Hyperthyroidism in Cats

Dresser Cat is back
Dresser Cat is back

Tabitha (Tabby) was our foster cat. She was adopted four months ago. Recently, the adoptive Mom called up the Rescue that we volunteer for and asked if they could “take the cat back because she was peeing everywhere.”

We called Tabitha, ‘Dresser Cat’ because when we first got her she was so scared of everything and would hide under the dresser every time we came into her room. She stayed under the dresser for a good couple of months when we first got her. Fast forward to eight months later, she was already comfortable in her foster home. We thought for sure that she was a forever foster until we got a call that she had an adoption application pending. We were happy because she deserved her own home, a quiet home. Our house has 4 dogs, 3 cats and a couple of goats so it wasn’t really conducive for a shy cat who had previously lived alone with her human.

Causes of Hyperthyrodism in Cats

When I went to pick up Tabby after agreeing to foster her again, there were some signs that her health wasn’t optimized. Bear in mind that she wasn’t being treated badly or physically abused. Tabitha, our 15-years-old cat was a victim of the lack of knowledge in nutritional health. Here are the signs of poor nutritional knowledge:

  1. The poop in the cat litter was mush. Cats poop should be solid not mush. I am a poop detective and proud of it and all my furry kids have good poop, its how I know that they are well.
  2. In the house, strewn around was the cat treat, Temptations. There were maybe 4 bags, all opened. Not the small bags mind you, the large ones. There was even a large plastic container and that was half way empty. I give my cats the same treat but you should really read the label in terms of how much to give your cat daily, its 15 treats daily per every 10 lbs of weight. We are guilty of giving this to our cats and have a large bag of temptations at home, its half gone but we’ve had it for over a month and we have 3 cats! By the looks of it this 15-years-old cat cat was probably getting fed cat temptations instead of proper food. Try eating McDonalds daily and see what happens to you. Here are other people’s experience with Temptations. Also if you read the ingredient list of Temptations, the top ones are Chicken Byproduct Meal and GMO Corn, Rice. The chicken byproduct has no nutrients. Corn and Rice are both starches, a food group that cats cannot even digest.
  3. I also asked about her food, and she said she was feeding her dry and wet food. She showed me a can of Friskies and a pouch, whose main content was fish and byproducts. I specifically remember telling her to feed Tabby only quality wet food so that she will thrive. I guess quality for her meant Friskies, a Purina Company. Here are other peoples experience with Purina, Cat Food and dog food. Kidney failure, Liver failure… to name a few. Imagine eating this crap for 4 months, I am beyond devastated for Tabby, my 15 year old foster who didn’t deserve this.

When I started this journey, I didn’t know anything about kidney or liver disease or any of the diseases caused by cat food. I know most people know nothing about nutrition so here are Articles on the Causes of Hyperthyroidism in Cats:

  • Flame Retardant (PBDE) linked to Feline Hyperthyroidism — Japanese scientists found the link between PBDE and marine organisms. Its not so much eating of the fish per se but the quality of the fish. It is important to note that Whales and Gulls started developing Thyroid issues about the same time that Cat Hyperthyroidism was reported. It was in the 1970’s and thats also the time when Industrial pollution was at its highest. Since we haven’t totally gotten rid of pollution in our oceans, the fish that the cat food is made from seem to be the likely culprit of the PBDE’s found in their system. Its important to note that the chemical PBDE also comes from other household products and not just fish from canned food. But Friskies and the overall brand of Purina is not famous for their quality food. If they are using byproducts of fish in their canned food, I’m pretty sure the accumulation of the months she ate it, for a 15 year old cat, could have caused this issue.
  • The truth about Commercial Cat Food — Personally, I would never feed my pets commercial cat food, all the common diseases of house cats can be traced to feeding them commercial cat food. These diseases are: diabetes, UTI, Chronic kidney disease, cardiomyopathy, hyperthyroidism, cancer, fatty liver disease (hepatic lipidosis). Yes thats right commercial cat food can cause hyperthyroidism because they contain too much carbohydrates and the iodine content may be too high as its not regulated. (Disclaimer on link provided, I loved this Vets advise on commercial cat good but I would recommend a more comprehensive diet for cats and not just plain human food, they need digestive enzymes and a few more minerals that human food does not contain as we are not carnivores and do not eat bone meals)
  • Hyperthyroidism is the most common endocrine disorder of cats — in this post the Endocrinologist states, “…despite the fact that nutritional factors and cat food likely has a role in the etiopathogenesis of the disease…” meaning that commercial pet food could be and is likely the culprit of hyperthyroidism. In this article the Vet also states that he suggests feeding cats a high quality protein to improve muscle mass, strength and agility.

Food for Hyperthyroid Cats

When we first fostered Tabby in March of 2015. She came to us with medication for anxiety. She was taking Prozac. We slowly weened her out of that. Over the course of a month we gave her less and less of the prozac all the while feeding her high quality canned cat food. Initially she didn’t want to eat wet, canned cat food. She was use to eating dry food. So we mixed in a little wet food at a time. We eventually converted her eating wet food only. When she had made the switch, we saw no obvious signs of anxiety in her, in fact she started getting more comfortable with the other dogs and cats in the house.

