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My Cat's Asthma Was Actually a Food Intolerance
When our Siamese cat, Sebastian, began having trouble breathing, we, of course, took him to the vet’s. He was hacking and gasping a lot, and she diagnosed him with asthma. To my great surprise, she said he’d need an inhaler!
I tried to imagine our hefty cat shaking the inhaler cartridge with his paw and holding it up to his little furry mouth. Sebastian’s smart, but, I mean not that clever. Besides which, he has no opposable thumbs.
The veterinarian said that a small mask could be put on his face, and the inhaler would then be hooked up to that. When he had trouble breathing, I was to put the mask on him and give him a mist.
Questions flooded my brain: What if we aren’t home and he needs it? Will the focus of my whole life now be about getting my cat to inhale? Will his condition improve with time? Will I need to get a second job to pay for his expensive medicine?
At home, I went online and ordered the mask, sad that my formerly happy-go-lucky kitty couldn’t even jump onto the couch without wheezing. Once the mask arrived, he wasn’t exactly thrilled with the whole mask-inhaler process, either.
Weeks went by, but the inhaler didn’t seem to be helping. My cat, in fact, seemed to be getting worse. When he coughed up a little blood, I became extremely concerned. It also made me wonder---what if he didn’t have asthma? What if there was some other reason for his coughing and shortness of breath?
I did some research, and finally put my finger on a possible cause. My cat might be gluten intolerant!
I decided to test the theory out. I trekked to the pet store and bought him a grain-free food from the Wellness Company and immediately started feeding it to my cat. It contains no wheat, soy, corn, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
I noticed an improvement in my cat’s condition right away and in two days Sebastian was better! No wheezing, no coughing, no need for the inhaler. It was fairly miraculous. My cat was running around the house like a Tasmanian devil, extremely excited and happy to be breathing.
After which, I concluded that I was right. For my cat to go from death’s door to zooming around the house in that short a period of time, he had to have either an allergy or an intolerance. As months and years went by, he never needed the inhaler again, never had trouble breathing.
Some cats, obviously, do actually have asthma. But Sebastian’s example shows that the vet isn’t always right, and sometimes a second opinion can save you worry, money, and possibly even your pet.