When a friend’s cat was recently diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, it brought me back to the year 2005, when Amber was diagnosed and treated for this disease. I chose the Radiocat (I131) treatment for her. This was my experience with the treatment.

Hyperthyroidism is a common disease that typically affects middle-aged and older cats.  It is caused by an excess production of thyroid hormones, which are produced by the thyroid gland, located inside the cat’s neck.  Thyroid hormones affect nearly all organs, which is why thyroid disease can sometimes cause secondary problems such as hypertension, heart and kidney disease.


The gold standard for treating hyperthyroidism

There are currently three treatment options:  lifelong medication, surgery, and the gold standard, radioactive iodine therapy. A single injection of Radioiodine (I-131) cures 98-99% of feline hyperthyroidism cases without any adverse side effects. There aren’t many diseases that have that simple a cure and such a high cure rate.

Living in a major urban area, I had several choices for the radioactive iodine treatment, and I choose Radiocat. It’s a simple treatment, it’s easy on the cat – but it can be really hard for the cat’s human.

One of the requirements of the treatment is that the cat has to be hospitalized for 3-5 days, until she has reached the safe and legal level of radiation release. The length of the stay varies by state and is governed by Nuclear Regulatory Commission guidelines. These guidelines also prohibit clients from visiting cats while in the hospital.

My experience with Radiocat

The three days Amber spent at Radiocat were the longest three days of my life. Amber was my only cat at the time. I couldn’t imagine my  house without her in it. I still worked at the animal hospital, so at least that took care of taking me away from home for about nine hours for each of the three days. I didn’t want to go home at the end of the day – coming home to an empty house was incredibly hard. One night I went to a movie, the next night I went to the mall (and I hate shopping!), and the last night of her stay friends and I went to see U2, which worked out great, because it kept me out until very late.

Knowing that Amber was just a few miles away from me, but that I couldn’t even visit her, was very difficult. From the time she came home with me five years earlier, she had only been separated from me for a few days here and there when I traveled, and then she got to stay in her familiar home, with a pet sitter she loved coming to spend time with her twice a day. I hated wondering what she was thinking. Why had I dropped her off in a strange place to live in a cage? What had she done to deserve this?

Daily phonecalls from the wonderful technician who took care of her reassured me that she was doing fine. The only slight problem was that she wasn’t eating well the first day. I had sent her regular, healthy grain-free canned food with her, which she usually inhaled. In order to tempt her, they broke out the stinky stuff, and she dug in. For the rest of her stay, she dined on FancyFeast. Personally, I think she played them, deciding that if she was stuck in a cage for three days, she was going to eat junk food, thank you very much.

I didn’t want to be “that client,” so I didn’t call more than once a day, but it was hard not to. I didn’t sleep well at night. I was used to having Amber curled up in my arms. The first night, I broke out in a rash – something that hadn’t happened to me since I was a child. It went away once I got to work the following morning, so I have to believe it was psychosomatic.

The day she was finally allowed to come home, I wasn’t supposed to pick her up until 11. I couldn’t help myself: I was there by 10. Thankfully, Radiocat apparently allows for overly anxious cat moms, and Amber was cleared and ready to go home. I had never been so happy to see my girl.

Caring for Amber after the treatment

For a couple of weeks following the treatment, her thyroid values were below normal and she was a bit sluggish. A very small percentage of cats becomes hypothyroid following the I-131 treatment, but thankfully, Amber’s thyroid regulated back to normal levels very quickly, and she was completely cured.

So what is my advice to any of you whose cats may be going through the radioactive iodine treatment? Keep busy, and, especially if the cat being treated is your one and only, stay away from home as much as you can during your cat’s hospital stay. Expect to be stressed, and expect to worry. But know that once you pick up your baby, she’s going to be cured. And that makes the three to five longest days of your life well worth it.

Photo of Amber lounging on her perch, a couple of months before her Radiocat treatment

135 Comments on Surviving Radiocat

  1. Hi! I realize this is an old article but I hope it is still being monitored. My girl is borderline hypothyroid and I’m leaning toward the radioactive iodine treatment when the time comes. However, there’s only one place within three hours of where I live that does it. They told me that even after she comes home, for the first week I can only spend 20 minutes a day with her. From the main post and comments here, it looks like no one else had those guidelines. Does anyone have any additional information they can share if they’re familiar with this? Much appreciated!

    • Radiocat’s current guidelines read “After your cat is released, we ask that you spend two weeks using some basic, common sense safety precautions primarily regarding your cat’s litter box output (we’ll give you detailed written instructions). You would probably receive more radiation from an extended flight or a day at the beach than you’ll get from your pet once it’s released, so your cat does NOT need to be isolated from you, your family or other pets. However, your cat MUST remain indoors. Limiting (not halting) snuggling with your cat and washing your hands after prolonged close contact is recommended. We’ll help you figure out ways to accommodate these small changes in your daily routine. The potential risk to owners is extremely remote as regulations for using I-131 are much stricter for animals than for people, but we recommend pregnant women not participate in the cat’s care during these two weeks. After two weeks, simply return to your normal pet-care and pet-loving routine.”

  2. Our cat came home yesterday from treatment and never ate. Today she has only nibbled a little bit and very sluggish. Has anyone else had this? Its the weekend wondering if should take her to emergency tomorrow if doesn’t start eating more significantly.

    • On very rare occasions, some cats become temporarily hypothyroid after the Radiocat treatment, and that may explain the sluggishness or lack of appetite. I would contact Radiocat today (I’m pretty sure they’re available for clients 24/7.)

      • Thanks. I think I found problem I tested her urine she has low ph and she was prone to uti’s when her t4 levels went up so will go on antibiotics and see vet.

  3. OMG! I’m so glad I just found this post. We found my Mittens’ hyperactive thyroid during her annual exam/bloodwork. She was on medicine for a while (which our 4 yr old would lick out of her ears, despite being separated for a while after application) and her doctors and I made the decision to go through the I-131 since she was otherwise perfectly healthy (like, not a single value out of range except her thyroid) and had only lost a couple ounces of weight. The administering Dr even commented on how great her body condition was for a hyper kitty. :o)

    Aside from both of us stressing out while heading to the hospital, and me not sleeping, crying and missing her while she was gone, I was afraid she would be mad at me upon returning home. But she settled in just fine.

    The past week or so, she’s been more lethargic and less chatty than usual, so I have been worrying. I am glad i found this post because, although I knew they can go through a hypo period, I didn’t realize that it’s not unusual for them to slow down while regulating. Although makes perfect sense!

    I will still keep an eye on her and bring up any concerns when we go for our 1 month check in two weeks!

    Thanks for your always insightful posts!

