Help needed teaching cat not to hate medication

redgale

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My cat Claire was recently diagnosed with asthma and prescribed a Flovent inhaler twice daily (using the Aerokat chamber). She's a sweet, gentle kitty who has tolerated the inhaler well enough for this first week, but obviously she doesn't like it at ALL and she's starting to equate breakfast time with her morning inhaler dose and is not eager to join us. 🙁This makes me sad, because I must be doing something wrong.

First of all, I don't have the option of taking days or weeks to slowly train her to place her face in the inhaler mask like all the YouTube videos show. She had a severe asthma attack, was in the ER for almost 24 hours, and was put on oral steroids, but the vet says she needs to get on the inhaler asap so we can stop using the oral steroids before it causes kidney problems. (She's a senior kitty.) So, I can't take my time letting her adjust before starting the inhaler--I have to give it to her now, whether she likes it or not.

My method has been to gently wrap her in a towel, then give her a lick of Kerrygold butter (her favorite treat), then I shake the inhaler and give her the puff, then wipe her face with a damp paper towel, then give her another lick of butter, then release... all with lots of praise and encouragement. She acts miffed and deeply insulted afterward, but not too traumatized because she never runs away. After a couple minutes, she has forgotten about it and is ready for breakfast.

The problem lies here: she's starting to learn the signs that mean the inhaler is coming. The towel. The inhaler shaking. Picking her up. Even walking toward her at breakfast time. All of this means the scary puff is coming. So if she notices any of these things (and she's VERY observant), she'll leave the area. I'm worried that this aversion will only get worse and eventually she won't come downstairs for breakfast at all and will be hiding somewhere instead. 😭

What can I do to improve this process? This is a lifelong treatment, so I need a good plan that makes it easier on both of us as time goes by. I'm new to all this myself and I know I'm making mistakes. I really need help and encouragement.
 
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sivyaleah

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I can empathize with this to some degree. We have to give our younger one sublingual allergy drops 2x daily. Probably forever.

She too, has gotten used to the sound of me getting the bottle from the fridge and all the subsequent sounds associated with me getting ready to give it to her. I can't even use food as motivation because she's not supposed to eat a minimum of 10 minutes before and after getting the drops.

What I learned is it's much easier to do this when she's sleepy, in one of her favorite spots instead of bringing her somewhere specific. I also wait a few minutes between making those sounds and actually giving her the medication. This way she's never sure when it's coming. There is something to be said for the element of surprise.

It's easier when my husband is around to help; he will hold her while I sweet talk her and slide the bottle nozzle under her tongue. But that isn't 100% of the time so I had to figure out a way to do this myself.

Most medications do need to be given at the same time each day, but there is a leeway on that. Doesn't have to be to the minute, or even 1/2 hour so you probably can take some time in between preparing the inhaler and actually administering it to her. And try to stay calm as possible; cats can pick up how we feel so the more sure of yourself in your capability most likely, the calmer she'll be.
 
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redgale

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I can empathize with this to some degree. We have to give our younger one sublingual allergy drops 2x daily. Probably forever.
Thank you for the encouragement. 💕 I really appreciate and need it right now. It's been a hard month with cat illness, huge vet bills, then I got sick from all the stress, and now adapting to a new daily medication routine... also trying to find a petsitter who will be willing to take on this inhaler routine when we travel... it feels like a lot.

I will keep trying my best, try to stay calm, and hopefully things will get better, not worse.
 
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redgale

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If anyone is interested, here is a video of me giving Claire her inhaler a couple days ago. I thought she was so cute. She is so well-behaved sometimes (but not every time) and just a total sweetheart always. 💕 I wish she knew this was for her own good and not just me torturing her for no reason. Maybe she does somehow.

 
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