It’s almost a year since Basil lost his brother and he’s definitely a changed cat. He stays indoors more than he used to, he cries a lot more and over the last few months he has been permanently demanding food. We found out why this week – he has an overactive thyroid. Ironically, I have had the same thing myself in the past, so if it affects cats like it does humans, then I know exactly what he’s going through. Over production of the thyroid hormone stimulates your metabolism, making you burn off the food you eat quicker, often resulting in weight loss (Basil is down from 6.5kg to 4kg). That might sound like a medical condition you wouldn’t mind having, but there’s too many downsides to make it pleasant. Increased metabolism means your heart rate speeds up, you are anxious and nervous, overreacting to the slightest little thing. It can make you very lethargic as your calories are all burnt off so quickly you have no energy and it can play havoc with your concentration and emotions. Nope, not a pleasant thing at all.
I had this throughout my teenage years, then I was recommended to have an operation to remove part of the thyroid gland. I still remember the doctor telling me not to worry as if they took too much out, I would then have an underactive thyroid and that was much easier to treat!! Er, no thanks! I took matters into my own hands at that point and went for traditional Chinese acupuncture. It was so effective that six months later (after nine years of constant medication) my thyroid was completely back to normal and I was off the medication altogether. Apart from one brief flare up, I have had a normal thyroid ever since.
Trouble is, I’m finding it hard to find a cat acupuncturist! There is a rather expensive operation for the thyroid involving radioactive iodine and there is a vets practice in Ripon which could do it, but I’m not sure I want to subject Basil to that. He would have to stay there for several weeks as he would be doing radioactive poo for a while (nice) so all his waste has to be disposed of safely and he’d need to be monitored. I haven’t gone into all the details, but I have visions of the vets in big white protective suits, so I imagine he would be completely starved of cuddles during that time and I don’t think Basil would survive that long without cuddles.
So we’re having to give him a little pink pill every morning and night. Those of you with cats know what that means. Those of you who have never tried giving a cat a pill, they simply will not take pills in their food, period. If you crush the pill into their food, they just won’t touch it. If you hide it inside a chunk of meat, they’ll eat the rest of the bowl and leave that one chunk. If you push it inside a cat treat, they will spit it back out at you with a hurt look.
These particular tablets are actually toxic if crushed, so it has to be done the hard way, which means I have an ever increasing collection of scratches and a rapidly growing repetoire of tricks to get him ‘in hold’ so I can force the jaws open and pop the pill down. As you can from the picture below, he’s not impressed.
It’s not been a good week for pets actually. Derrick and Alma’s 14 year old dog, Shep is in a much worse state than Basil. He has two massive tumours on his liver and there’s nothing they can do for him, it’s just a matter of time. He is ok at the moment, he’s not in pain and he’s still eating. At some point he will stop eating and we’ve been warned he will go downhill rapidly at that point. Naturally Derrick is distraught. Alma’s illness means she can’t really express emotions, so we don’t really know if she is feeling it or not. Shep spends a lot of his time sleeping at her feet during the day, so I am sure she will miss him when he’s gone.
Meanwhile, Basil is feeling a bit sorry for himself. His trip to the vet was a little traumatic all round and as they couldn’t get blood from his leg vein, they actually had to get it from the jugular vein. Naturally he’s been milking this for all it’s worth and demanding extra treats, bed priv and lots of cuddles. He has also expressed a desire to join the ranks of the lolcats featured on the I Can Has Cheezburger website, so I am going through my photo collection looking for photos which I think lend themselves to lolcat style captions.
This one jumped out at me, so I thought we’d have a little caption competition.
If you’re familiar with lolspeak, go right ahead and give it a go. If not, don’t worry, just make a suggestion for a caption that you think would go with this photo. Leave a comment with your suggestions and if I can’t decide on a winner, we’ll put it to a vote. To sweeten the deal, I have a prize to give out to the author of the winning caption. I can’t show you a picture just yet, but I will give out a gorgeous set of brand new stamps that are being released in December.