Ataxia in Cats: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Ataxia en Gatos: Causas, Síntomas y Tratamiento

Welcome to Waggy's! Today we will address an important topic for cat lovers: ataxia. This condition, which affects the coordination and balance of our felines, can be worrying for any owner. We will explain the causes, symptoms and how our Waggy's CBD products can be a valuable tool in improving the quality of life of cats suffering from ataxia. Join us as we discover how the right care and products can make a significant difference.

What is ataxia in cats?

Ataxia in fat cats is a neurological disorder characterized by loss of coordination and muscle control. Cats with ataxia may show uncoordinated, wobbly, or unsteady movements, and may have difficulty walking, maintaining balance, and making precise movements. It is an easy disease to identify, because it greatly affects the physical appearance of your cat.

Types of ataxia in cats

  • Cerebellar Ataxia: This form of ataxia occurs when there is dysfunction in the cerebellum, the part of the brain responsible for coordination and fine control of movements. It may be congenital (present at birth), as in feline cerebellar hypoplasia, or acquired due to viral infections (such as feline parvovirus), tumors, inflammation, trauma, or toxins.
  • Vestibular Ataxia: This form of ataxia affects the vestibular system, which is responsible for balance and spatial orientation. This system includes parts of the inner ear and the brain. It may result from inner or middle ear infections, trauma, tumors, inflammatory diseases, toxins, or idiopathic (no known cause).
  • Sensory (or Proprioceptive) Ataxia: This type of ataxia is due to problems in the nerve pathways that carry information about the position of the body (proprioception) from the extremities and trunk to the brain. Causes include spinal cord diseases (such as myelopathy), injuries, spinal compression from herniated intervertebral discs, tumors, or degenerative diseases.
  • Causes of ataxia in cats

    Ataxia in cats can have multiple causes, affecting different parts of the nervous system. The causes can be classified into several categories depending on the type of ataxia (cerebellar, vestibular or sensory). Below we share some of them:


    • Cerebellar hypoplasia: A condition in which the cerebellum does not fully develop, often due to viral infections in the mother during pregnancy, such as feline panleukopenia (feline parvovirus).


    • Virosis: Viral infections such as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) or feline infectious peritonitis (FIP).
    • Bacterial: Bacterial infections that affect the brain and cerebellum.
    • Otitis interna or media: Infections of the inner or middle ear.
    • Viral infections: That affect the central nervous system.
    • Myelitis: Inflammation of the spinal cord due to viral or bacterial infections.


    • Meningoencephalitis: Inflammation of the meninges and brain that can affect the cerebellum.
    • Encephalitis: Inflammation of the brain that includes the cerebellum.
    • Vestibular neuritis: Inflammation of the vestibular nerve.
    • Polyradiculoneuritis: Inflammation of the peripheral nerves.


    • Head injuries: Direct trauma that damages the cerebellum.
    • Spinal cord injuries: Due to accidents or falls.


    • Heavy metal poisoning: Such as lead or mercury.
    • Pesticides and herbicides: Toxic chemicals that affect the nervous system.
    • Ototoxic medications: That damage the inner ear.
    • Environmental toxins: Such as solvents and pesticides.
    • Neurotoxins: That affect nerve transmission.


    • Brain tumors: Abnormal growths in the cerebellum.
    • Tumors in the inner ear or brain: That affect the vestibular system.


    • Idiopathic vestibular syndrome: Unknown cause, more common in older cats.


    • Herniated discs: Intervertebral discs that compress the spinal cord.
    • Spinal tumors: That compress the spinal cord or peripheral nerves.

    Symptoms of feline ataxia

    Symptoms of feline ataxia can vary in severity and may include:

    • Coordination problems: The cat may show difficulty walking, with clumsy or wobbly movements.
    • Instability: The cat may seem to have trouble maintaining balance, especially on slippery surfaces or when turning.
    • Head tilt : Some cats with ataxia tilt their head to one side, which may be a sign of a problem in the inner ear or cerebellum.
    • Nystagmus: Abnormal eye movements, such as rapid, involuntary side-to-side movements (nystagmus), may be present.
    • Tremors: The cat may have tremors or shaking of the head or body.
    • Muscle weakness: There may be a decrease in muscle strength, causing the cat to have trouble jumping or climbing to high places.
    • Changes in behavior: Some cats may become more reluctant to move or may appear disoriented. If you know about to understand cat language  , you will know how to identify this quickly.
    • Hearing problems : In some cases, ataxia may be associated with hearing loss, especially if it is related to problems in the inner ear.
    • Vomiting and nausea: Unsteadiness and dizziness can lead to the cat vomiting or feeling nauseous.