  4. My little 12 year old Amanda (a tortie) was a rescue and very shy and withdrawn from the start. She made me her “person” and would not ever warm up to anyone and would run away and hide if anyone approached her. She and I bonded though and were inseparable. Wherever I go in the house, she follows. I can feel her eyes on me even when she is hiding. My husband adores her, and she will walk over his body in the early hours before he wakes to alert him to her breakfast time. However that is where their relationship ends. He however has to capture her with my help to get her to her annual vet visits. It is really difficult to do as she is very fast. She is a petite little thing and very hyper. She started rapidly losing weight around a year ago, it was evident that she had a hyperthyroid problem. We chose the Iodine Radiation treatment for her, as she cannot be pilled. We tried the ear medicated cream, but she did not want to be treated with that and would really hide, so possibly one dose or less a day was all we could manage. We have a very large house, so she is hard to find, when she chooses to hide. We are now two weeks after the treatment and she is very still, stays in a box with a quilt. Her little legs tremble when she walks. She just acts really sad and although she will do a faint mew when I come near, she does not want to be cuddled, so stays to herself, usually in one place and sleeps a lot. I am wondering if she will ever come back to us as the little gentle loving creature she was. She would tear through this big house with two staircases, just running hard and fast, chasing her best friend, our Scucci, a very large Russian blue female cat. I know that the hyperthyroidism kept her in high gear, but this calm, sad kitty is making us all sad. I wonder if she will return with a bit of playfulness. The vet told me that these patients tend to be lethargic for several weeks, but I was not expecting it to this degree. She is eating and drinking well. She refuses to be picked up, but she loves cuddles on her terms. She would get in my lap and stay there for the evening. And she helps me quilt at the sewing machine. This is breaking my heart. I just wonder if this is normal and if anyone else has experiencing this. I knew this separation would be horrible for both of us and really went though thoughts of whether to even do it because when it comes to little animals, is it right to force them treatment and meds or let them go to the end of their life on their terms. It certainly was not her choice to be put through this. The final decision became clear when she started yowling in the middle of the night as if she was in pain. And demanding food constantly. The yowling has stopped and she will ask for food, but not so frantically. She swallows as if her throat is sore. She will take a bite of food and go straight for her water, as if to help it go down easier. She is taking a post thyroid surgery Atenolol crushed in her food, Norvasc for high blood pressure pill, also crushed. Also something to enhance her appetite that I have had to give her twice. Let me hear some thoughts on the recovery period. By the way, she had a large growth on one thyroid, so the other is working, and the prognosis was good. Just not expecting this much of a change in her post surgery.

    • Some cats can become hypothyroid after the radioactive iodine treatment, which may be causing her lethargy and sluggishness. It’s usually temporary, although in rare cases, cats may need medication if it does not resolve after a few weeks. I’m concerned about the trouble swallowing that you’re describing, I’m assuming you’ve discussed this with your vet?

      • I can’t say that she is having trouble swallowing, its just that I can see her swallowing as if her throat might be sore, or that her mouth is dry. I hesitate to take her back after only two weeks out from radioactive iodine treatment, as she is terrified of being caged with a trip to the vet.

    • I couldn’t find how long ago your kitty had treatment, but I will say I was concerned my kitty was becoming hypo thyroid after the radio active iodine treatment. She also quickly stopped her yowling for food and her hyperactive behaviors but she seemed so lethargic. It did change and she normalized, but she also had some short periods of being a tired kitty. When I mentioned it to the doctor at one of her blood work follow ups they did not seem too concerned. I honestly can’t remember how long it took for her to become more active after this tired period but I do know that it didn’t stay extreme for long. Keep going for the follow up blood work and make sure she isn’t hypothyroid now. And keep giving kitty all her favorite comfort measures along the way.

      • I believe my cat is suffering from hyperthyroidism. Hes CONSTANTLY thirsty and has recently developed a facial/blink tic that a person on youtube upload their cat doing and their cat (and other in comments) was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. But i have a huge problem…
        Im poor. I have a rare, progressive condition that was accelerated by ovarian cancer. I can get out of bed, walk with a cane to run an errand or two in a car, but i must return to bed every 2-4 hours. I live in bed when home. Because i was and am continually denied SSDI (because RARE and my condition doesnt show in a blood or imaging test) my family has been forced into poverty. The insurance i had for him lapsed in 2016 when i was diagnosed with cancer, i havent worked since then.

        Our credit is ABYSMAL i will not be approved for care credit. I have no family or friends to cosign. How can i get him the care he needs? Do any of these places offer payment plans? He shouldnt have to suffer because of my financial issues, its not right.

        Please, any info would be helpful. Im going to include the link to youtube video as the website link so you can see what hes doing.

    • Based on our experience, it’s the side effects of the Atenelol. You could try a half dose to see if she improves. We did that with vet’s approval, but still our boy was not there. So we took him off the meds although he has a slightly enlarged heart. It’s been a year so far. He is much more himself although still some days better than others and sometimes lethargic, but our boy is there. He shows interest in the things he likes, his brother, someone coming to the door, opening a new package or box, climbing his tree. We feel quality of life beats quantity of life if that means being a medicated zombie. Atenolol wasn’t developed for cats, it was developed for humans. Our old school vet didn’t agree the side effects were from the meds, and maybe some cats do OK, but definitely not ours. We have the luxury of working from home, so we can follow his activity very closely and he’s definitely better off the meds. I’ll take the time we get with him. The iodine-131 was rough, but did extend his life. He was down to 9 pounds and is now almost 13. He was on the Atenolol for 5 months.

  5. My cat was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism accidently. I went in because he had wax accumulation and turns out he lost a lot of weight and labs showed he had the disease. My vet put him on the pills and he was doing ok until this weekend. He started vomiting every 30-60 mins and developed facial itching.. (i’m seriously sleep deprived!) and so is he. I took him to the ER and he is off the meds. $1200 later I am considering the I-131.

    My concern is that I’ve never been more than 7 days away from my cat (but at that time he had a brother who died last year from lymphoma and I had a roommate) but it was 7 years ago. I did take a 2 day vacation 2 yrs ago, but again I had a roommate and he never left the house. I don’t want to be melodramatic, and I know that animals are probably resilient, but my cat has never been a people person. He only know me, hides from people and loud noises. I think he will just hide the whole time and not eat. Anyway, I don’t think I have a choice. I’m going to make an appointment with the internist for next week. He will officially be off the meds for 8 days and then get an appointment to see the radiation guy and pray for the best. Meds aren’t an option since he can’t tolerate it. Surgery isn’t either. I really don’t see another choice. Please pray for Pixie and I!

    • I know having to leave your cat at Radiocat for several days is distressing, especially since you can’t even visit, but if he’s allergic to the methimazole, you don’t have any other options. All my best to you and Pixie!

      • Thanks for the message… I decided to look on Yelp to see if there are any reviews on the place that we are going because it’s good to be informed, right??

        Now I’m concerned.

        “First, consider this: Blue Pearl is owned by Mars Inc., a massive global corporation. The singular purpose of a corporation is profit, and maximizing profit. Blue Pearl does not care about your pet–they care only about the profit that they can make from your particular situation, by preying on your emotional attachment to do anything for your pet.

        We brought in an older cat, our beloved Philo. He had a hyperthyroid condition. We were advised by our vet that an iodine treatment–which has a very high success rate of 99%–would possibly prolong his life, and he would no longer need to be pilled twice a day. We brought a functionally healthy, happy animal to Blue Pearl on April 19, 2017. 7 days later we walked away from his corpse.

        Iodine treatment requires the animal to be held at the facility for a minimum of 5 days. On day 5, we were more than ready to pick up Philo. They called us and told us he still had “traces” of iodine in his body and they could not release him to us. Day 6 they said we could visit him, but told us that his pancreatic function was poor, so they advised us to keep him there.
        Philo was hooked up to myriad devices and drugged up. He was very stressed and unhappy. Despite this, he recognized me and struggled up, jumping into my lap while entangled in cords, desperately trying to get away from his cage.

        Dr. Fierri told me there was concern about his pancreatic function, so best to do an ultrasound to make sure everything was ok. I waited upstairs, and came back. It did not appear that his belly was shaven for an ultrasound, although there was a sticky damp patch. She said the ultrasound was inconclusive.

