Short term relief for hyperthyroid kitty
June 9, 2024 6:57 AM   Subscribe

We have a vet appointment – but not until Thursday. What can I do to make here more comfortable for the next few days and until meds kick in?

Cat tax!

I don't have a formal diagnosis yet, but Calliope (16) is showing all the signs of hyperthyroidism: unexplained weight loss, ravenous appetite, coat looks terrible, clingy and restless, and I can hear her heart racing when I'm lying on the bed with her. Otherwise she's her normal active self (though I understand that too can be a sign). Because it's not a 'right this second life threatening' illness, I can't justify the additional cost of an emergency vet for an earlier appointment, especially as it looks like treatment is going to be $$$$.

Until then, how can I help her? The main issues are the restlessness and hunger. She is looking for food nonstop and I've been feeding her nonstop – dry food morning and night, wet food 3-4 times a day. I've been giving her higher calorie higher protein food, but is it even possible to sate her hunger before treatment starts?

The restlessness is mostly a problem because she has arthritis, primarily affecting her back legs, so while she wants to jump up on everything and run around, she's had a couple slips. She's already on Cosemin and I've added 'steps' next to her favorite places. Also I think the restlessness is causing her to pick on the other cats – she's always ruled the roost, but now she'll just walk up and smack them. Isolation is... a trial.

(Also any reassurances about vets not judging would be nice. I feel awful about how matted she has gotten – I was baffled because she never has matted and it seems like she went from a little greasy to big mats all over in less than a week, but it makes more sense now. She'll only tolerate a limited amount of grooming at a time, so she not only still has mats but also has nearly bald patches where I've gotten rid of mats. I know it doesn't really matter and they probably won't judge me, but my anxious adhd brain is having a really hard time with the shame.)
posted by unsettledink to Pets & Animals (1 answer total)
Thyroid issues trash a cat's coat - it's a symptom, not a failure. Don't sweat that, seriously.

I had a cat that was probably subclinical hyperthyroid for a long time before it got diagnosed, and honestly the only thing that helped (other than treating the thyroid problem, which I seem to recall they went the radioactive-iodine route and then synthroid) was gabapentin. It chilled her out in a way that nothing else did. I really don't think there's an over-the-counter or behavioral solution that will really do much because it's just straight-up a chemical imbalance. (My mother and my sister both had the same problem! Nothing helped them except dealing with the thyroid directly, either!)

I know very well how distressing and annoying it is to live with, but fortunately it is a fixable problem and not difficult. The Magpie made it to 15 and spent the last four or five years of her life much less unbearable and much happier without her thyroid.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:04 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]

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