If your beloved cat develops the medical condition hyperthyroidism, don't be surprised to observe changes involving her energy level, the state of her fur and her overall disposition. Her behavioral changes may even have you thinking she wants nothing to do with you.
Hyperthyroidism is a relatively common feline disorder that involves the presence of unusually high thyroid hormone levels. When a cat's thyroid gland makes too many hormones, this glandular condition results. The ASPCA states that overactive thyroid typically appears in senior cats, usually between 12 to 13 years old. However, it does occasionally affect more youthful kitties.
If your cat has hyperthyroidism, cranky behavioral patterns may manifest. According to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University, some key symptoms of the condition are unusually grouchy behavior and often even aggression. If your formerly jovial cat lately seems annoyed and irritated when you come up to pet her, you may mistake that for her wanting to be left alone. Your cat may not be feeling like a loner -- she may just be feeling unwell and grouchy because of it. Be aware of the difference.
Uncomfortable Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism can bring upon a lot of discomfort in a poor kitty, and cats are known to seek solitude when they're ill -- they instinctively go to pains to hide illness. With that in mind, among cat illnesses, hyperthyroidism appears to trigger sulky rather than withdrawn behavior. The point is, you can't explain away your cat's aloofness as antisocial behavior. Unchecked hyperthyroidism will definitely make your fluff ball feel less than 100 percent. Its symptoms include throwing up, depression, weakness, labored breathing, frequent urination, rapid heart rate and diarrhea ... all things that would probably make you want to hide away all day, too.
Unrelated Causes of Antisocial Behavior
If your cat likes being left alone, her preference may be more indicative of her age than a thyroid issue. The ASPCA notes that cognitive problems are extremely prevalent in elderly cats, from memory loss to poor vision. Cats with cognitive difficulties often lose all joy in being around people, whether it comes to playing around or simple stroking. Take your cat's age and cognitive state into consideration when analyzing her elusive actions. Another possible cause for a cat seeming less interested in being around people is the grieving process. If your cat appears anxious due to the sudden absence of a beloved companion, whether feline, canine or human, she may lose her joie de vivre, at least temporarily. You may even spot the poor thing just gazing off into space or hiding away in corners for long stretches of time. Such behavior might be misinterpreted, so that's why you have to get your vet to run simple tests to find out. After diagnosis, you can get your cat's condition under control.
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Hyperthyroidism in Cats
- Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine: Hyperthyroidism in the Cat
- ASPCA: Behavior Problems in Older Cats
- Feline Advisory Bureau: Hyperthyroidism in Cats
- ASPCA: Hyperthyroidism
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: The Special Needs of the Senior Cat
- Feline Advisory Bureau: Feline Bereavement
- Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
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