Reasons Why Cats Shake?

When your cat begins to shake uncontrollably, it might be a source of concern. The tremors can be localized to a single part of their body, such as their head, tail, or legs, or widespread over their entire body. As simple as a little cold room can sometimes be the source of the problem, this can be remedied by just increasing the thermostat setting. Another possibility is that it is trembling because of an unidentified medical condition.

Cats older than one-year-old may experience generalized shaking that affects the entire body or more localized shaking that affects the head, tail, or another body part. Depending on the underlying reason, the condition may manifest quickly or gradually and occur only infrequently or more frequently than other conditions.

As a result of involuntary shaking or tremors, you will notice repetitive muscle movements that alternate between contraction and relaxation, typically involving either rapid or slow movements (twitching) of one or more body parts. If a medical condition causes shaking or tremors, you should consult your doctor.

There are many possible causes, and it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact reason why your cat is shaking.

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Dangerous Things That Could Make Your Cat Shake or Why is my cat shaking?

A cat can shake for various causes, ranging from behavioral to environmental to medical concerns. Fortunately, there are numerous treatments available to both prevent and alleviate tremors and their underlying causes.

Shaking in Cats Can Be Caused By Medical Conditions

If your cats are shaking, it is essential to recognize that they are experiencing the symptoms of a medical illness. When your cat exhibits aberrant behavior, you should always contact your veterinarian, regardless of the circumstances.

The following are examples of possible causes of shaking:

  • Genetic
  • Congenital (present at birth)
  • A traumatic event or injury
  • A side effect of some drugs or environmental contaminants
  • Infections
  • Diseases of the metabolic system, such as liver or kidney disease
  • Abnormal amounts of glucose, calcium, potassium, or other metabolites in the bloodstream
  • Inflammation or excruciating pain
  • Neurological disorders that affect the nervous system
  • Idiopathic (not caused by a disease) (unknown cause)

When attempting to discover the cause, your veterinarian will likely want to evaluate your cat’s comprehensive medical history and obtain a thorough history of the symptoms, the time of beginning, and any occurrences that may have occurred that may have contributed to this condition. In addition, he or she will undertake a thorough physical examination of your cat. Lab testing for your cat would be performed as part of the comprehensive checkup and would include a full blood count, biochemistry profile, an electrolyte panel, and a urinalysis.

Initially, if the reason for the shaking is determined to be a problem with the central nervous system, the laboratory testing results may be within normal limits. Following that, other diagnostic tests may be conducted. X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging, and computed tomography (CT-Scan) are imaging techniques that may be used, particularly in cases involving the extremities. Abnormalities in the brain or spinal cord may be discovered during these exams. Collection of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) may be advantageous in these patients so that the exact source of the shaking may be determined more accurately. A myelogram (a dye-based investigation of the spine) may be recommended to determine whether or not there are any malignancies or disc disease present. Electromyography (EMG) may prove helpful in diagnosing neuromuscular abnormalities connected with the condition.


When your cat shakes, it is most likely due to hypoglycemia, one of the most common causes. Hypoglycemia is defined as a lack of glucose in the bloodstream, which means that your cat’s low blood sugar and chills or tremors could both be signs of the condition. It is frequently caused by them going for extended periods without eating.

It is highly typical for kittens to experience hypoglycemia since their little bodies are still in the process of learning how to handle glucose properly. Kittens must be fed a good diet and kept in a warm environment to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Giving senior cats a few drops of honey or maple syrup every six hours will help to alleviate their shaking and make them more comfortable. Placing a small amount of honey or sweet syrup directly on their gums can aid in the sugar’s absorption into their system more quickly.

The next time you observe that your cat is still shaking and not eating correctly, it may be time to contact your veterinarian. A blood test will most likely be performed by your veterinarian, which will provide answers.

