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purr doctor
purr doctor, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 1053
Experience:  11yrs in feline-only medicine/surgery.
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My cat has suddenly started acting drunk, cant stand or walk

Customer Question

My cat has suddenly started acting drunk, cant stand or walk properly, is disorientated, and looks calm, but is occasional head spasms. She is 4 years old, and has had no history of this worrying behaviour, and can not think of anything unusual it may of consumed. I cant pay much because im only 18 and my parents are away, its 12 at night and i cant get to a vets. Would appreciate urgent help please. Thanks.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  purr doctor replied 7 years ago.


I am very sorry you are going through this and I would be glad to help.


Does your kitty go outdoors and if so, was she out just prior to you noticing this behavior?


How long total has this been going on?


Thanks and I will wait for your reply.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
hi there and thanks for your Quick reply. I am a friend of josh who created this account. AS far as im aware he did not let the cat out. I asked him and he said he was fairly sure he didnt go out. He didnt say if he has a cat flap however so i am uncertain. Ive read that anti-freeze can harm a cat, and it was a bit chilly outside but i didnt notice any ice, however last night it WAS icey, perhaps someone thought ahead. It was strange. i saw her walk in and jump onto my friends lap and she seemed strong and stable. The next thing i know about 15- 30 mins later she jumps off and is having trouble walking. Its almost like she is drunk. We gave her water and milk and food and she ate and drank it well, but seemed very thirsty at first. Then having held her for a while so she did'nt try walk off, she became frustrated and trys to kick and break free. But this isnt violent, she isnt meowing or hissing. there has been no vomiting and she seems generally cheerful. But she has a twitch, when she tries to escape or walk and fall over she starts to twitch and shake for a few seconds, i myself think she is just very scared and doesnt know whats going on. One thing we have noticed that might be a crucial point is that it seems to be only her back legs that are very floppy and she cant control them. She is still very strong and can old herself up on her legs if we hold the front of her body up, she can also kick quite hard. So this makes me think she is just very dizzy and cant control her movements. when she tries to run off she ends up rolling into the floor or slamming into it and twisting around. until she levels herself.

That is all the information i can give at this moment, please if you could lend any help i and my friend would be very thankful as he is quite worried.

Kindest regards, XXXXX XXXXX
Expert:  purr doctor replied 7 years ago.

Hi Will-

You are certainly a good friend!


I too am concerned about antifreeze. It is lethal and in an average cat, only a few licks can shut down the kidneys. Within an hour of ingestion, they can act drunk, then they seem to get better, then the kidneys are affected and they usually go downhill very rapidly after that. There is a test for antifreeze ingestion but no cure. Sometimes if they only ingest a small amount, several days of hospitalization on IV fluids can help, but they will still have some kidney damage. Unfortunately, all of this would mean a trip to the vet asap and I know you mentioned you don't have a lot of funds available.


Some other things that could cause this behavior would be atypical seizures, a stroke, a very high fever with resulting central nervous system damage, encephalitis, etc. I have also seen very strange behavior with some of the cheap flea treatments that are available.


An injury could also account for these signs and may explain the weakness as well as the behavior changes (head trauma).


Unfortunately, the best thing to do would be to have her seen as soon as possible. There is a company that will give a small loan just for veterinary expenses. Some clinics accept this and you can apply at the clinic or even on line. If approved, the funds are available immediately and then you make payments to the company. Try You can call a 24 hour clinic in your area to see if they accept this.


If there is no way to have her seen, just continue to offer her fluids. Unflavored pedialyte is great at preventing dehydration but it would likely need to be slowly syringed to her as most cats won't willingly drink it. Keep her indoors for the next few days and watch her closely.


You could gently run your fingers through her fur over every single part of her body to check for small scabs or scrapes that might indicate an injury.


You could also check her rectal temp using a digital thermometer. Cats should be between 100.5 and 102.5 degrees.


Let her eat if she wants but don't force her. Offer her some canned food if you only feed dry. This is the current recommendation for all cats (


Watch very closely for normal urine and stool in the next 24 hours. Sometimes if there is blood in the urine, you can see this by placing some white paper in the bottom of her litter box with only about 1/2 to 1 inches of litter on top. If the blood is significant, you may be able to see pink on the paper.


Do not give her any medications from home as almost all human drugs are extremely toxic in cats.


I hope this helps give you some options. Please let me know if you need anything else.


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