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My Cat Is Very Lethargic And Suddenly Weak In Rear Legs - Any Ideas?

6 Answers

Kathryn Wright Profile
Kathryn Wright answered


Weaknesses in a cats hind legs can normally be pinned down to one of the following reasons:


  • Kidney disease/failure

  • Trauma - hit by a car or had a bad fall, fights with other animals.

  • Septic blood

  • Diabetes

  • Saddle thrombi



Most cats will eventually suffer from kidney disease towards the end of their life.  It would be unusual for a younger cat to suffer with kidney failure unless they have a genetic disorder or the wrong sort of diet entirely.  Although you can get drugs and medicines to combat and slow the effects of kidney failure, there is no cure.  Often this can also be spotted by the cat not being able to control its urinating habits.  People who have had several cats will tell you that this is normally accompanied by wobbly back legs and looking very skinny at the back of their ribs.

Trauma is definitely possible especially if this cat goes outside--hit by car, fight and falling badly.  You should check the skin and fur for any obvious marks.  Also, cuddling the cat and trying to move its hind legs to being totally outstretched should tell you if there is a pulled muscle or internal injury.  If the cat hisses at you trying to even pick it up, there is a likelihood it is in a lot of pain.

Cats can also get blood clots that lodge where the aorta splits, these are called Saddle Thrombi. These can be as serious as clots in human beings,

Diabetes can cause hind limb signs.  This is because diabetes leads to kidney and even liver issues.  This then causes secondary issues which lead to toxin build up in the blood and then results in the cat being lethargic and having weakness in their back legs.

A low blood sugar can lead to weakness--this could be due to lack of nutrition or secondary to disease.
This cat needs to be examined by a veterinarian for further diagnosis and treatment.

Cats can also get blood clots that lodge where the aorta splits, these are called Saddle Thrombi. These can be as serious as clots in human beings, I would not jump to the conclusion that this is the problem, only look into this if you cannot see any signs of the above.

If your cats symptoms persist for longer than 24 hours, please get them to a vet as soon as you can.. It might just be a strained muscle, however, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
You may want to take your cat to the vet. I'm very sorry to say this but your cat has all the sort of symptoms my cat had before it died. My cat just died from old age and was about the same age as your cat so I'm sorry to have to tell you your cat may die soon, but still, take it to the vet for a check-up.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
My cat was lethargic and vomiting about 4 times a day.  Went to vets - had a steroid injection and the next day couldn't lift up her head to eat or drink.  Had loads of blood tests and diagnosed hypothyroidism.  Gave her the tablets for 10 days but she became worse.  Able to walk only 1 metre before lying down.  Not eating and drinking and I am afraid we had to put her to sleep.  She was almost 17 years of age.  It was very sad but her symptoms were killing her.
Gayle Corbett Profile
Gayle Corbett answered
Any animal with these symptoms should be taken to the vet ASAP. I don't think anyone on this website can diagnose the problem better than a veterinarian. It's usually not a good sign when your pet stops eating and is lethargic. That doesn't mean the vet can't treat it but the sooner you take the cat in the better. Please let us know how your kitty is after the vet visit.
Steven Dennis Profile
Steven Dennis answered
I had a cat that I got when I was 5 yrs old and I am now 23, my parents just had him put down about a month ago die to the same symptoms. The vet told us that our cat had, had a stroke while my parents were away at the beach. I'm very sorry to say but it doesn't sound good for your kitty, I'm terribly sorry. I wish you all the best.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered

My 12 year old cat is lethargic and back legs are wobbly took her to emergency hospital and they ran blood work and urine and said her levels were ok for her age and said i needed to take her to her vet.

I took her to her vet and he did an ultra sound on her stomach area and ran blood work for her thyroid . He called today and said her thyroid was fine.  He wants to get an ultrasound of her heart and have her checked by orthopedic doctor. She also has one kidney larger than the other and a couple of spots on her liver.

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