Irregular Body Temperature

The normal temperature of a cat’s body is between 100.5°F and 102.5°F, depending on its breed. Anything above 102.5°F can suggest illnesses such as fevers, while anything below 100.5° can result in severe health consequences such as hypothermia, which is life-threatening. Both of these things can cause your cat to shake.

Cats can get hyperthermia, which increases body temperature if exposed to high-temperature surroundings for an extended period. A common example of this is keeping a cat in a hot car for long periods.

The presence of fever in cats is also an indicator of a high body temperature. If your cat’s body temperature is not properly controlled, he or she may suffer from heat-related disorders such as heatstroke or heat exhaustion.

A cat’s trembling can also be caused by a drop in body temperature, known as hypothermia. If your cat does not receive treatment, it could be fatal. It is possible to assist your cat by providing them with blankets to help them get their body temperature back up to the normal range.

However, if your cat’s body temperature is abnormally high or low, you should contact your veterinarian immediately for treatment.


The exact time, hyperthermia, fever, or increased body temperature in cats, which may be caused by viruses, infections, or other ailments in cats, can cause them to shake uncontrollably. A fever in a cat is defined as any temperature greater than 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Felines may experience shaking or tremors as a result of their elevated body temperature. Checking your cat’s temperature using a thermometer and informing your veterinarian of the results may help to accelerate the recovery process and avoid further difficulties from developing.


Shivering or trembling in cats can occur due to pain, whether the cat has sustained an injury or is suffering from an internal sickness.


Muscle tightness and trembling are other common side effects of seizures. These seizures can be caused by various factors, including heatstroke, toxicity, metabolic illnesses, fever, epilepsy, allergic reactions, or pharmaceutical overdose, among others.


Trembling and shivering is also common in cats when they are shocked. Shock can arise as a result of a severe sickness that develops after an accident or traumatic event. Besides icy limbs and pale gums, other symptoms of shock include weakness and a fast heart rate.

Ear Infections and Ear Mites

Ear infections can occur in cats. In fact, of all the possible causes of head shaking in cats, an ear infection is the one that is most likely to be the culprit.

When you take your cat to the veterinarian for head shaking, the veterinarian will first examine your cat’s ear canals using an otoscope to determine the source of the problem. Using this method, they can assess any potential inflammation within the canal and establish whether or not the tympanic membrane, also known as the eardrum, is intact. Some ear treatments can be hazardous to the inner ear, so it is critical to complete the procedure.

Ear mites are a kind of ectoparasite that can be found in cats. They have the potential to induce a severe itching sensation that would compel your cat to shake her head in desperate search of relief. Your veterinarian will select what medication to administer to treat the underlying infection or ear mite infestation based on what is observed under a microscope (as well as whether or not your cat’s eardrums are intact).


Cats can occasionally acquire ear polyps, which are also known as feline inflammatory polyps. It is thought that these growths start in the cat’s middle or outer ear, where they are considered benign growths. It is possible to have coughing, sneezing, a head tilt, drooping eyelids, ear infection, or nasal discharge due to an ear polyp, depending on where it is placed in the ear canal. Surgical removal is the best way to treat polyps adequately.

Bites from Insects

Cats, being natural predators, are susceptible to insect bites, which usually affect the face and paws of the cat. Some cats will experience a localized reaction to the bite site, which may include swelling, irritation, itching, hives, and even head shaking.  If your veterinarian suspects an insect has bitten your cat, they may prescribe antihistamines or steroids to alleviate the swelling and irritation. If your cat has a severe allergic response, it will need to be taken to the veterinarian right away.

Sleeping for a Long Time

Cats can also twitch while they are sleeping. Felines alternate between periods of light and profound slumber. Your cat will be in a deep state of relaxation during the deep sleep stage, which may last only six to eight minutes and occur during the deep sleep stage. Your cat may jitter or shiver for a few minutes during this time. Even while this shaking should be recorded, watched, and discussed with your veterinarian, it is usually just a natural part of the process during those deep sleep times.

