Cat Lethargy- Helpful Ways to Treat It

Cat Lethargy- Helpful Ways to Treat It

Is your cat quieter than usual? Is she less interested in food, hunting, playing, and going outside? If yes, is it possibly symptomatic of a serious illness? Or are they just really lazy? 

Cat lovers will agree that having a cat is a little bundle of warmth. Her constant presence in the home makes it lively. So when it comes to their fitness, you, as cat owners, want to be sure about their health and wellbeing.   

Wouldn’t it be great if that’s always the case? But getting sick is inevitable. Sometimes, they might even need immediate medical attention. So how do you know when you have to take your cat to see the vet straight away? We have got you everything you need to know about having a lethargic cat (or not, as the case may be) that you should know about.

When cats are quieter and behave differently, they tend to keep to themselves and avoid human interaction also. So if your fur friend is seeming uninterested in playing with you, observe her attitude. She may be suffering from any physical illness. The behavior of a lethargic cat can identify the degree of stress. Your cat may act slightly or dramatically different from its usual way.

What Causes of Lethargy in Cats

Cats generally love to sleep by their nature. However, excessive sleep or straight inactivity could be a sign of lethargy. Though rest is a cat’s natural response, it could be a part of recovery from a minor condition or an indicator of a more severe condition.

However, such lethargy in cats could also signal disease. It is in every cat owner’s interest to know the signs. 

  • Being overfed and under-exercised
  • Parasitic Infection
  • Stress, Depression/too little stimulation
  • Medication side effects
  • Obesity
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Dull hair coat/loss of hair
  • Behavioral changes, e.g., aggression

Lethargy may be a symptom of any number of serious illnesses in cats:

  • Anemia, i.e., low red blood cell count; Other blood disorders
  • Cardiovascular, related to heart and vessels and pulmonary, related to respiratory disorders
  • Chronic inflammation or Infection or Infection with a minor common virus such as cat flu
  • Drug or medication-related
  • Electrolyte abnormalities
  • Endocrine (hormonal) or metabolic disorders
  • Gastrointestinal diseases
  • Urinary tract disorders
  • Arthritis in older cats
  • Hairballs (can become serious if causing blockage)
  • Immune diseases or critical skin diseases
  • Eye diseases, especially those linked with blindness
  • Neurologic/ Nutritional/ Behavioral/ Neuromuscular disorders
  • Skeletal/ Kidney diseases
  • Exposure to certain toxins
  • Physical trauma
  • Cancer
  • Dehydration
  • Depression
  • Poison, ingesting foreign objects 
  • An unexpected change in the weather

Why Should You Take Lethargy in Cats Seriously

It’s necessary to know lethargy compared to the natural sleep behavior of cats. If your cat can wake easily and have active periods during the day, you need not worry. But, if you observe your fur baby getting uninterested in their surroundings and start avoiding everything, it is time you should take their lethargy seriously. There may be particular signs present that are indicative of a distinct medical disease or condition. Some symptoms you should look for are:

  • A general change in your cat’s demeanor
  • Reluctance to play, exercise, or respond to surroundings. Unusual shyness and hiding.
  • Hiding or avoiding people or other pets
  • A decrease in appetite or thirst and weight loss as well as diarrhea and vomiting
  • Gastrointestinal signs (vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss)
  • Difficulty breathing, Tremors, Weakness, Fever
  • Changes in the level of consciousness
  • Decreased grooming, poor hair coat
  • A listless or drowsy disposition when awake
  • Weak physical movements and possibly tremors
  • Weight gain/loss
  • Thirst/increase in urination, Jaundice

Is My Cat lethargic? 

Observe your kitty if they display any of the symptoms listed above? Try:

  • While playing with them, do they seem as interested as normal or not? This may indicate a problem (if they have).
  • If your kitty is to come running to get a little snack while you are rustling your regular treat bag, the problem is probably solved.
  • Try offering your cats their favorite treats, which have a strong aroma if you’re worried your cat is lethargic and not eating. Tinned fish, salmon, or tuna is usually a good choice.

If they are still unwilling to eat or move, it might be time to start thinking more seriously.

What Does It Mean When Your Cat Is Lethargic?

Lethargic Cats may also be suffering from a behavioral issue rather than a medical cause. Or it can be both as well. Cats with stress or depression become lethargic and show hiding and avoidant behaviors. Any cat can suffer from depression, although older cats are particularly at risk. Consult a veterinarian or veterinary behaviorist who can help diagnose depression in your cat. Follow the prescribed medication and a behavior modification plan to treat this condition.

How You Can Help to Treat Lethargic Cat

Are you cat vomiting and lethargic? If your cat is not eating and less lost appetite, follow this:  

  1. Observe your kitty’s normal behavior.
  2. If your cat is acting differently, don’t delay in calling your veterinarian.
  3. A veterinarian will diagnose if there is anything wrong. He/she will get your cat on the road to recovery.
  4. Since you know your cat, if you sense that something is different or wrong, the chances are likely that you are right. It is not bad to trust your instincts. 

What to Do If Your Kitten Is lethargic

Lethargy is associated with many health problems in cats. In this baseline laboratory tests are useful. It helps in identifying any systemic abnormalities that should be pursued with further testing. Examples of these baseline screening tests are: (Best Ways to Treat Lethargy in Cats)

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Biochemical profile
  • Urinalysis/ Fecal examination
  • Chest and abdominal radiographs (X-rays)
  • Antibiotics for bacterial Infection
  • Surgery for tumors removal or to repair the injury
  • Dewormer for parasites or heartworm
  • Antiviral medication for viruses
  • Antidepressants for depression or stress
  • Diet and insulin for the treatment of diabetes

The tests commonly ordered to narrow down the cause of lethargy are as following:

  • Diabetes test
  • Blood tests and urinalysis and look for factors that would indicate illness, bacterial infections, and viral infections
  • Ultrasound to reveal abnormalities in organs or tumors
  • FIV and FELV tests
  • Fecal sample to check for parasites
  • Chest x-ray to reveal tumors or fluid buildup
  • Heartworm tests

Once therapy has been instituted, administer any prescribed medications as directed by your veterinarian. Observe your cat’s general activity and appetite, and notify your veterinarian if any symptoms worsen or change.

Frequently Asked Questions 

  1. Is your cat lethargic but eating?

In this situation, it’s hopeful that their condition might not be as serious. But it’s still a worrying sign, though. It is good to get checked out by your vet and clarify if anything is serious or something normal.

  1. Is your cat lethargic and not eating?

Get alert and act fast. If you cannot make them eat or play happily using the methods above, call your vet asap. Lethargy in cats should not be taken casually.

  1. Is it bad if my cat sleeps all day?

If your cat sleeps a lot more or a lot less, there may be a health issue. Schedule your visit to the vet. When cats are sleeping more than usual, they could be experiencing illness.

  1. Why do cats feel lethargic after a vet visit?

Cats do not like being taken out of their normal environment. Going to the vet, especially for a cat that does not often travel, can be very traumatic.

Things to Ponder

  • Fevers can be the result of an infection. They are a common cause of lethargy.
  • A lethargic or sedated cat is not a healthy cat.
  • Older/Senior cats may be experiencing age-related body changes. Arthritis and/or joint disease are common among them. They will certainly slow down most cats.
  • Any disease, from heart conditions to cancer, can change a cat’s normal attitude and behavior.
  • For most conditions that cause lethargy, there are medical treatments that can restore your cat’s health and quality of life. So no worries. 

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