Posted in pets

Sweet breathing

It comes in short spasms, ending with a feeble whoosh like the ending gasp of an expiring, withered balloon. It’s the nightmare that I’ve feared would happen: my cat Spencer is experiencing an asthma crisis, and I’m not prepared.

No one knows how long Spencer has had breathing difficulties. Most of the time he seemed to have hairballs that refused to come up. He’d eat and a short while later his food would be found, marginally digested, somewhere around the house: on a chair, under the table, in dark corners of the basement.

He has lost weight, his coat looks a mess, and he’s lethargic most of the time. If not for an X-ray, the vet might not have noticed that his airways are constricted.

Suddenly it makes sense that the little gasps I’ve been hearing are Spencer wheezing. And that cute little snoring noise he makes might not be from a stuffy nose after all.

Cats are good at hiding their medical woes. My cats are certainly no exception. But with four cats over the age of 12, I could be more attentive to possible age-related problems.

The Aerokat mask I picked up yesterday at the vet’s office doesn’t look complicated. The mask must be carefully taken apart following the manufacturer’s instructions, then washed in a lukewarm solution of water and dish detergent and left to soak for 15 minutes.


A thorough rinse in clean water and then shake excess moisture from the parts and let them air dry.

Reassemble the parts when it is fully dry. Then it can be used for the first time.

I should mention the shock that the prescription costs gave me. Is big pharma in such dire straits that it requires two week’s wages from me to continue to thrive? Or do they depend on the fact that pet owners like me will likely go without groceries before they can watch a beloved pet turn blue and pass out from near-asphyxia?

The next part I haven’t figured out yet: getting Spencer to accept the Aerokat mask and breathe in his meds. I’m thinking of suggesting a catnip-scented formula already. Hopefully I will have some time to get him used to it before he has a full-blown crisis.

How have you been able to treat your pet’s asthma?