    Waggy's Wellness can be an aid for managing vomiting and the symptoms of ataxia in cats thanks to its CBD content. CBD for cats It is known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which can significantly contribute to reducing inflammation and relieving pain, two factors that can exacerbate the symptoms of ataxia. By decreasing general discomfort and improving the cat's well-being, Waggy's Wellness not only helps mitigate nausea and vomiting, but also provides comprehensive relief that can improve the quality of life of pets affected by this neurological condition.

    How is feline ataxia diagnosed?

    Diagnosing feline ataxia involves a comprehensive approach that begins with a detailed evaluation of the cat's medical history and an accurate description of the symptoms observed by the owner. The veterinarian will perform a thorough physical and neurological examination to evaluate the cat's coordination, reflexes, and muscle response. Depending on the initial findings, additional tests, such as blood and urine tests, x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT), may be recommended to identify possible external causes such as infections, trauma, metabolic diseases, or congenital problems. In some cases, a lumbar puncture may be required to test the cerebrospinal fluid. This comprehensive diagnostic approach allows the veterinarian to determine the precise cause of the ataxia and formulate an appropriate treatment plan.

    How is ataxia in cats cured? Treatment

    The cure for ataxia in cats depends on the cause, however, there is no single "cure", but treatment can significantly improve the cat's symptoms and quality of life.

    Home treatment for ataxia in cats

    Home management of ataxia is not really a treatment, it generally includes several strategies to improve your comfort and safety:

    • Ensure the cat's environment is safe and accessible by removing obstacles and providing non-slip surfaces. Also, take care of maintaining good grooming and hygiene for cats .
    • Provide a balanced and nutritious diet such as the barf diet to maintain general health and support recovery or simply learn what cats eat and based on that, organize the feeding.
    • Consider using supplements such as those containing CBD, which can reduce inflammation and pain.

    We recommend Waggy's. Our range of calming treats for dogs and cats are made with 100% natural ingredients, carefully selected to provide relief and well-being for your furry companion. Whether your cat is experiencing joint discomfort, gastrointestinal upset or any other painful condition, Waggy's treats are the best option to help soothe their discomfort safely and effectively, as they reduce stress and anxiety levels while relieving that state of alarm in which your cat will find itself with so much pain. However, it is crucial to remember that identifying the cause of the pain is essential. Therefore, we recommend that you take the process hand in hand with a veterinarian, who can provide you with expert guidance and ensure the optimal well-being of your beloved pet.

    • Encourage gentle activities to maintain mobility without straining the cat.
    • Make sure the cat has constant access to fresh water.

    Medical treatment for canine ataxia

    Medical treatment must be determined by a veterinarian and may include the following procedures:

    • Medications: Anti-inflammatories, pain relievers, antibiotics (in case of infections), or anticonvulsants, depending on the cause.
    • Physical therapy : Exercises supervised by a veterinarian to improve strength and coordination.
    • Surgery: In cases where ataxia is caused by tumors, hernias or injuries that require surgical intervention.
    • Specific therapies: Such as laser therapy or acupuncture, which can help in certain cases to reduce pain and inflammation.

    Is ataxia in cats fatal?

    Ataxia in cats is not necessarily fatal, but it can be a sign of a serious condition. It is crucial to take the cat to the veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. The prognosis depends largely on the cause of the ataxia and the speed and effectiveness of the treatment administered.

    Is feline ataxia contagious?

    Ataxia in cats is not a disease in itself, but rather a symptom of several possible problems or causes, some of which may be contagious, while others are not.

    How to care for a cat with ataxia?

    • Keep the cat in areas where it cannot fall from heights. Consider using ramps or steps so you can access low furniture.
    • Place non-slip mats on the floor to help you move more safely.
    • Place their food, water, and litter box in easily accessible areas to minimize the need to jump or climb.
    • Take the cat to the vet regularly to monitor its condition and adjust treatment as necessary.
    • Administer any medication prescribed by the veterinarian. In some cases, physical therapy or acupuncture may be beneficial.
    • Provides a balanced diet that supports your overall health. Consult your veterinarian about specific supplements that may be beneficial.
    • Keep your cat active within their capabilities, encouraging gentle, controlled movement.
    • Provides a lot of attention and affection. Human interaction can be very comforting for a cat with ataxia.
    • Helps the cat stay clean, especially if it has difficulty grooming itself.


    Ataxia in cats, characterized by a lack of motor coordination, can arise from many causes such as infections, trauma or neurological diseases. Proper management and specific care can significantly improve the quality of life of affected cats. Waggy's CBD products have been shown to be beneficial in reducing anxiety, relieving pain, and improving mobility in animals, which may be especially helpful for cats with ataxia. CBD can help calm and stabilize cats, providing a natural and effective complement to their care and well-being.

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