Lethargy in cats: causes, symptoms and treatment

Lethargy in cats: causes, symptoms and treatment

Lethargy in cats

When you think of lethargy in cats, you probably think that cats are lethargic, all the time! The truth is that cats do sleep all day but this only makes it more complicated to be able to identify any signs that your cat is being affected.

When your cat is lethargic, it is an indication that your cat is not feeling well. The most obvious symptoms of lethargy in cats are low energy, abnormal sleepiness, and a lack of response to external stimuli. Lethargy is not a disease in itself, but merely an indication that something is wrong with your feline.

Do not miss our posts.

Causes of lethargy in cats

Cats sleep most of the time, but when this sleeping is incessant, that is an indication that something is not ok. When a cat is resting, it is a mechanism to recover or it could also be an indication of a greater complication.

Common causes of lethargy in cats include:

  • Parasitic infection
  • Stress
  • Obesity
  • Excess feeding
  • Low exercise
  • Depression
  • Side-effects of medication
  • Arthritis (in the case of older cats)
  • Diabetes
  • Bacterial infections
  • Viral infections
  • Anemia
  • Heartworm
  • Abscesses (caused by bites from other animals)
  • Urinary infections
  • Cardiovascular disorders
  • Heatstroke
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Poisoning
  • Neurological disorders
  • Respiratory issues
  • Kidney or liver failure in cats

Symptoms of lethargy in cats

Lethargy is actually a symptom in itself and has the following characteristics:

  • Lack of interest to external stimuli
  • Low energy levels
  • Inactivity
  • Drowsiness

Along with lethargy and depending on the condition that is causing it some other symptoms include:


The treatment applied will depend on the condition that is causing the lethargy. This treatment will usually include a rich diet to fight anemia, for example. Painkillers are prescribed if there is associated pain. The vet will administer oxygen or intravenous fluids if required.

Stay here with us in Dogalize and check out all the amazing resources we have for you. We are a community of cat lovers just like yourself. Visit us to learn more.