It's hard to know if Marvin's asthma is actually getting worse or if it's just worse because he refuses to take his meds. He has chronic dental pain which means he refuses to have his mouth touched. Unfortunately, we're not able to do any more treatment for his dental issues due to his failing kidneys, but even if we were somehow able to magically take away his dental pain, he's had the chronic pain for years, so he's never going to be at ease having his mouth touched. Pilling or squirting liquids into his mouth is not an option.
I got his steroid compounded into a liquid and it's flavored with fish (also tried chicken). I've mixed it into his wet food but more and more he's refusing to eat his wet food. I even tried withholding the dry food to force him to eat the wet - but he responded with a hunger strike and refused to eat at all. He also refuses to eat any of his favorite junk foods (cheese, bacon, etc.) when they're laced with meds. Sigh.
I broke down and spent the big bucks and got inhalers and the AeroKat chamber.
I've read a bunch about how to acclimate a cat to using the AeroKat and tried the slow acclimation process. I even put his favorite foods in the mask (bacon) so he could fish it out. In the end it was a colossal (and expensive) fail! I could maybe get him to take one panicked breath, the idea of holding it on to his face for ten breaths is just plain crazy.
My cat sitter extraordinaire, Annie, has been a licensed veterinary technician forever. She has a real heart for cats and is quite amazing with them. After I asked her for advice, she offered to stop in and show me how to work the AeroKat with Marvin. I was excited at the idea of a professional showing me how to hold him so this could work. Well, Annie left very humbled.
Part of the challenge is that Marvin is really, really small. When I first rescued him he was only about 5 pounds, now he's at his ideal weight, maybe even a little over at 7 pounds. There's nothing to the guy, he doesn't have a scruff to grab - really he doesn't have anything to grab except skin and bones. I don't want to squeeze his bones or innards too tight for fear something might break. Whatever I do, he fights and wiggles his way free, even with two grown adults trying to hold him. Annie even tried wrapping him in a kitty burrito, but it still didn't matter, Marvin wasn't having any of it.
Annie suggested trying a grooming bag, the idea is the cat is tightly secured in the bag and the paws are all neatly tucked inside. So, it's like a kitty burrito. I figured it was worth trying.
I bought the small from Amazon, but compared to Marvin's petite size, this bag is HUGE. Two Marvins could fit in this thing. Even so, I tried to get him in the bag but again he wasn't having it. Even with two of us trying to stuff him in - no go, which is weird, cuz he gets right into his travel bag with not even a hint of struggle.
Meanwhile, Marvin has more and more asthma attacks and it's really getting me stressed. The poor guy can't breathe, I've got the meds that can help him but I'm not able to administer them. I've stopped taking him to work with me because of his frequent wheezing, it's quite distressing seeing a cat not able to breathe.
I'm really not sure what else to do. The idea of just watching him struggle for breath doesn't sound appealing. If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them.
I'm thinking about bringing him next door to the vet's office everyday and paying for the technicians to strong arm him into taking his meds - that is of course assuming they are able to gang up on him and make it happen. The vet has his file flagged that he's an aggressive cat. I'm afraid by doing that he'll begin to hate getting into his travel bag and will start fighting me on that, but I guess that's better than dying from lack of air.
I suppose, I should start considering the "quality of life" question. I'm soooo not ready for that, but when will I ever be ready. Sigh.