Hyper Iris

As you know, from the messages your local town crier keeps bleating in the square, Iris hasn’t been feeling well for about a year. She looked bad last year, her fur falling out in chunks.

(The group I hung out with in college included one of the three Finnish people on our campus of 50,000. He used to kvetch that he could not meet a woman. “Women all want a chunk. You don’t want a man like me. You want chunks.”

He meant hunks. Chunks. Oh my god. My best friend ended up dating him for years, even after college, not caring if he was a not a chunk. Talk about your long-distance relationship.

Anyway.)

I took her to the vet—Iris, not my friend who liked the Fin. Although once I dressed as a mermaid for Halloween and complained I couldn’t walk because of my fin. “Sometimes neither can I,” she said, nudging me like she was a construction worker.

The vet said Iris had either irritable bowel disorder (IBD) or cancer, which was relaxing. Apparently it’s hard to tell the difference, and to find out for shizzle she’d need exploratory surgery. So we treated it like IBD and hoped for the best. Part of that treatment was giving her a steroid pill every day.

….!

I have somewhere in my blog archives a photo of Iris as a kitten, foaming at the mouth because I’d given her a pill. She is the nicest cat, and yet when you give her a pill? Oh my god. She Flails, Fights and Foams till I don’t give another F. She will not swallow the pill. She will defiantly foam until the pill is gone.

And yet for several months last year, I did this with her, I think two times a day. It got to the point where she hid from me all the time, and I was starting to think she’d be better off dying of her stomach condition than to have to live under the couch all the time, avoiding me.

But then the steroids made her really sick. They lowered her immune system and she got that hunched-cat look that sick cats get, and instead of avoiding me under the couch, she insisted on going outside and hunching against the house. I think it was warmer there than my AC meat-locker house.

I get hot flashes.

I took her to a second vet because that was ridiculous, and instead of steroids we put her on a special diet that costs a lot and that Milhous loves. He would much rather have Iris’s special stomach food than his own delicious in-my-prime food. The whole time Iris eats I have to watch, or Milhous will jump up and shove her aside and eat her food, and she stands there helplessly because she’s Iris.

Anyway. We did that all last year and this active, go-places year, then as of late there was so much drama with my vet, and the office closed, and I had to get a new vet. Vets are my new doctor.

I made an appointment for the I. at the new place, as her fur was falling out again. And she was doing nothing but standing on the kitchen table and screeching at me for food. In fact, when I went to put a photo of her on this blog, I realized I have none. I had w94934030r9394304 of everyone else, but none of her. She’s not been socializing with the rest of us. Also she is heavier and yet I can feel her spine.

I got down the carrier on Saturday morning, which all cats get obsessed with and repelled by, like all my relationships. They all walk low and sniff the carrier and hustle away, then creep back like they’re hyenas and the carrier is a dead antelope being munched on by lions.

Except for Milhous, who opened the cage door and got right inside. Settled in. I had to dump him out to put Iris in. Never in my life have I had a cat just get in that carrier for fun.

Anyway, I told the vet how all Iris does now is stand on the kitchen table and screech at me. My theory was her stomach was worse and she thought eating would help.

It turns out her stomach is doing fine. The IBD is under control The eleventy-thousand-dollar special food is working for her. But now?

She also has hyperthyroid. Her thyroid is a contestant on The Price is Right.

I didn’t even know that was a thing, but apparently it is and after talking with you all on (Face)Book of June this weekend, it happens rather a lot. The vet could feel it in her neckeldy area, her thyroid I mean, and her bloodwork was just this side of high. He suggested we send it to the lab to tell us more and I agreed. I don’t know what more it’s gonna tell us, but I enjoy my bill being as high as possible.

And speaking of a high bill, here is the other part.

My choices, he told me, were to give her a pill every day

…..!

forever.

Or I could have this radiation treatment done for her. It’d be a one-time only thing, and it would get rid of the hyperthyroid condition. The cost? $1,600. They don’t do it at his office but that’s the amount he recalled it being.

Oy.

