Cats are graceful and agile beings with fine motor skills, so it can be concerning if your feline friend acts weirdly, like moving in slow motion. As is the case in pet training, understanding the cause of any unusual behavior is often the first step in putting a stop to it.
Your cat may be moving in slow motion if they’re sick or injured. Partial seizures, which are characterized by unusual muscle activity, can also be the cause of your feline’s slow-motion movement. Other possible causes include diabetic neuropathy and allergic reactions to vaccines.
This article will shed light on the reasons why your cat may be moving in slow motion. I’ll also show you some things you can do to stop this weird action.
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Possible Reasons Your Cat Is Moving in Slow Motion
Although cats have a few tricks up their furry sleeves, moving in slow motion is not one of them. Even if you’ve already made an appointment with your veterinarian, it’s still worth understanding what may be wrong with your kitty.
There are some possible reasons your cat is moving in slow motion, so let’s take a look at them now.
Your cat’s slow-motion movement could be a sign that they’re not feeling well.
Because cats do an excellent job masking pain, you may not notice anything strange until they are very sick. In this case, the slow-motion movement you’re seeing may indicate that your feline friend needs immediate veterinary attention.
According to VCA Hospitals, it could be a sign that something is wrong if your cat displays weird movements like:
- Walking in slow motion.
- Unusually tilting their head.
- Sitting in a hunched position.
Other signs to check for in a sick cat are:
- Eye discharge
- Loss of appetite
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- Abnormal urination
- Appetite loss
- Heavy breathing
- Abnormal sleepiness
The best way to tell if your cat is ill is to allow your vet to examine them. If they don’t appear sick or poisoned but are still displaying this weird slow-motion movement, there could be other reasons like injuries or seizures.
Another reason your cat may be moving in slow motion might be because they are experiencing seizures. Seizures in cats are classified into two categories:
- Partial seizures
- Generalized seizures
However, the former is the most probable reason your feline friend moves in slow motion, especially if it lasts only a few minutes.
Partial seizures, also called focal seizures, occur due to surges of electrical energy in a small, concentrated part of the brain. They tend to be very brief and are characterized by:
- Loss of awareness.
- Abnormal vocalization.
- Limb rigidity or paddling.
- Uncontrollable muscle activity.
- Twitching of the face.
One of the most common causes of seizures in cats is exposure to toxins like:
Also, conditions like the following may cause seizures that make your cat move in slow motion:
- Liver or kidney problems
- Electrolyte imbalances
- Congenital disorders
- Brain tumors
Seizures may also be a sign of epilepsy. In this case, however, the seizures tend to be recurrent and generalized rather than partial. Symptoms might be a loss of consciousness with uncontrollable shaking. Or, they might accidentally go outside of the litter box. If you see these symptoms, call your vet immediately.
A recent vaccination can also be at fault if your feline is moving in slow motion. While vaccines are important for strengthening your pet’s immune system, vaccinations also have the potential to cause some side effects.
Each cat reacts differently to vaccines, but two of the potential reactions which may explain your pet’s unusual movement are lethargy and temporary lameness.
Other possible side effects most cats experience are:
- Mild fever
- Reduced appetite
- Swelling at the vaccination site
- Sneezing or coughing
- Reluctance to play
However, if your cat doesn’t get better within 24 to 48 hours or the symptoms are severe, you need to take them back to the vet.
Injury or Trauma
Physical injury or trauma can cause animals to behave weirdly. Even if you don’t find any bodily injury on your cat, you can’t completely rule it out as the cause since it can also be internal.
If you allow your cat to roam outdoors, the cause of their trauma may be:
- An accident with a speeding car.
- Fights with other cats or dogs.
- Jumping from tall buildings.
In worse cases, they may suffer brain injuries if a car hits them or something falls on them. Brain injury in cats can also be caused by:
- Low or high blood pressure
- Low oxygen levels in the blood
- Severe hypoglycemia
- Lack of blood flow to the brain
So, if you suspect your cat is moving in slow motion because of an injury or trauma, take them to the vet for immediate treatment. The sooner the treatment, the better the chance for recovery.
Diabetic neuropathy is another possible cause of your feline friend’s slow-motion movement. This condition is common in cats with diabetes mellitus and occurs due to chronic blood glucose levels resulting in nerve damage.
When a cat is diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, it means its body no longer produces insulin to keep its blood glucose level in check. As glucose continues to build up in their blood, it causes damage to the tissues and nerves, leading to the condition called diabetic neuropathy.
The results include:
- Impaired mobility
- Weakness in the muscles
- Tingling and numbness
Some of the most common symptoms to look out for are:
- Limping or dragging limbs
- Walking on heels or ankles
- Twitching of the skin
As mentioned earlier, this condition only occurs in cats with diabetes, so you can rule it out as the possible cause of your kitty’s slow-motion movement if they don’t have the disease.
What To Do if Your Cat Is Moving in Slow Motion
If you’re not sure about the cause of your pet’s weird movement, your first line of action is to take them to the veterinarian.
Your vet will carefully investigate your cat to narrow down the cause. Besides physical evaluations and tests, the vet will also consider their behavioral and medical history to diagnose them properly.
If your cat is diagnosed with seizures or secondary epilepsy, your vet will aim to treat the underlying cause of the seizures. For example, if the reason is hypoglycemia or an infection, treating this condition should help eliminate your cat’s seizures, and consequently, their slow-motion movement.
And if they were caused by exposure to toxins, the toxin will need to be removed from your kitty’s body.
Also, if your cat is diabetic, your vet will likely take blood and urine samples or check for visual symptoms to know if they are suffering from diabetic neuropathy.
Diabetic neuropathy treatment will also depend on the stage at diagnosis. However, it will likely include feeding your pet food rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates to help regulate their blood glucose concentration.
Your veterinarian may administer medications like vitamin B12 and methylcobalamin (a form of vitamin B12) to regress symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
As for reaction to vaccines, you should notify your veterinarian if your pet’s symptoms don’t improve. Also, contact your vet if, in addition to your feline’s lethargic movement, you notice symptoms like:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling around the eyes and muzzles
Your vet will review your cat’s vaccination history and perform some diagnostic examinations to know which vaccine they’re allergic to. Treatment may involve anti-inflammatory drugs like antihistamines and corticosteroids.
We love our cats dearly, and they’re part of our family. And no one wants their family member behaving weirdly, like moving in slow motion or circles, which is why you need to take action immediately.
If possible, check for signs of illness or injuries on your feline’s body. If you can’t find anything, don’t rule it out as a likely cause. Instead, make an appointment with the veterinarian.
Your cat may also be experiencing seizures or reacting to a recent vaccination. Again, the best thing to do in any of these cases is to contact your vet.
- WebMD: What Is a Complex Partial Seizure?
- The Spruce Pets: Seizures in Cats
- DVM360: Managing complications in diabetic cats
- VCA Hospitals: Recognizing the Signs of Illness in Cats
- Wag!: Lethargy in Cats
- Cornell Feline Health Center: Feline Vaccines: Benefits and Risks
- PetMD: Low Blood Sugar in Cats
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.