Causes of Stupors in Cats
How you react to them could very easily make the difference between life and death

Stupors in cats are much more than just your cat losing consciousness; it is a life threatening situation that will need immediate attention.

This lack of an alert state of mind in your cat could be the result of several different sinister underlying conditions such as Hydrocephalus or other related diseases.

There are five basic levels of consciousness that are recognized in cats.

It is extremely important to understand the differences and be able to properly identify this condition in your cat if you ever experience it.


The five levels include normal, depressed, disoriented, stuporous, and comatose.

A normal state is when your cat has no obvious symptoms of any type of irregular responses to basic stimuli, and this state can vary tremendously depending on the personality of your cat.

Dull or depressed is a state that your cat enters into when they are sick or starting to become ill. They may sleep a lot but they will also respond very easy to any type of stimuli.

Disorientated or demented states can very often be confused with stuporous levels; but there are major differences.

Demented is usually a progressive condition much like Alzheimer’s disease where your cat is suffering from or showing signs of dementia.

Dementia is a state where your pet will start to show signs of loss of cognitive functions as well as demonstrating apathy to most conditions.

With this state of consciousness your cat will responded to stimuli but their reactions will seem very odd to you.

The reason is simple; they will become hyperactive, hysterical, or very irritable to the point of being aggressive.

Stupors in cats is the next step beyond this state of consciousness where your cat will not respond to any type of normal stimulus but will respond to very strong stimuli such stroking very hard or pinching.

The fifth stage is where you cat is comatose and unresponsive to anything. In this state of unconsciousness, they usually do not survive.


There are several potential causes of Stupors in cats and what may have placed your cat in this very serious and life threatening position.

If you suspect that your cat may be falling slowing into stupors or suddenly appears that they are in a stupor, it will be extremely important to make several notes.

The notes should include what happened or is happening for your veterinarian.

They will need to know when the first incident occurred and how long it lasted, as well as is this the first such episode or has it happened before?

Has your cat taken any new medications or been exposed to any type of toxicity?

And finally, does your pet have any type of a disease that may be the cause such as epilepsy, diabetes, or a heart condition.

If they are your regular veterinarian they will know your cat’s background but they will still need to be notified of anything new or different.

The first potential cause of Stupors in cats may have been some type of a trauma that has happened to your pets head as well as brain tumors and a condition known as Encephalitis.

Encephalitis is an inflammatory disease of your cat’s central nervous system that includes the brain and the spinal cord.

It is also one of the most common neurological diseases to both cats as well as dogs.

It is almost always an inflammation in your cat’s brain and is caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, or tick infections.

The actual symptoms will depend on what part of your cat’s brain has been infected and will include seizures, blindness, behavior changes, mental depression, as well as imbalance and lack of coordination.

However, the most telling sign is a stupor like affect in your cat.

Hydrocephalus can also be the cause of stupors in cats as it is a neurological disease in which there is an excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain.

This disease is especially dangerous as it slowly affects your cat.

It usually starts with spastic or clumsy walking followed by sudden bouts of circling.


As this disease progresses, your cat’s head may start to tilt and they may develop very abnormal eye movements.

If your cat suddenly cries out in pain, the next step of this disease is usually an altered mental state, seizures, stupors, or the worst case scenario, a coma.

Deep blue eyes in catsStupors in cats should be taken as the emergency situation it is

Hypoglycemia is yet another potential cause of stupors in cats.

This is the result of a gradual or very rapid decrease of your cat’s blood glucose, or their sugar concentrations.

This condition is very common in kittens and very young cats that have not fully developed their ability to regulate their blood glucose concentration.

Signs to watch for in the development of this disease are dilated pupils and the appearance of being suddenly blind.

This will most often be followed be trembling and muscle twitching, seizures, and than a stupor.

The final two major potential causes of stupors in cats will be drug intoxication or a reaction to a toxic substance.

Drug intoxication in cats may be very slow in development as cats have a very slow rate of bio-transformation in their liver. They also have unusual receptor site sensitivity from many drugs.

An example of this is that most cats develop a very excitable state after being administered morphine rather than the sedative state it is intended for.

If you suspect a drug reaction is the cause of the stupor, it will be extremely important to make note of the series of events leading up to the stupor.

There is an entire litany of toxic substances that may have caused this condition in your cat.

They include over 24 types of plants and shrubs as well as several very common household chemicals including drain cleaners, furniture polish, and several bathroom cleaners.

Stupors in cats are very easy passed off as lethargic states.

However, it is extremely important that if you suspect this condition at all to make as many notes as you can think of both prior and during the stupor.


If your cat does demonstrate any signs of altered consciousness, lay them down as quickly as possible to protect them from injury.

However be very careful as they may not know what is happening and may attempt to claw or bite you.

It will also be very important to lay them either on a board or a very tight blanket or rug before moving them.

If trauma is the cause, moving them sharply may place their life in further danger.

If you suspect poisoning, try to find what you believe may have triggered this and bring it with you to the veterinarian.

How you react may save your cats life.

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