So that’s the choice I wanted, but you’ll be stunned to hear I don’t have $1,600 right off the bat. What I’m going to do, then, is allegedly I will hear today from the lab, get pills for her as a result of those results, then pill her

……!!!

until I can save up for the radiation treatment.

So I had this brilliant plan in mind when I went to (Face)Book of June on Saturday, offering to shill my wares. What I said I’d do is give anyone a tarot reading for, like, what $5? $10? A donation? And I’d keep doing that till I’d saved enough money for this.

Lots of you said you were in, and on Saturday I read quite a few tarot cards.

But then there’s a reader, Rita, who’s been reading me for 10 years now. She used to work at a vet’s office and she said, “Why didn’t they tell you about the ear cream?”

The ear cream?

Apparently there’s an ear cream I can also put on Iris that is the same as giving her the pill, and the cost is more reasonable than, you know, $1,600.

So NOW I plan to call there as soon as they open to ask if we can opt for that.

And that leaves me in a awkward position. Because something like five or 10 of you donated to Iris’s cause and some said, “Do NOT give me a tarot reading, June” because some of you don’t want to hear any bad news. I understand this, as I give myself a tarot reading every month and sometimes it says bad things and it makes me nervous all month. The bad isn’t usually as bad as I think it’s gonna be, but I’m on edge all month, waiting.

Anyway, if you are a person who donated to this cause and did NOT want a tarot reading, I will return your donation as soon as I find out we don’t have to go with the radiation treatment. Your donations are just sitting there in PayPal in my tip jar. I just have to hit a button to refund it, I think.

If we DO have to give her radiation, I will be back to shilling tarot readings. It’s my one skill. I guess I could copy edit something for you. We’ll cross that Iris’s expensive bridge when we get to it.

So that’s all, other than that I was considering taking one of Lilly’s kittens but I think the timing is not conducive to a whole NEW kitten right now. I hate it when I have to parent myself. Also, I mean Lilly the person and not my cat. Not that Lilly the person had kittens. Don’t be obtuse.

Anyway, that sums up my weekend, was obsessing about that, and now it’s time for work and I will update you as events warrant.

Concernedly,
June

68 thoughts on “Hyper Iris

  1. Thank you for information on hyperthyroidism in cats. We are going to get our cat tested. After your post I did some research and I am pretty sure she has it. Thank you.

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  2. Have you tried giving her the pills wrapped in a pill pocket? Greenies make them salmon flavored for cats. Also, if you do end up going the pill route long term, consider ordering the pills from Chewy.com or another online company. Cheaper than from hour vet.

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  3. I had a hyperactive thyroid (diagnosed when I was 8) and had a radiation procedure at 18, which sounds like it might be similar. It kills off part of the thyroid and presumably the part that’s left produces just the right level of hormone. But they don’t always get that right and I now have the OPPOSITE problem (hypothyroid) and still having to take pills. Long story longer, if there’s an ear cream on offer, use the ear cream. 🙂

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  4. and also too – since I’ve has 2 cats that needed the ear cream – you have to wear something on your finger while you rub it in otherwise it can affect you. (and maybe someone else mentioned this but I was too lazy to read all the comments)

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  5. Lovely post, pretty June.

    I hear you on pilling. I’d do most any job under the sun for the funds if there was an option. After it feels like you’ve gone a dozen rounds with a sumo wrestler trying to get a pill down a being that weighs 8 lbs, I think anyone would understand. Hope the ear stuff works out to be an option if it would be less intense for everyone involved.

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  6. Ahh yes, thinking of those days when you just “found” a kitten – took it home and it lived happily ever after! My Princess was on two shots of insulin a day for 8 years and thyroid pills for a couple of years and $50000 a can special food…. sigh. But it is ok as I loved her and miss her still!
    Good luck with whatever is going to work for Iris! That is a great picture!

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  7. Sweet Iris. I’m sorry she has such crappy health problems. Fingers crossed for a positive non-traumatic solution.

