Cat Wants To Binge At Midnight
Cat Wants To Binge At Midnight
Tevie a twelve year old cat was by all accounts was a pretty normal cat until a few months ago. Tevie had a routine feeding routine and would be fed twice daily. First at 7am and then around 6.30pm. However about two months ago Tevie began waking her owner at the early hours of the morning with loud noises that the owner finally determined the cat to be howling for food.
“There are a couple of diseases that immediately come to my mind when I hear a scenario such as Tevie’s. The first is diabetes mellitus and the second is feline hyperthyroidism. Neither entirely fits with Mandy’s description of Tevie’s symptoms but it may be because she has left something out of that description.
With diabetes in cats, caretakers will commonly note a huge increase in appetite. Ironically, along with the appetite increase, there is weight loss in the patient. Another common symptom is a massive increase in water consumption and thus urination. Other than ravenous appetite, these symptoms were not described by Mindy in reference to Tevie.
Hyperthyroidism in cats is commonly associated with a tremendous increase in appetite and over time, weight loss as well. This is because the excess thyroid hormone being produced by a tumor in one or both of the thyroid glands in an affected cat causes an increase in the metabolic rate, thus the increased appetite.
The increase in metabolism however is greater than the cat’s ability to eat enough to keep up its weight, hence the weight loss over the course of the disease.
Both diabetes and hyperthyroidism are fatal in cats if left untreated. Treatment however is available for both. Cats with diabetes are usually managed with insulin therapy as this disease is caused by a lack of insulin production from the pancreas. Therapy is usually a life-long endeavor.
Cats with hyperthyroidism can be completely cured. There are two accepted methods toward that goal. One is surgical removal of the thyroid tumor or tumors. In the hands of an experienced veterinary surgeon, this procedure is an excellent choice as the cats can usually go home the same day of the surgery and be cured.
Another method of cure involves the use of radioactive iodine, I-131, which is given by injection. The iodine is selectively taken up by the active thyroid tumor, which is destroyed as a result. This procedure has to be done in a special facility and the cats are required to stay several days post treatment to allow the radiation levels to drop.
In Tevie’s case, I am betting on hyperthyroidism as the cause for her tremendous appetite. This is primarily because Mindy did not mention the increased thirst or increased urination associated with diabetes. These are both such profound symptoms that I have to believe Mindy would have mentioned if they were occurring.
Is the mystery solved? It will be once Mindy takes Tevie to her veterinarian for a physical exam and some blood work. Both diabetes and hyperthyroidism can be diagnosed with simple blood work.”