Your cat staggers as if it were drunk and even bumps into obstacles. What sounds funny at first is to be taken seriously in any case.
Because in contrast to a drunk person, it is not one drink too many that is behind the staggering of the cat, but injuries, illnesses or poisoning. Therefore, quick action is always required.
We will show you the possible causes as well as preventive measures.
In this article you will learn what is behind the staggering of your cat, how to behave correctly and what treatments are necessary. We also give you tips on how to prevent the problem.
Cat staggers like drunk: causes
If your cats suddenly staggers while walking, can’t keep balance, won’t go around obstacles and even falls over while walking it is always an emergency.
You should therefore immediately consult a veterinarian or a veterinary clinic.
However, you can make the diagnosis easier if you yourself know about the possible causes and can thus offer the appropriate advice and information.
Side effects of medicines
In some cases, these are listed together under vestibular syndrome.
Vestibular syndrome in cats – symptoms
This syndrome includes several signs. Among them:
Tilting of the head
swaying and staggering
walking in circles
rapid eye movements
loss of appetite
If these symptoms occur suddenly, again, you need to see a veterinarian immediately. If it is a gradual development, an immediate examination of each symptom must still be done.
Causes of vestibular syndrome in cats
Possible causes include the following health problems:
Injuries to the inner ear or head
Foreign body in the eardrum
Infections in the ear
Diseases, for example hypothyroidism
Side effects of medications
Treating vestibular syndrome in cats
Comprehensive examinations are first required for therapy. The trigger must be found.
Only then will it be possible to target the cause and symptoms.
In some cases, no cause is found at first. Here, only accurate imaging and very precise diagnostics could provide relief.
Otherwise, we are talking about an idiopathic vestibular syndrome and the treatment options are limited.
Cat staggers due to injury, foreign body or infection.
The equilibrium organ of cats is located in the inner ear. If it is injured or impaired by an infection, the balance suffers.
The result: your cat staggers as if drunk.
She may also hold her head crooked, shake it, try to scratch herself or position one ear in a conspicuous position. Discharge and an unpleasant odor are also possible.
Possible triggers for this include:
Foreign bodies such as spikes and awns
Inner ear infections
Likewise, an injury near or in the ear can spread and thus affect the organ of balance.
Therefore, if your cat is staggering, a close examination of the ears should always be part of the checkup at the veterinarian.
Prevent or detect problems in the inner ear at an early stage
A daily check of your cat’s ears is important for overall health.
If you notice odor, redness, heavy soiling or discharge, a detailed examination at the vet should take place.
Also, make sure that your household is cat-proof and that your pet cannot put itself in danger.
Diseases as a cause for staggering
A variety of diseases can be responsible for staggering. Among them, for example:
neurological disorders and disabilities, such as ataxia
Blood work, urinalysis, and a neurological diagnosis should therefore always be done when staggering occurs.
Tumors as a cause for staggering in cats
Tumors in the brain, spine or inner ear area can also affect balance and cause your cat to be unable to stand securely.
She is dizzy and safe running or jumping is not possible.
Depending on the location and positioning of the tumor, the discomfort may be consistent, increase in severity, or be sporadic at first.
This complicates the diagnosis. An imaging procedure is advised if either other diagnostic means did not reveal any findings or tumor markers stood out in the blood count.
Treatment is by removal of the tumor, if possible.
Side effects of medication
Just as with humans and dogs, some medications prescribed by a veterinarian can cause your cat to stagger.
Usually, the active ingredients make her dizzy because they affect the circulatory system or the brain.
The best known example of this is the condition of cats after anesthesia. These stagger as if drunk as long as the agents used have not yet completely decomposed.
This is because they do not yet have full control over their bodies.
If a drug has to be administered continuously in the case of chronic diseases, the complaints and restrictions do not decrease.
Here – if possible – a change or an adjustment of the dose must be considered.
Because a constantly staggering cat has a considerably reduced quality of life. The animals have problems drinking, eating and walking normally.
Jumping or playing are no longer possible at all. Constant staggering can also reduce appetite to the point that your cat barely eats, if at all.
Poisoning – an emergency!
Poisoning can cause cats to stagger, induce vomiting and produce bleeding.
Growling and cries of pain are also not uncommon. Outdoor cats are more likely to ingest toxins than indoor cats. Even these are not immune to this, however.
Possible dangers include these agents:
Aspirin and other blood thinners
Medicines for dogs or humans
But toxic (indoor) plants are also possible triggers.
Did your cat have free access? If so, poison baits can also be used.
Did you not lock up medicines? Are you unsure whether all houseplants are safe for cats? Or have you even noticed nibbling marks on leaves?
If this is the case, inform your veterinarian. If there are other symptoms, such as vomiting, increased salivation, behavioral changes, crying or bleeding, every second counts.
Quick action can mean the difference between life and death.
A rare exception: strokes
Strokes occur very rarely in cats, or at least are very rarely diagnosed.
However, such a case is not impossible as a cause of staggering in your cat.
The rare diagnosis could also be due to other possibilities being considered first.
With an outdoor cat, the risks of injuries and poisoning as well as foreign bodies in the ears are much higher than with a purely indoor cat.
Therefore, these causes are often considered and investigated or assumed first.
If the cat staggers as if drunk
If your cat walks unsteadily, you should always be concerned. The only exception to this is immediately after anesthesia.
Otherwise, the problem has a serious cause for which quick treatment is crucial.
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