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Darth Vader Cat.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that we have the privilege to be door-openers and can-openers for a little (though really not so little) cat. Things that you might not know about said little cat:

She came to live with us in 2012, when we fetched her out of an animal shelter. She’d been found, as her previous owners had set her out in the midst of winter, so her history is unknown. The shelter gave her a name (Madonna), sterilised her, had her chipped and her ears tattooed (these are standard shelter procedures in Germany, to help identify an animal if it gets lost), and gave her a general health checkup. She never felt at home living with other cats, and from what we gleaned from her behaviour, she was probably all on her own, and she definitely had no possibility to go outside in her former home.

After she’d been with us a bit, we realised she had weird coughing fits. A bit like coughing up a hairball, but never with any hair coming out… so we did a bit of research, and then we went to the vet, and we were told that yes, she has feline asthma. So we did some more research, and we found out that there’s several ways to treat the asthma: Depot cortisone injections, cortisone pills, or inhaling cortisone with a special inhaler. The two first methods are systemic treatment, and daily doses of cortisone are, unfortunately, not without side effects. Inhaling, in contrast, puts the drug only there where it’s needed: into the lungs.

So we got an inhaler, and cortisone spray, and started the rather long and tedious process of getting the cat used to inhaling. (She got pills during that time. That was even less fun than the inhaling training.) It took about three months, and it is daily ritual since, morning and evening. Usually, it’s a very quick procedure – she gets a “bribe” treat, lies down, inhales, gets some more treats, we wipe her nose, even more treats (they are small ones), and then she’s getting her food, or we open the door so she can go out and do Important Cat Things.

This process has fascinated quite a few people in our acquaintance, so in case you are curious now as well, here’s a video of me doing the inhalation stuff with Madonna. The colours are a bit flat, but everything should be visible enough…


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6 Responses to Darth Vader Cat.

  1. Harma says:

    That does also requires good cat-carers for when you both are on vacation.

    Did you keep the name? When we got our cat from the shelter, they had given him the name Arend, which is not only a male name, but also Dutch for eagle. Since he didn’t listen to that name yet, we changed it to a non-bird name.

    • Katrin says:

      Yes, it does – fortunately, we have the world’s best friends and neighbours!
      We did keep the name, since she was familiar with it and listened to it (she was in the shelter for several months, long enough for the name to stick). We mostly call her “Madame”, though, or some other nicknames, when we’re just talking to her.

  2. Heather says:


    I’m sure it was only last year…

  3. Kathryn Leroux says:

    You filmed her on a very good day! It’s like those people on facebook who post pics of their little kids at the rare moments when they’re all smiling! 😉

    • Katrin says:

      She was well-behaved that day, yes! Though lately, she has been mostly well-behaved for us, so that wasn’t too much above “normal”. (And now I’ve probably jinxed it, and she’ll be the little diva and have other, more important things to do for the next weeks…)

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