Socks Meows "Is your Cats Food Causing Hyperthyroidism?"

It is really cold (for us) here, so we are all staying inside on the warm blankets. Our hearts go out to all those who do not have warm places to snuggle inside. We will be purring for you.

I thoughts I would remind people about the warning signs of Feline Hyperthyroidism as it is so important to have it diagnosed early.

  • Weight loss
  • Usually a good or increased appetite (polyphagia)
  • Increased thirst (polydipsia)
  • Increased activity, restlessness or irritability
  • An increased heart rate (tachycardia)
  • A poor and unkempt hair coat
Uncontrolled hyperthyroidism has important consequences on the heart, causing increased heart rate but also changes in the muscular wall of the heart that will eventually cause heart failure if untreated.. My dear friend Abby had heart complications due to hyperthyroidism and has gone to the rainbow bridge. We were very lucky that my hyperthyroidism was caught early. Several of my feline friends are also battling hyperthyroidism and we know some doggies that are having problems with their thyroid too. You can read one of my earlier post on the subject for more info regarding treatment options here.

In an effort to prevent other felines from getting hyperthyroidism I want to bring this important research to your attention. Feline Hyperthyroidism and Cat Food: Exploring a Possible Connection

Researchers at the University of Georgia are examining whether cat food ingredients play a role in disease development. In a study funded by the Morris Animal Foundation, researchers treated feline thyroid cell cultures with various cat food ingredients to determine whether these ingredients stimulate normal thyroid cells. From the foundation website:
Researchers learned that flavonoids—plant proteins found in commercially available cat food—activate cultured feline thyroid cells as effectively as a cat’s normal thyroid-stimulating hormone. This suggests that flavonoids may interfere with normal thyroid function and be a contributing factor in the development of feline hyperthyroidism. Researchers have to confirm these results by repeating the necessary experiments. Final analysis and results are expected by summer 2013.

If the researchers identify nutritional causes of hyperthyroidism, it is hoped that these compounds can be reduced or avoided in cat food, thus reducing the incidence of disease and improving the lives of cats.

One of the culprits is soy, felines do not have the necessary enzymes to digest soy properly so while soy may be good for humans it is not good for cats.

A much smaller 2000 EPA study of 100 cats with hyperthyroidism and 163 control cats identified a chemical called bisphenol-A (BPA) which is used to coat the inside of cat food cans, as a possible culprit. Interestingly, cats in the study that preferred fish or liver and giblets flavors of canned cat food had an increased risk.

Another chemical that may play a role in the increase in hyperthyroidism may be polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). PBDEs are flame retardants used in building materials, furniture, carpeting, and textiles. Intestingly, PBDEs are also found in particularly high concentrations in fish that are high up the food chain, such as tuna and mackerel, two fish proteins widely used in fish flavored cat food.

So the things to avoid seem to be food with plant proteins like soy, canned food especially fish, liver and giblet flavors and fish due to it's high concentration of PBDEs. We don't recommend avoiding canned food altogether, but trying to find cans that are not coated with BPA and avoiding the flavors that increased the risk.

Hyperthyroidism is also caused by Adenomas (benign tumors) and Adenocarcinomas (malignant tumors) you can read more about that  @ Causes of Hyperthyroidism in Cats.

I hope you found this post informative and that I wasn't too boring or long winded. ~Socks, reporting for ATCAD


  1. That's really interesting, Socks. Thanks for sharing. We'll have to check our canned foods.

  2. What a great post. Our Millie was recently diagnosed with hyperthyroidisn. I am going to check the indredients in our canned food, I don't normally buy fish ones though.

  3. How come commercial cat food has so many dangerous things in it? :-(

    1. I am sure that IS the definitive answer. Cheap, ...and turn a buck at our pets' expense.

  4. Oh, MY:(
    Now meowmy will have to check the cans that she feeds Minko with...
    Sheesh, why are so many plants in cat food anyways, we are carnivores.

    Thanks for this info.

  5. Great info - so far only Yoko had hyperthyroid of our cats. She lived to be 20 so it was not a big issue for her.

  6. Good info....thanks for sharing.

    The Florida Furkids

  7. This does a great job of pulling together some of the current thoughts about what may be causing hypethyroidism. It's scary how many cats suffer from hyperthyroid, so hoefully science can find out the cause and help avoid it altogether in the near future!

    1. WE've been waiting and waiting and waiting ; and while science has managed some facts or directions to look for us...nonetheless the manufacturers don't seem to have stopped certain ingredients it does't seem. Admiral passed away with hyperthyroidism and hypercalcimia. Katie is not a liker of fish taste and thank goodness. EXCELLENT and needed article and thank you to this one and todays 4/23/16..

  8. Invaluable as Admiral suffered badly. Anyway to find out the coating of cans before you buy them that you have heard of?

  9. socks...dood...thanx for sharin...thiz be sum grate info ♥

    heerz two a warm, walleye, whitefish week oh end !! ♥♥♥

  10. That is indeed great information. The thing I know is that Abby showed no signs of anything being wrong, until it ALL went wrong. She has too many complications all from HypherT being undiagnosed. It pains me greatly...and I carried a lot of guilt about that for many months.Thank you for mentioning Abby. I really appreciate it and I wish no one else ever had to deal with HyperT and it's complications of HCM.

  11. I'm sorry that my comment was silly. I thought perhaps you knew of a list of canned cat food that had been provided that named theca's with linings. Thanks so much for the reply.

  12. Uh oh. I should be dead. Besides the gut rot that comes in a pouch I only eat fish out of cans.

  13. Thank you so very much for sharing Sock!!!!

  14. Thanks for this excellent information. Hyperthyroidism is a real concern as we kitties age. Mommy needs to take 15-year-old Lily Olivia and have her checked as she suspects she might be in early stages. XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

  15. there are a lot of theories as to why commercial foods are bad, among them that some flavors have a high concentration of thyroid glands and thus the cats are getting additional thyroid hormones. The BPA in the lining of the cans, among others.

    It is sad we know so little about nutrition


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