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Old cat turns on itself: what does this mean?
Old cat turns on itself: what does this mean?

Maybe not everyone knows this but cats carefully plan every single path they take, and even every single step, based on a specific purpose. It is therefore very rare that they make more random movements and find themselves, for example, a turn on themselves: this could be a medical problem, especially moles older cats. Let's see what exactly this behavior means.

elderly cat
elderly cat

When an elderly cat goes around in circles, perhaps with an air bewildered and in one direction, there may be several disturbances behind:

  • Vestibular syndrome;
  • Ear infections;
  • Hypertension;
  • Hypoglycemia;
  • Cognitive dysfunction;
  • Head trauma;
  • Injury to the brain.

Vestibular syndrome

It is a disorder that occurs quickly and attacks the ear of the animal, depriving it of balance and coordination of movements. It is often idiopathic, that is, without a precise cause, but sometimes it is possible to trace the causes, including:

  • Fungal or viral infections;
  • Inner ear inflammation or infections;
  • Inner ear tumors or polyps;
  • Head or ear trauma.

Deaf cats are more prone to vestibular syndrome, consequently white cats may be more affected as they are genetically more predisposed to deafness. Obviously, advancing age also subjects us to the same type of risk.

elderly cat
elderly cat

Ear infections

L' inner ear it is responsible for the cat's sense of balance and orientation. In case of infection, this sense will be compromised even only temporarily. These infections are common in cats and can make them distracted and disoriented, possibly causing them to spin around.

If you notice such behavior in your cat, take a look at his ears: if you notice brown granules similar to coffee powder, the animal is infested with mites. The veterinarian will be able to make them disappear by carefully cleaning the affected area.

If you do not find traces of mites, it could still be an infection: look for signs of redness or inflammation. In these cases, the veterinarian will still be able to easily solve the problem, even with the help of adequate drug therapy.

Ear infections are rarely fatal but should not be ignored, especially if your cat is elderly: they could cause deafness permanent and loss of control of the facial muscles in addition to the aforementioned disorientation.

elderly cat
elderly cat


Hypertension, which consists of an excessive increase in blood pressure, is very common in older cats and can damage not only various organs but also the mental faculties of the animal.

Walking in circles is just one of the symptoms of hypertension, which causes a whole series of type irregularities neurological: the cat could, for example, go from lethargy to hyperactivity in a very short time.

As just mentioned, hypertension can also damage the animal's heart, eyes and kidneys. For this reason it is the case to do to monitor your blood pressure at least once a year after the age of 7. When the cat turns 10, have it checked a couple of times a year. The veterinarian will determine if any pressure increase has specific causes or not, and will take the necessary measures.

elderly cat
elderly cat


When the blood sugar level drops too low, hypoglycemia is present, which is usually very common in diabetic cats. Skipping a meal, throwing up after eating, or getting an insulin overdose can all lead to this problem.

Shortly before a seizure, your cat may turn around. Others symptoms include:

  • Loss of interest in normal daily activities
  • Muscle twitching
  • Loss of muscle strength
  • Epileptic seizures, which often cause the animal to lose consciousness.

Call the veterinarian immediately if you suspect that your cat has gone into hypoglycemia: for immediate action they will also be able to help you over the phone, perhaps suggesting that eat something to recover your strength.

elderly cat
elderly cat

Head trauma

There are many causes of a head injury in a cat: falls from a considerable height, fights with other animals, collisions with some objects are just some of these. If your cat behaves strangely after a blow to the head, one is needed medical examination. A series of tests will help determine the severity of the damage, and taking action in time could even save his life.

Brain tumor

Unfortunately cats are prone to the development of malignant tumors to the brain, which strike at all ages and are independent of whatever lifestyle they lead. It will be their behavior that will make you understand if there is a problem of this type. In addition to turning on itself, the cat may:

  • Having more and more violent seizures, eventually losing consciousness;
  • Press or rub your head against a wall or other solid surface;
  • Meowing more frequently and purring less
  • Having a strangely aggressive behavior
  • Showing coordination problems, staggering and bumping into visible objects;
  • Having the head extremely sensitive to touch.

Have your cat examined at the first sign that something is wrong, so that the best treatment can be planned as soon as possible.

elderly cat
elderly cat

Cognitive dysfunctions

There dementia in cats, called feline cognitive dysfunction, it is as debilitating for them as it is for humans and is also very common: it affects more than half of cats between 11 and 15 years old and up to 80% of cats older than 16 years.

This disease has various symptoms, all of which are extremely unpleasant. In addition to the aforementioned disorientation and the tendency to turn on oneself, others symptoms of senile dementia in cats are:

  • Tendency to go to the toilet outside the litter box;
  • Difficulty recognizing you or other family members when you return home
  • Confusion and discomfort due to seemingly harmless obstacles in their path;
  • Tendency to stare at nothing for long periods of time, even hours;
  • Distant and aggressive behavior, or much more affectionate than usual
  • Loss of interest in food, cleaning, exercise, or play
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • More lively meowing than usual, especially in the evening or at night.

If an older cat always walks back and forth in the same area or around the perimeter of a room, it could be suffering from an advanced stage of dementia, especially if it meows more than usual: it is expressing the unease that this disorientation causes him.

elderly cat
elderly cat

It is probably about memory problems: he can't remember where the litter box is and hopes to stumble upon it, wandering randomly around the room; he wants to get some sleep but does not remember where the most comfortable place is for him; or he is sure he has left his favorite toy somewhere, but he does not remember where.

If you notice such behavior, do not frighten him and above all do not scold him: you could amplify his already strong discomfort! Your furry friend needs all the love and compassion you can give him in a moment of discomfort like this.

Obviously these symptoms do not automatically constitute a diagnosis of cognitive dysfunction: they could be determined by other factors, but it is always good consult your vet if they are observed in your pet. If the diagnosis is confirmed, the disorder worsens with age, but identifying it promptly makes it possible to slow down its course.