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We had the exact same situation with our normally healthy cat, Fred. It seemed to happen around the time the Hurricane Wilma came through (it was a tropical depression even in Tennessee), and he was so sick we had to feed him broth. He wouldn't eat, would fall over, his head was tilted, and his right eye was severely dilated. None of the vets knew what to do. They thought it was an ear infection, which after 2-3 weeks of treatment, there was little improvement.
After a month now, Fred has improved gradually. But he still walks in a circle, albeit a very wide circle, and his head is still tilted to one side. I hope he will recover but since it has been over 4 weeks now and none of the tests has produced anything, I think he will always be our slightly drunk acting kitty. I don't know much about Feline Vestibular Syndrome, other than Googling his symptoms. It is a comfort to know that we are not alone in this and to have some idea of what was wrong. We almost made the heartbreaking decision of putting him to sleep because it was so bad. I am so glad we didn't give up hope.

Isa Smith

My 20 yr old cat, Cocoa-Bell started this whole sideways thing the other night! At first I was terrified and in tears, but I noticed that she still had her healthy appetite and was drinking water like usual and didn't seem to have any trouble urinating or having bowel movements. One minute she looks tired out from all the sideways action, then the next she's purring and happy as can be. Yesterday she was having a heck of a time getting around and looked worn out from trying. It was looking like she was going to nap, so I headed to my bedroom having left her relaxing on her favorite heater vent, then not a minute later, here comes Cocoa barrelling into my room at a full trott (still sideways mind you) and she trotts right on up the stairs at the foot of the bed and plops down next to me purring all loud and wanting some lovin. All I could do was laugh and be thankful that she was able to get to me despite the sideways thing. I will keep you folks informed of any changes in her condition and hopefully this will just pass after awhile.

Isa and Cocoa-Bell


We have a 4 mo. old kitten that has been seen by 3 Vets and has blood tests but has not seen a neurologist vet. They told us that it would be several thousands to diagnose her problems and then do surgery if necessary. I adore this kitty, but can't afford that. She has intentional tremors and falls mostly to the left side. She's been on antiobiotics for a possible ear infection and steroids for inflammation. I feel awful for her since she falls into her potty and gets wet. She used to use the cat box, but has recently stopped. I'm affraid that we'll have to put her down. Anyone, know of any cure? She's adorable and lovey and would love to help her.


A few month ago our 13 year old cat Smokey went to the groomers. He usually goes once a year and there had never been any problems before. He didn't seem right when we went to pick him up. Granted he is usually mad at us for taking him to the vets but he would have nothing to do woth us. He staggered out of his carrier and went to hide.
It wasn't until later that we realised he was really sick. He wouldn't eat or drink anything and he wouldn't go outside(he is an outdoor cat). We noticed the head tilt and his rapidly moving eyes.
We called the Vet the next morning because he had not improved. He fell over everytime he tried to walk. He was constantly shaking his head as though he had water in his ears. We took him to the vet and it cost us $600 to rule out other symptoms. He stayed overnight at the vets so they could try to get some food into him.
When we got him back he had to be restricted to one floor because we were afraid he would fall down the stairs. He could only manage a bit of tuna and water and sat for hours with his head resting in a corner. It looked as though he was trying to steady himself.
Luckilly he improved over the last months but he will never be the same cat again. He can no longer manage six foot high leaps and bounds on the fence around the yard and he seems to have lost intrest in all of his toys. But the head tilt is mostly gone and you would never guess from looking at him that he is anything but himself.
I was glad to find other people who went through the same thing with their cats. I am glad all of our cats are beter and I hope Smokey will live to a ripe old age. Thanks for listening.


My name is Robyn. I have a 2 1/2 yr. old male dsh kitty. He was diagnosed with feline vestibular syndrome with seizures. This was 3 days ago and with much money spent on bloodwork and tests as well as meds , I believe (I hope !) he is on the road to recovery!! Thank God for this website and a few others merely for moral support and information to know why and when this horribly frightening event will subside. His seizures have become minimal compared to 2 min. episodes of nystigmus and convulsions he was experiencing 2 days ago. I would say they are about 20 sec. long now and are controlled with phenibarbitol every 12 hrs. on the hour as well as cephalexin (an antibiotic) and valium nose drops that I give him in the midst of a seizure. It has been a long couple of days and sleepless nights nursing my loving boy back to health. Please if any body else has experienced seizures associated with vestibular syndrome, comment back asap!!!!! loving mother of sick kitty.........


