Goodness, doesn’t he have the most amazing eyes? It’s difficult to capture the amber of Basil’s eyes without a lot of light to illuminate them, but the wind blew most of the leaves away and all this beautiful daylight is streaming in. I see them best each day when he comes up to me in the morning looking for love and breakfast, even if the light is dim, and I tried best to capture his eyes in the light from the window.
This morning we did a little something different—everyone had to wait for breakfast and Basil and I took off in the car to a veterinarian’s office. I’ve been tracking some odd symptoms in him for the past few months and talking to my veterinarian, at first just an occasional cough, a sneeze, a wheeze, snoring when he sleeps, but increasing coughing and a reverse sneeze that sounds like a duck quacking, and Basil seeming a little traumatized by his own noises. I think it’s something Basil has been carrying all along, and it may have been part of the reason he took so long to socialize, compensating for an amount of discomfort. I was considering a nasal polyp, though he’s a little old for that, some other herpes-related growth or infection, allergies, asthma, even heart disease.
A couple of weeks ago he missed a meal after increased coughing and we agreed he had a herpes virus and it could be the dampness related to that. Everyone gets extra supplements for health and immune support because I foster cats who often have viral infections, herpes infections or other afflictions, and the population in the household is a little stressful sometimes. I increased the lysine in his food and he responded right away with a near complete absence of any symptoms. Then yesterday morning he suddenly coughed and hacked, then later regurgitated a portion of his breakfast, then vomited the rest and began gasping and wheezing. I almost ran him to the emergency hospital right away but in making arrangements he calmed enough to call my veterinarian and to call around for another veterinarian who could do x-rays. He is a foster, and our organization works with a few veterinarians. He hid under my bed after vomiting again, and I put him in a carrier for his own safety, and so I wouldn’t have to hunt him down if we had to run quickly. Jelly Bean, who always provides comfort when Basil is traumatized about something, stayed with him, purring into his carrier. Teddy Bear, who is Basil’s first formerly feral foster kitten and who Basil has mentored and calmed when frightened, provided comic relief.
Because he might need to be sedated for an exam, we decided to wait until first thing this morning. Basil was a very, very brave boy along with some flower essences and the wonderful staff at the veterinarian’s office. He only meowed very loudly, but never made any aggressive act or tried to escape, and they managed to get one x-ray that showed his airways were inflamed and areas of his lungs were cloudy. The vet noted he had mild asthma, and right now had an episode that should be taken care of.
So we talked about the possible causes, including seasonal allergens which are hard to avoid. Environmental allergens we are pretty good on avoiding scented or strong cleaning products, smoke of any sort and scented things. I gave up clay litter a decade ago knowing from artist friends that clay is a fine particulate and can damage mucous membranes, and I use wood or recycled newspaper pellets so there is no dust. But things we are not so good on like my pastel dust, paper dust from framing and art papers, and my very damp basement—and when my vet and I discussed that a couple of weeks ago I realized that’s probably the main culprit as it began when the wet basement began in the spring, continued over summer, cleared up when the basement dried up, and recurred with a vengeance when we recently had rain. And on top of that I found a gently used cat tree on trash night and put it in the basement so they had a place to hang out, and Basil loves it and has been spending more time than usual down there.
So we’ve begun with a corticosteroid shot to see if it helps him recover from this incident and I will continue with some acupuncture and Chinese herbs and keep track of how he’s feeling and what seems to aggravate it. It’s hard to catch this at just the right time, and a trip to the vet a few days from now might show nothing. I’m glad I finally have an initial diagnosis for what’s happening with him, and I hope I can find what makes him uncomfortable, and what makes him comfortable. I’ll write more about feline asthma soon.
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What other photos have I shared on or around this date?
Wordless Wednesday: Smoky in the Mirror
Browse some rescued cats and kittens!
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Weekly schedule of features: Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Bok Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!