Trembling in Cats

Why is my cat trembling?

Most common conditions

Shock / Kidney Disorders / Laurel Poisoning

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Rated as moderate conditon

1 Veterinary Answers

Most common conditions

Shock / Kidney Disorders / Laurel Poisoning

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Why is my cat trembling?

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What is Trembling?

It is normal to see your cat quiver as he dreams while sleeping, and you may notice him shake his head from time to time. However, involuntary seizure-like movements can be scary for both you and your cat. You will notice that your cat’s movements are abnormal when your cat shakes his head, legs, or entire body uncontrollably. Tremors are characterized as repetitive muscle movements that alternate between contractions and a period of relaxation; your cat can’t control the movements. There are several conditions that could cause your cat to have involuntary, seizure-like movements:

  • Hypoglycemia
  • Kidney disease or kidney failure
  • Hypothermia/hyperthermia
  • Psychological issues
  • Pain
  • Shock
  • Toxicity

Why Trembling Occurs in Cats

First, it is important to make sure that your cat has not been exposed to any poison that might be causing the tremors. If so, see a vet immediately.

Hypoglycemia

If your cat has not eaten for an extended period of time, her blood sugar can drop, resulting in hypoglycemia. However, this condition can occur even if your cat eats regularly, and can be a sign of feline diabetes and needs to be treated by your vet. If your cat eats properly yet still experiences trembling, see your vet. 

Chronic Kidney Disease

Loss of kidney function over time can cause a buildup of protein and waste products in the bloodstream, which can cause appetite loss, general malaise and, if untreated, kidney failure. Kidney failure can cause your cat to experience seizures. 

Hypothermia

A cat’s normal body temperature is between 100.5 and 102.5, which most healthy adult cats have no trouble maintaining. Kittens, especially newborns, cannot maintain their own body temperatures. Cats with health issues may also experience hypothermia. It is important to use a heated blanket or heating pad to encourage warmth while you contact your vet.

Hyperthermia

Hyperthermia can be caused by some very serious issues: uncontrolled fever, poisoning, and epilepsy. Cats are considered to have a fever any time their body temperature rises above 102.5. Often a virus or underlying infection is the cause of the high fever and should be treated by a vet.

Psychological Issues

Your cat may be experiencing a phobia, social issues with another pet. Anxiety and stress may also cause your cat to tremble. 

Pain

An injury, tumors, and other internal illnesses may cause your cat to shake. A veterinarian should determine that there are no underlying issues that are causing your cat to tremble. 

Shock

Shock is a serious issue, but often is secondary to another illness, accident, or some other trauma. If your cat is shaking and has pale gums, cold limbs and a rapid heart rate, see your vet immediately.

Toxicity

Unfortunately, curious cats sometimes come in contact with toxic plants, chemicals, or other poisonous materials. If you suspect your cat has ingested something, is trembling, and possibly vomiting, see your vet immediately.

What to do if your Cat is Trembling

If you suspect that your cat may have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and the cat is unable to eat on her own, you may use a dropper to give her some honey or maple sugar; this will quickly cause her glucose to come back up. However, if you notice hypoglycemia occurring on a regular basis, you need to take your cat in for some blood tests. You may have to change your cat’s diet or feed her more frequently. Hypothermia can be fatal in kittens or sickly adult cats. Your vet will need to treat the underlying cause of the hypothermia. A heating pad, heated blanket, or a heat lamp should be used to help your cat maintain proper body temperature until you can get her to a vet. Hyperthermia is often the result of a fever due to a virus or an infection, which needs to be determined by your vet. Shock, toxicity issues, and pain are often secondary illnesses which need to be professionally treated as well. Psychological issues are somewhat different as you will have to determine what is causing the anxiety in your cat and keeping her from overexertion and overstimulation. Blood tests can determine if your cat has kidney disease and help determine the best form of treatment for your cat.