When I got up this morning my 3 month old kitten was really wobbly and I got really scared that I would have to put him down as I have not money for a vet. I then decided to Google the symptoms. Now I'm waiting since I read that this is probably feline vestibular syndrome. However, I have seen the question posed, but haven't found the answer - is it contagious? I have 4 other cats and 2 dogs in the house. Is there any "prevention" for it?
Someone PLEASE email me and let me know. "ritaperdue at yahoo."
Thanks so much.


My cat had an ear cleaning at the vet after an ear infection and it started the vestibular disease. (I assume that is why coming back from the groomer or other kinds of feline "body work" would trigger it.) Like the rest of you, I assumed it was a stroke or something which would require me to put him down. He needed an IV for awhile to keep him hydrated and nourished since he couldn't do anything. I was greatly relieved when they told me it was just an activated nerve. But that didn't last long when I realized how difficult it would be to keep him fed and hydrated and put outside to go to the bathroom (he won't use a box) It was like having a 1 yr. old. Couldn't leave him on the bed cuz he could fall right off. But his old familiar places were where he would purr and finally be able to slow his breathing and sleep. And of course it was devastating to see my favorite friend so sick, so I wanted to do all i could to make him feel comfortable.
Well, he has improved so much more slowly than they said he would. He is living a pretty normal life now, but is still quite tilted and doesn't see like he used to. Loses his balance when he does the normal head-shaking. I limit his out front times and i know those meant so much to him. But slowly he's going out there, even without me sometimes. So it does get better. But I will be surprised if he ever gets back to like he was before that ear cleaning. He had a cortisone shot soon after to reduce the inflammation on the nerve, but no dramatic improvement there. Now he's been on Prednisone for about a month, again, just slowly getting better. I am so grateful for that! I am no longer heartbroken all the time. It's surprising how I, and I think he, adjust to things over time. He is 11, and I foresee him living a satisfying happy life even with some handicap. I know it's so so horrible when it's a really bad case, but don't give up. It will get better on it's own and the anti-inflammatory shots or pills may be something to try.


My precious calico, Tootsie, started staggering (instead of walking) and then fell down the stairs. After a trip to the ER (middle of the night) followed by a trip to the vet, the possibility of vestibular syndrome seemed most likely. The first 24 hours, she couldn't walk at all. I brought her food and water and she was minimally interested. I was concerned because, although I carried her to the litter box, she wouldn't use it. Finally, about 36 hours after the onset, she managed to stagger to her litter box and clumsily used it. It is now 10 days later and she's probably 75% back. The only lingering issue is weakness in her back end. She can jump up just fine but trying to come down from furniture usually ends with a face-plant! Tootsie is a young 17 years old and we're hopeful for a complete recovery but realize that she may always be a little weak at the rear! Good luck with your kitties.


Have any of you considered Cranial Sacral Therapy for your pets? My first experience with Cranial Sacral happened when I was really sick with Bronchitis and Pneumonia. With one treatment I was able to get up which I hadn't done for 3 days.

I'm also undergoing treatment now for a head trauma I received while getting mugged. Western medicine has no idea how to handle vertigo, but cranial sacral therapy can! It's common to expect a minimum of 3 visits and it could be $60 an hour. Do a google search in your area for "holistic centers" or "cranial sacral therapy" and ask if the practioner works on pets. Many do.

