Stroke Symptoms in Cats

As your pet cat gets older, wise owners will learn to recognize the signs of potential medical concerns, including stroke symptoms. Stroke in felines can take one of two different forms. In the first, a vein can burst inside of your pet's head, causing bleeding and a variety of other problems. This is called a hemorrhagic stroke. The second refers to a situation in which your pet's brain cannot receive adequate oxygen due to blockages in other veins in his body. Both of the types of stroke present certain distinctive symptoms. By recognizing them promptly, you can help to ensure that your pet receives the treatment that he needs as quickly as possible, thereby potentially saving his life.

Dizziness and Loss of Balance

In either type of stroke, one of the primary symptoms is dizziness and loss of balance. If your cat is normally very sure on his feet, look for an uneven gait or swaying from side to side as he walks. Cats may also walk in abnormal patterns due to this dizziness.


Cats that have had a stroke or that are currently going through a stroke oftentimes suffer from severe confusion. Your pet may not respond to his name, may be frightened by things which are very familiar, or may suffer from other types of behavioral changes. When it comes to these types of signals, it's best to assume that your pet may be suffering from some type of medical problem until you've checked it over with a vet.

Strokes and Head Tilting

Cats tend to tilt their heads when they have a stroke, as they may experience a feeling of discomfort or unevenness in their heads. Look for your pet keeping his head tilted in one particular way, whether he's laying down, sitting, or walking around.

Uneven Pupils during a Stroke

Stroke can cause your pet's eyes to become dilated in unusual ways, and it's common for one of your pet's eyes to be much more dilated than the other one. However, it's important also to realize that this may be a sign of another medical condition or may have something to do with your pet's eyesight in general, so look for it in particular along with other types of symptoms on this list.

Loss of Energy and Appetite

Cats that have gone through a stroke tend to be very lethargic and unenergetic. While this type of behavior is common for some cats anyway, look for changes to your pet's normal behavior that may be a good indicator that something has gone wrong. If your cat is typically active at a certain time of day or for a certain stimulus and is no longer, he may be suffering from a stroke.


Ataxia refers to a loss of coordination that comes about when your pet can no longer properly control various muscles in his body. This leads pets to fall down, to roll over unwillingly, and to otherwise make unusual motions and actions.