My Cat Can’t Walk - Causes And Solutions

By Ameera Mills. Updated: January 30, 2019
My Cat Can’t Walk - Causes And Solutions

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Have you noticed that all of a sudden my cat can’t walk? Are you wondering about the common causes that may explain why your cat can’t walk or why your cat is struggling to walk? Although the reasons that cause this difficulty are not always serious, it is usually necessary to go to your veterinarian in order to prescribe the appropriate treatment. This treatment is only possible to prescribe once you have discovered the cause that prevents proper ambulation in cats.

Sometimes recovery may require surgery, hence the importance of veterinary consultation. In this way, if your cat walks weird or cannot walk at all, do not hesitate to consult a specialist. For more about ‘why my cat can’t walk without falling over’ or ‘why my cat can’t walk’, keep reading here at AnimalWised.

You may also be interested in: Why Is My Dog Trembling And Can’t Walk?

My cat can’t walk on her back legs

Before we begin to explain the reasons why a cat can’t walk or stand, we need to pay attention to the characteristics of this impediment. A cat can suffer paralysis when it stops walking altogether. This problem, more common in the hind legs, completely prevents them from moving. Therefore, your cat will not be able to walk or stand.

Are your cat’ back legs collapsing? Other times, a cat cannot walk because its legs fail, more commonly, the cat’s hind legs. In these cases the weakness is obvious. You may notice that your cat stand but falls or cannot move at all. Sometimes this succeeds but with strange movements such as , raising the legs abnormally or your cat moving its legs in circles. Other times difficulty of mobility occurs because the cat is suffering from tremors, tics or convulsions throughout its body.

Paralysis in cats

Paralysis in cats causes can include an accident, an impact, a dog attack attack or a steep fall. This occurs when there is an affectation of the vertebral column, affecting the nervous system’s communication with the legs. This interruption can cause immobility in your cat’s legs. These injuries can also cause more serious injuries, therefore, if you notice that your cat is struggling to walk, immediate veterinarian consultation is necessary. Make sure to always handle your cat with care in order not to worsen any injury.

In general, when it comes to a paralysis due to trauma, your cat will try to move as if unharmed, dragging its legs behind its body. Does your cat drag its hind legs or front legs?

An x-ray or a resonance can give us information about the state of your cat’s vertebral column. Treatment will depend on the damage. Medication, rehabilitation or surgery may be required. A cat suffering from paralysis can recover or maintain sequelae, depending on the case’s specifics.

To prevent paralysis in cats, make sure your cat avoids open windows and outside danger. You can opt for placing mosquito nets on your windows to avoid falls.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can also cause paralysis in the legs of a cat, specifically targeting the hind legs and tail. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats occurs when the cat’s cardiovascular system fails and blood flow decreases. For more, we recommend reading our article where we discuss heart failure in cats.

My Cat Can’t Walk - Causes And Solutions - Paralysis in cats

My cat can’t walk straight

There are numerous causes which can explain your cat having trouble walking or standing. In older cats, you may notice that they stop climbing heights.This is often a a sign of pain, often caused by a degenerative process such as osteoarthritis in cats. If you believe your cat may be suffering a degenerative disease or is in pain, take a look at our article where we answer, ‘‘How can I tell if my cat is in pain?’’

Cats that have previously or are currently recovering from diseases such as feline panleukopenia (feline parvovirus), can also suffer from neurological sequelae that affect their walking. These such cats will struggle to walk straight and lift their legs properly. Does your cat lose its balance easily? Does your cat lack coordination? This may be the reason why. These such damages can be irreversible, but they do not prevent your cat from leading a normal life.

Vestibular syndrome in cats

Vestibular syndrome in cats is a neurological disorder in cats that produces symptoms such as:

  • Head tilting
  • Walking in circles
  • Nystagmus (continuous eye movements)
  • Strabismus
  • Ataxia in cats, which produces the lack of coordination that will make it difficult to walk.

This syndrome can be caused by: trauma, otitis in cats, infectious diseases, etc. In order to identify the triggering cause, a neurological examination is required. Vestibular syndrome in cats can be cure, but some cats may be left with a tilted head as permanent injury[1].

Finally, lack of balance in cats can also be caused by a cat ear infection, which too will require veterinary consultation.