Good luck and good health. Your pets do not have to continue suffering needlessly. They can recover!

tom bailey

Hello-Just a note to say that our 17 year old cat suddenly could not stand up or walk at all (he was perfectly healthy until then). He was diagnosed with "saddle thrombus" which is basically a stroke and we were told to have him euthanized as he would not recover and would not wak again. As my wife and I are both retired and had the time to look after Buffy we took him home and gave him 24 hour care. As he could not get to a litter box we had him in baby diapers (cut a hole for his tail) and there was improvement over the days. After about 2 weeks he was trying to get up and would take a few steps. Too make a long story short it is now 4 months and our cat is about 75% back to normal and walks up and down stairs and still eats like a horse. He does not run much and still wobbles at times and does have some tremors.As he cannot jump we have made stairs for him to get up on his favorite places i.e sofa, bed etc. You can view information about "Saddle Thrombus in cats" in the URL mentioned above. Sadly during this period our other cat who was also 17 died of cancer, but I just wanted to write this note to say do not give up on your animal if they are sick. With older animals most vets will want to euthanize them if they are sickly, so how do they know what their future is if they do not give them a chance. Thanks TOM


I, too, had a similar experience with my 11-year old calico cat. She has always been withdrawn, but I hadn't seen her for a whole day, and that was unusual. First, I noticed her back legs weren't functioning. The next morning, she was flopping all over the place and by the time the next morning rolled around, she was not able to reach her food dish. Of course the tests were inconclusive $600 later, but that's just the way it goes. Reading your posts have given me the courage to keep faith that she will recover and be able to continue her life, although with a handicap. I just brought her home, and she barreled out of the carrier and flopped around the whole apartment. I know she wants to live, so I'm just going to wait it out a few weeks. Good luck to all of you!

Randy & Caren

Our cat took a FVS hit in the middle of the night once. It woke us up yowling on the end of the bed. It's eyes were buzzing and jerking back and forth and she started throwing up. I was certain she was dying so we rushed off to the emergency animal hospital. After taking our information and making an imprint of our credit card, we went into an examing room and the doctor came in. He took one look at the cat and said "Ahhh, Feline Vestibular Syndrome..." Cat stayed overnight with some sedation, got better, symptoms never recurred.

Gail Vickery

Hi Feline Lovers alike! My name is Loki,I am a 1 1/4 yr old 5 point Siamese. I have been diagnosed w/FVS and after 2 months of some partial improvment my owner has decided enough is enough and looking into "Alternative Medical Therapy" for me.
Whats that you ask???? IE: CST, Cranial-Sacaral Therapy & Chiropractic care...
I was once an outoor/indoor kitty who enjoyed the benifits of chaseing a squirrel, catching a small rodent,playing with my other animal family, and just laying around on a sunny day on the front porch. Now I am confined indoors for my own safety. Yes, I have adjusted to that but being lopsided and some unbalanced and not smelling things quite as well as I used too just makes life so so....Loki

I can not and will not settle for text-book answers from vets who are not interested in furthering the science of animals by telling me "maybe this and maybe that". If I can contribute to the wellbeing of an animal, then I have done a good thing by trying...


My 11 year old cat was diagnosed with the vestibular syndrome 5 months ago and has yet to recover. She only eats and drinks on her own, she has been constantly getting sick with other problems since the VS occurred. Sinus infections, diahrrea, respiratory syndrome. SHe has never been better. I am not sure what to do, the vet won't put it down. She must be in pain because she cries constantly. I have no idea what to do.


Thank you for all of your posts. I have a ten year old cat that was diagnosed with FVS three days ago. I am very grateful that my Vet saw him quickly and saw the issue for what is was. A diagnoses and $80 later, we had a scary word that I wasn't really sure what it meant. Thank you for taking the time to explain your stories and the time frame that you began to notice changes. FOr my 10 year old cat Koko, luckly he is only sideways with minimal eye twitching. He isn't eating as much as normal - but I am feeding him treats and giving him lots of love. I'm keeping an eye on him as best as I can, putting on his favorite high places and putting him back down. Good luck to all of you!

Paul Khanton

One of our cats, Rocky, exhibited the following symptoms that developed without warning: he couldn't walk straight, had a great deal of difficulty managing to jump even low heights, and his eyes appeared dialated and almost "twirly".

He had a simple concussion. It healed after a few days, and years later occassionally the symptoms reappear.

