Gandolph arrived as an orphan found under a pile of wood with his tiny sister, Galadriel (Little Gal).

He got terrible diarrhea from almost anything he was fed and drank so much water the doctor was concerned that he may have been born diabetic. With a lot of care and experimentation, we found food he could tolerate. He wasn’t diabetic, but he developed severe asthma that requires medication twice a day.

In addition, Gandolph is one of our behavioral challenges. He bites when not watched to be sure he’s not overstimulated during interaction with people. It’s getting better. There’s been a big improvement since he started using the inhaled medication instead of steroid pills, but he’s not reliable yet. He also bites other cats. Fortunately, he doesn’t fight or bite hard enough to break the skin. That too is a result of overstimulating when they start grooming each other. He requires close supervision and constant behavioral redirecting.

At one time, we thought he might be put on the adoption list. Now, we know he’ll spend his life here. The cost of the inhalers and his behavioral challenges are better dealt with by people who are very accustomed to reacting quickly and predicting behavior that needs intervention. Changing to the inhalers also allowed this fellow to lose some weight. Steroid pills have the same effect on cats as on humans. They become larger, stronger, hungry all the time, and more aggressive. Not a great combination for the cats or for the people treating him twice a day. The inhaler reduces the systemic dose of medication, reducing all of the other problems by at least a small amount. This is a tough situation to balance since there are no other options.

We are grateful he’s doing so well. His asthma has been well-controlled with the inhaler. This wonderful boy learned the routine quickly and voluntarily went up on a bench whenever we showed him the spacer device used to deliver the inhaled medication.

That is until he lost his vision. By then, he knew the routine. He still cooperates and takes his blood pressure medication, B12 tablets, and his inhaler. We often give him a few treats afterward to reinforce his desire to do as we ask. Good boy!

Unfortunately, Gandolph shows signs of declining. That’s not unusual for a cat with his medical problems that’s over 14 years old. We know his heart is not doing well. Medication has helped slow the decline and give him a good quality of life. It just can’t fix the problem indefinitely. His arthritis is getting much worse too. Still, he loves to sit on laps for cuddling and to help in the office by keeping the guest chair warm.