        I told her I did not want Philo to die in the BP facility. It was noisy, overlit, and not a conductive environment for a sensitive animal. She earnestly and smoothly encouraged me to keep him at BP, looking in my eyes and patting my arm while clutching a little dog to her chest. I was numbed with despair. I could not feel my intuition through the profound numbness. My intuition was screaming to rip that crap off of his body, pick him up and run like hell. Philo turned his back to me, no longer responsive, exhausted. I left. I had spent about 5 hours there.
        My spouse came in a few hours later. Dr. Fierri was not optimistic, but did not encourage him to take him home; instead, she persuaded him to keep Philo there. This, after I explicitly told her I did not want him to die there.

        The next morning the BP facility called us, telling us he was at the end of life, and we rushed in from Brooklyn, and we were horrified, and deeply dismayed and distressed by what BP had wrought upon our beloved family member. His fur was matted, his eyes were glazed, and he was struggling to breathe with an apparatus. A vet with an empty, plastic demeanor, wearing shocking pink lycra exercise garb and a blond ponytail euthanized him after he had a seizure in our arms. I believe he died after the seizure, and the vet euthanized him after the fact to charge us more money. When he seized, and she began preparing a needle, I had enough presence of mind to sharply ask her whether it was necessary. She hurriedly insisted and completed the procedure before I could further protest. The trauma of knowing that I entrusted this gentle, loving rescue animal, whom I had loved so dearly and kept so safe and close to my heart for 13 and a half years to this nightmarish, confusing, horribly unnecessary murder by Blue Pearl is devastating.

        I believe the BP vet techs did not feed him and that is why his pancreas failed, and this was done knowing full well what the outcome would be: Philo’s demise and BP’s enrichment: $5,000 from Philo’s death.

        After researching the BP practice and discovered that BP engages in fraud, incompetence, malpractice, greed, malice, and corporate malfeasance. Similarities in diverse anecdotal reviews from different people over a 4-year period consistently highlight how Blue Pearl mismanages patients to their extreme emotional and financial detriment.

        Here’s how:
        1) Holding pet hostage with expensive, unnecessary overnight stays.
        2) Exorbitant and deceptive billing. Starting with an “estimate” that quickly spirals out of control.
        3) Unnecessary procedures and drugging that at times stressed vulnerable animals into severe complications that lead to death.
        4) General incompetence and poor interactions with pet patient and pet owners.
        5) Abuse pet during overnight stays by gross negligence, lack of attention and not feeding

        I am going to complain to the BBB and any other entities that oversee this kind of medical operation. I strongly urge anyone else with a horrible experience to do the same. A critical mass of opinion and fact will change the balance for this place.

        Given all this, I strongly , I strongly urge all pet owners to due diligence BEFORE an emergency happens. Do not take anyone’s word for for it–check out the medical center or vet on your on own recognizance, do your own research.”

        Now, I’ve brought my other cat to their other location because he had lymphoma. He died because it was large cell, and it was really aggressive. But this review was left last month. And my appointment is on Wednesday

        • Actually forget it. All of the facilities in the area have these negative anecdotal reviews. None positive. I’m going to speak to the nurse I’ve been communicating with to get some numbers on how many cats they treat per month, if they have any figures on success rates or incidence rates. The fact that he has the facial itching means he can’t take the methimazole and surgery isn’t even permanent. My main concern is that he won’t eat so I am definitely bringing his favorite, and I will just stay busy like you recommend and just pray that he is in the 95% that recovers.

          • I just want to let you know my kitty had to be treated at a Blue Pearl Facility for her Radio Active Iodine treatment. She was kept only overnight for the one night! On the drop off day they re do blood work and they do an ultrasound of the liver and kidneys. Then they did the treatment. Less than 24 hours later I was able to pick her up. There will always be a small chance your kitty will have a further problem- because sometimes hyperthyroidism masks other disorders-often it masks kidney disorders. But you must understand that the kidney problem is not a result of the iodine treatment. There are minimal risks for the iodine treatment- but there will be more risks if your kitty receives no treatment for hyperthyroidism. Lack of eating can cause a liver problem within days. A few pound weight loss is like a huge weight loss on us humans. So if kitty is already losing weight and not eating well please make a decision soon about her treatment. My kitty is doing very well 2 years later. She gained her weight back in a month or 2. I am very happy with the iodine treatment.

          • Also, I understand not wanting your cat to be gone long or separated from you too long. My kitty was always watched by family when I went away for only a few days and she had never been boarded in a facility. When she was having her treatment she did not like having to use her litter box in her cage but she did. And she did just fine being away for the first time at age 12. Your kitty will be so happy when you pick her up and get her home she will be fine. Please keep us posted how everything goes!

          • Radiocat and Blue Pearl are separate entities and should not be considered as the same level of treatment or care. Radiocat is exclusively a treatment center for hyperthyroidism in cats. They have treated more cases than anyone in the world.

  6. My cat Maya just had the radioactive iodine treatment on Friday and was discharged on Sunday. She has not had much of an appetite at home and she has vomited what she has eaten. I was just curious if anyone has ever dealt with an issue like this following the treatment. The obvious concern is her losing any more weight.

    • Hi Lisa, I was told kitties can lose their appetite after treatment. Not sure I can recall why- stress, treatment, etc. But they told me that if she was not eating much they will offer an appetite stimulant. I did not have that problem. Pumpkin didnt eat too much, but she did eat and her body felt good, I could feel her weight coming back. So maybe ask your vet if you could use the appetite stimulant for a few days. I know we dont like to give our kitties meds but I think a non eating kitty is dangerous. Especially if they already lost weight from hyperactivity.
      Good luck with Maya, and keep us posted with how she is doing

      • Maya has gone over 48 hours with no vomiting and has been eating some food!!! But it’s hard to remember what her normal appetite was like pre-hyperthroid! Melissa, when you say that Pumpkin didn’t eat too much how much are we talking? Maya is eating half a small can of wet food mixed with a little tuna in the morning and the other half in the evening, some treats, and maybe some nibbles of dry food. She’s also using the litter box so I have to think that she’s eating and drinking something!

        • Hi Lisa, I am happy to hear Maya stopped vomitting and started eating. I agree with you it is hard to determine or remember pre hyperthyroid eating. Actually, I think Pumpkin had the problem her whole life because she acted the same always until the month before treatment. Anyway….I m trying to remember what she was eating after treatment. Id say she was eating pretty much what you mentioned. A half of can of soft food in the morning….she had dry out all day and ate some here and there. I gave her treats a little bit, and she had the second half of the can at dinner. That is what she is still eating, some days were less, some days were more. I feel she had days that switched between being almost hyper, and hypo- where she ate little and was so lethargic. So it sounds like Maya is eating pretty well. But I do want to ask, will she eat her canned food without the tuna? I only aske because when I took pumpkin off all seafood her thyroid numbers came closer to normal. The specialist agreed with me that fish can aggravate the hyper thyroid condition….other doctors did not agree with that, but between the Treatment specialist, her numbers getting better off fish, and the many things I have read, I would say too much fish can effect thyroid health. I dont buy cat food with fish in it anymore, and I only let her have a taste of tuna or cat food with fish once in awhile. So maybe you can read more about it and see if maybe Maya should not have fish every day?
          I hope her appetite keeps increasing!!!

    • Hopefully, this resolved well. Vomiting was on my list of things to call Radiocat about. My cat had treatment in MD the end on March and fortunately had no ill effects.

