A cat might suddenly start to shake its head due to a variety of reasons. This sudden occurrence can be a cause of stress to many owners as they become concerned about their feline friend’s well-being.
If your cat starts to shake its head in the same manner humans do when they have Parkinson’s disease, there might be many possible causes behind it, and you need to search for a solution accordingly.
Reasons why Cat head shaking like Parkinson’s
A cat might be shaking its head in a similar way to Parkinson’s disease for several reasons. Some of these reasons are trivial, while others might be fatal.
It is crucial to detect the cause as early as possible to look for proper treatment. Some of the reasons for the head-shaking are:
Ear infection and other ear problems
If your cat develops an ear infection, it is likely to shake its head frequently in discomfort.
Infections are usually caused by some types of bacteria, fungus, or ear mites, often causing intense itching and irritation.
It might also cause a significant amount of pain due to the accumulation of fluids in the ear canal.
It might also be shaking its head due to a condition called ‘aural hematoma,’ which usually causes blood-filled blisters inside the inner ear flap.
It occurs due to a ruptured blood vessel caused by injury or some accident. Your cat might also shake its head if any foreign particles get inside their delicate ears, which causes a lot of distress.
The pancreas secretes insulin into the cat’s body, but insulin overproduction leads to a particular insulinoma condition.
A tumor causes it in the cat’s pancreas. Insulinoma usually decreases the blood sugar level, which leaves the cat weak and prone to seizures.
Shaking of the head is one of the most common symptoms of the disease and can be used to detect it at an early stage, which helps seek the necessary medical assistance.
Some cats are prone to allergies and can be allergic to certain foods, fragrances, pollen, insects, etc. It usually causes immense itching in the areas around the neck, ear, head, etc.
Allergies irritate the cat and can lead to head shaking.
If you suspect the cause of the head-shaking to be allergies, you should look for the possible reason and isolate the cat from the allergen to help with the symptoms.
If you notice your cat shaking its head like Parkinson’s, you must check their oral health. Conditions like gingivitis, toothache, or rotting teeth can be very infuriating to the cat.
They usually start shaking their head as a sign of their underlying oral problem. Other symptoms include drooling, licking, and sometimes lack of grooming themselves due to their teeth’ pain.
You will also notice that it hesitates to eat the usual amount of food and might showcase aggressive behavior.
Feline infectious Peritonitis (FIP)
FIP is a rare viral disease that affects both wild and domestic cats. It involves the cat’s body’s neurological system, which often leads to an involuntary shaking of the head and sometimes seizures.
Other evident symptoms of the disease include fever, loss of appetite, labored breathing, drastic weight loss, tiredness, lack of luster in the coat, etc. If the cat contracts FIP, their chances of survival are very thin.
Cats can also shake their heads if they are bitten by some insects like fleas, wasps, or ticks. These insects often leave marks on the cat and cause redness, swelling, and irritation on the areas they target.
These insects usually bite around the cat’s face and neck, which leads to the shaking of the head. Most of these bites are harmless and heal over time if you apply a soothing ointment.
However, if you notice any unnatural behavior in the cat after the insect bite, you need to immediately consult a vet.
If you have a Sphynx or a Devon Rex and notice frequent head shaking in your cat, there is a possibility that it might have a condition called ‘spasticity’.
It is a rare genetic condition occurring in a few numbers of these cats and is also called myopathy.
It is a condition that affects muscular movement that leads to weakness, fatigue, difficulty walking, and bobbing of the head.
However, this disease can be prevented through an appropriate DNA test, thanks to modern technology.
What to do if your cat’s head shaking like Parkinson’s
If you notice that your cat shakes its head like it has Parkinson’s disease, the most important thing you need to do is to consult a veterinarian immediately.
You need to closely monitor the cat and note the head-shaking patterns, which might help diagnose your pet.
A vet will help you detect the exact cause of the problem and suggest solutions.
You should never try to diagnose the cat on your own and buy medicines without a prescription, as it might be dangerous to the cat. The head shaking cause might not be a serious one, but you should seek medical help anyway.
The doctor would run the required test to determine the cause. If it is an ear infection, you would be advised certain medicines that you need to provide to the cat on time.
Suppose the vet detects it as an aural hematoma or any infection resulting in fluid accumulation in their ears.
In that case, he /she will discuss the necessary treatments with you. They might opt to surgically remove the fluid from the ears to ease the cat.
This option is only preferred when the condition is severe, and there are no other possible alternatives.
In case of a pest infestation, you are simply recommended to apply the medicines recommended by the vet. You should also bathe the cat if you see dirt and grease on its body.
The doctor can advise you medication for pain, swelling, and itching caused by various factors like allergies, oral problems, etc. that are usually responsible for head shaking.
Certain conditions like insulinoma need therapy and continuous medical monitoring.
The prognosis to cure the cat’s sudden head-shaking depends on what condition your cat is diagnosed with.
Sometimes the shakings would go away as abruptly as it started, and other times it persists until you consult a doctor.
Veterinary assistance with proper medication is significant for the healing process. Your cat needs lots of love and cares to recover from their condition and be healthy again.
Hi There, AJ Oren here. I am the founder of this amazing pet blog & a passionate writer who loves helping pet owners to learn more about their pets through my articles. I am also the content manager of this blog. I have experience in pet training and behavior, sheltering, and currently working for a veterinary clinic.