Extra Love Needed: Meet Snickers

Author’s Note: Many thanks to Miss Suzi for letting me ask questions about Snickers. Pictures used with permission. 

How old is Snickers?

Snickers is 14. She just had her birthday!

How did Snickers come to live with you?

I owned her and her brother, Milton’s mom. I went on vacation and my nephew was supposed to be watching her but let her out and she got pregnant. I got to watch them be born! So I have had her since day one!

Did she have asthma when you got her or did she develop it later?

Snickers was diagnosed with asthma later in life and she gets a shot when needed. Two years ago she started walking funny so I took her in and her blood work came back with a blood sugar number of 598!!! She will sadly never go into remission for her diabetes because of her asthma shot. The steroids in it will always affect her blood sugar.

What are some of the signs of asthma?

Some signs for asthma is coughing but not trying to cough up anything. And labored breathing.

What about signs of a diabetes flair up?

For diabetes some signs are drinking lots of water, weight gain, peeing a lot and most will develop neuropathy, which is damaged nerve function and the cat will start walking funny in the back legs.

How often do you check her sugar?

At the minimum I check her sugar twice a day before I give her an insulin shot. Usually I test her about 4-6 times a day. She gets her shot in the morning and at night.

What kind of medication is she on?

She gets a shot for her asthma when needed but she can also use an inhaler just like people do! I have asthma as well so if she is having a rough time and for some reason I can’t get her in she can take some puffs from my inhaler. She has an extension called the Aerokat so it’s not going directly in her mouth.

What are her favorite things to do?

Her favorite things are playing with earplugs, lol, snuggling with me and she loves to go out in our backyard.

Are there any other pets in the house?

I do have one of her litter mates, Milton and I have my mom’s cat, Olivia, whom I adopted and my mom passed away. Her and my cats do not get along at all! Even after a year and a half.

Are they protective of her?

She’s not protective but I am the only person she loves. She tolerates my husband. She does stare at the door if someone knocks, that’s about it.

I love to educate people on feline diabetes and this little girl is my everything!

Here is some additional information on Feline Asthma and Feline Diabetes

https://www.thespruce.com/treat-feline-asthma-555454

Feline Diabetes

Happy Tails: Meet Brat, Geo & Rags

Author’s Note: Many thanks to Vicat Furrington   for letting me interview her about her furry family. Pictures used with permission. 
How many pets do you currently have? What are their names? 
I currently have 2 cats,  Brat and Rags, and 1 dog, Geo
How did they come to live with you?
All 3 were rescues. Geo came first. He was the dog of a guy about to go to jail for several months, they were homeless and living out of a van in winter in Nebraska. I had a giant NOPE, and immediately took him home with me. He was a year and a half old.
About 6 months later, one stormy night Geo and I heard a mew from outside but in the deluge couldn’t locate where. The next moron we found Rags stuck in the mud beneath the propane tank and Brat under the bushes. They were 9 werks old, and had been born to a semi-feral cat who lived down the road, but the rest of the litter had died. I had delivered them, so I guess when things went badly, those 2 struck out to find me.
Does Brat have asthma or another medical condition that causing him to have problems breathing? What is normally used to keep him calm?
Brat was born butt first, and got stuck. I was able to pull him out and save him and the mom and the other 4 kittens. But there was damage to his lungs, causing what I now know as Non-Contagious ﹰBirth ﹰTrauma-Induced ﹰFeline ﹰAcute ﹰRespiratory ﹰDistress ﹰSyndrome. It is rare, and before Brat no cat ever made it past 2. His 7 now…
 
It is really rare because there is no real research about it. There was 100% mortality rate, so why research something we can’t cure? But we can. He can go from peppy snarky demanding bratty to losing 15% oh his body weight overnight, fish gasping on the floor and drowning in his own fluids. He gets into the crouch with full neck extension, which is a very bad sign for any cat with respiratory issues.
But. He has lasix and prednisone for during the episodes, we do steamies in the bathroom with sweet peppermint oil in the water. When coughing I hold him upright and massage his chest to stop spasms or he would cough himself apart internally. His triggers are stress, heat, and pollutants so we try to avoid those. It is an ongoing battle and worth every minute.
What breed of dog is Geo?
His coat looks so shaggy he looks so pettable.
Geo is half Westie and half Bichon, and in perpetual need of trimming because his fur grows so fast! And the sweetest doggy I’ve ever met.
How many pets have you rescued?
I’ve lost count, really. There have been hundreds, including raccoons, squirrels, a snake, cats, dogs…
What tips/tricks/suggestions do you have for others looking to rescue/adopt?
Never rule out an older animal or one with health issues. Sometimes those are the most fulfilling experiences of your life.
 
Is there anything else you would like to add about your furry children?
They save me just as much as I save them.

