

No hair loss going on here.

Well, unless you count the annual shave...

Well, unless you count the annual shave…

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.

This chart is from pets advisor.com

This chart is from pets advisor.com

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!

About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
This entry was posted in Animal/Vegetable/Mineral, Annoyances of Life, Spoiled Pets and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Life’s a Wheeze: Cody and Asthma

  1. Mrs. G says:

    Poor Cody!!! He is so magnificent….but I really like him best with the annual haircut…Cody/lion!

  2. Katherine says:

    As a human with adult-onset asthma, I can say learning a shallow-breathing exercise helped. I just don’t know how you’d get Cody on-board. As the saying goes – “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you’d teach a cat anything. ever.” (Or something like that.)

  3. greg1948 says:

    Grain free diet worked for me–might work on a cat as well. Grain free cat foods are available, but it takes time to work.

  4. tdevir says:

    My allergies are crazy bad right now too. Hope Cody’s asthma lets up a bit when springtime is over. Good luck with trying these remedies and report back…

  5. Awwww, the excessive fluffster looks so cute as a kitten!!!

  6. Sarah says:

    Cody is gorgeous! I have a Tonkenise who is 15 shortly and has developed asthma over the last year. Not too bad but has a 30 second cough about once a day. I have just started giving her coconut oil, I massage a little on top of her paw and she happily licks it off. I know it has many other benefits too so I have nothing to lose and I really do not want to start on the strong meds from the vet until I have to.

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