My cat can’t walk and won’t eat: cat poisoning

Sometimes cats can’t walk because they’ve lost control over their bodies. Are you wondering why your cat can’t walk and keeps falling over? This loss of body control in cats can result from or can be caused by seizures in cats, tremors or tics, sometimes accompanied by other symptoms. These cases are often caused by cat poisoning, which requires immediate veterinary attention. Prognosis in these cases depends on: the substance which was ingested, the time and the age, breed and cat health status.

To avoid cat poisoning and cat seizures or tremors, you must ensure that your cat is always safe. Make sure to prevent access to potentially toxic substances or plants. Special care must be taken when it comes to anti-parasitic products for dogs, since they sometimes include toxic active ingredients for cats. If you know which substance has caused the cat poisoning, make sure to update your veterinarian. With fluid therapy and medication, it is possible for your cat to reach full recovery, although, this depends on the prognosis[2]. For more, we recommend reading our article where discuss symptoms of poisoning in cats.

My Cat Can’t Walk - Causes And Solutions - My cat can’t walk and won’t eat: cat poisoning

My cat won’t walk on his front paw: Paw pad injury

Have you noticed your cat walking weird? Sometimes cats struggle to walk due to injury. Therefore, if you suspect any localized damage to your cat’s paws, make sure to examine its fingers, nails and paw pads well. If you notice any injury, contact your veterinarian.

To avoid paw injuries in cats make sure that your cat doesn’t walk on hot surfaces. In addition, make sure your cat’s nails are always well kept and maintained. Additionally, we recommend establishing a routine where you check your cat’s paws and nails regularly. For more, take a look at our article where we discuss healing wounds on a cat’s paw pads.

My cat can’t walk on one back leg: other causes

If your cat’s hing legs are failing and none of the previous causes correspond to your cat’s individual case, there are other pathologies that carry this condition as a symptom. Have you noticed that your cat can’t walk or stand? Other causes of sudden paralysis in cats back legs include:

In all of the above cases, veterinary intervention is necessary. If you’re cat is struggling to walk and does not receive professional medical help, your cat’s life could be seriously compromised.

My Cat Can’t Walk - Causes And Solutions - My cat can’t walk on one back leg: other causes

My kitten can’t walk all of a sudden

Have you noticed that your kitten can’t walk or stand? Other than the above mentioned syndromes, when it comes to kittens, we have to analyze the possibility of fading kitten syndrome.

Kittens, especially when they are under the age of 8, are very fragile and susceptible to illness. If your kitten suddenly can’t walk, is lethargic and unresponsive, immediate veterinary attention is require!

Fading kitten syndrome: symptoms

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Trouble walking or standing
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive crying
  • Pale or white gums
  • Low body temperature

Fading kittens syndrome: cause

  • Inadequate care and attention
  • Trauma
  • Hypothermia
  • Bacterial infection
  • Viral infections: herpesvirus, Feline AIDS etc.
  • Underdeveloped immunity

Fading kitten syndrome: treatment

If your kitten can’t walk or stand, is very cold or showing any other sign of these above mentioned symptoms: take it to the veterinarian IMMEDIATELY. In addition, make sure the kitten is warm, has enough water and is offered an adequate high quality diet.

For more, we recommend taking a look at our article where we discuss how to care for kittens.

Old cat can’t walk: causes

Have you noticed that your old cat can’t walk or stand? Cats over the age of about 7 or 8 years become prone to conditions such as arthritis. Arthritis in cats is very common in older cats and therefore cannot be ignored as a possible cause of why your old cat can’t walk. Other causes of older cats struggling to walk include the possibility of:

  • Diabetes: nerve degeneration
  • Hyperthyroidosm
  • Kidney disease
  • Blindness

If your old cat can’t walk or stand, take it to the vet IMMEDIATELY. A professional will be able to diagnose the problem correctly and treat it accordingly.

For more, take a look at our article where we discuss caring for older cats.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to My Cat Can’t Walk - Causes And Solutions, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.


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Marcia McDonald
I think my cat has arthritis really bad. I want to take her to my vet tomorrow. Can you please tell me anything about her current condition like how it is difficult for her to walk?
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