Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Is My Cat Lethargic Or Just Sleepy

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How Long Do Cats Sleep

How to tell if your cat is sick

Cats sleep on average 15 hours a day, with some sleepy kitties getting in up to 20 hours of shut-eye each day.

There are a few factors influencing how long a cat sleeps, age being one of the most important ones. Kittens will sleep most of the day, but as soon as they turn into teenagers youll notice a change in their sleeping patterns as they become more and more active. Senior cats tend to slow down their activity levels and turn in earlier, snooze more often and for longer periods of time than an adult cat.

You will also notice your cat dozing off longer than usual when the weather doesnt allow for proper outdoor exploration. When its cold or raining, your cat will likely try to add even more hours to their already impressive sleeping record.

What Changes Would I See In Overall Appearance

Cats that are not feeling well may just look a little off. The cat might sit in a hunched position, might not move as gracefully as before, might not lift its head properly, might have a head tilt, or might carry its tail in a different way than normal. Sometimes there is not any one thing that stands out, but instead a variety of subtle changes.

Dehydration is a common problem in cats that are not well. To see if your cat is dehydrated, gently grasp her skin near her shoulder blades, pull it up and away from her body, then let go. The skin should snap back into place right away skin that does not snap back into place, but stays tented up usually indicates dehydration, a condition that needs to be treated right away.

Cats that have some sort of chronic illness may develop slow and subtle weight loss that is only obvious when you actually run your hands along the ribs and spine. Cats that suddenly lose weight, particularly if they were previously overweight, are usually suffering from some sort of metabolic disease such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism.

Diagnosis Of Lethargy In Cats

Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam upon presentation of a lethargic cat. Diagnosis can be complicated as there are many possible causes of lethargy in cats which range from mild to severe, as lethargy is a symptom of many illnesses and disorders. Your veterinarian will require a complete medical history of your cat including detailed description of symptoms in order to narrow down a possible cause. In addition, you should let your veterinarian know about any changes to your cats environment or exposures they may have had recently. Your vet will look for injuries and abscesses, skin problems, swelling, and signs of pain or discomfort during the physical exam that may help determine the cause of the lethargy.

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

  • Urinalysis and blood tests to check blood count, sugar levels and organ function. These tests can also look for factors that would indicate illness, bacterial infections, and viral infections
  • Fecal sample to check for parasites
  • Ultrasound to reveal visible abnormalities of organs or tumors
  • Chest x-ray to reveal tumors or fluid buildup and to assess the cardiac silhouette
  • FIV and FELV tests

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Differences Between A Tired Cat And A Lethargic Cat

How do you know if you have a lethargic cat or just a tired one? That can be tricky, but closely watching your cat will give you the answers.

It can be difficult to determine if a cat is truly lethargic and ill or simply tired and in need of a little extra sleep.

Behaviors of a Tired Cat

A tired cat will sleep more but once awake will play, run around, explore, and behave normally while also still eating and drinking. Tired cats are only tired for a short period of time. Once they have slept off an exciting afternoon, they are ready to bounce back to their normal day of being a curious active feline.

Behaviors of a Lethargic Cat

A lethargic cat will have an extended period of weakness, depression, or lack of energy. Even after a nice long nap or relaxing sunbathe, these cats will continue to be tired and not as active as they normally are. Cats with lethargy are sick and typically there are other warning signs that something is wrong.

Many lethargic cats will hide in a quiet dark place such as under the bed or in a closet. They tend to prefer areas away from people and other pets.

What Changes Should I Look For In Breathing

Im just so tired...

Breathing difficulty such as shallow breathing, mouth breathing, or panting may indicate a problem with the airways or lungs. Cats with breathing problems often will have their head and neck extended or may be unable to sleep in a normal position. Repeated bouts of sneezing or coughing are signs of health issues.

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How Can I Help My Cat With Lethargy

General treatment of the symptom lethargy often includes an improved diet and supplements. It may also include intravenous fluids or oxygen therapy if required. Rest is also prescribed for lethargic cats that require it. Painkillers may also be prescribed if pain is a factor in your pet’s condition.

Listless Sleepy Behavior Following Cat Vaccinations


Yesterday she had the RHINO/CAL/DIST/CHLAM VACCINE AND the ANNUAL FELINE LEUKEMIA VACCINE. Is it possible that these vaccines could have caused her to be lifeless and sleepy? She is not playful like usual and has slept an unusual amount since the visit to the vet.Thanks for your help.

Dear Phyllis:

Yes, I’m sorry if they didn’t tell you to expect a reaction such as that. It is not uncommon at all that kittens/cats are lethargic and lose their appetite after vaccinations. This is similar to human babies who often are cranky, lethargic, and even feverish after vaccines.

