My cat was bitten by a radioactive cockroach

A few nice Hyperactive thyroid images I found:

My cat was bitten by a radioactive cockroach
Hyperactive thyroid

Image by Steve took it
My cat was bitten by a radioactive cockroach. That really is the only logical explanation for her transformation the last few years. Just like Spider Man gained his supernatural powers after being bitten by a radioactive spider, she has become the Amazing Cockroach Cat.

TC (named after "True Colors", the Cindy Lauper tune) is going on 20 years old now. I’m considering changing her name to Skeletor. It has been almost three years since she was diagnosed with a hyperactive thyroid problem requiring pills and tests and surgery and all kinds of indignities for the rest of her life. After having gone down that road with a puppy that did not survive long anyway, I decided she had lived a long life and I’d simply spoil her, feed her good, spare her the daily medical regime and give her the most comfortable senior years possible. Again, that was almost three years ago.

That must be fairly close to when she was bitten. The first of her cockroach powers appeared shortly after when she began to transform from my neat, fussy, tidy cat into a creature that can tolerate — no thrive — in all manner of filth. She pretty much stopped cleaning herself. Her feet stink, she usually trails dingleberries, has a constant secretion of goo coming from her eyes and keeps a perpetual hunk of dried cat food clinging to her nose. I no longer have a small out-of-the way liter box discretely available for her use, but an entire room covered with a tarp and three big litter boxes hoping one might appeal to her. And once in a while one does.

The second cockroach power TC developed was an insect-like bony exoskeleton. Petting her is like touching some kind of tiny crooked, hardened washboard with a tail. She has weighed less than three pounds for over a year, consuming three tins of cat food and a cup of half-and-half a day. Each night she selects a new location to vomit about three quarters of that, which I usually discover in the morning before I get my shoes on.

The third cockroach power she has gained of course, is that she will never die. I’ve taken her to the vet several times wondering if she is suffering, but she seems to still be hanging in there enjoying her new cockroach life. She’s actually become far more affectionate now than in any of her previous 16 years as a cat, purring and climbing on my lap and doing her best stinky cockroach-cute impression. I can’t help thinking that is just her reaction to knowing how much I’d like to get new carpet though.

Anyway, here’s my TC after one of her baths she must take now, drying out in the sun, and planning how to how use her cockroach powers today.

7/12/09 update – I posted this photo over two years ago. My cat passed away shortly after that. She didn’t quite make 20 years but had a great life and enjoyed playing and hindfooting with her toys right to the end. I do miss her.

Thanks to all of people who empathized with one of the toughest decisions there is to make – how long to let an elderly animal live and when to put it down – especially when you can’t talk to a cat to hear its wishes, and even humans have vast differences in how much they want to live or die if in pain.

In the end the pills did not seem to do anything and giving them was such an ordeal that we skipped the thyroid medication and just kept taking her to the vet to tell us what to do. Twice we packed her up, said our good-byes and took her into the vet who said she was still hanging in there and no need to kill her yet. Again, its a tough tough tough thing to go through – and sometimes you have to laugh through the tears .

Thanks to all for the considerate concerns – and best of luck to the many of you who have faced similar difficult situations. Take care all.

Hyperactive thyroid

Image by ocean yamaha
Timmy came back from the animal hospital where she had radiation treatment for her hyperactive thyroid.

I dunno about you, but she looked just a little different when she came back.

134 Kommentare zu “My cat was bitten by a radioactive cockroach

  1. janoid Autor des Beitrags

    Oooooooh, Steve…..
    This is soooooo sweet, in a twisted sort of way…. :)
    I am touched by this story, and I know how much you love your sweet "cat"roach…. She is a very lucky little lady to be pampered and loved so well in her cockroach years…..

    Your description is priceless…. and very heartwarming…. and stinky…..and bony…..and etc…..
    Thanks for sharing this….
    ****looking for some tissue to wipe the tears….****

  2. Steve took it Autor des Beitrags

    appreciate it Keech

    Thanks much Jan – I really liked your kind the smile!

    lynnie – lol, don’t forget Keith Richards…. ;>

  3. Alix King Autor des Beitrags

    What an AMAZING funny story and kitty! You are the best cat daddy there ever was….I love this shot too, btw.

