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How I Trained My Cat to Use an Inhaler

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 10.27.32 AMInhalers can be a fantastic way to treat feline asthma – as long as you can get your cat to use the inhaler. The first step, is getting your cat used to the spacer. The spacer prevents the medication from dissipating into the air before your cat can breathe it in. Plus, can you imagine your cat’s reaction if you sprayed him in the face with an inhaler? Here’s how I got my kitty used it.

Step 1: Kneeling on the ground, I would place Boo in front of me, facing away, with his back against my legs. Then, I would place the chamber, with the face mask attached, about 2 or 3 inches in front of his face. When he leaned forward to sniff or inspect it, I gave him a treat. I did this 2 or 3 times in a row, at least twice daily for about a week.

Step 2: Instead of just showing him the mask, I started placing the mask up to his face and holding it there for a fraction of a second. Afterward, he got a treat. Again, I did this 2 or three times in a row, at least twice daily for about a week.

Step 3: I gradually extended the amount of time I held the mask in place until we had worked up to about 3 seconds. This time, instead of treats, I would feed him.

Step 4: I would depress the inhaler (releasing the medication into the chamber) and then place the mask on his face. I held it in place for 3 to 6 breaths (depending on how comfortable he was). Again, I did this before meal time, so his reward was dinner (his favorite thing).

Step 5: Our ultimate goal was holding the mask in place for 6 to 10 breaths. Boo very quickly moved to accepting this. In fact, most of the time he purrs while he gets his inhaler.