Cats can be secretive about when they don’t feel well. Many cat owners are never quite sure what their cat is feeling unless they are acting quite sick. Cat lethargy might be hard to recognize since cats sleep a lot each day, but there are some key signs that you can look for to help you identify cat lethargy.
If your cat is lethargic, they might not be feeling well, or they could be struggling with a systemic issue related to age or other conditions. Knowing the difference between lethargy and tiredness and being aware of the reasons that your cat might be lethargic can help you to take care of your feline friend more effectively.
What is Cat Lethargy?
Lethargy in cats is not the same as general tiredness. Cats who act lethargic will seem to have trouble getting around or having the energy to even lift their head. Severe lethargy can include a lack of balance or obvious confusion. Your cat might sleep more than usual or is hard to wake up when you pet them or pick them up.
Cat lethargy is not tiredness. It is usually linked to an underlying problem that is causing them to be without any energy and to have trouble waking up enough to do things like eat or drink. Lethargy often is most evident when your cat is attempting to get up to go to the litter box or to eat or drink, and they seem to be struggling to accomplish this task.
Why Do Cats Act Lethargic?
There are lots of things that can cause lethargy in cats.
For younger cats, this could be a symptom of a recent vaccination or perhaps the stress of moving into a new owner’s home. Kittens should not be lethargic ever, so if you have a kitten that is acting this way, you might need to reach out to your veterinarian as soon as possible.
In older cats, lethargy can be linked with kidney disease or gastric issues, as well as liver problems. Cats with things like feline aids might also act lethargic as their condition grows progressively more advanced. General aging can also cause arthritis, which can make it hard for your pet to get around, leading to lethargy.
Infections can make cats of all ages lethargic. Cats tend to reduce their energy output greatly when they have a fever. If your pet has an infection, they might also have stopped eating and drinking and have gone somewhere to hide. Getting your cat to the vet for antibiotics is critical if your pet has an infection of some kind.
Trauma, such as being hit by a car or getting a laceration, could also cause lethargy. Pets that have internal bleeding might also be lethargic due to anemia.
If your cat is obese, they might also be lethargic. This is a common symptom in overweight animals and is a sign that your cat’s muscle tones, and body systems are being taxed by their overweight condition.
Heart disease can make cats quite lethargic as their heart is not pumping blood through the body correctly. This is more common in older cats, but some younger cats can also get heart conditions due to genetics, illness, or things like heartworms.
Another reason for lethargy in cats can be poisoning. If your cat is acting lethargic and is also vomiting or having diarrhea, or drooling, you should be very concerned. This set of symptoms should initiate an emergency trip to the vet for your pet to be evaluated for poisoning. The sooner that a cat who has ingested poison is seen by a vet, the more likely it is that they will survive.
What Can I Do About Cat Lethargy?
In most cases, you will need to take a lethargic cat to the vet to be evaluated. Since there are so many causes for lethargy in cats, you will want to be sure that you know exactly why your cat is acting this way. If obesity is the reason for your pet’s lethargy, they might be placed on a diet food, and you might be tasked with keeping them active through play, if possible.
For cats that have illnesses or aging-related problems that are causing their lethargy, there are a variety of ways that these conditions could be treated. From diet changes to supportive medications, your vet can help your pet feel better and get back to being more active.
In the case of cats that are also acting confused, vomiting, or having diarrhea, or panting, a visit to the vet on an emergency basis is critical. Your vet will be able to find out why your cat is acting lethargic and displaying symptoms of this nature. Your pet might have to stay at the vet for a few days to ensure that they are stabilized before they can come home.
Cats Who Are Lethargic Need to See the Vet
It is always a good idea to take your cat that is acting lethargic to see the vet. The vet will be able to diagnose the reason for your pet’s lack of energy and help them to feel better again. Since there are so many serious health conditions that can cause lethargy in cats, it is worth being sure that you know why your pet is acting this way.
Aging and other processes can also lead to reduced energy, but this is not the same as lethargy. Make sure that you know what your cat’s normal activity level is so that you can be aware of the difference between sleeping a lot and being lethargic. While it might be harder to tell the difference in older cats, you should still be able to tell that your pet seems disinterested in life and that they seem to be having trouble getting around.
Lethargy can be an early warning sign of various health issues, and your pet will thank you for taking them to the vet to get the attention that they need. Book an appointment at Kryder + Harr Veterinary Clinic by calling (574) 277-6533 today!
Welcome to Kryder & Harr Veterinary Clinic! Our animal hospital has been a fixture in the Granger community since 1981, practicing full-service veterinary medicine for all our pet parents and their furry family members. At KHVC, we pride ourselves on our history, of providing excellent customer service for our clients, along with dedicated, compassionate, and exceptional medical care for all of our patients.