Cat Lethargy Symptoms

Updated April 17, 2017

Our pets are important to us, and it's easy to get worried when we notice something is wrong. If you notice your cat acting lethargic, it's probably a symptom of a more serious ailment. If the problem doesn't improve within a day or two, there may be something more serious going on than simply lethargy.

Laziness and Indifference

A lethargic cat will often be drowsy, indifferent and inactive in comparison to his typical behaviour. While cats often appear lazy, they do have lots of energy that they should be releasing on a regular basis by running and playing. While all cats have different personalities, healthy cats exhibit some amount of playfulness and energy. According to the Cat World website, lethargic cats show a decreased level of curiosity and interest in what's around them. For example, if a healthy cat notices something out of the ordinary, he'll often inspect. A lethargic cat may not even notice anything out of the ordinary.

Response to Direct Stimuli

Most cats, whether they react positively or negatively, will react in some way to affection. Lethargic cats often seem to not care or even notice when their owners pet them. Pet says that another sign of lethargy is a cat responding to stimuli slower than he normally would. This applies to auditory and visual stimulation, as well. Dangle a string in front of your cat's face. Cats often love to play with dangling string. If she doesn't want to play, she should still react somehow, by either following it with her eyes or moving.

Other Behavioral Changes

There are other key cat behaviours that a lethargic cat may not exhibit. Cats often groom themselves, but a lethargic cat may allow himself to get dirtier than usual. Daily says that lethargic cats often hide or avoid their masters. Your cat may display a loss of appetite or difficulty breathing. You know how your cat normally behaves; if he's been acting different lately, especially if he's exhibiting any of these symptoms, chances are he's lethargic.

More Serious Problems

The Pet Palace website points out that while lethargy itself isn't a disease, it's often an indication that something more serious is wrong. Think about the last time you got sick; chances are you felt a bit lethargic yourself, your cat is no different. Cat lists over 20 possible diseases where a cat could become lethargic as a symptom. These diseases and ailments range in severity but some could potentially be lethal so it's very important to take your cat to the vet if she's showing signs of lethargy. Do not let a lethargic cat go untreated for longer than a few days, as lethargy shouldn't last that long.

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About the Author

Matt Koble has been writing professionally since 2008. He has been published on websites such as DoItYourself. Koble mostly writes about technology, electronics and computer topics.