I Can Haz Raydioakitv Kat?

We interrupt the unexpected project that has become Lilith’s biography to bring you this news bulletin.

There is a radioactive cat in my apartment.

No, really.

(I feel like the opening credits of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” A møøs once bit my sistur… no, realli!)

Anyway, so soon after losing Lilith, we have another feline with health problems, a precociously ingratiating Japanese Bobtail named Kyouju. He’s the Welcome Wagon of our humble abode, worshipped by gorgeous females everywhere. Some of them are even cats.

Kyouju’s problem these days has a hyperactive thyroid. It sent his metabolism into high gear, burning through calories faster than normal. He’s been wasting away. And he’s a little guy to begin with.

Our best option, whenever mentioned, makes most people nervous. A vet specialist injects radioactive iodine into the cat. The thyroid absorbs the iodine and the radiation right away. The iodine gets absorbed and processed by the thyroid. Meanwhile the radiation does the real work, killing the abnormal thyroid cells.

Hence the radioactive cat. We left him with the vet specialist for a few days, so the worst elements of the treatment are long gone, literally flushed away.

We have to take precautions. Kyouju isn’t glowing, but we still have to keep a discreet distance. One foot away, slightly less than a meter. He stays in a cage at the far end of the living room. We have to flush his waste everyday, so he has to use his own litter box. We can touch him, but we must wash our hands before we touch anything else. And for the next two weeks, we must restrict our close contact with Kyouju for one hour a day.

Now Kyouju is a major love bug, demanding that he petted and hugged and snuggled. So imagine his enthusiasm. He can’t bump our hands, slobber on us, sit on us, sleep on us, roll all over us, pounce on us, or hide in our bed.

Yesterday, he spent the afternoon wailing like a mourner. This morning I found him with his head propped up on a little pillow toy we gave him, silent and glum. Gloomy cat is gloomy.

The good news is that he’s already better. The beauty of this radioactive iodine treatment is its effectiveness. Ninety percent effective. Feline bodies handle radiation much better than humans do, so we don’t have to worry about his fur falling out or anything like that.

The vet said Kyouju was responding to the treatment beautifully. And we can already see an improvement. Kyouju is still skinny, but his fur is in better shape.

With luck, we will never have to do this again.

This will be a long four weeks, though.

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