Your cat walks into the room and jumps up to greet you. Yet, it doesn’t feel the same. Something is different from previous interactions. It comes to you that your cat is moving much slower than usual. This is a concern.
Why is my cat walking slowly? This is what you are wondering. Several reasons for his slowness exist from an overall not feeling well, something he ate, an illness, injury, a vaccine reaction, and age. Diagnosing your cat depends on what specifics you know of his habits and health.
Read further to narrow down the possible problem so you can help your cat without panicking.
Common Reasons Why Cats Slow Down
Cats will move slowly when they don’t feel good. The question is why they don’t feel good. One common reason for cats not feeling well is colds. Colds and even flu can hit kitties hard initially but they get over it quickly, usually in about 24 to 48 hours. Check to see if your cat has a fever to determine if this is the problem.
Another common problem is your cat may have eaten something that isn’t agreeing with him. This can be a certain problem if the cat spends a lot of time outside because he could have hunted down a mouse or explored a nearby trash can.
Cats are hunters and your cat could have killed a bird or some other wild animal including rabbits or squirrels. While cats may not be hungry for their kill, they can still tear it apart and ingest part of it.
Those who recently changed their cat’s food may see this behavior also, depending on the cat’s age. Older cats don’t adjust well to a change in diets.
One possibility is the food doesn’t have all the nutrition your cat needs. Some cat foods are kind of like junk food for humans. They lack good high-quality ingredients. A lack of nutrition is the number one factor in joint problems and can contribute to other illnesses like kidney disease and digestive problems.
Look at the ingredients in the cat food labeling. Those that say filler or by-products are not great products. You will want a good crude protein number and ingredient listings that you understand.
Also, look for products made completely in the U.S.A as some products produced elsewhere have led to pet diseases and deaths.
It Could Be Constipation
Constipation is uncomfortable for cats just as it is for humans. It isn’t as common in cats but can happen if their diet changes or they eat something from outside. Give him plenty of water and watch when he goes to the bathroom.
Signs of Illness
Cats don’t always let you know they are sick or hurt right away. They mask their illness and pain until it is serious. A slow-moving cat may need to go to the vet. Signs of an illness include:
- Head tilting
- Sitting hunched
- Hovering over a water bowl
- Refusing to eat
- Sudden changes in weight
- Heavy breathing or panting
- Sleeping more than usual
Checking for Injury
Cats are famous for spraining or straining muscles because they are extremely curious and often try to jump and climb where they shouldn’t. A cat that goes from being fast and fun to being slow probably hurt himself.
Check his legs to see if there are any scratches or obvious injuries. Watch how he walks and lays to identify if he is favoring one leg over the rest. If he starts to growl or feel uncomfortable as you touch an area, then he probably has an injury to that area.
Some minor injuries can be treated with supplements and treatments that have joint and muscle support included. Cats that have an injury that shows a deep wound or a disjointed area should be taken to the vet.
Older Cat Afflictions
Older cats have a different set of problems that can happen than younger cats. While you should look to diet and injury when a young cat walks slowly, you should look to things like osteoarthritis, dysplasia, and kidney problems as they get older.
Like humans, a cat’s joints wear over time. As many as 90 percent of cats will have some form of osteoarthritis, according to statistics. That doesn’t mean you can’t prevent it. Some older cats, even 19 years old, don’t have this problem. The secret is a healthy diet and daily joint supplements.
Dysplasia is when the cat’s hips don’t move as they should and the joints rub against each other causing pain. This is rare in cats than osteoarthritis and can be reduced with the right nutritional diet.
Kidney issues affect many older cats and are one of the common causes of death. Diet also plays an important role in this so talk to your vet about how to prevent kidney disease. Usually, this issue is accompanied by months of weight loss.
When Did You Get Your Cat Vaccinated?
Some cats have bad reactions to vaccines. It could be a 48-hour reaction but it could also be your cat is allergic to something in the shot. The most severe reaction cases are when the vet gives the animal a combination shot that is pumped full of different vaccines.
Reactions to vaccinations can include symptoms like:
- A slight fever
- Swelling where the cat got the shot
- Coughing or sneezing
He may vocalize more than usual or even growl if he isn’t feeling good at all. Encourage him to drink water if he will drink. There is flavored water for cats that has a fish or chicken smell that may be interesting to them. Try to give your cat some smelly wet food to encourage him to eat.
Sometimes, you have just to leave him alone and keep a watchful eye out for changes in symptoms.
Take your can to the vet if he doesn’t improve in 24 to 48 hours.
Other Medical Issues
More serious issues that could be affecting your cat, particularly, an older cat are seizures. Cats can have partial or generalized seizures. Partial seizures are attributed to exposure to something like lead, rodent killer, antifreeze, or lilies.
Generalized seizures are the result of epilepsy. These types of seizures would occur repeatedly over time. Other signals of epilepsy in cats include uncontrollable shaking, the cat urinating or pooping outside the litter box, or losing consciousness.
Animals with these symptoms should be taken to a vet immediately.
Get To Know Your Cat
A big help for you to understand what is wrong with your cat is to spend time getting to know him and all his unique habits. Understanding what is expected and not normal is key to early diagnosis and treatment.
Every cat likes to communicate with their humans. The problem is we don’t always understand how they communicate. A cat may tell you he is sick by cuddling when he doesn’t normally do it, meowing more than normal, or seeking to be alone in a corner. It is up to the cat and it’s your job to understand their moods and behaviors.
Understanding your cat’s actions and how they communicate will help tell you why he is walking slower than normal and when it is a serious situation.