By Hollie Bone
Mamma meow-a! A worried pet owner discovered her cat had a strange condition after the cat became c with Italian treats such as pizza, pasta and mog-zarella.
Michelle Townley, from Swindon, Wiltshire, initially thought tabby Stan was just being mischievous when he started stealing and scoffing dishes like meatballs and spaghetti Bolognese.
But when six-dinner Stan appeared to develop more of a penchant for Mediterranean meals, veterinary nurse Michelle, 40, suspected something was more seriously wrong, knowing cats would rarely eat anything covered in tomato.
After rushing the kitty to the vets, medics discovered Stan’s sudden flare for exotic flavours was actually due to hyperthyroidism, a glandular disorder – and his strange eating habits had actually saved his life by revealing the condition.
Stan, 15, now needs regular medication to control his unusual cravings but since beginning treatment has made a full recovery.
Michelle said: “Cats will often try and steal a bit of chicken here or there if it’s left for the taking, but Stan was ruining entire meals – pizzas and plates of spaghetti and meatballs.
“But it wasn’t until I caught him on the kitchen counter with chunks of spaghetti in tomato sauce that I knew something was definitely wrong.
“Normally cats wouldn’t touch anything covered in tomato, but instead Stan seemed like he was taking quite a fancy to it.”
As well as his change in eating habits, Stan was also drinking more water, becoming quite irritable and less affectionate, but most remarkably he was even losing weight – despite his insatiable appetite.
With her shock turning to worry, Michelle took her pet for a hypothyroidism blood test, which immediately confirmed her suspicions – Stan had an overactive thyroid.
She said: “As a vet, I knew what signs to look out for, but even then the symptoms of hyperthyroidism can be very subtle and difficult to spot.
“Stan’s condition meant that his thyroid was producing too many hormones, creating increased appetite, irritability, unexplained weight loss, high blood pressure and increased thirst.”
Luckily, since his diagnosis Stan is back to his usual self, cuddling and playing with Michelle’s other cat, Bob, and leaving the pizza and pasta for his owner to enjoy alone.
The moggy needs a daily treatment to keep his condition in check.
Michelle added: “Before, anything Stan could find he would scoff the lot, but now he lives a normal life.
“Within two weeks of starting treatment he was back to his old self, playing, cuddling, going outside – and no longer scoffing everything he got his paws on.
“We can leave what we want on the side now and feel safe knowing he won’t touch it – he’s back to only caring about his own cat meat meals so if we get a pizza and I fancy some more in the morning I know it will be there unscathed.”
FACT BOX: HYPERTHYROIDISM
– Hyperthyroidism is the most common endocrine disease affecting middle-aged to older cats, where the thyroid gland produces too many hormones, often associated with increased appetite, unexplained weight loss, hyperactivity, increased heart rate and deterioration in coat quality.
– The thyroid gland is a small gland located in the cat’s neck. Although relatively small, it plays a huge role in their body, making several different hormones.
– These thyroid hormones influence the function of the body’s most important organs, including the heart, brain, liver, kidneys and skin.