My cat is lethargic and not going to the toilet as often

by Carol

We were adopted by a stray cat 5 months ago…a bit wild but over the months she has become a real family pet.

We have done the vet thing. She has had the op so no more kittens and she is wormed on a 3 month basis.

My problem is over the past 2 days, Pops has been walking very slowly, not jumping up and as far as I can tell and not going to the toilet as often.

She is eating (dry food) with a little cooked chicken in the evening.

She has taken to kneading which I don’t worry about.

Please can you help?

I’m worried for her, as we don’t know her history.


Hi Carol… Thanks for visiting and asking. I could simply say, “Go to to vet….”. But you have asked and expect a reply. I will do my best using the best resources and my own experience. The wonderful regular visitors also provide first class answers. That said the symptoms that you describe are very unspecific.

I changed the title to reflect what I see as the signs of possible illness that you describe.

Walking slowly and not jumping indicate a lethargy to me. This is a very general, non-specific symptom that something is not quite right but even that is not certain. Anyway if we judge that to be a sign of feeling unwell, the next symptom is clearer; not going to the toilet as often.

If this is accompanied by a lack of appetite and eating less and drinking less without any other clear signs of illness, then there may well be an underlying illness and it could be serious. She was a stray/feral cat and these cats can acquire serious illnesses more easily than domestic cats, the typical ones being FIP, FIV and FeLV. FeLV, however can cause excessive urinating, which doesn’t square up with what you say. That said FeLV is a low level illness that can kill but many cats keep it in check. It can cause depression and decreased stamina etc.

What I am saying is that if there is a lack of appetite due to feeling unwell plus lethargy and no clear signs of an Upper Respiratory Infection (URI) or Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) then it has to a vet visit to sort it out. URIs are colds and flu. UTI might show in the form of urinating more due to cystitis.

The simplistic answer is that she may have constipation. You can check out information on that on this page: Home Treatment for Cat Constipation.

However, knowing you cat’s background (stray) and how they are exposed to disease I would watch carefully to see if she is eating and drinking properly. If not that would explain why she is not going to the toilet. She would lose weight. And that means a vets visit is a must.

For me the question is, “is this an underlying serious illness that is showing up as feeling unwell leading to lethargy?” That needs to be checked out professionally before dealing with the more simple illnesses such as constipation.


Michael Avatar

My cat is lethargic and not going to the toilet as often to Cat Health Problems

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My cat is lethargic and not going to the toilet as often

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Nov 08, 2010 Strays and medical history
by: Susan Bearder

Hi there in Mallorca! Just one thing to add to Michael’s as ever on the button comments.

Does your cat show any pain if you pick her up especially in her rear end?
Is she drinking her water? We find all our cats prefer rain water to tap water.


My cat is lethargic and not going to the toilet as often — 2 Comments

  1. please can u help me, i took in this female cat who may be pregnant again after not long having a litter this will be her fith, i tried getting the owner to get her done but no joy so i took her. Anyway she’s been here now 3days and no sign of a toilet, i have wormed and gave her a spot on for the fleas, she half wild and half domesticated meaning he just feed her no love and cuddled. I have a number that im going to call today to get her done s.a.p were i got my other cat sorted.. what can i do about her not going a toilet important worried… thank u

    • Hi Tracey. Sorry you are both in this predicament. If she is constipated it can be caused by:

      • FeLV – Of all feral and roaming cats up to 40% may have the infection (USA)
      • Hypothyroidism
      • Key-Gaskell Syndrome (rare)
      • Problem with the small and large bowel

      Read these posts on cat constipation.

      As she is semi-feral it is quite likely she may have FeLV or some other underlying disease. You’ll have to see a vet I think.

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