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Cat Nystagmus

topic posted Fri, January 4, 2008 - 2:22 PM by  Wicked One
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Anybody ever heard of this? My cat's eyes shake when she looks at something close. It never seemed like a big deal to me, I just thought it was odd. I was reading recently somebody else asking on a message board why his cat's eyes shake, and apparently nystagmus is the word for it, but it's unclear if it's damaging or dangerous or what. It seems to be common in Siamese cats - my cat is a Ragdoll. If anybody knows about it, please share. Thanks.
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  • i hadn't heard of nystagmus in cats, but it happens in humans, and has a genetic cause.

    i worked with a guy who had nystagmus....he would have to sit at his desk with his eyes about six inches away from the paper to read (i don't know that glasses or lasix corrects this particular disorder).

    in the case of kitty, it's just a matter of her adapting to her difficulty focusing on small things close up.

    maybe others on this tribe know about nystagmus in cats?
    • nystagmus in people can also be a sign of vestibular problems (eyes and inner ear not working in sync) as well as vertebrobasilar insufficiency (meaning person in susceptible to temporary drops in blood flow to brain). Not sure if it's true with cats, but I would recommend a vet check to rule out any major problems.
  • I know it's normal for a human to have a few beats of nystagmus at the far lateral gaze, but it doesn't sound like that's what's going on with kitty -- and I'm not sure if that happens to cats. I'd call the vet and ask. :)
  • I was just doing research online today when I saw this post. I just noticed this morning that my cat's eye was shaking from side to side. He is also a Ragdoll. Coincidentally, he is a seal-point and definitely resembles a Siamese, but he's a Ragdoll. I don't know if this is just a coincidence with yours also being one, but I am trying to find out if there is anything that can be done or does this condition worsen or indicate other future problems we may face as owners. Have you heard anything about this condition since your post? Thanks!
    • There's Burmese bloodlines in the Ragdoll breed, and there's Siamese bloodlines in the Burmese, so it's not out of the question that a Siamese susceptibility might have crept into the Ragdoll.
    • I agree with Isabeau, "i hadn't heard of nystagmus in cats, but it happens in humans, and has a genetic cause."

      I have, however, heard of strabismus (crossed eyes) in Siamese cats. I'd certainly call your vet and ask about it, especially if your cat is an adult and this is the first time that he's exhibited wandering eye.

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