One day I realized I had a really skinny cat. I’m not sure when Simon went from being a huge fat cat to a skinny cat, but one day he wasn’t my big lump of fur anymore. My feline friend was 15 years old so I knew that medical issues may arise, but I had no idea what a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism would entail.
Cats can live great lives if hyperthyroidism is caught early and is treated properly. For Simon, my vet and I chose to administer Methimazole via a gel rubbed on his ears twice a day. Administering meds this way is a much easier method than trying to give a cat a pill. Unfortunately, when I moved to another state and had to switch vets, the new vet had no idea that Methimazole was available in a twist-a-dose gel format. I had to keep getting the meds from my old vet in another state until my new vet was able to research and obtain the product. I also had trouble finding a place to buy it online. On a search today, I found this site which may help you in your search.
I was given great instructions on how to apply the gel to Simon’s ears, but if you were not or are just curious, check out this forum. They give a detailed and accurate explanation along with video on how it all works.
Anyway, the meds kept Simon happy and healthy for a few years. He gained back several pounds to be at a healthy weight. He was active and playful. However, meds are not a cure. As time went on, his health began to deteriorate once again. Trips to the vet now included rehydration via IV fluid. My only option at that point was to begin rehydration administration at home via subcutaneous injection. Fortunately, Simon was a very mellow cat so he tolerated this well. I, on the other hand, was a nervous wreck. I cried and at first it was very difficult for me. The first few times, my boyfriend helped me hold Simon steady which was a huge relief. After a few times though, I got the hang of it and was able to do it all on my own.
Watching YouTube videos like this one really helped. I can’t tell you how many videos I watched. I also read a lot about the various size of needles which affects the pain of injection and flow speed (the smaller the needle, the less pain, but longer to get the fluid in). It’s good to find a happy medium. Sites like this one will help you determine what size needle is best for you and your cat. You will most likely need to buy them with a prescription from your vet from the internet as many vets do not carry the smaller needles. You can also purchase the fluid (I used Lactated Ringers Solution) from the Internet. Also, check Craigslist.org in your area for people selling excess product. After a cat passes away, many people are generous with their remaining product and will either give it away or sell it for a low price; that’s how I got my first batch of product. Personally, I ended up donating mine to a shelter when it was no longer needed.
For Simon and me, the easiest way to administer the fluid was to sit together in the corner of the couch. I hung the fluid bag on a hanger and attached that hanger to a standing lamp next to the couch. (I actually left it there all the time for ease of set up). Sometimes I would warm the bag of fluid in a large bowl of hot water first. I would have a bag of treats next to us, a bowl of milk or sometimes I would feed him breakfast or dinner while we fluid-ed. One of the most important things for me to do was to use a permanent marker on the bag and mark where the fluid dosages should be. This made it much easier to know when we were done.
Another issue that Simon ran into because of his dehydration was constipation. For this, my vet suggested Lactulose. It is given in a liquid form (but now seems to have a powder form as well). It is reasonably priced and comes in regular and flavored. Another option is to add pure pumpkin puree to your cat’s diet. Simon didn’t care for the pumpkin, and I tried administering it to him via a large syringe but it was more trouble than it was worth. Doing these things to keep your cat alive is only a good idea if your cat is going to be happy. Torturing him with too many meds and things he hated wasn’t an option for me.
Ultimately, Sub-Q fluids helped extend Simon’s life another few happy months. Don’t be afraid to try it. Your vet should help you try it the first couple of times. Also, having a friend help for the first week or so will be a huge relief to you – even if they just are there to provide moral support.
Good luck and best wishes in your kitty’s journey.