Common cat walking problems

Updated November 21, 2016

Cats are usually known for their dexterity, flexibility and quick reflexes. However, ageing and certain diseases or disorders can cause cats to develop difficulty walking. While your cat's walking problem may be something as simple as a pulled muscle or sprained leg, if you notice that its walking does not improve in a matter of hours or days, you should take it to a veterinarian as soon as possible.


Older cats can develop pain in multiple joints, and it only gets worse over time. Polyarthritis is extremely painful, and you will likely notice limping or a tendency to avoid walking altogether.


Cats suffering from toxoplasmosis can have a shifting leg lameness as an early symptom. Toxoplasmosis is caused by the single-celled parasite Toxoplasma gondii, and it is one of the most common parasitic diseases in mammals. If the toxoplasmosis becomes severe enough, it can affect the cat's central nervous system and also cause incoordination and the tendency to walk in circles.

Feline Diabetes

High blood glucose levels can cause nerve damage in cats which can lead them to walk on their hocks instead of walking normally with their back feet. Their hind legs appear weak as they walk, yet this issue can sometimes resolve itself once the cat's blood glucose levels come under control.

Middle and Inner Ear Infections

If a middle ear infection progresses to the inner ear, the cat may experience a loss of balance, downward head tilting and circling. In most cases, middle and inner ear infections are the result of an extension of a bacterial or fungal infection in the outer ear.

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