Pacing, Growling and Crying

These problems may be strictly behavioral but it’s important to rule out physical causes. Older cats in particular may be at risk for thyroid tumors, liver failure, or a brain disorder.

  • The first consideration should be hyperthyroidism.
    • As many as 30 percent of older cats have benign tumors on one or both of their thyroid glands.
    • It’s actually a good disease because most respond well to early treatment. Methimazole tablets control thyroid hormone levels for most affected cats; radioactive iodine treatment cures many others.
    • Don’t procrastinate. If hyperthyroidism is not managed it causes severe heart disease and kidney failure. A simple blood test makes the diagnosis.
  • Other possibilities
    • A type of brain tumor, called meningioma, is fairly common in older cats and can be responsible for a wide variety of symptoms.
    • Inflammatory brain diseases can also be manifest as behavior changes.
    • Liver failure can indirectly affect the brain.
    • A thorough neurologic exam and medical workup are important.
  • Behavioral causes