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  8. My comment has disappeared. I hope Iris can use the cream/gel/ointment, whatever. If she must have the surgery, though, I’ll be happy to donate. Also too, I do love your new banner/header.

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  9. I had five (5)!!!!! cats that had the thyroid issue. I had them all treated at Tyson Animal Hospital in Durham, NC. (Not all at the same time.) There were not many places around that did the radiation treatment back then. Yes, it was expensive, but a lot less expensive than the place in Carrboro! I had to leave them there for 3 days and keep their litter for a period of time before I could get rid of it, but I did not want to have to give them a pill every day forever!! It’s been 5 years since I’ve had a cat treated there, so I don’t know how much it costs now, so $1,600 is probably in the right ballpark, but I thought I’d mention it since it’s not too far from you. Good luck with whichever way you decide to go…radiation or gel.

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    1. Yeah, he didn’t tell me where the radiation takes place. I can’t wait to drive with Iris a long distance. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow.

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      1. Also, too, I have a care credit card. It’s not accepted at all vets, but you generally get 6 months at no interest as long as it’s paid off in 6 months. You do have to make monthly payments and the bill has to be at least $200 (hahahahahaha) my bill is ALWAYS over $200…..the person checking out right before me — that’ll be $3.27 please, me — your total is $1,458,637,459, oh, and you’ll need to come back in a week so we can charge you some more!

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      2. Oh heck, within my cat pack, I have two sister cats. During their 15 minute ride up and back to the Vet last month, I got to listen to “meow” (low tone) and “MEOW” (hysterical high tone) alternating. So I just turned up the volume of NPR. They actually were happy and cooperative with the Vet but we all got put on a diet😻

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  10. My Charleigh girl has an overactive thyroid as well. She was diagnosed two years ago. I was given the choice of the pill or surgery, not sure if they offer the cream in the ear anymore.
    My Bandit girl had the same issue many years ago and the cream was offered. You just had to be careful that you wore gloves every time and didn’t get any on you since it can get in your bloodstream. With Bandit, I started with the cream but the vet switched me to the pill which was more effective. Bandit lived for 20 years.
    Charleigh has to have her bloodwork done a couple times a year and I opted for the pill. I don’t have the money for surgery either. It’s a tiny pink pill and she gets one in the morning and a half of a pill at night. I tip her head back, open her mouth and drop it in the back of her throat.
    It’s very common for cats to have this issue. My tip off was obsessive licking to the point she had licked all the hair from her lower belly. One important thing is to watch for kidney failure. Apparently cats generally get both and the over active thyroid causes them to drink more which helps in flushing out the kidneys. With the pill, there isn’t as much drinking water. If it’s not one damn thing, it’s another.

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    1. My other cats let me pill them. Hell, all my cats, even Francis. I know it seems like if I just tried hard enough I could pill her. And I COULD, but she would hide from me and run away and never come out any more.

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  11. I loved your tarot card reading of me. Tons of things were accurate(ish). Well worth getting. I only put in the tip, so you should be fine. *wink wink*

    You of course will let us know as soon as you know about the ear cream alternative. Also, my step-son is a cat vet, so we are all over this and I will let you know what he says, should you care for his opinion.

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    1. Oh, I would love that! They told me at the vet that I might not get the lab results today after all, as the COVID has slowed things down there at the lab and they have to work in smaller shifts. This does not answer my question about if she can get the ear stuff, though.

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  12. We had a cat with thyroid problems and my parents had to give him a pill every day for years. Mom would hide the pill in a piece of hot dog(he preferred Winn Dixie brand chicken dogs!). Whenever he did find the pill he could shoot that thing across the room like a rocket!

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  13. June, I have a non-pill taking kitty, also! Daisy (or Ms. Daisy Domergue for you Hateful Eight fans out there) has Feline Herpes. It manifests itself in a super snotty nose, sort of like she has a super bad cold for days on end. If she would submit to Benedryl, she would feel so much better. But, nooooo. Like Iris, she will froth and foam and linger under furniture for hours, shooting daggers at me with her eyes if I’ve made any attempt to administer a pill to her. And that is speaking nothing of the lethal trauma my hands are in danger of receiving, if I try that maneuver. Now, let me say as a dyed-in-the-wool Cat Lady, I know from giving pills to cats. I’ve had occasion to need to medicate many a cat in my day and I am firmly convinced that there are just some cats that will not comply. I have tried every suggestion ever given to me. She will not comply! So, I truly feel your pain where Iris and her need for medication is concerned. I do so hope the ear cream is a viable option!

