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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22615
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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Cat aged c. 14. Staggering about for up to half hour. Then

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Cat aged c. 14. Staggering about for up to half hour. Then OK. Is happening every few weeks or so.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.


When he staggers does he seem mentally confused?


Do his eyes appear to flicker back and forth during these episodes?


Does he have a head tilt, circle in a particular direction, or keep his head turned in one direction?


Have you noticed any increase in thirst, urination, or appetite?

Any weight loss?


Any odd vocalizing (particularly when alone or at night)?







Customer: replied 3 years ago.



Yes, he seems confused in sense that he doesn't know why he can't walk properly. Looks frightened but no noticeable eye flickering. No noticeable head tilt or movement in a particular direction. Generally drinks more than he used to do. No weight loss. Generally gives a few loud yowls when he first comes in by himself, but not otherwise.

Thank you,

Now as I am sure you can appreciate, we do can see intermittent episodes of staggering associated with a range of issues. Now if he had been doing this all the time, we would have to consider arthritis and orthopedic issues. That said, if he appears confused when these episodes arise and they are only occurring every few weeks, this suggests a brain based or systemic/internal reason for his signs.

In regards XXXXX XXXXX that could trigger these episodes, this would include diffuse based disease (ie meningitis, Toxoplasma, etc); but we could also see this with tumors or growths in the brain (since they often suffer from intermittent inflammation which puts increased pressure on the brain and could trigger the signs you are seeing). Furthermore, we can see issues like high blood pressure (often secondary to disease in the heart, kidney or caused by hyperthyroidism), low blood oxygen (often secondary to heart disease) or fluctuations in blood sugar (e due to diabetes, or if there is a tumor elsewhere stealing nutrition from him).

In this situation, since he is elderly, not showing those focal brain signs (the tilt, turn or circling), and has increased thirst; I would be most concerned about the systemic issues. Specifically, his blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood oxygen levels. In this situation, it would be ideal to have a check-up with his vet at this stage. If he is due a booster, it may be worth moving that up a wee bit to get him seen. Ideally, we'd want his vet to listen to his heart (to rule out heart causes his signs), check a blood pressure (which is worth requesting when booking the appointment so that they have time to do so), and potentially checking a blood sample (depending on the finding of the exam and BP). Depending on the findings of this examination, you will be able to appreciate which of the above may be to blame and therefore how to treat him so that these scary episodes do not occur. If he is clear of the above internal issues, then we'd have to think about brain based disease for him. And in that case, it may be worth discussing supportive treatment (antibiotics to rule out the infectious agents, anti-inflammatories to reduce brain inflammation) to try and reduce his signs for him.

Overall, intermittent staggering episodes can be seen in elderly cats for a range of reasons. In this case, since they are intermittent and not associated with focal brain signs, it would be worth taking the above steps to identify the trigger and reduce these episodes for him.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )


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