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Does your pet need to take pills? Does your cat have Asthma or Hyperthyroidism?

Photo taken about a year ago – Bella is much bigger now and Epsn is less hairy.

If you read my blog on a regular basis you might recall that I have a “min-zoo”. No, I’m not talking about my teenagers (ha ha). I’m referring to our five cats, dog and fish. We used to have snails but the fish ate them. Poor snails! :-(

I love my pets dearly. They mean the world to me.

Two of our cats are a bit old. Our oldest cat, Velcro (named for the sound he made when we would peel him off the side of the couch – LOL) is 12+ and Kitty is 10 years old. We also have Padmé (6), Anakin (5) and Bella (17 months). Our dog Espn is the same age as Anakin (Anakin is 2 months older).

We anticipate health issues as they get older. Velcro hasn’t been looking well lately (his coat looks horrible) and Kitty has urinary issues (already addressed with the vet). Just like humans, the older you get the more thinks tend to “fall apart” with your bodies.

Never in a million years would I expect our youngest pet to have the most health problems.

Bella is our youngest. She was born June 5, 2011. She was found in a dumpster in an industrial park. Apparently people who live and work in the area find kittens all the time and toss them in the dumpsters to get rid of them. THANKFULLY one lady makes it a point to check the dumpsters on a daily basis looking for kittens and bringing them to the local animal shelter.

My family opted to become foster parents to puppies and/or kittens in need. The same day Bella and another kitten (we’re not sure if they were litter mates) were brought in we got the call to ask if we could foster them. We never fostered newborn kittens before. All our cats were adopted when they were three months old.

The animal shelter didn’t have high hopes for Bella surviving. She was very tiny (much smaller than the other kitten she came in with) and she wasn’t eating.

In a strange twist of fate Bella survived and the other kitten, Emma, had to be put to sleep when she was 3 weeks old. She was suffering from a disease (she couldn’t breath!)

We ended up adopting Bella. We raised her from a teeny, tiny kitten to a lovable ball of fur. She was part of our family. There was no way we could give her back to the animal shelter to be adopted out to another family.

Bella is a super sweet little girl. She still thinks I’m her mom. She loves to cuddle up with me while I’m at the desk working. At night she crawls into bed next to me and “suckles” on my pajama sleeve. She even sits on my chest and puts one paw on either side of my neck like she’s hugging me and nuzzles her face up against mine. She even misses me when I’m gone! I’ve been away on a few press trips over the past year and my husband always tells me she would cry for me and she seems restless without me.

A few months ago I noticed her making an awful gasping/wheezing noise. Initially we thought it was a hairball but after a while my instincts told me it wasn’t a hairball. I took her to the vet to get checked out. It turns out she has Asthma. Currently she’s on her second round of steroids. The first time around it didn’t seem to help her. Right now she takes a steroid pill daily. After two weeks I have to play around with them to see what works best (two days on, one day off… every other day… every three days…). The goal is to get her to take the least amount of steroids and not let her have any “attacks”. Sadly without the steroids she has frequent attacks. :-(

To make matters worse Bella was also diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism. From what I know it’s not common in young cats. It tends to strike older cats.

Bella has to take Thyroid medication for the rest of her life. I actually have to get the prescription filled at my local pharmacy. I take Thyroid medication too. It’s weird that she’s on human drugs.

Bella needs three pills a day (at least until I can get the steroid thing to work out). She has to take a Thyroid pill in the AM and in the PM. Have you ever tried to give a cat a pill? It’s easier said than done!

First of all, Bella might be the sweetest little girl at home. At the vets office she is a BEAST! She has to be knocked out just for a blood test or an examination. She just went for a blood test the other day and it cost me $220 because I had to not only pay for the blood test but also to knock her out and for a 1/2 a day vet stay. With my other cats the doctor can do what he needs to do right there in the examination room.

Bella does not like taking pills. But she has to. She can die or have other health problems if she doesn’t.

