Q: What’s causing my cat to walk in circles?

Original Question: "I have a healthy 8-year-old cat who has taken to walking in circles and now refuses to eat or drink. My vet has run a wide range of tests that shows a healthy animal no apparent reason for this behavior. His health is declining rapidly now and I don’t expect him to recover. What causes this?" - John

Vet Certified Answer | Answered: June 10, 2017

Hi John,

That's an odd behaviour for an 8-year-old cat, or even any cat. My first thought would be something like vestibular disease, which is similar to vertigo in people. The balance center of the brain is affected and it is often due to middle/inner ear infections, brain tumors, or in most cases what we call idiopathic meaning the cause is uncertain. In this third situation, many pets will spontaneously recover in a few weeks. If it's something more serious like a tumor, recovery will not happen. Most tests will be normal for vestibular disease. There may be some medications your vet could prescribe to help with the signs of motion sickness but something else to consider getting a second opinion. Other things to consider would be heart problems or behaviour.

I hope this helps,

Dr. Ryan Llera

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