  7. My mother’s 13 year old cat, Whisper, had radioactive iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism two weeks ago. He’s definitely getting better, but it’s been a slow process. My mother LOVES Whisper to the point of SCARY ADORATION and OBSESSION, which I gather in the world of cat owners/lovers is quite common. Needless to say, she has been so stressed and downright depressed because Whisper has been so sick, it’s freaking ME out. As a SERIOUS MOM LOVER (not so much a Whisper lover), I just want him to get better, so she gets better. As an all around lover of animals, my mother will absolutely cry over her pets’ illnesses and deaths, before she would ever shed a tear over a human being. (What does that mean??? Please don’t answer. I don’t want to know.) Before Whisper had the treatment, he had started eliminating anywhere BUT his litter boxes. Loud wailing and yowling also suggested something was crazy wrong. I actually named my mother’s cat “Whisper” because he never made a sound. The yowling and inappropriate eliminating finally caused us to realize something was incredibly wrong; hence the hyperthyroidism diagnosis. After the RAI treatment, he’s not completely using his litter boxes like he did before he got so sick. Whisper has always been OCD about using his litter boxes. And my mother has always been OCD about cleaning all four of them. So it can’t be a dirty litter box issue. It seems like he’s purposely eliminating in inappropriate places because he’s mad. As if being sick wasn’t enough, the isolation after treatment didn’t exactly inspire joy in an already evil cat I decided my mother should rescue 13 years ago. (Why in the freaking world did I do that?) Anyway, it’s just urine now. Before treatment it was both. Now it’s pee on every towel on the floor because he’s mad. Did anyone experience this? Will he ever return to using the litter boxes like he did before? I wouldn’t say my mother’s happiness depends on it…but it probably does. My sanity does, however. Hope folks are still answering five years after this particular blog was posted!!! Thanks for any insight.

      • I would be checking with the vet immediately. Cats do not urinate outside of the box because they are mad. I just want to make sure you understand that. You might try getting a lower litter box, it is possible she is having difficulty. I am also like your mother who values my feline life as a high priority. They become a part of your family. I am glad you care for you mom enough to seek help for her fur baby.

        • My tabby had a urinary tract infection 10 weeks after 1-131. Could be the cause of the urinating out of the box. It took many rounds of antibiotics to clear up.

          • Thanks so much for the suggestions. We can’t take him to the vet until Thursday, as he’s still “radioactive.” Believe me I’m trying everything for my mother’s sake. She loves Whisper. I love my mother. So much that I’m posting panicky help comments on Cat Conscious website. This is a FIRST. It’s frustrating because cat owners/lovers are literally blasting me because I’m a jerk and idiot for not knowing that CATS DON’T PEE OUTSIDE THE BOX BECAUSE THEY ARE MAD! Point taken. I’m trying my best! I may not be in love with cats. But I cannot stand for any animal to suffer. It kills my soul. And it really stresses me out!!!! I appreciate all of the advice. I really do. It would be nice if cat lovers on various blogs and websites were a little less condescending to those who aren’t as knowledgable on the feline topic.

          • I can guarantee you that you will never find anyone on this site who will blast you for not knowing things about cat health, Candice. I won’t allow comments like that on this site. This site is all about helping cats and their guardians live healthier lives – and we can all learn together. Please keep us posted about your mom’s cat.

          • Thank you, Ingrid. I tried posting a reply to you yesterday but I couldn’t get it to go through. After clicking comment a few times, I thought, holy crap I probably sent her twenty duplicate replies. I’m grateful for your site and for the caring people on it. And I will share the latest updates regarding Whisper and Mom. This year is Mom’s 5th birthday cancer free. When I was her caregiver, one of the most remarkable things I witnessed was how Whisper was so attuned to her needs. Rather than sleep in her bed, he slept right on the floor at the entrance of her bedroom. He knew how sick she was and felt the need to give her space. He almost never left that spot, as though he was guarding the door. Whisper did that for nearly a year-until her chemo cycles ended. After that time, I saw this “rescue” in a completely new light. He truly loved Mom. And I loved him for loving her.

          • Absolutely I will. Before the I-131 treatment, the poor little guy was so pitiful. Thankfully his kidney functions were excellent, so we got him to the center for treatment immediately. I think my expectations were entirely too high for Whisper to be instantly cured. And although my mother is down, if I’m super honest with myself, I am too. Seeing him suffer is wearing me down mentally and emotionally. Not simply because it’s affecting Mom. I didn’t realize how much I love the evil lord of our house. I just want him back to his normal evil self-biting me, only coming over for a brief pat on the head at his inititiation. God forbid I try to love on him without his expressed permission. He’s just one of those feed me-be near me-but not too near me cats. He sleeps, eats, and watches TV with Mom. They’re best buddies. The dynamic between them is scary and sweet at the same time. Thursday can’t get here soon enough.

          • Diane, Ingrid, & Cat Conscious “Colletctive”-
            Sharing Whisper’s update after a gnarly rollercoaster recovery. I think you both mentioned stress as a possibility for him going outside of the box. His follow up vet appts never pointed to evidence of a uti, according to them anyway. I don’t know. I am fairly sure that Whisper was horribly stressed following the RI treatment. He and my Mom are inseparable. She tried following their instructions to not spend much time with him for two weeks. Well…it wasn’t good, for either of them really. It was stress city for everyone. After two days (not two weeks) Mom finally “moved” to the front of the house and slept near Whisper. And wouldn’t you know it! Slowly but surely, he got better and better and better!!

            He still sleeps a lot, which is normal from what I gather. The weight loss has stopped, and his beautiful hair doesn’t appear as haggard. No more strange crying or yowling. Whisper probably has a long road ahead to fully recover, if that’s possible, but he really seems to be on his way. Mom’s SO happy!!! And of course, my own stress level may finally be returning to normal. Thanks again for the support and informative resources offered here at Conscious Cat. I’ll never forget it. Seriously!!!

          • Candance, that is good news. Our kitties and us owners have a hard time separating and I know a few of us here have done the same thing as your mom. After some research, I learned the amt. of radiation emitted from kitty was not that much (except in their litter box or salivary glands)- so I chose to stay close to kitty since she was asking for me to be around her. Cats have different ways to let us know if they are sick or stressed – and I dont know how any of them can get through not being with their human for two weeks! Good luck on kitty’s health.

          • Thank you for the update, Candice! I’m so happy to hear that Whisker is doing better, and that you and your Mom are also happier. I’m so glad we were able to help.

      • Thank you for this, but when my cat got stressed and stayed at someone else’s home (while I was out of town) she peed on his pile of clothes and on his bed! That was the only time she ever did this in 16 years! I think they pee when they get upset / mad!

        • Cats do not pee outside of the litter box out of spite. That’s one of the biggest misconceptions about feline behavior. She may have been stressed, she may have been trying to mark unfamiliar territory, or she may have had a medical issue – those are only a few possible reasons, but spite was most definitely not one of them.

          • Cats are instinctual. They do not possess the ability for spite or revenge. That is a human trait. There is a logical and animalistic reason for her to have peed on those clothes.

    • I am sorry I am late to reply to this thread. I know kitty has to be checked out for urinating out of the box, since that usually indicates kitty has a problem or some discomfort. But on another note I had something similar happen. My cats urine output increased significantly just prior to her radioactive treatment- it is a side effect of being hyperthyroid, although it had not happened to my kitty until a month prior to treatment.
      She still has an increase in urine output and has had normal blood work since the treatment 6 months ago. My vet asked me to track her drinking amt, and since it is normal (although it is still an increased amt) she is not worried. We even did an additional kidney function test that tests the early stages of kidney problems.
      So what Im saying is, after kitty is evaluated for an infection or something- it might be possible that she has an increase in urination and is going outside the box because it is not normal for her to go that much, or she is saying im going more! My kitty only went out of the box a few times, and if it happened more than once in a row, it was due to an infection which was treated easily.
      On another note: The amt of radiation the cat emits is equal to taking an airplane ride around the US, and most of the high amts of radioactivity is in the urine, bowel movements, or their mouth….I took my chances and let kitty near me. I tried not to, but when she tripped down a few steps trying to get in my room I could not stand it anymore….I let her in with me. I am not saying for you to do it, but I just dont know how people literally keep their cat separate that long. When humans have the radioactive iodine treatment they emit more and dont have to stay away from others.