Beth Chynoweth

My 2 yr old cat would usually rush to the door and want to go outside first thing every morning. I figured she was not feeling to well one morning after she threw up. A few hours later I was looking for her to see how she was doing and found her laying at the bottom of our steps. She must have fallen down them.
I was so frightened to look at her lifeless body and not know what happened to her. I rushed her on a saturday morning to the ER vet, since all the vet offices were closed. After 800.00 later, they kept her for two nights on IV and gave her antibiotic & steriods, but they kept saying that they had no idea what is wrong. I was really concerned trying to guess what this could be. I told them that I help some strays around my home & had them set up to be placed in the Human society to get them homes and that one by one they had disappeared. One of the cats came back with a leg injury, I took him in to the human society and they said it was a bullet in his leg.[Human society is helping this cat now]
But someone in my area is shooting these cats and this little fella made it back to me.
I thought maybe my cat was hit on the head or even poisened by this terrible person. After blood tests and cleaning her out they still found nothing. A tech at the ER told me that this could be Vestibular syndrom. I had know idea about this. I came online and checked it all out and it does seem that she has this. The one strange thing I've noticed is that the majority of cats that get this is in the months of June,July & August. Also that for some reason severe storms have something to do with this. We had a very bad lightning storm that my cat was out in two days before all this happend, a tree fell in our yard and it was very windy. It's been over two weeks now since this happened. I had to force feed my cat with baby food and a special canned food I got from the vet. I had to make her drink water out of a seringe as well. She could not stand at all, but God love her she would sruggle to her litter box to go potty. I've been trying to stimulate her and I take her outside to lounge on the deck or grass, I know she loves it outside. She gradually is walking better but still not herself. I recently requested them to give us something to help her with dizziness, this has helped alot in her wanting to get up and walk on her own. She is eating on her own now and has improved. I even seen her hiss at my other cat and growl. That was wonderful! I'm concerned after two weeks that the head tilt and the stumbling & all that will never go away. Will she always be this way?Although she is better, will this be her life from now on? She still is so helpless without me to watch over her.
Has anyone else had such a severe case of this with their pet? I see so many that get this but are back to normal soon after.


My 12 year old cat Murphy last night began exhibiting signs of Vestibular Disorder. I was extremely worried all night not knowing what was wrong with her. She was refusing water and food so I began giving her water via a turkey baster. I feared she had suffered a stroke but decided to wait until morning when my vet was open. I brought her in fearing the worst and learned she was suffering from Vestibular Disorder. She was prescribed a sedative. I am hoping that in a few days she will show improvment. Until then I will continue to water feed her via the turkey baster. I pray that she completely recovers to a quality way of life.

Laura Hausch

I am so happy I found this blog! After taking our cat to the vet, feeding by IV, antibiotics, and steriods for the same symptoms everyone else has posted, I decided to google cats and vertigo. Misty started her symptoms by scratching her ear then falling over. Within 2 days, her balance was so out of whack, so I took her to the vet. The vet ran all kinds of tests, and got her back on her feet so we could bring her home and love her dearly. It has been 3 weeks now and she seems to get better, but then has her bad days where her head tilts more, and she loses her balance again. She sleeps more, but still eats and uses her litter box. I am hoping that some of the people who posted earlier in this blog can come back and tell us how their staggering kitties are now. We live in the islands and run boat charters, so now we say our kitty leans-to-port. Poor girl!


My 1 year old cat WalnutHead (don't ask)who seriously testing the 9 lives theory was recently diagnosed with FVD. While recovering from surgery for a broken hip from being run over by a car (the only cat I have ever known to survive such) I was at home on lunch break about 4 weeks ago and my nephew laughed and informed me that my cat was "drunk". I went to his hiding place and pulled him out and was immediately worried. His eyes were bolting back and forth like the Felix the Cat clock in highspeed. Luckily, the vet was open and I rushed him there. The vet knew immediately what it was and gave him a sedative and kept him there for a few days. I was told he should recover within 14 days. It has taken a little longer than that but he is now beginning to play around and walk faster. Still gets off balance and flops over if he shakes his head. His tilt has not gone away which is what I was really hoping for. He no longer "meows" and he CANNOT swim. He had problems with cleaning himself and looked really "nappy" so we decided to give him a bath. Walnut almost drowned in 2 inches of water in the bath tub. He rolled over and over like an alligator and had his claws out so you couldn't just reach down and pick him up. My poor little kitty is changed but I still love him the same. His mom showed up one day and took up at our house. She was a solid black "thumb cat" who stayed long enough to have a litter of 4 kittens and he is the only one we kept. She ran off and he looks just like her... a solid black 12 pack. Walnut looks pitiful but gets around fine. It has taken a while for him to adjust and figure out how to adapt with his head tilt but all in all he is good... SPOILED too!

