Lethargic Cat: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Amanda Jondle, DVM

Torpid Cat: Causes, Signs & Remedy

Lethargic cat

A cat with little or no vitality in comparison with their common conduct is a torpid cat. There are various completely different causes of lethargy in cats and whereas typically lethargy can sign a behavioral subject, more often than not that is your cat’s means of telling you they’re sick.

What Is Lethargy?

Lethargy is an absence or lack of vitality or enthusiasm. Cats which can be torpid appear depressed, are drained or sedate, sleep greater than regular, and don’t play as a lot as common. They might additionally seem weak, be much less lively than they’d sometimes be. Torpid cats could not need to rise up to make use of the litter field and could be sick in different methods as properly.

Some torpid cats even have a fever, an upset abdomen with vomiting or diarrhea, or aren’t taken with meals, water, or their favourite treats. If the lethargy has been happening for some time, they could present indicators of weight reduction or have muscle atrophy.

There could be various levels of lethargy in cats.

Some cats is perhaps simply mildly torpid and aren’t as taken with taking part in or being as lively as they usually are. Different cats are reasonably torpid and gained’t play in any respect. Cats which can be severely torpid don’t even need to transfer and typically refuse to raise up their heads.

Cats are creatures who conceal their sicknesses so long as doable. Usually, cat house owners gained’t know the cat has been sick for a while and when the cat lastly exhibits signs of sickness, the illness could be fairly progressed.

Lethargy could be complicated, particularly in older cats. When younger lively cats attain their senior or geriatric years, they have an inclination to grow to be slower and fewer lively generally resulting from arthritis, muscle loss, and different regular growing older adjustments.

Variations Between A Drained Cat And A Torpid Cat

Cat sleeping

How are you aware when you have a torpid cat or only a drained one? That may be tough, however carefully watching your cat provides you with the solutions. 

It may be tough to find out if a cat is actually torpid and sick or just drained and in want of a bit of additional sleep.

Behaviors of a Drained Cat

A drained cat will sleep extra however as soon as awake will play, run round, discover, and behave usually whereas additionally nonetheless consuming and consuming. Drained cats are solely drained for a brief time period. As soon as they’ve slept off an thrilling afternoon, they’re able to bounce again to their regular day of being a curious lively feline.

Behaviors of a Torpid Cat

A torpid cat could have an prolonged interval of weak point, melancholy, or lack of vitality. Even after a pleasant lengthy nap or stress-free sunbathe, these cats will proceed to be drained and never as lively as they usually are. Cats with lethargy are sick and sometimes there are different warning indicators that one thing is incorrect.

Many torpid cats will conceal in a quiet darkish place corresponding to beneath the mattress or in a closet. They have a tendency to favor areas away from individuals and different pets.

Causes Of Lethargy In Cats

Causes of lethargy in cats

Lethargy just isn’t a type of sickness itself. As an alternative, it’s normally a symptom of a well being situation.

The listing of causes for lethargy in cats is miles lengthy. Virtually any illness, sickness, or harm might listing lethargy as a scientific signal or symptom.

There are some causes for lethargy in cats that aren’t associated to an sickness or different medical situation. These causes are much less widespread however cats experiencing them could be thought-about torpid.

Non-Medical Causes Of Lethargy

Stress And Nervousness

A cat can grow to be confused or anxious for a lot of completely different causes. The cat is perhaps nervous a couple of change in the home or setting, they is perhaps sick or injured, there is perhaps loads happening round the home, or any variety of different issues might trigger stress or nervousness for a cat.

To assist a confused or anxious cat, consider what might need modified round the home that might be upsetting to your cat. Present the cat with loads of enrichment corresponding to toys, laser, playtime, scratching posts, cat timber, cat grass, and so on.

Strive veterinary really helpful cat-specific pheromones or calming dietary supplements. Take away any sources of stress that may be eliminated.

Adjustments In Atmosphere

Adjustments in a cat’s setting, whether or not inside or outdoors, giant or small, is usually a massive deal to your cat.

Loss Of A Shut Pet Or Proprietor

It’s onerous for individuals and pets alike to lose an in depth member of the family. Some cats are affected by these sorts of losses extra so than others and grow to be inactive, depressed, or conceal. Give it time and ensure the cat remains to be consuming, consuming, and going to the lavatory usually.

Shifting Houses

Shifting is demanding for anybody concerned, and cats usually are not excluded! For a cat, transferring to a brand new residence could be scary with all the brand new sights, smells, and noises. The cat may conceal or change their conduct as they alter.

New Homeowners

Just like transferring properties, transferring households could be demanding and scary for cats. They might reply to this kind of change by changing into much less lively, hiding, or exhibiting different indicators of stress or nervousness.

New Additions To The Family Such As New Infants Or Different Pets

Including new relations to a cat’s already established circle could be demanding for the cat. Assist your cat adapt slowly by introducing new relations slowly.

Boarding Or Pet Sitters

If you are away on trip, your cat is left both in a kennel in an odd place surrounded by unusual individuals, or in their very own residence being look after by another person with a unique schedule.

Cats are resilient creatures, however additionally they are typically creatures of behavior and adjustments of their setting or routine may cause adjustments in conduct and vitality degree.