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Shaking in Cats Can Be Caused By Behavioral Issues

Shaking and trembling in adult cats can be caused by a variety of behavioral factors as well. Shivering in cats can be triggered by stress, anxiety, fear, or phobias in humans. These are physical manifestations of your cat’s physiological responses to his emotional state.

The majority of these behavioral problems manifest themselves during the commencement of social adulthood (12 to 36 months old). It is common for babies between eight and ten months to experience a severe dread and withdrawal for no apparent reason. According to some researchers, separation anxiety that develops in old age and has no known explanation may be a variety of deterioration in thinking, learning, and memory in senior pets.


When we anticipate future hazards from unknown or imagined sources, our bodies respond physiologically in ways similar to those experienced when we are afraid. The most apparent behaviors observed are elimination (urination and/or passage of bowel motions), destruction, excessive vocalization (meowing), and shaking/trembling.


When a circumstance, person, or thing appears to provide an external threat, fear is defined as the innate sensation of trepidation that occurs. This threat can be actual or perceived. The autonomic nervous system in the body prepares the body for fight or flight response in response to perceived fear, which might include shaking and trembling. This is considered a typical response to fear, and it serves as a crucial survival mechanism for the individual. The severity of the reaction decides whether the fear response is natural or aberrant and improper for the circumstances. Many anomalous reactions are acquired, and they can frequently be unlearned through gradual exposure and desensitization to the stimulus.


A phobia is a persistent and overwhelming dread of particular stimuli, such as fireworks, that can last for months or even years. An immediate and excessive anxiety response distinguishes phobias. It has been claimed that once a phobic event has been experienced, any subsequent occurrence linked with it, or the recollection of it, is sufficient to elicit an anxiety response. Phobias related to loud noises, such as fireworks or thunderstorms, are among the most frequent.

How to Stop Your Cat from Shaking

Because shaking and tremors are only indicators of underlying and frequently unnoticed disorders, treating the underlying disease or disorder is the first and most important goal of treatment for these symptoms. In addition to the physical examination, your veterinarian may order several laboratory tests to help them make a diagnosis and develop a more targeted treatment plan.

Various factors might contribute to shaking and tremors in adult cats who are affected. While certain illnesses are treatable, others may not be treated due to a lack of therapeutic alternatives.

Should it be determined that medicine is the cause of the shaking, your veterinarian will offer an alternative prescription to prevent the tremors. If it is suspected that someone has been exposed to a poisonous substance, removing the toxin from the environment will be required to avoid additional exposure. If the toxin is unknown, it may be associated with a chemical substance or toxins that your cat has been exposed to, or it may be related to a toxic material or plant that your cat has chewed and consumed, among other possibilities. In some cases, there may be an antidote to the poison that has been administered. You should contact poison control, as well as your veterinarian, if you suspect poisoning. Drugs and medication should only be administered in the manner prescribed by your veterinarian.

If the shaking or tremors are caused by a disease or condition of the nervous system, surgery to address the underlying disease or problem of the nervous system may be recommended. To alleviate the symptoms of tremors, your veterinarian may prescribe drugs that slow or stop the movement of the muscles in the affected area.

The long-term prognosis of the condition that causes the shaking and tremors are highly dependent on the efficacy of the treatment of the underlying medical condition that caused them. While the vast majority of the causes of feline tremors are curable, it is necessary to keep a check on your cat’s activity levels during the therapy phase. If your symptoms do not improve or worsen despite receiving the suggested treatment, you should visit your veterinarian immediately.

There are various reasons for cats to shake or tremble in their sleep. Again, the shaking might be limited to their head, feet, tail, or the entire body, and it can occur while they are sleeping or when they are being handled and purred. It is necessary to analyze each cat and behavior individually since shaking in an adult cat might be either broad or more localized. You should seek out the advice of your veterinarian to help determine whether the cause is physical or mental. Then develop a plan to try and alleviate the shaking or trembling that your cats are experiencing.

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