This type of reaction occurs to some degree almost every time a cat gets vaccinated. It usually goes away in 24 to 36 hours so by the time you’re reading this, she should be fine. If not, you should call your vet.

Very rarely do more serious reactions occur. Swelling of the face, difficulty breathing, repeated vomiting … these are some of the rare reactions that should make a pet owner seek immediate veterinary help.

I personally do not charge extra for having the 2 visits instead of one so that finances will not be a factor in this decision. You should talk to your vet, of course, about their payment policy if there are two visits instead of one if finances are a concern.

Best Wishes,

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What Do I Do If My Cat Is Not Feeling Well

Bring your cat to a vet immediately. Changes in breathing like wheezing, rapid breathing, shortness of breath, and raspy breathing should never be ignored. If your cat is not breathing normally, it may be best to go to an emergency clinic. If the signs are very mild, see your regular veterinarian as soon as possible.

Theres Been A Major Change In The Household

Why Your Cat is Being Sick and How to Help Them

Bourquin believes that a permanent absence of a loved one either a human or another animal can leave a dog or cat feeling depressed and, thus, lethargic. This can last for a few days or, depending on how close the animal was to the deceased, can change behavior long-term.

Williams said, however, that no scientific study has been conducted regarding a link between behavior changes and the absence of a loved one. If your pet is acting lethargically in other cases of absences, like someone in the family leaving for college, its best to consult with a vet.

Other minor changes in the household, like rearranging a room or switching up where the dog sleeps or eats, should not cause lethargy. Ask yourself: Would a normal animal be distressed by this? If the answer is no, something is wrong, Williams said.


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What Changes In Sociability Or Energy Level Would Indicate That My Cat Might Be Sick

Sick cats usually become withdrawn and may hide, although this does depend on the personality of the individual cat. Some cats become more clingy or demanding of attention, while others just become cranky.

As a general rule, cats that are sick will have lower energy levels. The only thing you may notice is that your cat sleeps more, does not play as much, or is restless. With some diseases, especially hyperthyroidism, your cats energy level may actually seem to increase to the point of hyperactivity. Cats with hyperthyroidism often are restless at night and may suddenly begin howling or waking family members up.

“As a general rule, cats that are sick will have lower energy levels.”

Cats with arthritis or other joint problems may have difficulty moving around and may no longer jump up on furniture or counters, or may change the way they jump onto higher surfaces. If your cat suddenly is unable to use its back legs, she should be seen by your veterinarian immediately.

Knowing When Your Cat Is Sick

No one knows your cat as well as you do. Be sure to watch your cat for subtle changes in behavior that others may not notice take note of any changes to your cat’s usual body language or demeanor.

If something just doesn’t seem right, it’s a good time to take your cat to the vet for a thorough examination, even if your cat isn’t showing any of the symptoms listed above.

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Causes Of Lethargy In Cats

Lethargy is not a form of illness itself. Instead, it is usually a symptom of a health condition.

The list of causes for lethargy in cats is miles long. Almost any disease, illness, or injury could list lethargy as a clinical sign or symptom.

There are some causes for lethargy in cats that arent related to an illness or other medical condition. These causes are less common but cats experiencing them can be considered lethargic.

Why Is My Cat All Of A Sudden Sleeping So Much

Do Kittens Sleep A Lot When Sick

It is normal for cats to sleep a lot – up to 16 hours a day. But, it is normal for this sleep to be part of the rest, hunt, eat, groom, sleep cycle. If your cat is sleeping more than is normal, he/she may need more play/hunting stimulation during the day.

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Whats The Difference Between A Lethargic Cat And A Tired Cat

A lethargic cat can look a lot like a tired cat, but there is an important difference.

Tiredness is a temporary state that resolves with rest or sleep. If youre up too late, youll be tired the next day but will feel fine once you get some extra sleep.

The same isnt true for lethargy. Lethargic cats often do sleep more than normal, but their lethargy remains unless the underlying problem is addressed.

Theyre Frightened Of Something

Williams said that many of the calls shes received from pet owners concerned about their animals apparent lethargy were from brand new adopters. One of the first questions I always ask is, How long have you had your pet? she said.

Dogs and cats living in a new home for the first time can and probably will be a little frightened at first. This doesnt mean you shouldnt still call, but try spending a little more time than you might otherwise with this animal. As he adjusts to you and the new surroundings, you might find he perks up and lets his personality shine.

New surroundings arent the only fear that can cause a pet to act lethargically. Williams said that loud noises like fireworks, smoke alarms and gun shots as possible triggers for behavioral lethargy and while in many of these cases the symptoms are acute , other times they persist and need to be looked at by a professional.