      • I didn’t stay away from Amber after her treatment, either. I took all the other recommended precautions, but there was no way I wasn’t going to let her cuddle with me. I figure I get more radiation every time I run my microwave… 🙂

        • Right! They needed us the most then. How long ago did Amber have the treatment? How is she doing? Pumpkin seems to go from a little hyper to a little hypo. I feel bad when she is so tired all day she only gets up a few times and doesnt feel like playing much. But her blood work is always good. And she looks healthy and gained her weight back right away

          • Amber was treated in 2005, and did really well until she passed away after a brief illness in 2010 (unrelated to hyperthyrodism.) She became briefly hypothyroid after the treatment, but her thyroid eventually regulated itself. I can’t recall how long it took – I seem to remember it may have been a couple of months.

          • Awww, Im sorry Amber is not with you anymore. Thank you for letting me know she did well with the treatment and was still around 5 years later! That makes me feel better. I know the treatment as great success but afterward the regular vet was even somewhat surprised pumpkin gained her weight back quickly and mentioned she could have remained sort of sickly!!! The bloodwork has remained within normal range but I can see my kitty having days where she is sooo tired, then others where she is almost hyper again. I guess if it stays within normal ranges though it will be the best we can do. Thank you for sharing all of the great info

      • I’ve just got my cat back after iodine treatment, here in Australia they are in for at least one week, I got my girl back after eight days. I tried to keep her out of my room the first night but she was so desperate to be with her mum. It was one of the worse sleeps ever, we ended up having a few hours sleeping together. Last night I just gave up, I’d move away, or push her away, but much of the night she slept on my bed or right next to me. I’m a bit worried about the radiation, this post eases me somewhat. How much do you think I need to worry about?

        • I don’t think you have to worry, Lisa. Your kitty most likely isn’t emitting any more radiation than your microwave, your TV, or what you’d get on a long distance flight.

          • I am sorry to say but the radiation levels are stronger then your TV and microwave. I work in this field and being around radiation is extremely dangerous. If someone is having this done, please get a geiger counter and test the readings yourself. I would love to hear any feedback. So many people are not informed of the hazards this may cause. My company makes a product that wipes away the radiation that could harm you, bind-it hand soap. We have been around since 1983 and have done extensive research on this matter. Please keep safe. I know you love your pets as much as I do, believe me, but do your research.

          • Utter nonsense designed to sell you a product that you don’t need. Go out and buy a Geiger Counter? Who will train you to use it and understand what you are seeing. The patients released following I-131 therapy meet the guidelines of the NRC or the State agency that issued the license.

        • I also believe you do not have too much to worry about. I kept researching the amt of radiation being emitted and it was low. I also read that it is just a suggestion so you can keep your own life time exposure to radiation as low as possible. But as Ingrid said, we are exposed every day to tv’s, microwaves etc. The amount of radiation emitted by your kitty is equal to a long airplane flight. Also, when humans have the same treatment, they get much higher doses and they do not have to stay away from others for more than a day. I did take precautions when cleaning the littler box though. The most radiation is found in their urine and feces, and in the mouth. SO try to not let her lick you, and wear gloves when cleaning the littler box. But other than that- kitty was sleeping on my bed every night and I did not have the heart to push her away.

        • Oh and one more note: I could not use flushable litter. SO I used the regular clay litter and when I scooped or changed the box, i put in double plastic bags and secured it in a large paint container(you buy a clean plastic one at the hardware store). after the amt of time (I forget how long I had to do that) I sealed the container with the lid, and kept it in the garage for 3 months. It never even smelled, then I was able to throw it away.

    • Also I see how everyone is saying cats dont go outside the box if mad, but I think its possible they go outside the box when stresssed? Anyone else think that is possible? The treatment, being away from home was very stressful on my cat, she was awful looking when she got home and was shaking for days. Then add being quarantined away from her mom maybe she was very stressed. Of course the first thing to do is to get her evaluated for a urinary tract infection, but sever stress on kitty might cause her to act out also.

    • Dearest Ingrid, Melissa, & all wonderful sweet kitty lovers-

      Because I received a new blog comment via email, I realized that I hadn’t updated Cat Conscious about Whisper, my Mom’s cat since March. Well…Ingrid…when you adamantly declared that kitties DO NOT repeatedly go outside of the box because they’re angry, it couldn’t have been more true in this case. (He has done that before-but it’s because a new puppy came to live in the house. However, it didn’t happen repeatedly-twice maybe, and certainly not the manner in which it was happening this year.) In May, we took Whisper back for a followup with his primary vet. He was NOT getting better. And from the mountains of research I’d done BEFORE RI treatment, I had a feeling something else was going awry.

      Out of nowhere (literally nowhere) his vet found a massive tumor that wasn’t there before the RI treatment. My guess now is that it was a good possibility that there was probably a tumor forming before treatment but wasn’t large or visible enough to see. And then it was. MASSIVE. He was getting very, very sick in November of 2015. His doc treated him for a kidney infection and simply said to wait for that particular treatment to run its course-as it was rather lengthy. By the time I arrived here in February I at this compassionate and loving blog, I was desperate to do anything to help my mother’s best friend in the world. Thank you SO MUCH for firmly and tenderly advising me through the entire ordeal. Because it was A NIGHTMARE. I may not be a current pet owner, but it rips my soul to see any animal suffer. I grew up on a farm with all sorts of animals-including personal pets, dogs and cats. My job as a kid was nursing them back to good health when they would get sick or back to life when they were injured.

      Oh man. This is hard. Maybe this is why I’m just now updating again. Mom took Whisper to the vet in late May and held him as he took his final nap. And in June, she lost a beautiful sweet dog. And it HURTS. It’s difficult to swallow just writing of it. Not my cat, but I loved him! Not my dog, but I loved her too! I also hurt for my Mom. And my heart aches for ANYONE who has a heart to love and nurture their pets and quite honestly, FAMILY MEMBERS. Growing up we always took in rescues. And that loving connection obviously never ever goes away-whether or whether or not, I am the “Mama.” Best blessings to each of you here. You share a very special place in my heart and I remain infinitely grateful.

  8. Anyone who’s had Radiocat done recently (like in 2015), do you mind letting me know what it cost? I have a deaf white cat who’s just been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, and I don’t think methimazole is going to work for her — she won’t eat and she seems depressed. She’s 13 years old, and while I know she won’t live forever, I think she’s too young to put down either, when she’s probably perfectly healthy outside the hyperthyroidism.

    She hasn’t really eaten since Friday night, when she had some raw chicken. I’m going to go out today and get some baby food and force feed her if she won’t eat it on its own, but I need to have a real idea of what Radiocat would cost.

    Thank you so much!

      • Hi Lorri,
        I had the radio active treatment done in August. I had blood work done at the vet for her regular visit, which was less than $100.
        The treatment itself was $1400. It included blood work , urinalysis, ultrasound, the treatment, and boarding for the two days she had to stay. I then had to go to my regular vet for a one month followup and three month followup. I pad for blood work each visit, and the three month followup I also requested a vet visit so I paid a little more.
        I did not want to do the medication either, and my kitty is 12 years old. in relatively good health which is why I went ahead with the treatment.
        I did read about a treatment that is a cream you put on kitty’s ear. I personally would have tried that first. But I found out about it too late. If my kitty ever shows signs of hyperthyroid again I will try the ear cream. If your kitty is pretty healthy maybe you can try that first? You may have to call a few vets to see who is willing to try it, as I have heard that not all vets use it.

