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My Cat Can’t Walk, Is Falling Down

November 22, 2013

It’s a common story: Someone encounters a kitten or cat, and it soon becomes very apparent that the feline has trouble walking. Perhaps it wobbles when it walks, maybe it falls over all of the time. One thing is for sure: This cat isn’t normal. So what’s the deal?

If you have the ability to help, my first recommendation is that you take the cat to a vet or a shelter — preferably a no-kill, otherwise they may have to put him down upon admittance. Only a veterinarian will be able to properly diagnose what’s going on with the cat, and sometimes they may not be able to.


Miss Wobs
You see, there are many conditions out there that can lead to similar symptoms. Sometimes ear mites can bug a cat’s equilibrium and cause him to wobble when he walks. Perhaps the cat was previously or is injured. Or perhaps it’s something more.

One of those possibilities is a condition called cerebellar hypoplasia. Cerebellar hypoplasia, or CH, is a rare condition some cats are born with that results in wobbly walking.

Here’s the thing: Sometimes folks are quick to believe that their cat has cerebellar hypoplasia. Like with humans, it can be dangerous to diagnose the condition on your own, which could result in a mis-diagnosis. Yes, the condition may sound just like what your cat has, but at the end of the day, you really need to check with your vet.

If your vet isn’t familiar with cerebellar hypoplasia, you can try finding one who is familiar with CH near you.

So here’s the point: I really hope your cat is going to be OK. To truly find out what’s going on with the cat, you need to take him to the vet. While you’re there, you can certainly bring up cerebellar hypoplasia to see if that’s a possibility. That said, I want to prepare you that it may not be CH, and it’s best to work with your doctor to find out what it is, and what you can do to help your cat.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Janet Katz permalink
    November 22, 2013 8:52 am

    When we brought our cat, Poppie, from Afghanistan, he was diagnosed with cerebellar hypoplasia by a reputable vet at a fancy clinic here in DC. Several years later, he started having trouble getting up and I had to get an MRI for him. We discovered then that Poppie did NOT have CH but a lesion on his spinal cord. We wished it was CH as that is not progressive as this problem is. We are trying prednisone but it has had minimal effect. I am contemplating surgery as he cannot walk to the litter box. He pulls himself along on his side. He is only six and thinks this is a fine life but carrying him to the litter box is not feasible forever. I tried using a puppy pad holder filled with litter but he refused to use it and prefers the litter pit we set up on our screened porch. We are about to remodel, getting rid of the screened porch unfortunately and I have to try and board our kitties during this disruption. I fear the boarding place, though a wonderful all-cat facility with big individual areas for the cats, will not tolerate his infirmity. My husband said not to tell them but they would figure it out in an instant!

    • Carolina permalink
      November 23, 2013 4:14 am

      Hi Janet. My clinic in Australia does cat boarding, as do many others in our area. It may be worth checking around your area to see if boarding your cats at a vet clinic is possible as the nurses and vets there can make sure Poppie gets the care he needs. We always board elderly or special needs cats in the hospital at no extra charge just so we can keep an extra close eye on them.

    • Janet Katz permalink
      November 23, 2013 9:10 am

      Yes, my all cat clinic did board Poppie when he had chronic diarrhea, now resolved (food related we think). This is going to be long term and I don’t know if they will do it for that long. I will ask. He just hangs out in their office.

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