Lucy is 13, and like many 13-year-olds, she likes to stay up late, make lots of noise, and eat pretty much everything. But since Lucy is a cat and not a person, this makes her behavior more than a little abnormal. I wish it were just teen angst, but Lucy has feline hyperthyroidism.
What is hyperthyroidism? It’s a common glandular disorder in cats caused by too much thyroxine, a thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism can result in weight loss, loss of appetite or increased appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, or a number of other un-fun symptoms. And while these issues definitely make your cat miserable, they can be equally miserable for you. In my case, Lucy stopped sleeping except for a few hours during the day. She yowled all night and begged for food constantly and threw up on everything. It was messy. I was barely sleeping. Behavior that is normal in cats, such as knocking things off tables to get your attention, would go on almost constantly. Lucy was driving me nuts.
So, what can you do after your cat has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism in order to keep yourself sane? It’s all pretty simple if you just follow a few guidelines. Let’s take a look.
Give your cat her medicine:
Feline hyperthyroidism is generally treated with a prescription of methimazole. Methimazole usually comes in pill or liquid form, and both are difficult to administer to a squirming, yowling cat who thinks your face is a scratching post. Cats hate taking their medicine, so it’s a good idea to find a good routine and stick with it. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you. Catch your cat when she’s sleeping. Invest in pill pockets. Do whatever you have to do, but get your cat to take her medication.
Look into other treatment options:
Your cat’s veterinarian might recommend a treatment of radioiodine or even surgical removal of the thyroid, which would solve the problem for good. Both of these treatments can be expensive, but some veterinarians offer payment plans. If your cat is fairly young or if you worry about your cat needing to be on medication for the rest of his life, one of these options might be right for you. Do your research and make sure your veterinarian understands your budget and your needs.
Make some changes to keep you sane:
Nothing makes you regret owning a cat faster than when vomiting and diarrhea become a regular activity. Save your floors by investing in doggy pee pads. They make cleanup faster and so much easier. If your cat is making sleep difficult, you can try keeping her in a specific part of your home or buy some disposable ear plugs. Your needs are important too!