At first I would crush up the pills and put it in her food. That worked a little bit then she was on to me. I tried to add some Tuna or the juice/fluid from Tuna fish into the food. That too worked a bit then she would stop eating it if there was a pill in it.

I’ve tried other things… wrapping the pill in Liverwurst, cheese, trying to shove it in the back of her throat and closing her mouth (I thought she was going to kill me!), crushing it up and adding a little bit of milk to it… nothing really works. It might work once or twice but then she’s on to me and she won’t eat or drink whatever the pill was in.

I Googled options for giving cats pills. I also went to the various pet sites to see if they had something that would help. I found a product called Greenies Pill Pockets. They make them for both cats and dogs. They are little treats with a hole in the side of it where you stick the pill in and then mold the treat around it to cover it up (the treats are very soft). It’s best to use one hand to insert the pill and the other hand to mold it around the pill, that way the scent of the medication is not on the treat.

I bought both available flavors (Chicken and Salmon flavors), not knowing which one she would like.

When they arrived (I had to order them online) I gave Bella one of each flavor (without a pill inside) to see if she would eat them. We don’t normally give the cats treats so I wasn’t sure if she would like them.

WOW! She gobbled them right up! Not only that she was looking for MORE!

The next day I tried giving her a Greenie Pill Pocket treat with her pills (one pill in each pocket). She ate them with no problem. So farm so good. She’s taking her pills without fighting me about it and I don’t have to stress out about her not having her pills when she needs them.

I know I do a lot of reviews on my site. Most of the products are sent to me specifically for me to review. I need you to know that I purchased the Greenies Pill Pockets on my own. I am so impressed by them and how it’s such a huge relief for me to easily be able to give Bella her medication. I also like that they are 100% all natural and I don’t have to use unhealthy things (like cheese) to try and get her to take her pills.

If you find that you have to give your cat medication (pills), you might want to look into Greenies Pill Pockets. I found them on Amazon for $4.95 for 45 pill pockets. I’m not sure if they are less expensive elsewhere. Since Bella will be taking pills for the rest of her life I’m going to have to buy them on a regular basis. I’m going to see where I can buy them in bulk. My other cats like them as treats too.

If you would like to learn more visit www.Greenies.com. They have other dog and cat products. The only one I’ve tried is the Pill Pockets.

On a side note, does your cat have Asthma? Our vet says she has to take steroids and that is our only option. It’s just a matter of finding out how frequently she needs them. The “game plan” is to get her to take only a few a month to control her Asthma, as well as find out what is triggering them. So far there is no rhyme or reason to her attacks. She has them in the middle of the night and during the day. She has them when she’s fast asleep or just walking around our home. SOMETIME triggers them but so far it’s impossible to figure it out.

We have an air purifier. I am using non-toxic/natural cleaners. I don’t spray air fresheners when she’s around, I use baking soda to freshen up the carpet. It’s just been hard to figure out her triggers.

If your cat has Asthma, what are you using to treat it? Have you been able to figure out the triggers?

She also have Hyperthyroidism. Does you cat have that? Is he/she taking pills? I know there are other treatment options. One is surgery (but the cat would still need to take pills for the rest of their life – or so I heard). The other is radiation therapy where they actually inject your cat with radiation in a special facility. It’s expensive ($1,500 – $2,000). And I’m not happy about the idea of sending her far away for several days.

Bella used to be the same size as this plush kitty.

Our vet is pushing for the radiation therapy. He said it’s going to be expensive to keep her on pills, and the pills might not be affective down the road. I need to bring her back in a month to check the levels and see if the medication has to be adjusted. That means another $220. Then he said she’d need to come in every 3 months for a while ($220 each time) until she stabilizes, then it would be very six months. Plus the pills ($16/mo). With the radiation therapy its a one time thing and she’d only need a couple of follow up visits and she’ll be done with it. Financially speaking it’s certainly better, but I’m still not sold on the idea.

I’d love to hear from other cat owners who have a cat with the same conditions (either one or both).

