Is Your Cat’s Weird Eye Movement a Sign of a Serious Problem? Nystagmus in Cats

Nystagmus is a condition that causes involuntary eye movements. It is a relatively common condition in cats, and various factors, including inner ear infections, neurological disorders, and head injuries, can cause it.

Close up of a maine coon cat with yellow and green eyes
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

What are the symptoms of nystagmus in cats?

The main symptom of nystagmus in cats is involuntary eye movements. These eye movements can be horizontal, vertical, or circular. They may be constant or intermittent.

Other symptoms of nystagmus in cats may include:

  • Head tilting
  • Loss of balance
  • Difficulty walking
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • What are the causes of nystagmus in cats?

Nystagmus is a condition characterized by rapid, involuntary eye movements. Various factors, including inner ear infections, neurological disorders, and tumors, can cause it. Nystagmus can also be a congenital condition, meaning it is present from birth.

Symptoms of nystagmus in cats

The most common symptom of nystagmus in cats is rapid, involuntary eye movements. These eye movements can be horizontal, vertical, or both. In some cases, the eye movements may be so severe that the cat appears to be blind.

Other symptoms of nystagmus in cats include:

  • Clumsiness
  • Head bobbing
  • Balance problems
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Causes of nystagmus in cats

Nystagmus in cats can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Inner ear infections
  • Neurological disorders, such as meningitis and encephalitis
  • Tumors
  • Head injuries
  • Certain medications
  • Congenital conditions
  • Diagnosis of nystagmus in cats

If you suspect your cat has nystagmus, you must take them to the vet for a diagnosis. The vet will perform a physical exam and ask you about your cat’s medical history. They may also order additional tests, such as blood tests, imaging tests, and neurological tests.

Treatment of nystagmus in cats

The treatment for nystagmus in cats will depend on the underlying cause. If an inner ear infection causes the nystagmus, the vet will prescribe antibiotics. If the nystagmus is caused by a neurological disorder, the vet may prescribe medication or surgery. In some cases, there is no cure for nystagmus, but the symptoms can be managed with medication.

YouTube video:

This video shows a cat with nystagmus who is absolutely fine. Sometimes, it’s just a genetic condition; many cats can lead healthy, full lives.


Nystagmus is a condition that causes involuntary eye movements in cats. It is a relatively common condition, and it can be caused by various factors. If you notice that your cat has nystagmus, it is important to take them to the veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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