Prevention of Trembling

Hypoglycemia can often be prevented by making sure that your cat eats proper meals regularly. Always keep poisonous plants, such as poinsettias, and chemicals away from areas your cat may frequent. If your feline suffers from anxiety, you may need to monitor her behavior in order to determine the cause. If noises startle her, for example, a nice background music played throughout the day may help to soothe her. An organ disease such as of the kidneys is not always easy to prevent. Make sure fresh food and water are always available and an annual wellness check will include blood tests that may reveal markers indicative of an organ issue.

Cannanine

Cost of Trembling

The cost of treating trembling in your cat is largely based on the underlying reason for the shaking. If your cat is found to be hypoglycemic or diabetic, diagnosis and treatment may range around $2500 with ongoing costs. Insulin and other medications can cost an average of $50 to $200 per month. Treating kidney disease in cats can also be expensive. Diet modification is often the first line of treatment, but some cats need dialysis and ongoing therapy which could cost approximately $1200.

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Trembling Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Luna

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Mixed breed

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8 Months

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Moderate condition

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0 found helpful

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Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Shiver

we don't have money to take my cat to the vet my cat is lethargic shivering and ia having seizures. he's also having diarrhea and vomiting before what are the things i can give him to make him feel better

June 28, 2018

Luna's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

If Luna is having seizures, there is little that can be done without veterinary intervention; the cause of the seizures would need to be determined and treatment given according to the underlying cause. If money is tight, there are charity clinics and nonprofits which may be able to help with the cost of veterinary care (check link below); however there isn’t anything I can recommend over the counter which would help in this situation. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.dogingtonpost.com/need-help-with-vet-bills-or-pet-food-there-are-resources-available/

June 28, 2018

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cardi

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DOMESTIC

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1 Month

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Moderate condition

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0 found helpful

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Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Shivering

my cat is shivering i dont now what to do. he is eating ok his poop looks normal and he crys . his head shacks and his legs shackwhile he is in a deep sleep. he is also meowing when i try to put him under the blancket to keep him warm.

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Hazel, Jupiter, and Timber

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Calico

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4 Months

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Moderate condition

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0 found helpful

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Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Shivering
Puking

My indoor kitten has been puking for a few days, and is now trembling. I also have two other indoor adult cats that have been puking, but I don’t think there’s anything they could’ve gotten into.

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Romeo

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norweighan forest cat

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8 Months

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Fair condition

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0 found helpful

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Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Tremors

My cat who is 8 months old, very healthy and gone to the vet for his check ups passing with flying colours has been shaking when he's about to fall asleep, its always when he is tired but his whole upper body vibrates (not purring), hes energetic and a very happy kitty. I am not sure if I should be worried, money is tight to bring him to the vet but if need be I would. Anyone experience this or have advice?

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Jack

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Shorthair

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8 Years

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Mild condition

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1 found helpful

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Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Muscle Tremors

Adopted a stray about three weeks and brought into a house for three weeks with my other three cats. Was trembling severely while going to sleep until he was asleep. Muscle fasiculations in head and body and legs... then he got a stress urinary obstruction that required surgery. Moral of the story... bring a stray cat slowly into a house with other cats! Now that I have him in his own room and feeding him hills urinary cd Stress diet then the tremors have disappeared. Three vets didn’t know what was causing the tremors and it was all stress! Cats are very sensitive and stress wreaks havoc in their bodies. Hope this post helps save some other poor Soul expense and worries.

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Bennie

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moggy

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11 Years

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Mild condition

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0 found helpful

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

Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Tremors

One of my cats has occasional head tremors. It lasts for almost a minute, but doesn't seem to bother him at all. He caries on eating or whatever he was doing. I've noticed it maybe 5 or 6 times in the past couple of years. When we mentioned it to the vet, he didn't seem to think it was a problem. He's otherwise very healthy, although he is a naturally nervous cat. He's 11 and a half.

Cannanine