  4. FlowrBx Autor des Beitrags

    I know your words are about TC, Steve, but I know a whole lot more about you after reading them. I always thought you were a bit special, but now I know you are. You just grew two taller in my book! ;-)

    You are MY WINNER!
    Please add this photo to

    Seen in my contacts’ photos. (?)

  5. dflora_pix Autor des Beitrags

    Reminds me of that friends song Phoebe sings that ends, "smelly cat, smelly cat…its not your fault." I have a very old dog, and every day is an adventure. Good luck with the cat. She is lucky to have you, and so are we.

  6. artbeco Autor des Beitrags

    Lawdy, but your post brings back similar memories. You are a loving and honorable person to take care of her so well. And wouldn’t the world be a grand place if even half the people in the world had even half of your heart?

  7. Steve took it Autor des Beitrags

    Thanks for the smiles and laughs all. "Stinky licky kitty is right. I forgot about Phoebe’s "smelly cat" song.

    "Cat roach" was hilarious!

  8. Boston Wolverine Autor des Beitrags

    My cat Louise also developed a thyroid problem (hyperthyroidism, I guess) when she got older. She too lost a ton of weight and became quite boney. She stopped grooming herself, which was sad because in her youth her fur had been very soft and glossy. She went deaf before the thyroid issue even set in, transforming her from a shy, skiddish cat into a creature completely without fear. She developed cataracts and went mostly blind. The thyroid issue robbed her of much of her sense of smell. We have no idea how she got around, but she did. She also somehow managed to terrorize two small, overly enthusiastic kittens into respecting her authority.

    She was arthritic, and weak from the weight loss. She became a super-affectionate lap cat in response.

    She lived to be almost 21. :)

  9. idyldawn Autor des Beitrags

    I have a "cockroach" kitty too…only her name is "Miss Rosie". Your candid (but loving) description fits her perfectly. She suffers from IBS….but still has bright blue eyes and a wonderful motor! Thanks for sharing…you made my day.

  10. shazymo Autor des Beitrags

    wow, what an amazing moggy! i had one similar who lived to be 19 years old. Truly an inspiration to eveyone to just keep on going. and is it foolish to hope that when we get old and smelly that someone will love us and look after us too?

  11. evidave Autor des Beitrags

    Now I know what happened to our cat "Peachy"………and we thought she was sick! We have taken her to the vet 4 times "for her last visit" sure that this was the end………..with the Vet saying "She’s not suffering", so home we go. Now I realize what really has been going on!!!!!! She was just getting her SUPER POWERS , obviously from the same kind of "bite", as the symptoms are identical………! It seems they don’t get bitten by the "RAC" until they are at least 18 years old…….Peach is at least 18 and possibly 20 to 21 or ??????? We have also "Superpowerized" our home too, as we are sure now she is going on her SUPER POWERED 10th or 11th or ?????? LIFE.

  12. lynnirene Autor des Beitrags

    That is such a great story. She is really cute, and I am glad to hear she is happy! I hope she lives even longer :-) I love shots of cats like this one where you get a nice silhouette with their ears.
    (seen in the world through my eyes)

  13. hsisson Autor des Beitrags

    Dramatic, high contrast light certainly works with the subject and the story. Thanks for the smile! You do have a way with words! ;-)

  14. Peter R. Cannon Autor des Beitrags

    Great story. My family enjoyed reading all that. You should take up writing too. Also just wanted to let you know that I have posted some of my photos. I’m not sure if I have to do anything further to make them viewable but they are there anyway as far as I can see. Have a look. user name cannonp63. Regards Peter.

  15. cat tripper Autor des Beitrags

    LUV IT, i have one of these super-cats too. but she was scary from the day we found her, Thus her name is ‘Poe" after edgar allen poe. and we have often sung the smelly cat song to her (from the show "Friends"). You can’t help but love them stiil…

  16. Shari Diane Autor des Beitrags

    Aww, amazing story. Our Bonnabelle had thyroid problems too, and diabetes, and lived five years after her diagnosis.

  17. elavats Autor des Beitrags

    One of my cats is named TC as well. In his case the "TC" stands for toilet cat. I’ll let your imagination go to work as to how he got his name. You’re a patient man Steve, probably more so then I could be.

