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I have an adult cat (about 10 years old) who has asthma and heart disease. I'm managing the latter with a combination of injectable and pill medications. For the asthma, the vet recommended an inhaler since a typical steroid treatment has a high chance of making the heart disease worse.

I picked up an AeroKat inhaler made for cats, but he absolutely refuses to have the little inhaler mask around his face for a second, nevermind long enough to take 7 to 10 breaths.

Does anyone have any experience or tips getting a cat trained to be comfortable with it?

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  • If you type "cat inhaler" into the YouTube search bar, you will find several videos on training a cat to accept the inhaler. I haven't watched any of them (otherwise I would summarise it an convert this comment into an answer), but with luck you will find something useful tips. Good luck to you and your cat.
    – mhwombat
    Feb 21, 2023 at 1:16
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    Welcome to pets.SE! One of my rabbits needed to inhale too. I sat it into the transportation box and placed a cup with hot water and the inhale-substance in front of the door, then coverd it with a towel, so the steam came into the box. Maybe this is an option until your cat is fully trained for the inhaler. Feb 21, 2023 at 5:47
  • I'm going to suppose you want your vet's help with this one. Getting the dose correct is probably pretty important. If this inhaler is a problem, there may be alternatives either to the inhaler type or the method of applying the medicine.
    – Boba Fit
    Feb 21, 2023 at 21:08

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You cannot push an unknown object over the cats face and expect it to be okay with it. From the cats perspective this could be a lethal trap or a foreign animal trying to bite its face off.

Instead you must get the cat used to the object in a positive way. I suggest putting small amounts of wet food onto the rim of the mask as an incentive for the cat to get to know it. Wash the mask with soapy water after each training to keep it clean.

You shouldn't activate the inhaler like that. This first step is just to teach your cat that this is a fancy new food bowl and every time the cat interacts with this mask it gets a reward. You can slowly put the food deeper inside the mask to get your cat used to sticking its face inside. You'll have to repeat this first training step several days until your cat isn't afraid of the mask anymore and eats willingly from it.

Also start petting your cat while it allows the mask close. You want your cat to be as relaxed as possible. The inhalator mask is just a little addition to your cuddle time.

The next step (after your cat accepts the mask close to its face) will be actually activating the inhaler. Since these things usually emit a hissing sound, I strongly advice against doing that in your cats face! From what I could see the AeroKat inhaler works by mixing the medication with the air in the chamber and then letting your cat slowly inhale this mixture. So you can activate the inhaler before getting it close to your cats face.

If your cat still needs the incentive of wet food, smear it deeper into the mask so your cat has to stick its head in to get to it. Don't forget to clean the mask after each use.

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