When your cat shakes, it can be a worrying experience. A good cat owner needs to be knowledgeable and concerned about their animals’ welfare.
Cats can shake for many reasons, some of which are due to being cold or fearful. Other times, medical conditions can be at play. Sometimes cats shake for minor and inconsequential reasons, and other times there are serious health problems that can cause shaking.
This article will highlight some of the main reasons cats shake so that you can address the problem and handle it appropriately.
Reasons Why a Cat Shakes
There are many possible reasons that your cat is shaking.
Some may be due to common occurrences such as being cold, wet, or scared, but other possible causes will need immediate veterinarian care.
Old or young age can also take a role in causing your furry friend to shake.
There are important signs to look out for, such as loss of consciousness, extreme shaking and inability to stand, lethargy, and the cat being unwilling to drink or vomiting recurrently.
How Can I Tell if My Cat’s Shaking is an Emergency?
You should always immediately call your local veterinarian if you suspect something is wrong with your cat.
There are multiple reasons your cat could be shaking and some of them could be life-threatening so take immediate action.
Health Reasons That Can Cause a Cat to Shake
Infections in your cat’s body can slowly build up or overtake them immediately. At times, shaking can be a sign of an underlying infection somewhere in your cat’s body.
They may also be showing other signs, such as:
- Unwilling to drink
- Unusual behavior
- Excessive meowing
Hypothermia is a condition where your cat would have a low body temperature.
The typical cat will have a body temperature that ranges somewhere from 100.5-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Young cats, especially newborns, are prone to shakiness.
This may cause you to worry, but it is usually quite normal. Full-grown adult cats are good at maintaining their body temperature no matter the conditions or weather.
Kittens have a harder time maintaining their internal temperature, so it is a good idea to keep an eye on them consistently to ensure there are no problems.
You can cuddle your kittens and use blankets, heaters in a safe location, or even heated blankets to help them keep warm.
When your cat has a high temperature or an increase in body temperature, it may shake.
This is usually a result of overheating or a fever which can indicate an infection somewhere in your cat’s body.
Just like humans can shake when we are sick, the same occurrence can happen with your cat. You should check your cat’s temperature using a thermometer to see if they have a fever.
Cats are also prone to heatstroke if they are out in the heat of the summer.
Heatstroke is generally more complicated and severe than a fever. Heatstroke is not as prevalently seen in cats but can happen if you live in a very hot climate.
It is a great idea to keep your cat inside during exceptionally hot days or portions of the day that are the hottest.
Symptoms of heatstroke:
- Fast breathing
- Racing heart
- Loss of consciousness
If you suspect your cat is experiencing heatstroke, wrap them in a cool, moist towel and call your vet immediately.
Phobia, Fear, and Anxiety
Just like humans, cats can become scared and start shaking. When the adrenaline starts pumping, your body or your cats may start shaking in response.
You can help your cat calm down by petting them or removing them from the atmosphere that is causing them to panic.
Hypoglycemia (commonly known as glucose deficiency)
Kittens are at the highest risk of shaking due to glucose deficiency. Make sure that your cat is eating properly. If their blood sugar drops too much, they may not want to eat at all.
Undiagnosed diabetes in cats can be a common cause of why they shake. If you suspect your cat has diabetes make an immediate trip to your vet.
Diabetes can be life-threatening for your cat if not dealt with quickly.
A common sign to look out for is a cat who is drinking a lot of water, much more than usual especially if it is not a hot day.
Sometimes, hypoglycemia and diabetes can go hand in hand. Another common occurrence with diabetes is a spike in blood sugar. This may also cause shaking as well.
Skin Problems and Toxins
Skin problems OR toxins can affect your cat. If your cat happens to get into certain types of poisons, such as rat poison or household cleaners, they may shake.
You should seek immediate medical attention for your cat if they have been around, ingested, or potentially were exposed to toxins or chemicals.
Skin problems or an allergic reaction may also cause your cat to shake.
Chronic Kidney Disease or Failure
Kidney disease can be a common problem among many different cat breeds. Some cats are predisposed toward kidney function loss, disease, or failure.
This is generally a result of renal disease or failure of the liver. You will want to contact your local veterinarian and have them give your cat a physical exam.
Symptoms to look out for are:
- Loss of appetite – Note: This can be a symptom of a variety of illnesses.
- Generally appearing unwell or sick
- Shivering and head shaking
Blood tests are an important tool in your cat’s health. Schedule a complete blood count test as soon as you are able to with your vet to rule out kidney failure and other illnesses.
Tumors are much more common in older cats but can occur at any age. Tumors are serious health conditions and you should contact your vet immediately if you suspect this.
Tumors are one of the leading causes of health changes that occur in a cat that can be discovered by observing your cat’s behavior.
Some of these changes may also be noticed in twitching or jerking-type movements. Your cat that used to be cuddly may not even want to be touched any longer.
The diagnosis of tumors can be really difficult. It may take a brain scan in order to rule out other conditions or diseases.
Should I always worry about my cat shaking?
If your cat has been checked out and there are no underlying medical conditions, it isn’t always problematic if they shake.
Make sure to seek medical help for your cat if you suspect it may be dealing with an undiagnosed medical condition.
What are some reasons healthy cats may shake?
- Ear Mites – Be advised that left untreated, problems such as this with your cat’s ears can turn into a serious health problem if not addressed in a timely manner.
- Fleas – Fleas can cause a health issue for your cat if not treated right away.
- Cold weather – If your kitty has cat shivers they could just be cold and wet. Wrap them in a warm blanket and get them out of the cold until they stop shivering.
- Excited or happy – Sometimes your cat is just overly excited. Try to calm them down.
- Traumatic events or loud noises – Something may have scared your cat and caused them to begin shaking.
- Physiological conditions – While physiological problems may not be a life-threatening condition for your cat you should take them to a vet for a complete physical exam.
Healthy adult cats should not suffer from mental problems but keep this in mind if you are witnessing erratic and unusual behavior from your cat.
- Muscle twitching – Sometimes your cat may shake some right after extensive exercise or play outside.
Keep a good eye on them and see if the twitching quickly goes away and does not come back. If it does not call your vet.
Why does a cat shake when sleeping?
Usually, a cat can shake while sleeping for the same reason a human can, they are dreaming. When a cat enters REM sleep and their mind stays active dreaming they may shake or twitch.
When should I seek medical attention for my cat?
Anytime you feel that your cat may be in danger, it is better to be safe rather than sorry.
This article is based on research and is in no way intended to diagnose your cat or replace medical attention.
Common Reasons Your Cat May Be Shaking
There are numerous reasons cats can shake, from stress and fear to possible health issues or simply something non-threatening.
As a loving pet owner, your cat shaking can be very worrisome. Hopefully, these answers as to why your cat may be shaking have provided some insight into what is normal and what isn’t.
Remember, we are not giving medical advice. Always call your vet when you have concerns or questions about your pet’s health.
Also, there are many reasons your cat could be shaking and this article did not cover them all.
We wish you the best of luck with your cat and hope for its best health.