  18. Anita & Greg Autor des Beitrags

    Great writing on your kitty!
    We have an old dog that leaves us some sort of "gift" on an almost daily basis.
    Thankfully he is still awfully darn cute even; with his tongue sticking out from his shrinking lower jaw.

  19. two Moon sky Autor des Beitrags

    My Mom’s cat got bitten by the same roach! Also a tortise shell.
    Squeaker was crazy before hand and just became totally psychotic after. My poor Siamese learned really fast that her previous habit of talking all morning was no longer tolerated by Squeaker. Cat fights over coffee is less then desirable, although the fur tends to float nicely and can be easy to fish out.

  20. Shanti ॐ Autor des Beitrags

    Gosh, that’s supposed to be a touching story but it made me laugh out loud – lovely photo, by the way!

  21. Stew* Autor des Beitrags

    Oh…my…GOD!! This is a great experience. Love your story and your writing ability, and the photo has a complimentary noir / Boris Karloff quality. Outstanding. Go, TC! Queen Wordsmithy keeps good company.

  22. © the big pictures Autor des Beitrags

    Hi, I’m an admin for a group called (-: ANIMALS WITH STRANGE HAIRDOS :-) (please comment!), and we’d love to have your photo added to the group.

    OMG! i am in tears! left eye of laughing, right of empathy. this is such a great shot and the story made my day! no … MY WEEK!
    thank you for sharing this story and the wonderful pic!

  23. sunshinesketches Autor des Beitrags

    We should all be so loved when we approach the end of our trail… er, tail. Perhaps she’s a gargoyle? or a gremlin?

  24. rouppasongbarbara Autor des Beitrags

    I think it is cute! I forgot to say awwwwwwww………………………………………. I am so sorry for that baby. I hope you give him a kiss for me.

  25. UR_Euphoria Autor des Beitrags

    I had a 9 yr old cat who died of diabetes. He acted just like ur cat, skeletal figure, vomit & feces everywhere. He was a long hair so one vet I took him to shaved him for free to help reduce the klingers on his rear. Everyone advised me to not get him the meds b/c he would just suffer more. I had to put him down 1 day when I found him paralyzed in the closet wit only 1 eye open. He couldn’t even meow. My bf cried more than I did! I feel for TC & know that he’s happier without meds. Great Photo!

  26. Izabel Cortez Autor des Beitrags

    aw… your story really touched my heart. T_T

    i know even if you’re trying to make it sound funny, i know deep inside it tears your heart to see her like that. T_T

    i’ll pray for both of you. :D

  27. crissy_jo Autor des Beitrags

    I don’t recall the last time I laughed so hard reading a story. I think it’s funnier since I have had a cat in the same sort of situation. She started pulling her fur out in some demonic way, and then thought it was appropriate to sit bleeding on your lap or couch. She also had the worst breath of any cat I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Dragon breath really. Keekee the dragon breathed semi bald cat died a couple of years ago at the age of 19, purring to the end.

  28. crazyradioactiveslothinasewer Autor des Beitrags

    mine sounds like that only its emo too it cuts its self on things and bites the crap out of its fur..

  29. Couture Casanova Autor des Beitrags

    I love your picture and your story!! It is so cute! I hope TC is still doing well!

  30. sarah.yusko Autor des Beitrags

    oh my goodness haha my family is notorious for keeping cats alive well into their 20th year! and they DO sort of go senile and stop caring about thair appearance. sucks for humans…but then again, we are lucky to be "allowed" to live amongst cats (says the cat)!
    your story was so funny and endearing!

  31. samdrukr Autor des Beitrags

    Excellent pic.

    We had a cat that lived into her twenties.
    Once, she began flicking her head while
    eating. We were slow on the uptake but
    then concluded she had a bad tooth(ee).
    Shortly thereafter my wife woke one morning
    with a real acher, she said she could almost
    see, like a tatoo, the nerve shooting up along
    the side of her face. Well, she scampered to the
    dentist at full stride. Relief, awwwww…then my
    wife said, "what if NoNo (her middle name)
    is feeling the same thing?"
    She (NoNo) ended up having one fang pulled and
    another filled! Relief, merrroow…

  32. samantha2303 Autor des Beitrags

    Never underestimate the power of a cat! I loved your story and the photo does a cat like TC justice! Thanks for sharing.