Extra Love Needed: Merlin the Asthma Cat

Hello, I'm Merlin and I have asthma
May I ask how old you are?
I am five years young. 🙂
Where did your name come from?
Mommy and my auntie Linda were going through names for me and when they came to Merlin, it was just perfect. It was the best fit.
How did you come to your forever home?
Mommy and auntie Linda were roommates. They had decided that is was time to get a pet and had seriously thought about getting a guinea pig because they are small, cute and chirp at you. While they were at the PetSmart they stopped at the kitty adoption center and decided they would like a cat instead of a guinea pig. (We’re much cuter you know and MUCH smarter than a smelly old guinea pig any day.) Mommy saw a pretty striped tabby cat that she really thought would be a great new family member so she went into the adoption center to see her. But you know what?!? That old priss wanted NOTHING to do with mommy! Nothing! She just walked away and ignored her.
  Well I come along after watching this little performance, all six months, long legged, suave teenager that I was, and look mommy in the eyes and put my paws on her knees as she kneels down. Mommy turned to auntie Linda and they instantly agreed that I was coming home with them! I even walked right into the crate with no problem! So mommy signed the adoption papers and we have been together ever since.
Showing some fang, all the ladycats love fangs
When were you first diagnosed with asthma?
  Oh, I was about a year and a half old. (Rather young as most cats are diagnosed after two years old.) I started coughing really badly but not having really bad asthma attacks.
Is feline asthma similar to human asthma?
 Feline asthma is similar to human asthma in that it restricts the airways. They are both triggered by outside elements like weather, humidity, allergens, and illnesses. Feline asthma is generally triggered by allergies though and could be considered a severe allergic reaction. Cats also react with asthma attacks from foods, perfumes, candles and litters so environmental factors can be huge.
Are you currently on medication to control the symptoms?
  I am currently on a Flovent Rescue inhaler for when I have an actual attack. Mommy uses an Aerokat which helps meter the dosages and mommy can see if I’m actually breathing in the medication. (Here’s a link to the website: http://www.trudellmed.com/animal-health/aerokat. They also make the meters for dogs and horses.)  I also take Prednisone for when I have severe attacks in the form of a pill but I don’t like those very much. They taste horrible so mommy has to track me down because I hide when I hear the pill bottle. There have been times when I’ve had to have a steroid injection and oxygen to help me breathe as well.
Do you know what your triggers are?
My major triggers are some strong perfumes, smoke, grains, heat, high humidity, sometimes exercise and most definitely stress. A lot of kitty litters also trigger my attacks so mommy can only use one certain brand that works for me.
Another selfie, I'm just to handsome
Can you play like other cats or do you need more breaks?
Oh I can play just like other cats and I do actually. I get the zoomies a couple times of day when I’m feeling really good but when my asthma is flared up I’m more than happy to just relax and either lie on the back of the couch or with mommy snuggled up. It just depends day to day on how I feel and how much energy I actually have.
What is your favorite thing to do?
Spend time with my mommy. I like to follow here in the the rooms especially when he’s in the giant water dish. She likes to soak in there for-ev-er… I try to drain it the best I can by dipping my paw and licking it but there’s sooo much water. So instead, I lie down and just take a nap until she’s done.
Do you live with any fursibilings? If so who?
I have three fursibling right now, but I only get to be with one, Bailey who’s also know as The Mutt. (she’s a 14 year old, one eyed min pin) My sisters and I don’t really get along right now but their names are Smudge and Stella. Stella is ok, but really shy. Smudge is a big meanie to me and I’m actually really scared of her right now. She can cause me to become anxious and trigger an asthma attack so mommy keeps up in different rooms and is looking for an adoptive home for her where she can be someones only kitty.
Me & Smudge.. we're holding the bath mat down for mom
Is there anything you or your mom would like to add about your asthma?
Merlin’s asthma really has no rhyme or reason. He can go weeks without having a single attack then her can have 2-3 attacks a day for weeks. Many of the outside factors like pollen and the heat and cold can really be inconsistent here in Southern California so it’s hard to judge when he’s going to have an attack, but when it does it can be very scary if it’s a bad one.
  I am very thankful that Merlin basically takes his attacks in stride and remains relatively calm though out the ordeal. I leave him alone while he’s having the attack to reduce the anxiety it can cause by touching him while he struggles to breathe and cough. After he’s done with his attack he get’s up, swallows roughly a few times then flicks his tail and walks off.
  The only time he has ever loses his cool with his attacks is when he has to struggle to breathe. That’s when we make a trip to the vet for a steroid injection for a fast and long lasting relief. The injections last an average of 5-7 days but if his asthma is really severe attacks can reappear within 3 days of an injection.
Also here is a great link to information about Feline Asthma from the ASPCA: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/asthma
Is there a support group for people whose cats were newly diagnosed with asthma?
There actually is a Feline Asthma group. Mommy isn’t a member since she has found the the best group to be fellow Facebook owners and kitties who also suffer asthma. One group is: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/felineasthma/info.
There is also a fantastic Facebook support group that mommy is a member of: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fabulous-Furkids-with-Asthma/180536395485969. She really likes them.
Showing off my claws, aren't they sharp?
What are the symptoms cat owners should look out for?
 The biggest one is coughing like they have a hair ball but nothing comes up with a kind of popping gurgling sound in the chest as the cats breathe. Any struggling to catch their breath, falling over and of course if they stop breathing.
Here’s a link to one of my asthma attack videos as well: http://youtu.be/wEsNqOtWOtQ It’s a little dark since it was still early but you can clearly hear what the attack sounds like.

Author’s Note: Many many thanks to Sir Merlin and his wonderfuly Mommy Miss Shannon for letting me ask so many questions about his condition. To learn more about him and his life, follow his adventures on his Facebook page Merlin the Asthma Cat.
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