Lethargic Cat Symptoms

Among numerous cat symptoms, lethargy is a sign that may be a cause for concern. Extended periods of lethargy may indicate that your cat is severely ill, while transient periods of lethargy may only mean that the cat requires some rest. If you notice that your cat is lethargic, you should watch out for additional symptoms and consult a vet to determine the problem.

Signs of Lethargy

Lethargy may be easily detected; a lethargic cat will display the following symptoms:

  • Drowsiness
  • Longer sleeping hours
  • Inactivity
  • Lack of interest in games or activities
  • Delayed response when called or to other factors that normally draw his interest (i.e. sounds, small animals)
  • Slower movement
  • Confusion
  • Hiding behavior
  • Aggressiveness when touched or called to play
  • No or reduced grooming, which may lead to a dull coat and even secondary skin infections
  • Lack of appetite or refusal to eat and drink

The cat may also display additional symptoms that may differ, depending on what the underlying cause of the lethargy is. The additional symptoms may range from vomiting and diarrhea to fever, breathing difficulties or fainting.

Causes of Lethargy

Lethargy is not a disease, but may be a symptom of an underlying condition that needs to be detected.

Lethargy may be caused by a poor diet (lacking sufficient proteins), as the cat may not have all the necessary nutrients and will lack energy.

Some of the causes of lethargy may include allergies, autoimmune diseases, intestinal infections, parasites, anemia, respiratory infections, urinary tract diseases, feline leukemia, heat strokes, poisoning, liver problems, heart disease or heart strokes, and blood disorders.

Certain medications may have lethargy as a side effect.

Treatment Options

The lethargic cat should be diagnosed and the underlying disease should be identified. Let the vet know if your cat is under medication.

The vet will have to run a series of tests including a complete blood count, urinalysis, x-rays, ultrasounds or other tests depending on what other symptoms your cat may display.

The treatment of the lethargy may depend on the underlying condition.

Allergies can be managed with medication or allergy shots; autoimmune diseases may be managed with some steroids and additional medication.

Parasites can be eliminated with dewormers and anemia can be treated with iron supplements and a change in diet.

Certain conditions such as heat strokes or heart problems require immediate attention and should be treated immediately, as they can be fatal.

Preventing Lethargy

Lethargy may be prevented in some cases by watching your cat’s diet and making sure that the food contains the required amount of proteins and fats suitable for your pet’s size and age.

Certain medical conditions such as autoimmune diseases or heart conditions may not be avoided. However, you should visit the vet as soon as you notice that the cat is lethargic, as early detection of a disease will always increase the cat’s chances of survival.