  33. the owls go Autor des Beitrags

    Just adding to the chorus of "my cat had hyperthyroid problem too". We tried giving her a pill, but as you probably know there is nothing harder than "pilling" a cat. We ended up getting the pill in a lotion that we would just rub a tiny dot of in her ear each day. They also have high protein, high calorie cat food that you can give them.

  34. octaypus Autor des Beitrags

    Most adult cats are lactose intollerant.
    The vomiting after having half a cup of half and half might explain that.

    As for the dingleberries, a quick shave in her posterior could help with that.
    Best of luck

  35. tealdaze Autor des Beitrags

    "Laughter thru tears is mah favorite emotion!" – Dolly Parton’s character in "Terms of Endearment"…

    It’s SO hard to know if kitties are in pain… Mine is now about 12 y.o. I really hope she’ll give me a sign when she wants to go (many yrs. from now, hopefully!).

    Please give TC a little kiss on her cat-food encrusted nose for me!

  36. goldphysh Autor des Beitrags

    Seriously if you’d like to restore your kitty’s health (and maybe your sanity and a state of cleanliness to your apt.) Take a look at this important cat health study. With any luck she might live to be 30 and a healthy one.

    Pottenger’s Amazing Cats: A Study in Nutrition…

    Then go here and find a nearby source:

    The upshot is that if you feed her the way her ancestors ate she’ll thrive. Plus she will LOVE the taste.

  37. birdsss Autor des Beitrags

    I had a cat that lived about 20 years. We found him when I was a baby and he died a few days before I turned 20. The last 5 or 6 years of his life he developed a sinus problem. The only way to maybe fix it was to drill a hole into his skull which would cost thousands of dollars and wasn’t a guaranteed success. So we decided not to have it done. He was also an outside farm cat. The next few years his right eye and right nostril would constantly run green ooze and he smelled like his brain was rotting. He didn’t seem to be in pain, he was the same ol’ cat but one hot summer day I came home and found him in pain and shitting himself. We took him to the vet and they put him down right away because a swarm of flies had attacked him outside and started devouring him alive. It was the saddest moment ever. Don’t leave old cats outside!

  38. LIQUIDMASS Autor des Beitrags

    wow this is great! I feel so bad for the cat but really this kind of makes me happy in a way! Glad you are a taking care of it and I hope it lives many more years! thanks! faved

  39. madeleinealbright Autor des Beitrags

    by the looks of it, I would guess that your cat has hyperthyroidism
    has your vet considered that possibility or tested her TSH/T3 levels?

  40. TaraLivesOn Autor des Beitrags

    I realize you love your cat and I don’t say this to upset you, but you should consider she is probably not cleaning herself because she is in terrible pain.

    Cats cleaning themselves is a primary instinct. When primary instincts like that stop, it might indicate something else is overwhelming an animal, in a bad way. Talk to your vet and ask them if this is a possibility. Best wishes to you and her.

  41. Rennie.S. Autor des Beitrags

    My cat was diagnosed with the same problem, and my vet told me it would be a horrible, long, painful way to die if I just didn’t medicate her. He recommended either putting her down or medicating her.

    The reason for this is that cats with hyperthyroidism experience muscle wasting, which is very, very painful and is essentially the body consuming its own muscle mass. Eventually the muscles around her heart will waste to the point where it can’t beat anymore and your cat will die, but it is very scary and painful. This might explain the three year long transformation.

    My cat is similar to your cat in that she is thin and has trouble cleaning herself when she is off her meds, but not the bathroom problems and other issues. I imagine at this point she is in a great deal of discomfort. You may want to consider euthanizing her.

    I can tell you that medicating my cat brought her back from this condition over the course of some months, but it sounds like yours is in far worse shape than mine was.

  42. Steve took it Autor des Beitrags

    As the information next to the photo indicates, I posted this photo over two years ago. My cat passed away shortly after that. She didn’t quite make 20 years but had a great life and enjoyed playing and hindfooting with her toys right to the end. I do miss her.

