There may come a time when your cat needs medication delivered through a nebulizer, or may need to be kept inside an oxygen chamber to help with heart or breathing issues.
Nebulizer Selection and Setup
The first step to nebulizing your cat is to have a nebulizer and know how to use it. It’s unlikely that your vet will provide you with a nebulizer so you will probably need to shop for one on your own. Depending on where you purchase from you might need a prescription from your vet.
Just Nebulizers has a wide variety of options, but they appear to require prescriptions for all of their nebulizers.
Vitality Medical sells many nebulizer models without a prescription including the Omron NE-C810. This model looks like a good, budget-friendly option and has high scores for quietness in the reviews, which is pretty important for most cats.
Amazon has a lot of different nebulizer options too, none of which require a prescription.
Local pharmacies should also carry a couple different nebulizer options. Pharmacy options may be more expensive than purchasing online, and will nearly always require a prescription.
Once you have selected your nebulizer you’ll want to be sure you understand how to assemble it and how to properly clean it. All nebulizers will be similar for their cleaning and assembly. Here’s a quick video showing cleaning and assembly using the Omron example.
Nebulizing Your Cat
Once you’ve got your nebulizer machine and have learned how to use it, the next step is actually nebulizing your cat. There are a few different ways to accomplish this task.
If your cat is particularly calm, and enjoys being held, you may be able to simply hold them with a mask over their face to provide treatment. Here’s a closeup of a cat with a mask held near their face for treatment.
For cats who don’t like to be held or restrained there is also the option of making a nebulizing chamber for them instead.
I love this next video, because it shows a cat who has been given such positive associations with her treatment that she willingly climbs into her carrier when asked.
This video shows how to set up a chamber using a hard sided carrier.
If you’re a little bit crafty you can also make a dedicated nebulizer chamber using a plastic storage tote. The instructions for how to build one of these chambers are pretty easy to follow. There’s another option for instructions to follow too.
The mist from the nebulizer will leave a film or coating on the inside of the chamber. The storage tote version is very easy to wipe clean after each use. The next easiest to clean would be the hard sided cat carrier, and then the soft sided carrier would be the most difficult to clean. The soft carrier may need to be put through a washing machine in order to completely remove the residue left by the medicated mist.
If your cat needs to be kept in an oxygen chamber you can construct one using the same method as making a nebulizer chamber from a storage tote, or you can purchase one.
Oxygen masks are another option for delivering oxygen to your cat. Masks have the benefit of reaching high oxygen concentrations faster than a chamber will.
To deliver oxygen to your cat you will also need the oxygen itself. You have a couple different options for the oxygen. The first option is to have your vet write a prescription for an oxygen canister. You should be able to fill this prescription at either a local pharmacy or a durable medical supply store. You could also have your vet send your prescription for oxygen to someplace like Pawprint, which sells oxygen tanks specifically for pets. Note that the oxygen isn’t any different than what humans would receive and might be more expensive than getting oxygen canisters elsewhere.
If you’re expecting to require oxygen therapy for an extended period of time you may want to look into buying or renting an oxygen concentrator. You can read about oxygen concentrators here. There are several options for purchasing these machines online, including from Amazon. Before you purchase a machine it would be a good idea to have your vet review the machine you intend to buy to make sure it is suitable for use with your cat.