Why is my Cat Weak?


Hi, I have a 16 year old male cat that was sick in October. He had low body temp. Bloodwork came back ok except for 1 muscle enzyme that was way off. X-ray showed shrunken kidney and enlarged heart. The cat got better within a few days. About a month ago he suffered what appeared to be a seizure. He was flipping around for about 10 seconds. He hasnt been the same since. Trouble standing up, very wobbly. It seems to come and go. He has lost alot of weight, but is eating some. My husband doesnt want to persue more testing due to cost. I think the cat may have something neurologically wrong and his time may be limited. What are your feelings on this?

Olney, Maryland

I am worried that your cat has a heart condition. You mention that blood levels of a muscle enzyme were abnormal in October. The heart is made of muscle. I am guessing that the enzyme in question is creatine kinase, or CK. Certain heart conditions cause elevated blood levels of this enzyme. They also may cause the heart to become visibly enlarged on X-rays.

Heart conditions may cause weakness and episodic periods of distress that can vaguely resemble seizures. Low body temperatures often occur when cats suffer heart failure. In other words, the symptoms of heart disease match your cat’s symptoms.

However, it also is possible that your cat is suffering from a neurological condition. Unfortunately, at his age a brain tumor would be most likely (although there are many other possibilities).

Without further diagnostics it may not be possible to learn exactly what is wrong. In my opinion a cardiac ultrasound (echocardiogram) would be the most useful next step.

Before you run any more tests you should be aware that whatever is causing your cat’s symptoms most likely is serious. Feline heart disease is not very responsive to treatment. Brain tumors are even more difficult to address. A few highly treatable problems (such as middle ear infections) can cause the symptoms you have described, but they are not likely culprits. In light of this fact and your husband’s attitude, I am sorry to say that your cat may be fighting an uphill battle.

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