Cat acting dizzy - Vertigo?


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Our question this week was:

Hi, my male indoor cat who is 10 years old started walking like he was dizzy tonight. Any thoughts as to what this could be?

Thanks Leida


Hi Leida– thanks for your email. Your email said that your 10-year-old cat started walking like he was dizzy.

I worry about a few things Leida. I'll just give you a list of the things that pop into my mind:

  • Low blood sugar– some cats with a low blood sugar can act abnormal, become weak and lethargic.

  • Ear problems– some cats with inner or middle ear infections can have balance and coordination problems.

  • Vestibular disease– with this problem, the part of the brain that maintains balance and equilibrium becomes abnormal. Cats will often appear dizzy, walk in circles, fall over and have abnormal eye movements.

  • Weakness– Many cats that are weak and dehydrated will appear "dizzy" to their owners. Their balance can become abnormal due to weakness. This can be severe and life-threatening depending on the underlying cause for the weakness.

    I'll insert links to the above problems so that you can click on them to learn more. I'd recommend that you take your kitty to your local veterinarian or veterinary emergency clinic for evaluation. Whatever the cause, a cat that acts "dizzy" is not normal.

    Best of luck!

    Dr. Debra

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    About The Author

    debra-primovic Dr. Debra Primovic

    Debra A. Primovic, BSN, DVM, Editor-in-Chief, is a graduate of the Ohio State University School of Nursing and the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Following her veterinary medical training, Dr. Primovic practiced in general small animal practices as well as veterinary emergency practices. She was staff veterinarian at the Animal Emergency Clinic of St. Louis, Missouri, one of the busiest emergency/critical care practices in the United States as well as MedVet Columbus, winner of the AAHA Hospital of the year in 2014. She also spends time in general practice at the Granville Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Primovic divides her time among veterinary emergency and general practice, editing, writing, and updating articles for, and editing and indexing for veterinary publications. She loves both dogs and cats but has had extraordinary cats in her life, all of which have died over the past couple years. Special cats in her life were Kali, Sammy, Pepper and Beanie.