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Return to Normalcy
  • Lower vet/med bills
  • Happier cat
  • Relaxed caregiver
  • Ability to return to regular routines
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Life with Asthma: Encouragement

So your cat has asthma? It's not the end! Most asthmatic cats go on to live active, otherwise healthy lives once their disease is brought under proper management. Asthma is a life-long condition that has no cure. Once a consistent effective treatment is in place, it's maintained, with periodic adjustments if needed, for the remainer of the cat's life.


Return to Normalcy

When your cat is first diagnosed, life can be trying, but once some stability and predictability returns, as long as you plan ahead for things, life can be normal again.

Asthma's uncontrolled progression can be fatal. When a cat is in severe respiratory distress, life is anything but normal. This can include:

  • Frequent trips to the vet or the emergency room, with all the stress that entails
  • A parade of unfamiliar medications and their interactions
  • Diagnosis and treatment are underway at the same time
  • Anxiety over other similar illnesses
  • Growing vet and prescription bills
  • Confusion over what the cat can and cannot tolerate, and what might be triggering the illness
  • Worry about leaving the cat unattended
  • Drugs that take hours, days, or weeks to show results... or not
  • Symptoms that fail to respond to high doses
  • Treatment procedures new to both cat and caretaker
  • Volume of information can be overwhelming

Fortunately, asthma's symptoms are usually treatable and the onset can, for the most part, be controlled. Most cats can be stabilized with occasional flareups. Like human asthmatics, flareups or episodes are to be expected. The goal is to limit them as much as possible. Over time, a predictable pattern will emerge which will make prevention all the more attainable. Once the cat is stable:

  • Diagnosis is confirmed
  • Trips to the vet become planned and routine
  • Similar illnesses are no longer a concern
  • Treatments become routine for cat and caretakers
  • Bills become smaller and predictable
  • Tolerances and reactions to medications become better understood
  • Medications which provide some effective relief are identified
  • Time apart becomes possible for the human caretakers (see below)
  • Fun becomes possible again!

Time Away from Home

How does one manage vacation when one has a "special needs" cat? "Vacation? What's a vacation?" say many caregivers of asthmatic cats. Some folks can't bear to be away from their cat, for any length of time, for fear of the cat not getting the medical attention it needs. A common concern is leaving home for work when the cat is in an acute phase.

Those who need to travel from home have come up with creative solutions. A popular choice is to have a veterinary technician come into the home once or twice a day to check on things and administer medications. Some prefer a live-in professional sitter or a trusted friend or family member. Ask at your veterinary office for recommendations. Some people take their cat to a cat kennel. This will depend on the personality of the cat and their ability to handle change. Some have found they can take their cat with them, whether to the summer cottage or to pet-friendly hotels on the road. Another option is to take the cat to the vet for an injection of long-acting steroid, such as Depo-Medrol, however there are risks with systemic steroids. The shots can last several weeks and act as a kind of insurance for a cat who is having occasional symptoms and is in otherwise good health.

The good news with consistent and effective treatment is greater stability and that opens more choices for the caregiver. Many find that the predictability that comes with stability is a tremendous relief from the early days of anxiety and stress.

Fritz displayed an inquisitiveness that suggested he might tolerate road trips. Kathryn and James like to camp and hike at every opportunity around the Pacific Northwest from Oregon to British Columbia. Traveling all together in a camperized van was the best option, especially for family visits to Canada. Fritz complains at first in that usual Siamese way but also enjoys checking out the remote campspots. A well-fitting harness with lead plus clear nametags and microchipping are essential for security.


Continue reading at Treatments

2001-2008 Kathryn Hopper & James Perkins. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to print portions of this website for personal and veterinary reference only. Disclaimer: All material on Fritzthebrave.com is provided for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Consult your cat's veterinarian regarding all aspects of your cat's health. Fritzthebrave.com provides links to other organizations as a community service and is not responsible for the information, services, or products they provide.

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