        • The topical medication that is rubbed on the ear is the same medication as the pills, so if a cat doesn’t do well on the pill form, she’s not going to do well on the topical form, either. The reason not all vets like to prescribe it is because there is some debate as to whether the topical form is absorbed as well as the pill form.

    • Oh and I hope kitty eats soon. Can you get her an appetite stimulant? My kitty had a voracious appetite when she was hyperthyroid. It has gone back to normal, but a hyper kitty is usually very hungry, so try to get her eating or consider if something else is wrong with her

      I just got some baby food also for pumpkin cause she was a little slow eating this week, It helped.

      • Hi,

        My 14 year old male had it performed several months ago with Radiocat…$1200. He’s doing incredibly well, thyroid levels normal. I would do it again without hesitation. The hardest part was leaving him for three days!

      • She had always eaten really well until we started medicating. I don’t know if it’s the Norvasc or the Tapazole that’s made her go off her feed; either way, I don’t like it. She’s such a slim little cat, she can’t afford to lose any weight at all.

        We did get her to eat some chicken baby food twice today, but I’m still going to call the vet tomorrow — less than 2 teaspoons of baby food isn’t going to keep her healthy.

        I may try the gel in her ear stuff — I’d heard of it, but hoped we wouldn’t have to mess with it.

        • My little tabby is 6lbs. When she was placed on Tapazole/Methamazole she quit eating. She started laying in unusual places, like my bathmat and not moving. Turned out the meds were causing anemia and low white cell count. They took her off it immediately. It has been 6 months since she has had the I-131. She is back to her old self. I really hope everything works out for you and your fur baby!

        • Oh I bet it is the medication putting a damper on her appetite. Keep us posted on how things go tomorrow at the vet. I read better things about the gel in the ear than the medication itself, so hopefully that will work. Poor kitty.
          I can say the radioactive treatment worked very well, and she went on the upswing pretty quickly. Her weight is back up and she is doing great.I hope your kitty gets better soon

    • hey lorri: we are in probably a grand. there are bits and bobs so like blood tests and a new carrier (ours was cloth and the state requires plastic in case she pees on the way home the pee is still radioactive and one needs to be able to wash it off with soap and water.
      we were pretty taken aback by the cost, too. growing up it was always the deciding factor, i know. the differnence with the I 131 (sp?) is that the results are fantastic. we already see a much more relaxed kittymonkey. she is named that due to her spastic jumping and running. kittymonkey has maintained 7 pounds and looks like a rockstar but we were always worried about her bony butt.
      the alternative medication can do a number of things to her so we shied totally from that. we have been feeding kittymonkey on this: and kittymonkey loves it. it has really kept the rest of her healthy while we did some financial adjusting and major overhaul to create the grand to spend on the treatment. our center nu-cat in midtown memphis has a guarantee if it doesn’t take the first time. it has only happened once and it took on the second time.
      i have noticed a big change in the hairless cats of the family, too. so that makes a big difference. there is a cool offer from amex as well with cash back after spending a thousand. look to the universe and the money comes. the link to the cat food really sealed it for us. we made an appointment and skyped with the online vet and we knew it was time for radioiodine.
      i was raised by cats, as well, and i really owe the feline tribe.
      kittymonkey is my best friend and the like after care of washing the blankets and being extra careful for a week with washing hands and stuff is so worth the chance that my best friend will feel relaxed and contented. (:
      also, kittymonkey was in great shape when we brought her and the vet said that was unusual. so don’t worry that your buddy is lookin’ real rough because this can be a miracle for her. (:
      mreaow, s;

    • just do it l131 is the best I have tried all pills creams notions cat was done 2 weeks ago today and is doing great.of I live in nj cost 1900.00 with full blood work,ctscans you name it.

  9. kittymonkey came home today and we are feeling guilty not petting and holding her. ugh. even tail loves feel weird because i am supposed to wash them off (like washing of a kiss from grandma-her other name!)

    dunno if i am imagining it but she really seems more relaxed. i am sure it will take longer. we love her so much and we wanted to make her more comfortable and relaxed. she is purring sitting on her spiderman comforter blanket now in my command center. can’t wait till we figure out what affect 0.1 kilowatt of radiation has on us so i can stop worrying about it .
    seems like she is forgiving us. she ate “junk food” too (we call it that, too.) (:

    • The effects of the treatment are usually evident pretty quickly, so you are probably not just imagining that she’s more relaxed, Sean. I’m glad she’s home!

    • Hi There, I did the radioactive treatment in August. The first night home I held her a little longer than we are supposed to, but she was scared and not feeling great yet (she had just gone done hill rather quickly from the hyperthyroidism). Then I closed the bedroom doors and let her have whatever room she wanted. Of course she pawed at my bedroom door, then fell down two steps because my door is literally the top of the stair well….So I opened my door and let her sleep with me. Yes, every night after treatment on my bed. I read that the amt of radioactivity the cat gives off is equivalent to taking an airplane ride from east to west coast of the us and back. The largest amt of radioactivity comes from what they put in their litter box, and from their mouth (so saliva, feces, and urine-including being careful of their paws from tracking in litter or sweating). I was very careful to avoid those things and covered my hands to change the box.
      But I decided to hold her whenever she wanted and I did not limit the time. I did not let her up on the counter tops to avoid her paws being where food might end up. But I held her when ever.
      Just thought Id let you know in case you want to consider holding her more often if she is requesting it.
      Oh, and also. I do not have other pets or children in the house so that is why I was a little more relaxed about her not being secluded

  10. Thank you for the encouragement. My kitty is my only kitty but we made it through the vet stay for the radioactive iodine treatment. The hard part us now. My cat is so used to being on me all nite. I just let her in my room for a bit, she was meowing at my door, then slipped down a few steps while trying to paw at the door. I feel so mean trying to keep her away from me.

    • I’ve known many cat guardians who’ve ignored this part of the instructions and have been just fine. Honestly, the residual radiation coming off a cat who had the I-131 treatment is probably less than what you’d get from a day at the beach, but the facilities are required by the nuclear regulatory commission to issue these cautions.

      • I think you are correct about the minimal exposure by being around kitty. I am very cautious when dealing with the litter box and such though. Now that she is home a few days she is a little less clingy anyway, and tomorrow starts the work week so I will be out and about more.
        Thanks for your reply

  11. Hi,

    We’re on day 2 of our Radiocat stay. We traveled 5 hours to get to the Georgia facility and it’s definitely a stressful process for feline and owner. One more day to go!

        • Great Job! Now onto what I consider the hard part. I am finding it hard pushing away my kitty when she wants attention, but I find when I stay busy, and go in and out of the house she goes off to sleep. She feels and looks great and has a good appetite so far, I hope your kitty does too.

          • Ash had his 1 month post treatment labs and his T4 went from 7.7 to 1.5! Kidney function has returned to normal too. He did sleep a lot when we initially came home but he’s definitely back to being the same ole cat prior to the thyroid issue. Treatment was definitely worth the stress if anyone is contemplating the same for their feline friend:)

  12. Reading your story makes me feel like I’m not alone in this hard process. My 4 years old cat was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism months ago, and she is now on the waiting list to get the radiotherapy in early november ( I’m from Chile and there is only one place in south america for the I-131 treatment). When I was told she is hyperthyroid I felt like the world fell apart, my kitty is very young and seems healthy, I only noticed there was something wrong because she was being too vocal and hyperactive. Right now I had to put her on hills y/d since she got allergic to thyrozol, and ear gel seems to have way too many side effects. Because of the disease she has high blood pressure so I give her a pill a day for that. One of the things that caught my attention reading all coments is that it doesnt seem like all cats get medication or any treatment before the final cure that is radiotherapy, in my country one of the first things the vet tells you before you decide to go for the I -131 is that the cat has to be treated and get into treatment with estable T4 levels, so that the body wont suffer a shock, and to verify any other problem related to hyperthyroidism.