    You can imagine my surprise to suddenly see this photo get over 150,000 views over the weekend and a slew of comments after all this time. Apparently someone posted my photo on and other places where it reached a front page and got a lot of hits.

    I guess the good news is that a log of people empathized with one of the toughest decisions there is to make – how long to let an elderly animal live and when to put it down – especially when you can’t talk to a cat to hear its wishes, and even humans have vast differences in how much they want to live or die if in pain. And MOST people recognized that a story entitled "My Cat Was Bitten by a Radioactive Cockroach was a "laugh-through-the-tears" exaggerated story to try to find some humor in a tragic situation. It certainly would be more convenient to kill the cat when it was messing up the house. We also spent thousands and thousands trying to keep a dog alive that only resulted in prolonging suffering. Its just so hard to know what to do and I sympathize with those of you who talked of similar circumstances.

    In the end the pills did not seem to do any good and it was such an ordeal making her take them that we skipped the thyroid medication and just kept taking her to the vet to tell us what to do. Twice we packed her up, said our good-byes and took her into the vet who said she was still hanging in there and no need to kill her yet. Again, its a tough tough tough thing to go through.

    While I really appreciated the support and empathy of many, It amazed me how many people read a few paragraphs of a story – clearly an incomplete medical record – and which was really designed to laugh at the tough parts of getting old – and felt they should criticize me for my cruelty. I suppose with 150,000 data points you are going to get a little of everything.

    Most of the particularly cruel, judgmental or sanctimonious comments were left on, but a few came over to the flickr page that my whole family reads. So I’m deleting a bunch of the accusations that will only serve to make some folks who actually knew and loved TC feel bad about difficult decisions even though they were made over two years ago. Thaks to all for the considerate concerns – and best of luck to the many of you who have faced similar difficult situations. Working with your vet you know far more than some stranger who saw a photo and read a few paragraphs to make the decision right for you and your pet. Take care all.

  43. smurfhell Autor des Beitrags

    That sounds exactly like what happened to my cat. She lived to be 20.5, older than my sister.

    The things we do for pets…

  44. octaypus Autor des Beitrags

    The title of it got it onto :) That should help explain why all of a sudden it exploded in popularity.

  45. TimOve Autor des Beitrags

    Sorry to hear about your loss. I have a cat myself but he is only 4 years old and way too fat and lazy. :)

    I find the shadow cast by the cat to be interesting as it doesn’t look really look like a cat (except from the head) and the way the cat sits with it’s head low makes me think he doesn’t feel allright.

    Seen in your Stories set. (?)

  46. George Augustine Autor des Beitrags

    Steve,It was touching to read how you took care of this animal until she died.Looks like you did it smiling with out any complaints.It shows what kind of a person you may be..I am sometimes surprised at the love humans have for their pets not just in their peak and healthy times but also in sickness and suffering.You must be a great son to your parents too..(just my guess..:-)

  47. missirisj Autor des Beitrags

    Thank heavens the story came to an end. I would have given the thyroid meds in a pill pocket. Maybe TC was okay but this piece personally hurt me for four years. Wish I had said something to you from the beginning. I did not agree with your decision to not medicate–maybe none of my business, but your phobia about treating the disorder made no sense. Amazing how many supported you.

  48. missirisj Autor des Beitrags

    Feel free to erase any comments that make you upset–but don’t try this with another cat that you love. Thyroid meds are no big deal!

  49. Moktarious Autor des Beitrags

    I had tear and at the same time a silly smile while reading your story, but I can tell you one thing for sure. Your an amazing writer and story teller. You should consider writing a book honestly. R.I.P Spider Cat

    P.S : Yes Indeed ….how did you know? I had tears reading it, why? Cause I felt I did not care enough for my little female pitbull 4 month old now.

  50. misanthrp Autor des Beitrags

    still chokes me up, all this time later. glad i marked it a favorite so long ago so i can revisit.

  51. Lüm Autor des Beitrags

    I think you’re a poet. I really like your pictures and your way of seeing things, sweet and cute and real. It wouldn’t be a lie to say that I watch your work during my free time. It’s a pleasure to see such beautiful things… Well, I can’t really tell you how I feel because English isn’t my language but I think you got it. Thank you very much for your pictures, and thank you for your comments :)

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