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June 2023

Vestibular Syndrome in cats

Sunday, July 8, 2012
posted by Jim Murphy

This morning, my older cat Mollie and I were out on the porch. I was at my computer and Mollie was lying comfortably on a rug. Mollie began to get up and seemed not to be able to get her balance. She flopped over to one side and had trouble standing. Of course, I panicked (it’s something I do best !) . I jumped up and picked her up and brought her inside. She still was a bit unstable but quickly recovered and walked over  to her bowl to get something to eat. I’m watching her closely. Cats can be prone to vestibular syndrome which I think may have been the case with Mollie. The root of the problem  can be caused by changes involving the peripheral vestibular system which is lies deep within the inner ear.  Fluid in the inner ear can cause the ear canal to become inflamed  creating balance problems. So far nobody has been able to confirm a single common caused for this problem.  According to cat,  some cats may cry out, roll around, have a head that tilts way off to one side, eyeballs that oscillate back and forth, may lean against walls or furniture, fall down, and seem “out of it”. Sometimes if both ears are affected, the head may not be tilted much and kitty may not want to move at all. The affected cats most certainly are as puzzled as we are.

If this happens to your cat, watch her closely and if she doesn’t recover fully right away, take her to an animal clinic or your vet. I would also call your vet anyway to be on the safe side. When these things happen to our pets, we become very concerned because they can’t tell you how they are feeling after the incident.

Remember, your pets count!

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