How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr O Jovovich Your Own Question
Dr O Jovovich
Dr O Jovovich, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 394
Experience:  BVSc (Bachelor of Veterinary Science - Massey University, NZ)
Type Your Cat Question Here...
Dr O Jovovich is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My cat is having a hard time walking, she almost looks drunk,

This answer was rated:

My cat is having a hard time walking, she almost looks drunk, what could be wrong?

Hi thereCustomer

I would love to help you figure out what is wrong with your kitty but first I will need some more info:

How old is your girl?

Is she on any medication currently?

Has she had any access to poisons, e.g slugbait, antifreeze, lead paint/batteries??

How long has she been having touble?

Any other symptoms such as vomiting/diarrhoea? Vocalising?

Are all 4 legs equally affected?


Thank you,

Dr J

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
She is 9 years old and is currently taking 5mg of prednisolone daily. She also was put on 1/2 tablet of cortisone for the last week. At the vet this morning they gave her an injection of cortisone and an injection of antibiotics. There has been no access to poisons. She has had asthma for years, but the drunk walking happened once a few months ago and twice today. No other symptoms and she doesnt seem to be favoring any certain leg. She tries to walk, goes sideways and eventually just lies down.

Thank you for the extra info,


Has she ever had a full blood panel to investigate this? Any history of renal insuficiency?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
We did a full blood panel the first time she had these episodes and everything came back fine, and no history of renal insuficiency.



There could be several things at play here.Your vet has cerainly done very well to help rule out a lot of potential causes such as hypokalemia, hypercalcemia and hypoglycemia.


One cause of 'drunk walking' or ataxia in cats can be discospondylitis or infection of the intervertebral disk. If this occurs high in the spinal cord (e.g the neck area) it can cause signs in all 4 limbs. The best way to diagnose discospondylitis would be a myelogram (an xray of the spine taken after contrast has been injected into the spinal canal to outline it on films), sample of cerebrospinal fluid is usually collected at the same time (CSF tap) and cultured (to see if bacteria will grow) as well as analysed for protein levels and cell counts that may indicate inflammation.


As your girl is older there is also a possibility of a tumour in the brain causing these signs, also a tumour of the membranes covering the brain that may grow and press on it can cause ataxia in a cat. The only way to diagnose tumours within the skull is an MRI scan.


I would have expected prednisolone (that she is on for asthma) to help if there is an immune-mediated component to this (such as immune-mediated polyarthritis/vasculitis), however, if infection is present a very long course of antibiotics would be necessary and steroids alone are not enough.


If you are certain that your girl could not have ingested any toxins, or be suffering from a electrolyte imbalance (a simple blood test would rule this out) then the only way to diagnose the condition further is specific tests concentrating on the central nervous system. Such as a myelogram, CSF tap, or MRI and CT scans.


Even though what you are describing does not sound like a classical seizure there also is a chance that your kitty is exhibiting signs of a petit mal / partial seizure. The diagnosis of epilepsy is usually reached after everything else that could cause the signs is ruled out.

Seizures can ge classed into 3 different groups:

Seizures resulting from metabolic problems or toxicity (i.e., when the brain itself is normal) are called REACTIVE SEIZURES.

Seizures resulting from an identifiable brain abnormality are called SECONDARY SEIZURES.

Seizures for which neither of the above problems apply (i.e., when no cause can be found) are called PRIMARY SEIZURES.


Again a blood panel is the first step in diagnosis (and would be worth repeating if the last one was performed a year ago) followed by more specific tests.

If you are concerned about the 'drunk' state of your cat or if she does not seem to come through this episode by herself as she did last time I recommend that you take her to your local Vet or ER Vet for examination.



I hope this helps, it is a difficult condition to attempt to diagnose without a hands-on exam. Please let me know if I can be of more help.


Dr J

Dr O Jovovich, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 394
Experience: BVSc (Bachelor of Veterinary Science - Massey University, NZ)
Dr O Jovovich and 5 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you

Hi again and thanks for the accept.


Just another thought I have just had! This could also be related to a middle ear infection or could be a central or peripheral vestibular problem and tests by you Vet will allow these diagnoses to be found or denied. If you get an MRI done - this will be more than enough to help diagnose one of these problems!


I hope this has been of help.


Dr J

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • The response from the Expert literally saved my cat's life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart -- I will recommend all of my friends to you!!! Lucia Rincon, Georgia
< Previous | Next >
  • The response from the Expert literally saved my cat's life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart -- I will recommend all of my friends to you!!! Lucia Rincon, Georgia
  • I will use your service again. I was very pleased with the response and the fact that you have a low cost option so that those of us on fixed income can have questions answered. I will also recommend you to others. Karen Jackson Heights, NY
  • You helped us to come to what we believe is a better next step in Jack's treatment, and hopefully have saved us $800!! Thanks again! Jack's Mom Tuscon, AZ
  • The vet said that the information and my following it will be what made the difference. Thanks again for being so very helpful. Tracy Grayson, LA
  • My oldest male cat had a seizure this evening. This site was the first place I could think of to go after the seizure had passed. Dr. Lucy was fantastic and she was spot on! Debbie USA
  • I must tell you I found this site by accident and was amazed when I asked a question of the Veteranians online. I wish I could have found it sooner it could have made such a difference in the outcome of my pet's surgery. However, I am passing along the information to my sister-in-law (a cat-rescue person who is also a nurse), and perhaps it will help someone else who may experience the same problem. The doctor who answered my question was amazing, and while it didn't come it time to change the outcome of my situation, it is reassuring to know the caliber of Vets/Doctors that you have at JustAnswer. Thank you for being there. Alice H. Jacksonville, Fl.
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

Meet The Experts:

  • Terri


    Feline Healthcare Expert

    Satisfied Customers:

    Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
< Last | Next >
  • Terri's Avatar


    Feline Healthcare Expert

    Satisfied Customers:

    Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
  • Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • Cher's Avatar


    Feline Specialist

    Satisfied Customers:

    Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
  • Lori's Avatar


    Feline Healthcare

    Satisfied Customers:

    16 yrs health care mgmt & issues relating to cats, reproductive issues and multicat environments
  • Micki's Avatar


    Expert in cat behavior and health

    Satisfied Customers:

    Expert in cat medical and behavior issues.
  • Candy R.'s Avatar

    Candy R.

    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
  • Theresa's Avatar


    A Voice for your Pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    19+ years in animal medicine as a veterinary technician