Jump to section

What is Involuntary Muscle Trembling?

Involuntary muscle trembling, officially known as fasciculation, describes a condition in which muscles tremble, twitch, or spasm uncontrollably. This can occur in cats and other companion animals for various reasons. Muscle trembling normally occurs in response to irritants or emotions and is not necessarily related to any medical condition. It is also possible that trembling or twitching is caused by a genetic condition and is untreatable, but not dangerous. In some cases, fasciculation occurs as a symptom of another disease or disorder. Some medical conditions that cause muscle trembling can be severe and may be life-threatening. If muscle trembling continues, seek medical attention. 

Involuntary Muscle Trembling Average Cost

From 480 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,000

Symptoms of Involuntary Muscle Trembling in Cats

Involuntary muscle trembling can take many forms. The trembling can occur rapidly with the movements happening in quick succession, or it may occur at a slower pace often described as twitching. The fasciculation may also be localized, meaning it only affects a certain part of the body. Localized trembling or twitching in cats most commonly affects the head or hind legs. The muscle trembling could also be general, meaning it affects the entire body. In both localized and generalized trembling the movement may be persistent or episodic. Additional, seemingly unrelated, symptoms may also be observed depending on the underlying cause of the fasciculation. 

Symptoms Include:

  • Uncontrolled trembling or twitching
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Repetitive pawing or scratching
  • Pain and vocalizations that are related to pain
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Involuntary Muscle Trembling in Cats

Various conditions may cause involuntary muscle trembling as a symptom, or there may be no discernable cause. It is possible for the twitching or trembling to simply be part of your pet’s normal response to certain stimuli in their environment or to be an emotionally-triggered response. Involuntary trembling can also be a primary condition, rather than a symptom of something else. Some of the potential causes for involuntary muscle trembling in cats and other companion animals include:

  • Nervous system disorder
  • Kidney failure
  • Certain medications
  • Toxicity or poisoning
  • Injury or trauma
  • Strong emotional responses like excitement, fear, or anxiety
  • Deep or REM sleep stages
  • Itchiness from dry skin, mites, or fleas
  • Low blood calcium
  • Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar
  • Vitamin or mineral deficiencies
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Rabies
  • Seizure disorders like epilepsy
  • Feline hyperesthesia or rolling skin disease
  • Congenital or genetic conditions
  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Certain cancers, especially those affecting the nervous system or muscles
arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Involuntary Muscle Trembling in Cats

Various diagnostic techniques may be needed to determine what is causing the trembling or twitching. Your veterinarian will begin with a full physical examination and medical history. You should discuss any symptoms you have observed, including how frequent the trembling occurs and which portions of the cat’s body are affected. If the fasciculation is episodic and does not occur all the time, a video recording of the trembling may aid your veterinarian in forming a diagnosis. Veterinary staff will take samples of your cat’s blood and urine for laboratory analysis. The blood sample will be tested for blood cell counts, biochemistry and electrolyte panels, and antibodies that might indicate an infection. Urinalysis and analysis for proper kidney function will be checked using the urine sample. Additional diagnostic methods, including x-rays or other imaging techniques, may be needed to diagnose your pet properly. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Involuntary Muscle Trembling in Cats

The treatment method used by your veterinarian will be determined by their diagnosis of the underlying cause of the fasciculation. These treatments can vary widely depending on the condition causing the trembling and may include surgery, medications, or other methods. If no cause is determined, treatment may be prescribed to aid in a reduction of the trembling. Some of the common treatments used for muscle trembling include:

Muscle Relaxants

Drugs in this category are designed to relax muscles, which may help reduce or eliminate the tremors. This treatment must be properly dosed for your pet’s size and physical condition to reduce the risk of side effects. If a medical condition has been determined to be the cause of the trembling, this treatment method may not be used. 

Supplementation 

If a deficiency or imbalance is the cause of the trembling, your veterinarian may recommend supplementation to restore the cat’s nutrient balance. This treatment method is relatively low risk but requires monitoring to make sure levels remain in balance. 

Anti-Depressants or Anti-Anxiety Medications

If the cause is determined to be psychosomatic, medications designed to improve mental state may be recommended. Proper dosing is needed with this type of treatment to minimize the risk of side effects. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Involuntary Muscle Trembling in Cats

The prognosis for recovery will depend on the underlying cause of the muscle trembling. If no cause is determined, the prognosis for management is good. Trembling may never go away in these cases, but it is still possible for your pet to live a normal life. If the underlying cause is treatable, most cats will make a full recovery as long as they respond well to treatment. Certain causes of involuntary muscle trembling, like kidney failure or some cancers, are both untreatable and life-threatening. In these cases, recovery may not be possible. In any case, your care and support will benefit your pet. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Involuntary Muscle Trembling Average Cost

From 480 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,000

arrow-up-icon

Top

Involuntary Muscle Trembling Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Russian blue

dog-age-icon

1 year 4 months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Twitching Of The Stomach And Back Legs.

Hello. My female cat was spayed 10 days ago and was given gabapentin for pain. Since stopping the pain meds she has started twitching in her stomach area and back end. She doesn't do it in her sleep, only when she is awake. I have her in a recovery suit and she isn't messing with her incision at all. The incision looks good, clean, No redness but some small knots at the top and bottom of the incision. Im guessing from everything being stitched together? There is no bleeding, leaking, or smell. She is eating normal and acting normal. Maybe just a little more clingy. What could be causing this?

