Symptoms of Lethargy, Slow Moving & Balding in Cats

Malnutrition hurts your cat's energy levels and increases hair loss.
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If your cat's been losing hair and avoiding activity, then something isn't right. Shedding isn't a big deal by itself, but it's a sign of serious illness when paired with other symptoms. Take him in for a checkup so your vet can figure out what's keeping your cat down.

Hormonal Disorders

Hormones are essential. Without them, your cat wouldn't be able to digest food or control his body. An excessive or deficient supply of hormones can make your cat feel exhausted and shed more than usual. Cushing's disease, caused by damage to the adrenal glands, increases your pet's appetite, thins his hair and reduces muscle strength, according to the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. Diabetes is another common hormonal disorder that produces similar symptoms. If your kitty spends a lot of time at the water bowl, and subsequently the litter box, then diabetes might be to blame. Your vet can conduct a series of blood tests to check for signs of hormonal imbalances.


Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is one of several viruses that have a profound impact on your kitty's well-being. Clinical signs include depression, which is defined by lack of energy and interest, as well as weight loss and changes in coat texture. The feline leukemia and immunodeficiency viruses also lead to various health issues, including lethargy and increased shedding. Viruses weaken your cat's immune system, so it's very possible he is suffering from a skin infection that is causing extra damage to his fur.


Worms may not seem like suspects in a case involving hair loss, but it's actually possible for internal parasites to cause damages to your kitty's beautiful coat. Hookworms and other digestive parasites reduce your cat's energy levels by stealing nutrients from his meals. They also diminish his blood supply. Kittens and smaller cats are at a higher risk of anemia due to blood from parasites. Cats with anemia start shedding excessively and often have trouble moving around. If your vet finds evidence of parasites, he will prescribe the appropriate medication.

Other Causes

Hair loss and lethargy are pretty scary symptoms, but they aren't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, hair loss and behavioral changes could be signs that your cat is pregnant, according to the ASPCA. If the weather turned hot recently, your kitty may be avoiding activity so she can stay cool until her undercoat falls out. If your cat spends a lot of time scratching, he might have skin or food allergies. Laying around is probably the only thing he feels like doing if he's not feeling well. If your kitty is on medication, ask your vet if his symptoms could simply be side effects of the prescription.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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