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Cher, Feline Specialist
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 21422
Experience:  Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
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My cat walks like he is drunk and doesn''t want to eat

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my cat walks like he is drunk and doesn''t want to eat

If your cat is stumbling like he's drunk, he either has an ear infection, a neurological condition called Vestibular Disease, or he might have ingested antifreeze.

He doesn't want to eat because he's nauseous and dizzy from a disturbance in his equilibrium. I hope you're able to bring him to an ER vet, immediately, for diagnosis and treatment. When a cat doesn't eat, even for a short period of time, he risks liver damage.

I hope all will be well!

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Jessesmom's Post: How can we tell if it is an ear problem? we pet and scratch his ears and it doesn't seem to hurt him Doubt it is antifree since he this has been a few days since he was missing and then we found him. What is vestibular disease? That link didn't work
Hello again,

If he was missing for a few days, if he was outside or had access to your garage, if you have one, I would think that the chances are greater for him to have ingested antifreeze. Cats and dogs are drawn to antifreeze, because it has a sweet smell/taste to them. Sometimes, the symptoms can be delaying in appearing with this sort of toxic ingestion.

Vestibular Disease is a malfunction in the vestibular apparatus, which controls balance/equilibrium. Walking drunkenly or stumbling is caused by a nerve that runs from the inner ear, to the brain. I clicked on the link I provided and it worked fine, but I'll re-send it, and hopefully you'll be able to view the article.

If it's still a problem, please go to and put 'vestibular disease' into the search box.

Cats who have ear infections usually do exhibit pain and/or discomfort in the ear(s) by pawing at it or rubbing it/head shaking, etc. However, it's still possible for him to have an inner or middle ear problem and not show any symptoms of discomfort. The thing is, that the 'balance center' of the body is located in the ear and if something is wrong, this is usually where it will originate from.

Usually, vestibular disease will resolve on it's own within a few weeks, but if the dizziness causes nausea, vomiting, inappetance, the vet will prescribe an anti-nausea medication to help counteract this.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I tried the site and typed in the disease. This cat kills mice and lizards could they cause this problem?
Hello again,

Yes, if your cat kills mice and lizards and eats them or parts of them, he could have been poisoned by proxy, meaning if a mouse, for example, had ingested rat poison, it would adversely affect your cat. Rat poison is very toxic and if this is a possibility, he needs to be seen and treated by a vet, immediately.

Some lizards carry toxins on their skin and/or saliva, so this is also possible, that your cat was poisoned in this way.

I'm sorry, but I have to sign off for the night, so I hope you're able to get your cat some veterinary attention, ASAP, and he's feeling better once he's diagnosed and treated.

Cher and 2 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you