I’m sorry to ramble. I just wanted to let people know how much I love the Greenies Pill Pockets and to reach out to my readers to see if anyone has a cat with the same conditions Bella has.

On a side note… I love my pets. They are so lovey-dovey and super sweet.

Padmé and Velcro. They were both sleeping but I accidently woke Velcro up when I was trying to get this picture.

Velcro using Bella as a pillow. LOL!

Our dog Espn and Bella looking out the window together (Aug. 2011)

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. Nor was I asked by Greenies to mention their products. This is 100% entirely my own doing and I am the one who purchased the product from Amazon.

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About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family, five cats, dog, a tank full of fish and snails. She is also a freelance writer and photographer.

Comments

  1. Hi Kimberly,
    I also have a feline furbaby with asthma. Riddick, who is now 4 1/2 years old is a black kitty, hence the name. He would often have hairballs when he was younger and I would give him butter to help it. Last spring, when he was 3, I noticed he was having more “hairballs”…he loved the butter and at first it seemed to help. Then I noticed he had a little wheeze so I gave him my ventolin puffer…he hates it but you just spray it at his nose, that you cup with your hand and he gets enough…I looked it up and it’s the same as the ones vets give kitties. It helped in the beginning…things continued to worsen and by August, he was actually having intercostal breathing…air pulling the skin in around the ribs…I took him to the vet immediately. $500 later, he had a steroid injection, 2 x-rays, bloodwork and 2 medications to take. His left lung had collapsed…which is common in felines with asthma, untreated. My vet said that the puffer could still be used for flare-ups. He takes 1 steroid pill/day at night when he’s doing well and 2/day in the morning and the evening during his bad periods. I have noticed that with changing seasons, his asthma tends to flare…I put him on the 2 pills/day for 2 weeks then back down to 1/day…he can’t go longer than that or he starts wheezing constantly. He will actually meow at my bedroom door at night if I forget his pill. I open his mouth with one hand until I can see the back of his throat and then I drop the pill at the base of his tongue…works almost everytime. I tried those pill pockets, the exact same ones actually, and he figured it out after about 3 days and then wouldn’t eat them anymore.
    I have 6 feline furbabies altogether…Nellie, unsure of age but approx. 8 or 9 years; Button(only female), 6 years on July 1; Riddick, 4 years on April 19; Popcorn, who will be 4 in December; Lucian and Midge, who will both be 3 in June of next year.
    It was nice to read your article, thanks for sharing.

  2. Kimberly –

    I am so glad that you found the Pill Pockets. Our much loved Acorn (who unexpectedly passed away in 2008) had to have 2 pills a day for seizures and we also were at our wit’s end. It was heartbreaking to watch my husband “pill” her and she was a strong willed cat to begin with. I cannot remember how we stumbled on Pill Pockets, but I almost cried the day that I brought them home and she gobbled her first pill down. They were expensive, but so worth it to me. The only time I had problems pilling her after introducing Pill Pockets was when we tried to use an Expired Package (I didn’t notice date in advance) and she turned up her nose at them. I would buy them in bulk via Amazon, Ebay, or various pet sites when they were running specials. So, I wholeheartedly agree with the powers of Pill Pockets and can’t say enough about them. I still miss my little Acorn who brought me such joy. We are blessed to still have her sidekick Roscoe and our newest addition, Molasses who recently had her first experience with Pill Pockets for a round of Antibiotics. She continues to come running whenever she hears the pkg. I am sorry that I do not have advice on your cat’s condition, but am hoping that other readers will. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family (all furry friends included!)

