Why Is My Cat Shivering?

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When the winter weather hits, you think you notice that your cat is shivering more. But you're not really sure whether there is a real correlation or you just tend to notice the shivering more in the colder months.

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The truth is, there may be a number of different reasons why your cat is shaking. Being cold is only one of them. Let's take a look at all the different possibilities to determine how to get your cat to stop shivering and feel better.


Your cat is hypoglycemic

Your cat might have low blood sugar levels, which is called hypoglycemia. If your cat hasn't eaten for a long time and is hungry, he should stop shaking when you feed him a treat or a meal if he has hypoglycemia. Your cat may also have low blood sugar levels if he has diarrhea, is vomiting, or he's constipated. Your veterinarian will be able to tell you if your cat is hypoglycemic by conducting a physical and checking his glucose levels. The vet may ask you about other symptoms like a loss of appetite, muscle twitching, lethargy, and unusual behavior to determine if hypoglycemia is the reason your cat is shaking.


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Your cat has a fever

A kitten and an adult cat's normal body temperature is between 100.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If your cat is shaking and his body temperature is above normal, he could have a fever. The other telltale signs of a fever include warm ears, dehydration, lethargy, and a loss of appetite. If you suspect that your cat has a fever, get him to the vet as soon as you can. You or your vet can take your cat's temperature using a rectal thermometer. If your cat does have a fever, your vet might put him on antibiotics to treat the underlying cause.


Your cat is stressed or nervous

When your cat gets stressed out or is nervous about something, he might express it by shivering. Things that can trigger stress or anxiety in a cat include a change in the environment, another pet taking over his territory, loud noises, a visit to the groomer or veterinarian, or a lack of stimulation or things to do. In addition to shivering, your cat could show that he's stressed by going to the bathroom out of his litter box, diarrhea, over-grooming himself, and being more clingy than usual.


Your cat is cold

When winter hits, your cat could get cold, even if he has a lot of fur. Along with shivering, your cat may sleep on the radiator or go under the covers for warmth. You should provide your cat with thermal blankets to sleep with, comb your cat's fur so that it can more effectively retain heat, and make sure your house is warm enough. If your cat goes outside, you might want to consider investing in a cat sweater.


Your cat is in pain

If your cat is in pain, he may be reluctant to show you. However, his shaking could give it away. Other signs that your cat may be in pain include scratching, biting, purring, lethargy, and an increased heart rate.


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Your cat came in contact with something toxic

Your cat could have come into contact with something toxic, such as a poisonous plant or a cleaning chemical, that makes him shiver. If your cat is also vomiting, drooling, won't eat, has pale gums, and is drinking excessively, these are all signs he might have toxicity. This is a serious health situation and means it's time to call the vet immediately.


Going to the vet

Before you make your own diagnosis, it's best to go to the vet as soon as you notice your cat is shivering. Your vet will be able to treat your cat for whatever illness he is experiencing, and ensure he gets better in as little time as possible.

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.