My cat has started walking slowly — What does this mean?

Cats are one of the most sprightly, graceful, moving creatures in the whole kingdom.

It may be true they like to nap a lot, but when they do decide to spring into action there’s few finer sights.

So, when we notice our usually fleet-footed felines moving around the house in almost slow motion, it’s only normal for alarm bells to start ringing. 

The main reason a cat may suddenly begin walking slowly is injury.

Due to their daring, acrobatic nature, it’s not uncommon for cats to strain a muscle or suffer a nasty knock while launching themselves around the living room or kitchen.

It certainly isn’t the only reason though as this article will go on to show. 

The main reasons behind your cat walking slowly - What could it mean?

  1. Injury/illness. As already mentioned, injury does tend to be the number one reason behind your cat suddenly struggling to move as freely as usual. But their ponderous pace could also simply be down to the fact they're feeling a little under the weather. Other signs to check for if you think you may be dealing with a poorly cat are vomiting, diarrhea, eye, loss of appetite, and fluctuations in weight.
  2. Lack of nutrition. Cats require a balanced dose of essential nutrients in order to thrive. Serving them the right mix of protein, carbs, healthy fats, and fiber keeps bodies strong, and energy levels up. A diet lacking in high-quality ingredients could lead to their bodies not functioning properly, causing them to slow down.
  3. Stress/anxiety. A cat suffering from stress or anxiety is likely to begin acting or behaving in a strange manner. Hiding, aggression, and excessive vocalization are all common signs of stress in pets. And while increased movement is another, so is increased lethargy, which may manifest itself in a more measured saunter.
  4. Vaccine reaction. If you've noticed your cat walking slowly following their vaccination, it could just be them adjusting to the injections. Low energy is a common vaccine side-effect, and you should see your feline return to their normal, lively selves in a matter of days. If they don't, or you notice any other side-effects, such as redness, itchiness or mild fever, consult your vet immediately.
  5. Growing old. Time waits for no man. Or cat. Growing old is part and parcel of life, and as our felines reach their later years it's only natural they will begin to slow down. Joint problems, arthritis, or poor eyesight could all contribute to a significant slowing down in their walking speed. Senior cats, in general, tend to be a lot less rushed than their younger, more energetic counterparts, so it could just be a case of "I'll get there when I get there" as they plod around the house.

I’ve noticed my cat is more lethargic than usual — Could this be related?

While lethargy in cats is not exactly normal, it is something we can expect from time to time. 

Now, it’s no secret that cats like to sleep up to 20 hours a day in some cases but this shouldn’t be confused with lethargy. 

Ordinary tiredness is a temporary feeling resolved by rest or sleep. Lethargy, on the other hand, is the body’s way of conserving energy in order to fight off illness or recover from injury. Until the issue is addressed, your feline will continue displaying signs of fatigue.  

As the symptoms of tiredness and lethargy are so similar  wanting to play less, sluggishness (walking more slowly, for example), drop in appetite – it can be extremely difficult for pet parents to spot the differences. That is why close observation is vital.  

There are numerous causes for lethargy in cats; infections, illness, injuries, any number of medical conditions, from hypoglycemia and diabetes, to heart disease and respiratory problems. Once you have got to the root of the problem, and resolved the issues either through home care or medical intervention, you should see them return to normal. 

When to seek veterinary help

It’s perfectly understandable for any pet parent to be concerned whenever they see their feline friend acting out a character.

If your usually fit, healthy and active cat has, out of the blue, started walking at a much slower pace then we would advise monitoring them for a day or two.

Check for other symptoms that could be linked to injury, illness or stress.

It may be nothing – just them deciding to take it easy for a while – however, if the issue persists, or you do notice other more worrying symptoms, it’s time to contact the vet.

What should my cat's diet look like?

Once you have ruled out injury or illness, it’s time to turn your attention to your feline’s food bowl. 

Feeding your cat a high-quality, nutrient-dense diet will ensure they remain fit, strong, and agile.

Reveal’s recipes are tailored to tick all nutrient boxes while delivering a taste sensation your feline friend will find impossible to resist.  

Open up one of these delicious dishes in the kitchen – Tuna Fillet in Broth Can, Chicken Breast in Gravy Can, Tuna with Shrimp in Broth Pot – and your hungry feline will be there in a heartbeat.

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