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Twirling sideways-ish

(14 Posts)
DingDongErrorlyOnHigh Wed 12-Dec-12 02:15:04

One of my cats (rescued, approx 2yr old female) has a strange gait. She never seems to walk in a straight line, always has her side facing you when she comes towards you, and sort of twirls from side to side as she does it. When you get close enough she runs off sideways as well! She's been like that ever since we've had her, never mentioned it to the vet as she's not in pain or otherwise acting out of character.

So I don't think this is a medical 'problem' as such, just wanted to know if this is a common thing for cats, as our other cat doesn't do it, previous cat never did, and no other cat I know does either! She is happy and chirrupy, so was just curious to know if this was normal.

cozietoesie Wed 12-Dec-12 06:59:26

Weird. I think that's one for the vets among us. If I had to guess, I'd guess that she was maybe born to an undernourished feral or young mother (you don't know any of her history?) and inherited a little bit of some deficiency/had a difficult birth which has affected her brain and coordination. Still - if she's happy, free of pain and living and working with her problem then there's nothing to do but accept the oddity. (I'm assuming that she eats, drinks and poos/pees all as normal so there's no other cause for concern.)

smile

DingDongErrorlyOnHigh Wed 12-Dec-12 09:23:21

I was looking up 'sideways' cats on youtube last night and the only vids I could find were ones of cats doing the spooked thing where they arch their backs and tails. She doesn't do that, and she isn't a 'wobbly' cat either like one who has Cerebellar Hypoplasia. She just swishes her tail and twirls about as she walks, like she's a bit tipsy. Don't know much of her history, except she arrived at the shelter with another cat (which we also adopted) who was 3 years old at the time (4 now). We wondered if she was this one's mother, but really not sure. Sideways cat is naturally skinny and small. I did wonder if she had a brain condition or balance problem, but she seems happy and healthy enough, it's just a bit odd! smile

cozietoesie Wed 12-Dec-12 09:34:05

Just a bit odd, indeed. smile Unless another poster can shed light on it, I'd be inclined to think it's a mild congenital brain condition - but if she's happy and healthy and has learned to live through her problem then I wouldn't worry too much about it. You could always mention it to the vet, just in passing, when you go next for her check up but I wouldn't be inclined to make any sort of special visit if she's had it since you got her, a year ago.

smile

tabbycat15 Wed 12-Dec-12 12:45:25

This is called Ataxia. It can be a balance problem or due to a stroke.
My cat had pancreatitis & deteriorated & died. The last week she was walking like she was drunk & flipping over & losing her balance.
I would get the vet to check her out. They shine a light in the eye to check for a stoke.

cozietoesie Wed 12-Dec-12 12:54:32

Well I would have suggested that, tabbycat15, but DingDong isn't describing any lack of coordination or loss of balance. Just that Dingcat2 is going sideways and always has.

Interested to hear others' thoughts though.

smile

DingDongErrorlyOnHigh Wed 12-Dec-12 13:34:42

Dingcat2 grin I like it! She's not falling over or losing balance really, just a little off kilter. I'm really trying to find a video which best describes how she is so I can post it. She's out at the moment so can't get a vid of her myself, and she's not the sort to 'perform' on demand if I wanted her to demonstrate! She's only 2 so I don't suspect anything sinister at the moment, it's just a funny little quirk I hoped there was an explanation for. Sorry about your cat tabby, losing a little fur pal is awful flowers

cozietoesie Wed 12-Dec-12 13:42:13

That would be useful, DingDong. Not that your descriptive powers are desperately lacking but you do sound rather like me trying to describe a strange car sound to my mechanic over the phone! grin It could be ataxia after all.

If you could get a video of her, it would be useful to you as well - you could show it to your own vet if needed and she wasn't performing 'on demand'.

DingDongErrorlyOnHigh Wed 12-Dec-12 14:28:15

ErrorCat2

Okay sorry for rubbish quality on my phone, best I could do as I was trying to catch her in the moment. It's only the first 5 seconds which even hint at how she walks, but doesn't show the full extent (it's more pronounced & obvious when she's excited or happy) She is often leaning more than this, and notice her back legs seem to be not quite aligned with the rest of her. In the vid description, I also put that she has a little squint in her right eye, and usually leans to the left, don't know if this is related, but she's not in distress in any way. Might have to watch the first 5 seconds a few times to notice anything unusual at all.

I looked at ataxia vids on youtube but ErrorCat2 doesn't have the same 'look' about her that they do, like they're walking with sticky feet. She's just a bit wonky! grin

cozietoesie Wed 12-Dec-12 14:42:48

I see what you mean for that first few seconds. Beats me, I'm afraid - maybe one of the vets who post can give you a quick reaction. She looks quite in control of herself doesn't she? Pretty kitty by the way!

DingDongErrorlyOnHigh Wed 12-Dec-12 14:48:52

Aw thank you, she is a little cutie! She's seems quite in control there as she was relaxed and on her way to get a snack! When she's excited her back end is swishing around and she looks a bit dizzy haha! Would love a vet's opinion in case it is just an odd quirk that's not a problem, but I would take her to the vet if I was advised to. Every time we take her we don't mention it, and they never mention anything feeling or looking weird, but they don't see her walking around like I do.

cozietoesie Wed 12-Dec-12 15:03:15

What you could always do, DingDong is catch a video of her when she's at her most excited, phone the vets, and ask if you could email it to them (if you have a good relationship with them.) See if they feel the need to see her. Or take the 'excited' video with you next time she goes for a check up.

That's if someone on this board can't give you a better idea more quickly.

smile

DingDongErrorlyOnHigh Wed 12-Dec-12 15:17:51

Good idea, thank you. She's gone out again but will try to catch her another time and perhaps post it here too. smile

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 12-Dec-12 19:17:33

You can get some weird and wonderful gaits including intention tremours and various ataxia's due infection in the uterus with feline panleucopaenia often seen in kittens from feral mothers.
If she is able to live a normal happy life and has always been like that I would stress too much.

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