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Why is My Cat Suddenly so Lethargic?

cat lethargic

Lethargy in cats can be a symptom of many different conditions. We’ve listed some of the more common causes below:


Just like humans, cats can pick up viruses that make them feel poorly and lethargic.


Arthritis is a painful condition of the joints that can make moving around difficult. Arthritis is much more common in older cats.


Being overweight puts extra strain on joints and the heart and often causes lethargy.

Bladder problems

Both cystitis (bladder inflammation) and bacterial cystitis (bladder infection or UTI) make a cat feel very unwell.

Kidney disease

Kidney disease causes waste products to build up in the bloodstream and make your cat feel very poorly. Kidney disease can come on quickly or gradually.


Diabetes often causes lethargy at the same time as weight loss and extreme hunger and thirst.


Anaemia is a low number of red blood cells – red blood cells transport oxygen around the body. Anaemia can cause your cat to feel weak and lethargic.


Stress in cats can lead to many health issues and can cause them to withdraw. Cats are quite prone to stress.

Heart disease

Heart problems lead to poor circulation and often causes lethargy.


Cancer, although much rarer than other causes in this list, often makes a cat feel lethargic (as well as many other symptoms).

Toxins or poisons

Exposure to toxins or poisons, rat poison for example, can cause severe illness (and be a possible cause of lethargy).


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