Attempt to maintain one thing conversant in your cat when you find yourself away, maybe an merchandise of clothes or blanket that smells such as you, their favorites toys or bedding, and ensure they’re consuming their regular eating regimen.

Medical Causes for Lethargy In Cats

The listing of medical causes of lethargy is in depth. Nonetheless, there are a couple of basic abnormalities which can be generally seen in cats inflicting lethargy.


Cats can have infections in many various physique techniques or organs. Infections could be brought on by completely different organisms corresponding to micro organism, viruses, fungi, parasites, or different infectious organisms. They may have a focal an infection corresponding to an abscess or wound, or they could have a extra systemic an infection corresponding to a virus.

Cats with an an infection generally have a fever and have a decreased urge for food.

Most cancers

Cats can undergo from numerous several types of cancers in several organs. Most cancers in cats is usually seen in older cats of their senior or geriatric years.

Cats with end-stage most cancers are characteristically weak, depressed, and infrequently gained’t eat or drink on their very own.

Urinary Points

There are a number of kinds of urinary tract ailments that afflict cats. Urinary tract infections, cystitis, urethral blockages, and urinary bladder stones are all decrease urinary tract ailments that may trigger lethargy in cats.

Take note of adjustments in your cat’s urination as an indication one thing is incorrect.

Kidney Illness

Older cats are susceptible to continual kidney illness or failure. This illness is a progressive lack of kidney perform and infrequently cats seem weak, frail, or drained and typically vomit, drink greater than regular, or urinate greater than regular.

Liver Illness

Liver and gall bladder ailments may also make cats sick and torpid. Incessantly, when cats don’t eat, they get fatty liver disease which might make them much more sick than they had been to start out with.

Dental Illness

Cats accumulate increasingly tartar on their enamel as they age until they obtain common dental care. Not often, cats will chip or break a tooth and extra generally, enamel with a major quantity of tartar can grow to be contaminated inflicting a tooth root abscess.

Accompanying gingivitis and stomatitis could make for a painful mouth and sensitivity when consuming or consuming. Cat with dental illness or infections may cease consuming, grow to be torpid, have unhealthy breath, have issue chewing, and should grind or chatter their enamel.

Neurologic Illness

There are a number of completely different neurologic ailments that may have an effect on cats from spinal twine accidents to seizures. When a cat’s nervous system is affected, their conduct is affected as properly and infrequently they’re much less lively than regular.


Injured cats are virtually all the time much less lively merely resulting from their accidents being painful and stopping them from having fun with the actions they usually take pleasure in.

Coronary heart Illness

Cats generally undergo from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) that causes the guts muscle to grow to be enlarged. This makes the guts work tougher and may lower a cat’s exercise degree.

Respiratory Illness

Ailments of the lungs corresponding to bronchial asthma, pneumonia, or bronchitis may cause a cat to grow to be torpid, not taken with meals, or have a fever. Cats with respiratory illness may present issue respiration, coughing, or train intolerance.

Gastrointestinal Illness

Cats with ailments of the gastrointestinal tract are sometimes sick and depressed particularly if they’ve been sick for some time.

Generally, these cats don’t eat as a lot as they used to and typically after consuming get sick. Additionally they shed weight, vomit, have diarrhea, and typically extra hairballs than common.

Systemic Illness

There are a number of ailments that may have an effect on a cat generally making them sick. Anemia, autoimmune illness, and viral infections are some well being issues that may trigger lethargy.

What To Do If Your Cat Is Torpid?

What to do if your cat is lethargic

In case your cat is torpid, take them to a veterinarian who can determine the underlying reason for their lethargy.

For those who discover that your cat is laying round greater than regular, not taking part in after they usually do, appears depressed or drained, or is in any other case exhibiting indicators of sickness, you need to contact your veterinarian instantly for an appointment to have your cat examined.

After a radical historical past discussing your cat’s well being and habits and a full bodily examination, the vet may advocate diagnostic exams corresponding to bloodwork or X-rays to find out the reason for lethargy.

If the lethargy comes on abruptly, continues to worsen, or doesn’t resolve by itself, then you need to go to a veterinarian instantly.

It is extremely vital to know what’s regular in your cat so you possibly can examine that to any adjustments you observe of their conduct.

Understanding your cat’s regular conduct can even assist you possibly can reply questions when your veterinarian asks you for historical past throughout your cat’s checkup.

When you discover that your cat is torpid, guarantee that there’s a quiet darkish place for it to relaxation away from the hustle and bustle of the family.

Provide recent meals and water to encourage urge for food. Strive canned meals if the cat doesn’t need the dry kibble.


As you possibly can see, there are lots of causes of lethargy in cats. The underside line is to know what’s regular and irregular in your particular person cat and search veterinary care when you discover your cat is performing abnormally.

Incessantly Requested Questions

What does torpid imply in cats?

Lethargy in cats is a scarcity of vitality and lack of curiosity for the actions they usually take pleasure in.

Is my cat sick or simply drained?

A sick cat will proceed to be torpid, not eat, and act sick with out enchancment whereas a drained cat ought to resume its regular exercise as soon as it has slept.

How lengthy does cat lethargy final?

The size of sickness in cats can range from days to months relying on what the cat is affected by.

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