Dear VetBabble: My Elderly Cat’s Unsteady Gait: What Could It Mean?
“Dear VetBabble, I have noticed that my 12-year-old indoor cat is now showing difficulty with his back legs. When he walks, they seem to move sideways and give out. Despite this, he does not seem to be in any noticeable discomfort, but I worry whether this could be something serious. What could these symptoms indicate?”
Understanding Your Cat’s Physical Changes
Firstly, thank you for reaching out and showing concern for your feline friend. It’s not always straightforward understanding cat behavior, symptoms and signs of potential health issues, which is why we’re here – to make it simpler. Aging in cats brings about natural shifts in their behavior, physiology, and overall well-being. As they age, you might notice changes in their movement, strength, and even weight. These could be signs of several health conditions or a natural process of aging. To learn more about how age affects your cat’s life and health, you can read about it here.
Possibility of Arthritis or Muscle Wastage
The issue you’re seeing with your cat could possibly be due to conditions such as arthritis or muscle wastage. Arthritis is quite common in aging cats and can cause difficulty in moving around, also leading to an unsteady gait – where the back legs might go sideways and appear as though they’re ‘giving out.’ Despite this, your cat may not display noticeable signs of pain as cats are masters at hiding discomfort. For an in-depth understanding of arthritis in cats, feel free to reference our article here.
Alternatively, the issue might be muscle wastage, which causes decreased muscle mass and strength, thereby affecting your cat’s mobility. This is commonly associated with weight loss. To further understand the reasons for weight loss in cats besides muscle wastage, you can read our article titled, Why is my Cat Losing Weight?
Need for Vet Examination
While this advice can guide you towards understanding what might be going on, a thorough examination by a vet is always the recommended next step. Your vet can evaluate your cat’s condition, perform necessary tests, and accurately diagnose the issue, whether it’s arthritis, muscle wastage, or even other serious conditions like kidney disease. To familiarize yourself with the signs of kidney disease in cats, feel free to reference our related article here.
A proper check-up will allow your vet to recommend the right treatment plan to manage your cat’s condition, providing him with the most comfortable and good quality life as he gets older. It’s important to remember that every cat ages differently; some might show early signs of aging, while others maintain their youthful vigor longer. But by paying attention to these signs, asking the right questions, and seeking timely vet care, you’re doing your best to protect your cat’s health.