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    1. Exactly. I have always had cats, and now many fosters, and I know from pilling. There is no, Have you tried…? that I haven’t, in fact, tried when it comes to giving this cat a pill. She’s not having it.

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  14. One of my many cats was Hyperthyroid and would not take pills. I opted for the radiation which cost $900 at that time, at a different location and required her to stay there but only for three days as I remember. If you get the flushable litter, you don’t have to pack it up to save for three months or whatever. But that depends on the rules for your trash collection I’m sure. Bottom line, it worked for her and she lived for a number of years after that. (Until something else expensive got her). Good luck with whatever you do.

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  15. Poor sweet Iris! Keeping my fingers crossed that the ear cream is an option and that it works.
    My daughter has health insurance for her cat and says it’s a good investment. (Her cat was considered unfit for human companionship and unadoptable, but has always been sweet and loving. I think sometimes they just need the right person.)

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  16. We took one of our cats, Aruba, to have the radioactive iodine treatment. Had to take her several hours away to Auburn University and leave her for 3 weeks I think. The treatment helped her but she was already 16 when we did it and she only lived another 2 years. She was such a homebody cat and only liked us so it was super stressful on her. Not sure I would do it again under the same circumstances but you just never know. This has been so long ago it was only $1000 but we had to scrimp and save for that at the time. I will be glad to contribute to the care of Ms. Iris though if that is the route you choose.

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    1. Iris is only 9, but I did think about how they may keep her there and would that traumatize her. That said, I will so totally do your tarot. You know, I might just set it up to do tarot readings anyway, because I act like Edsel and I don’t have a $600 cardiologist appointment on the 14th. I’ll do this tomorrow when I get time. Am worky today.

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  17. I kinda want to get my tarot cards read, but I’m also a big chicken. I don’t know if I want to find out anything bad and have something new to obsess over. This is NOT ASSVICE, but as I read about Iris, I wondered if her tummy troubles could have been brought on by the thyroid issue. Maybe not, but I’m hoping maybe fixing the one issue will help with the other. We have a cat with colitis and her prescription food is outrageously expensive. She likes her dry food very fresh. If it’s in the bowl too long, she won’t eat it. She also throws it all over the place when she eats and she’s not going to eat what fell on the floor. She likes her wet food cold. If it warms up, she won’t eat it. She’s so sweet, but what a diva.

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  18. I was just also pining for the lost days of getting pets that ate table scraps and cheap kibble and lived long, uneventful lives. Now it’s all IBD, thyroid issues, food sensitivities, ear infections, itchy feet, pills and creams and special diets. I’m 60 and dont have any of that. And yet, I keep 4 animals at any given time. Love them all.

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  19. Oh poor Iris and poor you. We worry so much about out little friends. Hopefully your vet can prescribe the cream for you. Neither of my cats will take pills. They end up hating me so much when I do try to give them a pill, it’s just not worth it. Good luck!
    P.S. Your posts are never boring! You have an amazing ability to put some fun into every situation!

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  20. Hope you get good answers for her, she is just so beautiful. I love that picture of her, screaming or not.

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  21. The “can’t walk because of my fin” thing killed me! Wonder if the vet just doesn’t recommend the ear cream because it’s a hassle and people end up wanting to do the radiation treatment anyway because it really fixes the problem. Keep us posted!

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    1. If I am not mistaking, that is a tablecloth I sent to June a few years back. It was my mother’s and it was kept in a linen closet for the last 60 years or so. Every time I see it on her table it makes me happy that it is getting use.