    • I’m sorry about your kitty, Valentina – 4 is so young to get this disease! It’s actually standard of care in the US to put a cat on medication prior to the I-131 treatment. The reason this is done is because thyroid disease can mask kidney disease. The medication trial is designed to determine whether the cat’s kidneys will still perform once the thyroid is under control. If not, I-131 may not be an option. All my best to your cat!

  13. Topaz, now 14 years old, had the I 131 treatment June 2 last year. It was a very long three days and when I brought her home she would not eat.

    I had to take her back and they gave her an appetite stimulant and thank goodness that did the trick. She is a very tiny cat to begin with her usual weight is about 6 1/2-7 pounds and she was all the way down to 4 1/2 pounds.

    She was so stressed out at being abandoned, in her eyes, and the stress caused her to not eat when she came home. Apparently she did not eat great in the hospital. I don’t blame her, she suddenly went from a quiet home to living in a cage among strangers. She had no way of knowing I would come back for her.

    She is back to around 6 1/2 pounds and her appetite has been very good, and she drinks a lot of water as early kidney disease was discovered after she was cured of being hyper thyroid.

  14. My cat tabby was diagnosed hyperthyroid 2 months ago. Her level was 11.2 which is really high. We started methamazole 2x daily at the lowest dose. After 4 weeks her hyperthyroid went to normal but she went lethargic. She would not play or go outside. She would not leave my bathmat which was not a normal place for her. Went back to the vet we did some blood work. She was now enemic and had a low white cell count. Took her off the medication and re-tested 10 days later. Her levels were back to normal for the white cell and enemia. Here comes the dilema. I 131 treatment seems to be her only option. What we are worried about is we did not get a urinalysis when she was thyroid “normal”. The vet says her urine is a little “watery” so there might be underlying kidney issues. I am between a rock and a hard place. Do I let her live her life out with hyperthyroidism or schedule the appointment next month and have her thyroidism cured only to have her die quickly with kidney issues. She is 7lbs her name is Tabby. She is approximately 13, she found me, and when i moved i took her with me.

    • Hi Diane, Have you made any decisions about your kitty yet? I was concerned about the possibility of the underlying kidney problems too. I am still not out of the woods yet with knowing if that is an issue. But the day of the procedure the treatment center did a “urine capture” from the cat, so it cant be contaminated. They also did an ultrasound on her organs including the kidneys. So between the clean urine culture, and the ultrasound i felt confident to continue based on the results. Maybe you can contact the location that does the treatment and see if they can do the clean urine capture and ultrasound to see if anything is showing? My kitty’s levels were reading so different with every t4 test…..7 to 20, to 6 to 12.5….I went ahead and treated her because of her symptoms. She was showing many, not just one or two…otherwise I may have tried the herbal remedies first.
      So if you can clear her kidneys with those tests, Id say it is worth doing the procedure.
      My kitty is 12, and went from 11 lbs to 8.9 lbs… far she is doing great after treatment

  15. My 15-year old cat lost almost half his body weight and got sluggish and his coat looked bad, but he kept his appetite. The vet said, after blood work, he thought he had hyperthyroidism, but also possibly cancer or irritable bowel syndrome, or another serious stomach issue. I try to avoid drugs so I tried herbal supplements for thyroid. He got a lot better, but I stopped using them, and now he’s getting bad again. Plus, he was attacked by my neighbors two big dogs last summer when he got in their yard. Now, he seems to have pain somewhere in his hind quarters based on how he leans to one side when sitting up, and sometimes has a little trouble getting up when lying down. But, once he’s up he’s OK. I’m just starting the herbal supplements again, along with krill oil for pain. But, I’venoticed that for at least a year, he seems to be swallowing really hard. Is this normal from hyperthyroidism (perhaps from a goiter)? And, how does surgery to have the tumor removed compare to the radiocat? That’s a lotofmoney, and I worry about radiation when he might already have cancer.

    • It’s possible that his trouble swallowing is caused by an enlarged thyroid gland or a tumor on the thyroid gland. Only your vet can determine whether surgery is an option for him. He/she would need to rule out cancer, as well as any underlying heart or kidney disease. Radiocat is the least invasive treatment and the only one that offers a cure. If your cat is exhibiting signs of pain, krill oil is probably not going to be enough.

    • Have u tried Canna-Pet for pain? It has truly helped my Wilfords spinal pain. Also, the Assisi Loop is awesome for pain. In fact, both of these have greatly improved appetite, mobility & reduced inflammation in Wills.

  16. I remember the metallic taste after receiving I-131. It smelled horrible when I drank it, but nothing other than the metallic taste. That was 40 years ago and I still remember the taste.

  17. We just got our 11-year-old cat home from I-131 treatment yesterday. He was diagnosed 4 years ago, and was well-controlled on medication, but his control became less stable a few months ago. We have noticed two odd things: one, he’s purring almost nonstop. We know he’s happy to be home by the way he’s behaving, but this purring seems rather unnatural. (If it makes a difference, we can also tell that he has a sore throat.) Does this seem odd?

    The other odd thing is that he smells strange. I can’t describe the smell, exactly. My son says it smells like banana antibiotic. I just smell a cross between a medicinal and a metallic smell (and it isn’t alcohol). The clinic was feeding him smelly canned food, which he thought a great treat and a good change from his usual boring kibble. Have you heard anything about the I-131 leaving a residual smell? He was treated 8 days ago.

    • I have not heard of the I-131 treatment leaving a residual smell, and the sore throat is also a concern. I’m assuming you’ve already contacted your vet – what are they saying?

  18. Thank you for your story. It is helpful to read about other cats and what cat owners go through as well. I didnt know the risk of hypothyroidism could occur but have not yet received info packet. I’m wondering why some clinics or hospitals want a chest X-ray and others do not. Blood work and urine tests are required for this treatment but not chest X-ray. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated . My Robby, one of the there feral brother kitties I found in 2002 has shown to have over active thyroid when he had bloodwork to get teeth cleaned a few weeks ago . he also has slight heart murmur so I have to hold off on teeth cleaning. I don’t know how long his thyroid has been over active. He has not lost weight. his appt is 13 days away. I had an appt 6 weeks away but i thought time was of the esence and found a way to make it happen earlier. He has never had to stay away from his two brothers Bobby and Sammy and he also has Charly and Lil Blackie to share his inside home. He is a very quiet , shy cat and I’m sure he will be frightened and I’m sure it will be a long three days. As that time approaches I will keep you in my mind and know it is the only option I had for this cat. All of my 5 cats but one are 12 and if they all had this, I really could not have the means to help them. I pray this will help the little guy and that my other cats stay healthy.. I’m on the countdown til his treatment in 13 days .

    • I’m surprised to hear that not all clinics require a chest x-ray. The reason it’s done is to assess heart health. If Robby has had a recent cardiac ultrasound, they may not need the x-ray. I know it will seem like a very long three days for both you and Robby, Cindy. Please let me know how Robby does!

  19. One of my pussycats has just been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. We have 3 options…there’s a medication on the form for a gel that you put in the cats ear that we are told works very well. Then there’s a partial thyroidectomy and the I-131 uptake. We have opted to try the medication first. If this isn’t as effective as it needs to be then we still have to options, like others have written, this particular pussycat was picked up off the street about 10 yrs. ago and is just the best cat you could ever imagine. We do not like the idea of having to leave one of our cats or dog overnight. These places are not staffed at night and if something happens you’ve lost your furry friend. We had this happen with a dog and are not anxious to entertain thoughts of leaving this pussycat anywhere. Let’s hope the medication will work.

