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Why A Cat Can’t Walk After Gabapentin, And How To Help

Why A Cat Can’t Walk After Gabapentin, And How To Help

Gabapentin is a medicine used to relieve various conditions in felines, such as stress, anxiety disorders, and chronic pain. 

Initially, this drug was used to treat seizures in humans, but, soon it was established that it has many other benefits, like treating chronic pain in cats caused, for example, by cancer or arthritis. Also, it helps reduce anxiety and is even used for seizure management in cats.

Gabapentin is nowadays considered safe for cats, but, as with any other medicine, there are still possible side effects. 

If you notice your cat can’t walk after gabapentin – this can definitely be a consequence of taking this medicine. 

Let’s learn more about this issue, and what you should do to help your kitten.

Why A Cat Can’t Walk After Taking Gabapentin?

the vet examines a cat that cannot walk

Gabapentin can be given to cats, but, according to VCA Animal Hospitals, it’s essential to follow the veterinarian’s directions when it comes to the dosage of this medicine.

So, this is a drug many cat parents will give their pets at least once in their lifetime since it’s effective for so many different conditions. 

Karen Haaften and her associates [1] point out that Gabapentin is also a safe and effective treatment to reduce a cat’s fear before veterinary examinations and transportation.

Side effects of this drug aren’t that common, but are, of course, always possible to happen. PetMD explains that some of the Gabapentin side effects in cats are sedation and loss of coordination. Vomiting and excess drooling are also possible.

Therefore, a cat’s inability to walk after taking Gabapentin potentially can be seen as a side effect. Also, if a cat shows a lack of coordination, this could indicate an overdose of Gabapentin in her.

Furthermore, this side effect could also mean that your cat needs the adjusting of Gabapentin dose she’s having.

Of course, if you notice this, you need to take your kitten to a vet clinic right away.

What Are The Risks Factors Of Gabapentin Use In Cats?

Pregnant cats and those that nurse their kittens shouldn’t be given Gabapentin.

Also, cats with severe health conditions, such as kidney problems, or cats with decreased liver function shouldn’t take this medicine.

Some cats also might experience drug allergies, so, you should consult your veterinarian before even thinking of giving this medicine to your pet.

See Also: Kidney Disease In Cats – When To Euthanize?

How Much Of Gabapentin Is Safe For Cats?

The Gabapentin dosage will not be the same for every cat. The veterinarian will prescribe the adequate dosage following your cat’s weight, age, and the health problem this medicine is supposed to help with.

Pharmacist Carmen Pope suggests that vets usually prescribe 1.5 to 5 mg per pound of Gabapentin every 12 hours for cats in pain.

If the cat is struggling with seizures, the recommended dosage of this medicine goes from 2.5 to 5 mg per pound every 8 to 12 hours.

If your veterinarian estimates that it is necessary – he might suggest even higher doses.

The most important thing is to strictly follow his instructions, and not to give any additional dose of Gabapentin to your cat, as well as not to skip giving her this medicine as prescribed.

Of course, in addition to following the instructions, you should always observe your cat and see how she reacts to the medicine, especially if she is taking it for the first time.

How Can You Tell Your Cat Isn’t Able To Walk After Gabapentin?

a sick cat lies with its eyes open

Some owners might notice their cat trying to walk, but without any success.

But, there are also some other symptoms you might notice. Some cats will not be able to stand at all, some will look completely unsteady on their feet, while some will stumble as they try to walk.

It is also possible that you will notice that your furry pet cannot maintain balance while standing still.

All this can have a very negative effect on the cat and cause them to show no will for absolutely anything, not even for eating and drinking.

How To Help A Cat Unable To Walk?

If your cat suddenly isn’t able to walk, and you know she has recently taken Gabapentin, you need to contact your veterinarian urgently!

Through a thorough examination of your cat, the veterinarian will determine whether Gabapentin really caused her paralysis.

Further treatment may involve changing the dose of Gabapentin, or even completely replacing this drug with another.

Also, physical therapy and home care will be needed to get your cat back on its feet. In rare cases, it may even be necessary to perform surgery.

Here, it is very important that you react as soon as you notice the first symptom that could indicate that your cat has difficulty walking.


the vet examines a cat that can walk

Gabapentin is a truly effective drug that can reduce anxiety in cats and significantly help relieve chronic pain. No one is thrilled with the fact that their pet needs to be given medication, but when we know that it will make their daily life easier, we accept this much more easily, right?

However, as with any other medicine, you need to be very careful when using Gabapentin and monitor your cat’s reaction. Unfortunately, some owners will encounter a cat that cannot walk after Gabapentin.

In such cases, it is necessary to urgently request veterinary help, since this side effect of the drug can have far-reaching consequences, especially if the cat’s parent doesn’t react on time.

If you would like to know more about the use of medication in cats, you may be interested in the article on whether it is possible for Prednisone to kill a cat. See you there!

[1] Van Haaften KA, Forsythe LRE, Stelow EA, Bain MJ. Effects of a single preappointment dose of gabapentin on signs of stress in cats during transportation and veterinary examination. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2017 Nov 15;251(10):1175-1181. DOI, Retrieved June 15, 2023.