Oct. 1, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Gina U. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Hello Thank you for your questions. I am glad to see that your kitty is recovering well from her surgery. Regarding her twitching, it could be muscle spasms. If she does not seem painful, or having trouble walking, I recommend monitoring her closely. If you continue to be concerned, I recommend that you take her to your vet for a recheck. Good luck.

Oct. 3, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Tabby

dog-age-icon

10 weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking And Limp

Shows no interest in her food. Breathing quickly, limp in her walk, shaking

Sept. 25, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in my reply, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 19, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Havana

dog-age-icon

Nine Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Muscle Flutter

My 9 year old cat has been experiencing some odd spasms. He's been to a neurologist and chiropractor. He had an MRI and CT Scan of his spine and brain. Everything comes back normal, and his spine was adjusted. He's still experiencing these episodes and now underwent acupuncture as well without any relief. In fact, on the way home from the acupuncture, he had an episode in the car. These spasms often wake him up from his sleep as he scrambles around for a few seconds and then seems to lose his balance when he tries to get up.

Sept. 25, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in my reply, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. Since I cannot see him, It would be best to have your pet rechecked by a veterinarian if he continues to have problems, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 19, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Long Hair Tabby female

dog-age-icon

Seven Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Head Trembling

I have noticed on several occasions that my cat's head will tremble rapidly almost like trembling when you are extremely cold. Is this something to worry about?

Sept. 25, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. Some animals do have tremors as they age, and this may be normal for her. If it is worsening, or you are not able to distract her when she is having the tremors, then It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 20, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

exotic shorthair

dog-age-icon

Five Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Noisy Breathing

my cat has episodes where his head obs and his right paw/leg curly round and this can last for 40 seconds or more and then he just jumps up and is back to normal

Sept. 24, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that your pet is feeling better. If they are still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 25, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Dasher

dog-breed-icon

tabby

dog-age-icon

5 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking
Shaking Stomach
Shaking Stomach, Choking

My cats stomach started violently shacking today like something is trying to get out of his tummy. While his stomach is shacking he starts to choke like a hairball wants to come out but nothing comes out. He has been doing it all day.I would take him to the vet but its closed today. I was wondering if anyone might be able to share there experiences. Thank you

dog-name-icon

Skittles

dog-breed-icon

American Shorthair

dog-age-icon

6 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Tremors, Hiding, Anorexia

My cat started having shiver-like tremors in her hind legs and sometimes even her front paws, but I only notice it when she having her belly rubbed and seems to be happily dozing and purring loudly. She had her distemper vaccine two days ago and now she just wants to hide and won’t eat, but still has the shivers when I rub her belly. Curiouser and curiouser.

dog-name-icon

Lucy

dog-breed-icon

Feline

dog-age-icon

24 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Head Shaking
Tremors
Localized Tremors

I have a kitten named Lucy and at the age of 4 months she had loss off balance, couldn’t stand up, her head was tremoring and she started suckling on a blanket almost as if she reverted to a little kitten again. She was rushed to the ER clinic where she stayed for 4 nights and was spiking fevers upwards of 104-106. Her fever broke after 4 days so they sent her home on clindamycin for 2 weeks. 3 days later she got a very high fever again so we took her to a different vet who thought if it wasn’t toxoplasmosis, she might have a form of FIP. But that vet eventually ruled that out. Here fevers stopped after about a week or a little longer but her head still tremors and she still walks wobbly. At first she couldn’t walk at all but she has learned to compensate with it and walk now. Both vets did complete blood counts which didn’t show anything wrong, combo test was negative. They couldn’t get a definitive answer from any test they did. Long story short the second vet ruled out FIP, the kitten was on clindamycin for a month and hasn’t gotten any better so we are thinking it wasn’t toxoplasmosis since the month of antibiotics didn’t help. The second vet prescribed an anti seizure medicine after being on antibiotics for a month to see if that would help the tremors but it made her worse so we took her off that. We just started her on doxycycline. We are baffled and she has been like this for 2 months and would like to see her get some relief. I do have videos of her if a DVM would kindly watch and try to shed some light I’d be grateful. She hasn’t had any vaccines yet either and we aren’t even sure if it is safe to vaccinate her like this. I would really like some help and guidance as to what is causing her head tremors and wobbly walking. Thank you, Michele

dog-name-icon

Pepper

dog-breed-icon

short hair

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Muscle Spasm
Dandruff

My cat has had muscle spasms or twitching on her back lately. She has also recently gotten a lot of dandruff on her back and oily looking hair! Not sure what to do! Can’t afford a huge vet bill right now. She eats mostly dry food and treats.

dog-name-icon

Moscow

dog-breed-icon

dog-age-icon

5 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Mouth Salivation
Sleepy
Mouth Twitching

I rescued a kitten 2 weeks ago at about 18 weeks old, he's now about 5 months old and he's started dribbling a lot and moving his jaw as if he is eating peanut butter. He eats, drinks, poops and plays fine but I don't know if I should be worried about the dribbling? It's a LOT of dribble. I cant be sure but it may also be coming from his nose?

Involuntary Muscle Trembling Average Cost

From 480 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,000

How can we help your pet?