Feline Facial Nerve Paresis
Is generally very mild but can become so vicious your cat cannot hold food in their mouth

Feline facial nerve paresis can affect your pet’s ears, lips, eyelids and their nose and in the majority of cases there is absolutely no known cause of why this is happening.

It can range from just very mild disruptions to extreme where it can affect your pets ability to eat or hold food in their mouth.

If it is extreme it can also cause your cats head to tilt as well as causing very unusual eye movements. To add to this severity, unless there is a defined underlying cause, there is no effective treatment.


Feline facial nerve paresis is an abnormality of your cat’s facial nerve, which is technically the 7th cranial nerve.

It can cause weakness to occur in several of the motor portions that are controlled by this nerve; or it can cause a complete paralysis.

The seventh facial nerve of your cat is located in the skull and it controls the movements of the face, but it also affects the feelings in the ear canal as well as the sense of taste.

This same condition in humans is often referred to a palsy or Bell’s palsy, and the symptoms in cats are almost identical to what they are in humans.

The actual cause in over 75 percent of all the cases is never know, but it is believed to be the result of an inner ear infection, or by some type of a virus.


Lyme disease, which is one of the fastest growing infections in both cats and dogs, may also be the cause.

One of the biggest concerns that you will face with feline facial nerve paresis is in keeping the eye on the affected side of the face from becoming too dry during the infection.

There are, however, several other concerns as well as symptoms that you can watch for in your cat that will show you they have either this condition, or they are developing it.


Feline facial nerve paresis will show several different symptoms in your cat, but the first set of symptoms will almost always affect their eyes.

Cats do not blink near as often as humans, but they do blink and it is the natural way that they keep moisture in their eyes and the first symptom that you will see with this condition is the inability to blink at all.

Blue Eyes in catsThe lips are just as important to watch as the eyes

It is not noticeable at first, but as it becomes a concern for your cat, it will become more apparent to you as you can see them trying to blink.

The next symptom associated with the eyes will be a discharge or some type of an irritation that has formed in their eyes, which will be followed very rapidly by an asymmetric pupil size.


No one known your cat’s eyes better than you do and this symptom should be very easy for you to spot.

An asymmetric pupil size, also referred to as anisocoria, is a condition where the size of your cats pupils is no longer equal as one is now a lot bigger.

The actual cause of this in almost every case is by some type of nerve damage which is exactly what is happening to your cat.

However, feline facial nerve paresis can cause one other symptom to appear, which is referred to as Nystagmus.

Nystagmus is very easy to identify, but be prepared, as it is also a very scary set of circumstances.

Although it can be the sign of very serious brain damage, if it follows the pattern of symptoms, you can relax somewhat in the fact that is not any type of brain damage, but is the result of facial nerve damage.

It is a situation where your cats eyes start to develop both rhythmic and oscillating motions and this to and fro action is totally involuntary.

Vertical motions can occur, but most all of these to and fro motions will be horizontal.

When this symptom does happen, it will be extremely stressful to any owner, but even more so for your cat.

The next set of symptoms of feline facial nerve paresis that will follow, or they can also occur almost in conjunction with the eye symptoms.

Drooping of your cats lip will occur, and almost at the same time you will notice an increase in the salvation in your cat.

This is happening as a result of the loss of feeling or the nerve damage, which than affects your cat’s ability to eat anything at all and is generally caused by two things.

They have lost their sense of taste or their sense of feel in their mouth.

The final set of symptoms is what is most identifiable in humans with palsy, and that is a tilting of the head, the affected eye, as well as the appearance of their nose.

It looks like it is also tilted or crooked. The degree that any of these symptoms show will all depend on the actual severity of the nerve damage.


In over 75 percent of all cases of feline facial nerve paresis, the cause is idiopathic, which means there is no actual known cause.

In the other 25 percent of the cases the cause is from an inflammation of both the middle ear and the inner ear.

If your cat has chronic ear infections, this is most likely the cause of the nerve damage.

Your cast ears have the responsibility of taking any type of sound waves and immediately transporting them to their brain.

When this occurs, the sound waves pass through the ear canals in your pet where they come into contact with nerves that than transmit the waves into sound.

Your cats ear canals are divided into three sections; the external, middle, and the internal sections.

The most important sections of this process are the middle as well external ear.

The middle ear begins at the eardrum and includes the bones as well as the nerves, and the inner ear contains the organs that are responsible for maintaining equilibrium in your pet.

If the inner ear is infected and inflamed, your cat will begin to feel dizzy as the brain cannot properly determine if they are standing, lying down, or spinning.

This is extremely important with feline facial nerve paresis.

if your cat shows any signs at all of Ataxia, which is an uncoordinated gait or walk, there is a very strong possibility that the cause is from a middle or inner ear infection.

There is no specific treatment for Feline facial nerve paresis, unless it falls in the 25 percent category in which case you can treat the ear infections very successfully.

But in the majority of cases, you will simply have to let it run its course.

In most all cases, the symptoms will start to dissipate after a few weeks, but what you do need to do is to protect the ocular complications as soon as possible.


As soon as you notice the eye problems, you will need to give your cat artificial tears in either ointment or drops forms usually four times a day or as recommended by your veterinarian.

As scary as this condition looks and as serious as the symptoms appear, most all cats recover fully unless it causes permanent paralysis, however, this is very rare in cats.

Pet Medications for Feline Facial Nerve Paresis

Cat Vitamin Store

More Issues With Cats Nerves and Muscles

Acute Collapse

Is much different that fainting or syncope although in some isolated cases your cat may lose consciousness.

Cerebellar Hypoplasia

Is a term that is used to describe a condition where the part of your pet’s brain, called the cerebellum, fails to develop properly.


If it does become severe your cat will slowly become lethargic, which is followed by a reluctance to move at all.

Diaphragmatic Hernias

There is some misconception that the major cause of feline diaphragmatic hernias is congenital, but this is not the case.

DJD in Cats

Is the medical term for this ailment and it is also referred to as Degenerative joint disease, arthritis, or osteoarthritis.

Hyperesthesia Syndrome

Will show you several signs and symptoms and some can look as if they literally explode out of nowhere.

Head Tilting in Cats

Severe cases may develop into what is referred to as nystagmus, which is a condition where they will develop jerking eye movements.

Hepatic Encephalopathy

Will show you several symptoms both neurological as well as what are referred to as clinical manifestations.

Polyneuropathy in Cats

Is a neurological disorder that occurs where the peripheral nerves in your cat’s body start to malfunction all at the same time.

Proprioceptive Problems

Is a condition where your pet develops mild to severe abnormal body positions and movements do to the lack of normal perception.

Tremors in Cats

Are an involuntary movement of the body that is almost rhythmic in nature and will continue to occur the entire time that your cat is awake.

Vestibular Disease

Has two different forms, central and peripheral, and in general it is very difficult to differentiate the two.