  20. I just picked up my kitty from Radiocat on Friday (2 days ago) and I am having a real hard time limiting my contact with her. I don’t let her sleep with me, but she is the kind of kitty that always wants to be on or near me. I put her down, she jumps back up, I put her down, she jumps back up. She is more persistent than I am. I am wondering if my touching her is really dangerous?

    She still seems crazy hungry, but I know that all takes time to level out.

    • I never had the heart to follow the recommendations to limit contact after the treatment, Constance. I have thyroid problems myself, and handling Amber after she was treated with radioactive iodine didn’t seem to affect me adversely.

      • Ingrid, I guess time will tell with us. If I suddenly develop “cancer of the lap,” I guess I will now why. LOL!

  21. My kitty was just done sept 24 there is so much more information available now to help prevent them from going hypo-t.
    My girl was put on Levothyroxine twice a day when she goes for her 30 day checkup we will find out if that helped her.
    I found a hyper-t feline support group over at Yahoo best thing I ever did.
    Yes the retesting costs alot, I can see a difference in only 3 weeks, so am hopeful the supplementing of hormones while her thyroid is wakingup was helpful.
    Check out the Yahoo groups awesome ,I have learned so much and still feel I know nothing.

    • I’m glad your kitty is doing well following the treatment, Karin. Yahoo groups can be a good source of information, but they should never be considered a substitute for veterinary care.

  22. Right now, I have my cat scheduled for this treatment next week. I think it is important to note, that beyond the staggering cost of the treatment (which I thought was a good idea), you should be prepared for the HIGH cost of pre-testing. You need a blood test to prove that the cat has hyperthyroidism (I had to have TWO tests, because the number was only .1 away from the acceptable range). There are x-rays, urine tests, etc., etc. After these were done, I was informed that my cat just so happens to have a urinary tract infection. I feel like I am a vet ATM and that my vet is just milking me now because he must think I have tons of money, just because I worked extra jobs and extra hard to save. Just be advised that you will pay far beyond the initial Radio Cat price. I am beginning to wonder if this was the choice for me.

    • The testing is necessary to ensure that there is no underlying disease that may be unmasked by the treatment. All my best to your kitty.

  23. Thank you for this wonderful post! I totally relate to what you went through missing your kitty. We had a kitty treated a decade ago (but not Radiocat) and he lived for nine more years. However, this time we’re dealing with Radiocat, and they’ve been very difficult to connect with to make an appt. It’s very frustrating and I feel that our options are very limited. Our kitty’s level is still under 4, but it’s been climbing and she has symptoms. She’s not happy with all these vet visits for tests, either. Do you know if tapazole can be compounded into a palatable liquid? She’s not currently on medication but I fear we’ll have no choice if Radiocat doesn’t return calls. She’s not a cat who would accept the transdermal or pill form of the medication, and I don’t want to risk the side effects anyway. Thank you so much.

    • I’m sorry to hear you’re having these problems with Radiocat, Summer. I would get your referring vet involved and have them call Radiocat. Depending on where you live, Radiocat may not be your only option for the I131 treatment. There are other facilities that offer it as well.

      Tapazole can be compounded into a flavored liquid, but the side effects will be the same as with the pill form.

    • My hyperthyroid kitty would NOT cooperate with pills, nor cream in the ear (she would no longer come to sit with me, I was heartbroken). But a place in Texas that compounds the medicine into tasty chews has worked pretty much like a charm so I wanted to pass it on. (Of course having a cat that is hungry all the time helps !)

      1614 WEBSTER ST
      HOUSTON, TEXAS 77003

      PHONE: 1-800-481-1729

      Best of luck to you and your kitty !!


  24. Congratulations to all the kitties who have successfully been treated for hyperthyroidism! The cost balances out over time, weighed against ongoing medications, recheck examinations, repeating laboratory data, etc. And it’s the only way to actually cure the tumor — hyerthyroidism is the result of a hormone-producing tumor, which is merely controlled by the medication, whereas radioactive iodine actually destroys the cancerous cells. Of all the hyperthyroid cats I have known, I have seen the treatment fail once — and I have seen no cats become persistently hypothyroid afterward. So, if your kitty is hyperthyroid, give this treatment serious consideration.

  25. Not alll radio cat “cures” are made in heaven. My cat, after the radiocat treatment, was hypothyroid and she has to have medication to raise her thyroid level. I didn’t appreciate the way the owners of radiocat communicated with me afterwards.

    • I’m sorry you had a bad experience with Radiocat, Sandra. Amber became hypothyroid for a brief period after she had the treatment. My veterinarian and I choose not to treat, since we were told it could, in rare cases, happen, and that most of these cases resolve themselves without medication. Thankfully, in Amber’s case, her thyroid was back at normal levels a couple of weeks later.

  26. I too was treated with I-131 after having my thyroid removed. I was one of those kids in the 1950’s who was treated with x-rays for tonsillitis and developed thyroid cancer 40 years later.

    My wife was pregnant at the time so I had to spend a week in the hospital since I was radioactive.

    • That’s interesting that you had to stay in the hospital after the treatment, Michael. A friend of mine recently had the treatment, and she was told to stay in one room in her house and minimize contact with the rest of her family, including her dogs, for a week. I’m not sure how well she listened to the part about the dogs, though 🙂 My understanding is that radiation levels are minimal, and drop off rapidly after treatment.

  27. This is interesting. My cat Binky was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism back in the late 80s. I think the iodine treatment’s have advanced because if I remember correctly, she would have to stay in quarantine about a month. I chose the medication, and it wasn’t a problem except that she was always still kind of skinny.

    • Julia, you’re right, back then the stay at the facility was much longer. I don’t think I could have handled a month, either, seeing how I barely made it through three days! I’m glad Binky is doing so well.

      • I couldn’t have gone that long either which is why I went with the medication. Binky is no longer with me, but she lived a full life and was my best friend for 18 wonderful years. =^..^=

  28. My Calico, Amanda ‘Mandy’ Halbert, developed hyperthyrodism in 2002 and I, too, chose the Radiocat therapy. The docs said it was very unusual for a kitteh her age (then only 5 years old) and that she should be fine after the shot. I am happy to report that since that time, she has been well and is now 14-1/2 years old. Other than being slightly expensive, I believe it is the best solution for kittehs with hyperthyroidism!!! <3

  29. I treated a stray cat I rescued at our local Radiocat and she went from hyperthyroid to hypothyroid. I wasn’t thrilled, needless to say, but I do know another person whose cat was treated and it resolved the problem. This is not cheap, either, so when it doesn’t work, it leaves you wondering why you spent all that money. FWIW…

    • Robin, it’s really rare that cats become hypothyroid after the treatment – I think it happens in less than 2% of cases. Of course, if your cat is one of those 2%, it’s frustrating.

      • According to Radio Cat themselves, about half of the cats that undergo treatment will experience temporary hypothyroidism that can last weeks to a year. About 5% get permanent hypothyroidism.

        Personally, as the mother to a cat with BAD hyperthyroidism, I’d rather he weigh a little too much and slow down a bit, than for him to continue to lose drastic amounts of weight and stress his heart out.

        • I agree, Benny. This only presents an issue for those cat guardians who’ve chosen Radiocat because their cats are impossible to pill. If they fall into the very small percentage of cats whose hypothyroidism won’t reverse itself after treatment, they’re back to having to give a pill once a day.

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