Deanna Filippone

My 7 year old outdoor cat was diagnosed with probable vestibular disorder in June. He was put on amoxicillan. It is September and he is still not completely better. I put him on another weeks worth of amoxy and he is almost better but still falls to the side when he jumps down and seems a little off balance. My vet wants to test him for feline leukemia and aids. From researching on the internet and observing that the antiobiotics do seem to help, I think that he needs a stronger combination antiobiotic. It is not as simple as the vets would have you initially believe. He was vacacinated for feline leukemia and eats well and looks otherwise healthy. I have noticed that he is drinking more water. I will have his blood sugar tested, but I'm not sure about the other blood tests, since there is no cure for either and you just have to treat the secondary infections. Does anyone have a comment on this? I'll let you know what happens.


Deanna, I hope your cat is doing better.

My 13-year-old Hecubus has an underlying condition: kidney disease, diagnosed when he was 10. He had a bout with vestibular disorder in early September, and I now believe it was triggered by an ear cleaning he had during a trip to the vet for a scheduled blood draw, part of his CRF monitoring. Hecubus seemed to be feeling fine the morning of the appointment; back home that same afternoon, he was dizzy, vomiting,and refusing food. By that evening, he would shake himself and topple over.

Because Hec's CRF *seemed* to be the likely cause (the blood test showed that his creatinine levels were moderately elevated, up from last visit's high normal), he was hospitalized and put on intraveneous fluids for three days.

Back at home, with creatinine levels lowered (and subQ fluids introduced), he still wasn't himself: still weak, still unsteady, and still uncharacteristically silent. On the morning of the 10th day, Hec seemed, if anything, worse: sitting with his head tilted and turned over his left shoulder in an obviously unnatural posture. I called my vet. Although he seemed a bit skeptical of my ear-cleaning-triggered-FVS theory and more inclined to attibute everything to the CRF, he prescribed the antibiotic Zenaquin. But ... when I arrived home that afternoon with the pricey bottle of pills, Hecubus's symptoms were GONE. I'd read about FVS's sudden resolution on this site and some of that I found through links provided here. Yep, it was sudden.

To everyone who has posted comments on this site, thank you so much for sharing the stories of your kitties. To anyone who has reached this entry, I hope Hec's experience offers some reassurance. It's been a month, and he is back to his old self: talkative, playful, jumping strong, steady on his feet, and eating well. Right now, he is purring and trying to step on the keyboard.


Hi, I have 10 year old cat named George. He has been diabetic for 4 years now. He has been on insulin for 3. Two weeks ago, George started with a bout of Vestibular Syndrome. He was falling over, head tilted and eyes darting side to side. Since then,, his Blood glucose has returned to normal, and he hasnt needed any insulin. Wonderful, but a mystery. He was improving the last 2 days, and was getting more balanced, but now today he is back to falling over and very tired looking. His blood glucose is normal. To everyone who reads these postings,,did your cat have bad days before they got better. I was so hopeful that he was getting better, but now I am back to square one again. And how long does it last? And can it be permanent?
Thanks for listening and please post your experiences and suggestions.



Thank you, thank you, thank you! to all who have posted about FVD. My 10 year old was just diagnosed 2 days ago. He's at the Vet's and still has no appetite. They told me to expect that and it would resolve itself in time.He's on meds because there is an ear infection as well.I feel so much better now that I know we are not alone with this. His name is Archie, so y'all keep him in your thoughts and we send good wishes to all of you too.I'll write again with an update.


My own cat, Idgie, has started to display some conditions consistant with vestibular neurological disorder, and a lot that I'm not sure on. She falls to one side, is stong in legs, but unable to seem to support herself on them, opting to "crawl" until she seemingly wears herself out. I've not noticed the eye movements that others have mentioned. She has an appetite, but has to be taken to food. Same with use of the box. She is fully aware. Also, this came upon her over only a couple weeks, starting with difficulty with one back leg. Am I clutching onto hops that this is vestibular neurological disorder -- or is this much, much worse?

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