  3. I used to use greenies pill pockets when I gave my cat Spunky joint medicine, my vet reccomeneded using peanut butter but it doesn’t really work for cats, works for the dogs though. hope Bella feels better soon

  4. sandy weinstein says:

    please read the ingredients of the pill pockets. my older dog was allergic to them, they homeopathic vet on the 2nd visit, got mad b/c the 1st visit they sent me home w/ them….you can stuff the pill in food, hotdogs, treats, peanut butter (all natural), etc. instead of using the pill pockets. as for your cat, my middle child is terrible when it comes to cutting her nails, i try the homeopathic, calming remedies and you can also put a hood on their head and sometimes this helps b/c they cant see what you are doing and cant get scared. i use a bite guard (hood) on my middle child and this helps if she does not see me getting ready to cut her nails. as soon as she sees the scissors she goes wild..,…she was fine until i had her nails done at the vet 1 time and now she is terrible. they must have quicked her very badly….they wont even touch her now to do her nails….takes 2 people now to clip her nails… the greenies have a lot of fillers in them, and some are not wheat free, have glycerin, etc. which some animals are allergic too….you also might try giving her a treat as they try to take blood….to keep her distracted. i have pet insurance, not that i am a big fan, but sometimes it does help. although i pay over 3k/yr for 3 dogs….i would not recommend pet’s best at all…..bad, bad, bad….i have used vpi, and although i am not a big fan…it seems to be the best….they also cover some homeopathic things which many of the others do not do….

  5. sandy weinstein says:

    also they are some other companies in the all natural that make similar products that do not contain fillers or wheat….but the cheapest is using food, try wrapping the pill in tuna or something she really likes…hold her head up, rub her throat, and hold her mouth shut….

  6. We have multiple cats on multiple meds. One of our oldest, Trickster, has to take Tapazole for his thyroid. He takes one-quarter tablet morning and night. I’ve had good luck with dissolving his med in a teaspoon of warm water, then adding about a half a teaspoon or teaspoon of canned food. Of course, Tricky also has terrible allergies, so he may just not be able to smell the medicine. Tricky is also on a liquid antibiotic for gum disease the first five days of every month; I also have good luck mixing that with canned food – but I can’t mix the Tapazole AND the Antirobe in the same food. Somehow then, he senses it. When his allergies are really bad, we give him an Allerchlor antihistamine. We can’t hid that in anything. I tried putting it in the old Pounce hairball treats (no longer made, but they were soft with goo in the middle). One time he bit into the pill inside, and from then on, he refused those treats. Same with Pill Pockets. If I can back him into a corner and use one foot to keep his front claws down, I can hold his head with my left hand and pry & shove with the right. Otherwise, I get holes in my hand.

    Pill Pockets worked great for Remy, who’s on a heart pill once a day, until Greenies bought them out. After that, he started going off it. If they work for you, great! I used to buy them six at a time from EntirelyPets.com because they usually had the best price, even factoring in shipping. Now, none of my cats want them. I use the hold/pry/shove method with him and I always have a bowl of canned food ready for him; he won’t sling it out if he’s eating. Usually. He’s not bad about grabbing my hand with his claws, though; that’s something.

    Our worst pill experience was with Remy’s littermate, Quinn. He also had a heart condition, which we didn’t know until he had a heart attack. We tried so hard to save him. For a while, he was on multiple meds, multiple times a day. We were like those nurses in the hospital that come in every hour or two and wake you up to give you a pill or two or four. We hadn’t found the Pill Pockets then; the vet mentioned them but somehow we didn’t find them. It’s heartbreaking to have your cat look at you with fear or try to hide every time you walk towards him or reach over to pet him. Thankfully, Remy *usually* trusts us these days, even though in addition to the daily heart pill, he has to have a Vitamin B injection once a week. Sometimes he has weepy eyes from allergies and has to have an eye drop, too. Ah, even more fun!

    And I have another cat on injections – Indy takes insulin twice a day.

    The only thing we’ve had next to no luck with, any time, any cat, is the bubble-gum flavored Clavomox antibiotics. Who the heck decided to make medicine for cats taste like bubble-gum?!

    If you ever have any specific questions about cats, feel free to email me at dahlia at tmlindsey dotcom. If I don’t know the answer, I may have an idea where to go hunting.

  7. Thank you for sharing the pics of your adorable animals :)