Image:Pashin Georgiy/Shutterstock

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What To Do If Your Cat Is Lethargic

If your cat is lethargic, take them to a veterinarian who can identify the underlying cause of their lethargy.

If you notice that your cat is laying around more than normal, not playing when they normally do, seems depressed or tired, or is otherwise showing signs of illness, you should contact your veterinarian right away for an appointment to have your cat examined.

After a thorough history discussing your cats health and habits and a full physical exam, the vet might recommend diagnostic tests such as bloodwork or X-rays to determine the cause of lethargy.

If the lethargy comes on suddenly, continues to get worse, or doesnt resolve on its own, then you should visit a veterinarian immediately.

It is very important to know what is normal for your cat so you can compare that to any changes you observe in their behavior.

Knowing your cats normal behavior will also help you can answer questions when your veterinarian asks you for history during your cats checkup.

Once you notice that your cat is lethargic, ensure that there is a quiet dark place for it to rest away from the hustle and bustle of the household.

Offer fresh food and water to encourage appetite. Try canned food if the cat doesnt want the dry kibble.

Is It Normal For A Cat To Be Lethargic

How to Care for a Sick Kitty | Cat Improves With Care

Technically, lethargy in cats is never normal, but it is sometimes expected. For example, cats that have just been vaccinated are often lethargic. This happens because the immune response generated by a vaccine can make cats feel tired, achy, and generally unwell.

Many illnesses will also make a cat lethargic, so its quite likely that a sick or recently vaccinated cat will be lethargic.

In comparison, healthy kittens are never lethargic. They tend to be either fully onrunning around like maniacsor fully offresting up for another round. Contact your veterinarian if you have a lethargic kitten.

As cats age, they often spend more time quietly observing the world around them , but this isnt lethargy its growing up. Senior cats may slow down a bit more, but extreme or sudden changes are usually a sign of a health problem.

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Consult With Your Vet

Due to all the varying conditions that can cause lethargy, some of which are quite serious, you should take your cat to a veterinarian right away. Your veterinarian will do tests which may include the analysis of blood and urine, X-rays and more. Once the condition is diagnosed, they can proceed with a treatment plan to get your beloved feline friend back on track.

Is My Cat Sick Or Just Tired

Cats that are ill will usually show changes in overall appearance, energy level, sociability, coat appearance and/or amount of shedding, appetite, litterbox usage, breathing, or discharges from the eyes or nose. In general, any sudden change should alert you that your cat needs veterinary attention.

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My Cat Is Lethargic: Whats Causing It

Lethargy is an abnormal amount of sleepiness or unresponsiveness.

This months blog will discuss lethargy in cats. Cats are infamous for sleeping most of the day, with short bursts of activity usually at night. When a cat becomes abnormally inactive and is sleeping even more than usual there might be cause for concern. Lethargy is defined as a pathological state of sleepiness or deep unresponsiveness and inactivity. Lethargy is a common complaint we hear from pet owners when their cat is sick. Signs of lethargy in cats include playing less, hiding or shying away from human contact, eating less and not grooming itself properly. Lethargy is not a very specific symptom and can be present in many different conditions.

In order to identify what is causing lethargy we have to take into consideration other symptoms the cat may be showing. The list of causes of lethargy is long, but with a detailed medical history from cat owners and appropriate examination and testing, we can usually identify the cause.

How To Help A Lethargic Cat Naturally

Cat sleeping

If your cat is getting older and acting lethargic, there are some natural remedies that may be able to keep their energy up. One 2020 study found that worms, when given CBD for their entire life, were significantly more active in their later life stages than their CBD free peers. They also lived, on average, up to 18% longer. We can’t say for sure that your cat will experience the same results, but as CBD works similarly on cats, humans, and worms, this is very encouraging. We make all-natural CBD oil for cats of all sizes. Its made with organically cultivated Colorado hemp and human-grade fractioned coconut oil. We also lab test our products to ensure they are safe for your cat. Exercising your cat more and serving them a healthier diet are also natural ways to keep them happy and healthy. Of course, if something more serious seems wrong with your cat, you might want to visit the vet. After all, it’s always better to be safe than sorry with your feline’s health.


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Why Is My Cat Suddenly Lethargic And Weak

If you have noticed your cat is acting lethargic all of a sudden and potentially shows some of the accompanying symptoms above, something likely is wrong with them. However, you must know precisely what is wrong with your cat so that you can help them get better.

Lethargy is a symptom of a huge range of medical conditions some are minor and need little to no help from you, whereas others are serious and potentially life-threatening.

As such, I have split this section into three: common minor problems common serious conditions and rarer serious conditions.

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