Eating overly-processed food, junk food, food with no nutritional value such as fast food, will not allow your body to heal itself naturally as nature intended. Without proper nutrition your body will slowly succumb to disease. In that same line of thought, Food is medicine. You won’t be sickly if you eat a proper diet, same thing with pets.

Here is a list of food that we feed our cats. We hope it is helpful.  We use them for our own pets and we see the huge difference with them vs. a few years ago when we didn’t know anything about nutrition. Without further adieu, here are our favorite cat food that we use for our cats for optimal health benefits:

  • Weruva Chicken: We love it because it is grain-free no GMOs, has no antibiotics and no added hormones. It also has no Careegenan, which is a major plus. Weruva also doens’t put kelp in their food so less iodine content, which is great for cats with hyperthyroidism.
  • Blue Wilderness Chicken & Trout: Made from real chicken and trout. Free from by-products. No artificial preservatives!
  • Stella & Chewy’s Chick, Chick, Chicken Dinner: We love it because its got nutrient rich bone and organ meat! Rich in taurine and probiotics! All the good stuff basically.
  • Darwin’s Raw Cat food:  All the benefits of raw food in this diet will definitely help your cats heal chronic malnutrition

Supplement for a Hyperthydroid Cat

Mercola’s Liver and Kidney Support: If you click the link you will see a video of Dr. Karen Becker who will better explain how this supplement can assist your cat who has hyperthyroidism.

Basic Supplements for your Cat

The food that we give our pets are never enough because lets face it, its not fresh. Any food thats been prepared will lose essential nutrients and whats why we need to supplement. Here are our all the supplements we give our cats:

  • Wild Salmon Oil: We love it because we know it keeps their joints, immune system, coats, heart, muscles, etc healthy. Fish oil is amazing stuff, you should probably be taking it as well. Get the wild and not farmed variety because the nutrients will be stronger.  Also low quality fish oil will do more harm than good so please make sure you use quality supplements at all times.
  • Digestive Enzyme: Better absorption of food when using a digestive enzyme
  • Probiotics:  We added probiotics to help her further strengthen her immune system
  • Vitamins:  If you take vitamins, its the same reason you should give your pets vitamins
  • Senior Support:  I personally love this supplement because it helps provide support for liver, kidneys, heart and immune system.  It keeps them healthy even when they are much older.

Using the diet above, Tabitha’s poop is now solid only after a week and she has stopped peeing multiple times a day. She now only pees twice daily, which is what my other cats do.

I wish we could afford to just feed our cats with Stella & Chewy’s but because we take in fosters, its a bit too much for our budget so we spread it. We buy what we can with the budget that we have. We make sure that the food they are eating will not cause them to get sick and thats essentially our main concern. Food is suppose to heal and thats the kind of food that we buy for our pets.

Where to buy: Buying from Amazon is cheaper than buying from Petco or PetSmart. In Amazon a can of Blue Wilderness is about $1.15 and in PetCo (Warrenton, VA) the same can goes for $1.79 — thats savings of $0.64 per can.  You can also buy Weruva products from a nearby neighborhood pet food store.

If budget is an issue, buy high quality, grain-free dry food and give them canned food or even better, raw food every other meal. Remember even if its called, “grain-free” it still has carbohydrates almost 30-40% of dry food is all starch. Canned food only has 10% carbs. Carbohydrates is a food group that cats do not need and cannot process. Another important aspect of wet food is the moisture content. Dry food only has 10% water whereas the natural diet of cats normally contain up to 70% moisture. Also, the high heat used in processing the dry food kills all the nutrients in the food.

More information here about why cats need more than dry kibble.

Good food and regular exercise equates to less Vet visits

Tabby was returned to us with medicine tablets called Tapazole. Prescription is half tablet twice a day. We noticed though that she would stop eating with the meds so I have lessened the meds to just 1/4th tablet per day and will increase the dose as we go along. I will also get another blood test reading sometime soon so we can get a grip on this. Because of the upheaval, she’s in a strange place again so I took the liberty of putting Feliway in her room. Its helped calm her down and she’s slowly remembering.

Dresser Cat is now Drawer Cat and thriving!

When she first came to us, I thought for sure that we would have a foster who needed to go to the vet often since she was on Prozac. I’m glad the high-quality food was able to reverse the damage done in her previous life. We only went to the vet once in the 8 months that we had her.

I will update this article once she’s all better. Being 15 years old, I am hoping the damage is reversible and thats she’s able to get better from having hyperthyroidism.

Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian, I am a web developer, SEO professional and free pet-sitting Startup founder. I am a cat owner, well they would argue that they own me. I have had cats forever. SEO is essentially about research: findings and testing. I have applied my professional experience to my personal one and have done fervent research to support any of my material claims. Nevertheless, please note that everything you read here is subjective, it is my experience and you should find a holistic vet to verify treatment plans for your pet. Please note that I mentioned holistic vet because they will try to find the cause of the issue and address it, wholistically instead of prescribe an antibiotic. Vets are only starting to understand nutrition now but even so still lack the focus that food is medicine.


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