Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy

or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

Q. My cat is tilting her head and has unsteady, jerky gait. She is otherwise her normal self: eating well, eliminating normally. Difference in pupil size

Answered By

A. Your cat has three signs that make me think of serious neurologic disease. One is that her head is tilted, and this could indicate involvement of the vestibular nerve. The other is that her pupils are different sizes. This possibly indicates a problem with the oculomotor nerve, although older cats can have slightly differently shaped pupils due to normal aging changes. The unsteady, jerky gait makes me concerned about a possible problem with the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls movement.

The important thing is to get your cat checked out by a vet, because these signs could indicate a lesion in the brain, such as a tumor. The tumor grows and presses on these nerve, and the result is that we see changes like what you're describing. I'm not trying to scare you, but it should be checked out so that you can potentially start treatments that will help her.

Answered By

A. All of these symptoms correlate to a neurological disorder. It is important to have her seen by a veterinarian as this condition can impair her quality of life and her health may decline.

DISCLAIMER: The answers in Ask petMD are meant to provide entertainment and education. They should not take the place of a vet visit. Please see our Terms and Conditions.


Ask an expert about your unique situation now FOR FREE!

IMPORTANT: The opinions expressed in Ask petMD content area are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. Our Ask petMD experts include veterinarians, vet techs, veterinary students, pet trainers, pet behaviorists and pet nutritionists. These opinions do not represent the opinions of petMD. User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a petMD veterinarian or any member of the petMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, timeliness, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. petMD does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment. Do not consider petMD user-generated content as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your veterinarian or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on petMD.