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  22. I’m impressed that you lined up all 50,000 students and extracted their country of origin. I have no idea how many Fins we had when I was there and the student body was only 40,000 back then. I could have found out. We did have about 1/4 of the population of India there, however.

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  23. What a poignant picture of hungry Iris. I remember clearly when you chose her to be the one you took home and then went back and got Lily, too. Adorable, lovable, kissable, and money pits, all of them. What we do for love.

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  24. I mentioned this on another post, but we had great success with the ear swipe. It was more of an ointment, less gel thing. Twice a day, alternating ears, two cats, rubber finger guards a go-go because you don’t want that stuff in YOUR system. The radiation was too much and too far — we would have had to haul them to another state and they would have had to STAY there for the two weeks or whatever it was. Good luck! Sending healing vibes to Eye-riss.

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  25. Poor blind-ish Iris. She can’t catch a break.
    I am placing the blame squarely on those mean dogs who hurt her. How they caused thyroid issues, I’m not sure, but I know this is because of them.

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  26. I just googled “gel thyroid meds for cats” and got a variety of options from gel, drops and pills. The pills at Chewy were only .12 cents each. If my math skillz serve me that’s only $3.60 for a 30-day supply. I wish I could get my thyroid meds that cheap. I need to move my Rx to Chewy.com.

    https://www.chewy.com/methimazole-generic-tablets-cats/dp/173628?utm_source=google-product&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=p&utm_content=Methimazole&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIuO_kv4v_6gIVMf3jBx3zHwi_EAQYDSABEgIqR_D_BwE

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    1. I can’t give her a pill long term. But we get all of Edsel’s medication via Chewy, and that is what I’d do if the vet prescribes the gel.

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  27. Sweet Iris. She’s really had a rough time, not fair. My friend’s cat, Moses, recently was diagnosed with the thyroid problems and my friend was offered the gel. I should check with her to see if it’s helped him.

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    1. Can you? I would appreciate it. She’s had a TERRIBLE time. First she’s blindish, then she gets attacked, then she gets irritable bowel and now this. And she’s such a cheerful little cat, although lately she hasn’t been.

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      1. Oh this is stressful. I hope the cream is an option. Love that blog or FB connections might lead you to saving lots of $$$. I also enjoyed the Finn chunk story. Hilarious.

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  28. Not advice because I WOULD NEVER, but a bit of personal experience. Our cat Louise was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. She was eating all the time and skinny. We tried the pills and within three weeks they almost killed her. She hid from us, her fur got dry and she stopped grooming herself, and I was so scared we’d lose her. On the advice of the vet we stopped the pills and a few months later did the radioactive iodine treatment. It was a pain since she had to be isolated for 10 days, and her used litter had to sit outside in a bucket for 3 months or something, but it worked great! She’s a happy healthy plump cat now. Also, in Nashville it was $1100. Worth it.

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    1. Oh my god! That is good information. I said this on Facebook but I’ve called the vet today and the woman who answered said she didn’t think they had the gel, but she’s asking the vet and calling me back.

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      1. Check Chewy.com to see if they have the gel, then ask the vet for a prescription. I’m not sure if they would have to call it in or you would have to mail a written Rx. I was trying to find an Rx for my husband that CVS couldn’t seem to get, so I…Googled and Chewy.com was what popped up first and it was CHEAPER than CVS!!!! Now I need a vet to write him an Rx.

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        1. First I would need to know what kind she needs and how much, though, so I still have to wait to hear from the vet. I also wonder why, if he really doesn’t have it, why not. He wouldn’t benefit financially from the radiation as they don’t do it there, and if he only has the pills, is there a reason he doesn’t like the gel? Remember when people just got kittens from a neighbor and never took them to the vet? I do. I miss those days.

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    2. PS, Louise stayed at the vet for 4 or 5 days. We had to stay 10 feet away from her for another 10 days after that, so she just lived in the guest room for a while. She was 11 years old when she got the treatment.

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      1. Also, too, my husband just reminded me that the pills caused internal bleeding so she had black tarry stools- terrifying!- that was the really bad part about methimazole for us.

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