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C2004-22

Dear Christopher Cat

Our Siamese cat’s eyes do something odd. They constantly dart back and forth, from side to side.

I think she sees well, because she never misses when she jumps onto the furniture. She seems happy and  normal in every other way.

Should we take her to the vet, or is this not a problem?

Christopher Responds

When you observe something unusual, it’s always wise to check it out with your veterinarian.

The vet will examine your cat and tell you whether the eye movements are a problem.

Your cat may have nystagmus (“nis TAG mus”), a rhythmic oscillation of the eyes. Many Siamese cats are born with it, and when that’s the case, it usually doesn’t cause them any difficulty.

But when nystagmus appears later, it’s commonly a sign of a medical problem.

Often, nystagmus occurs suddenly and is accompanied by balance problems. One disease, a vestibular syndrome of unknown etiology, attacks cats most frequently during the summer.

Nystagmus can also signal a serious problem with the inner ear or the brain, so it’s important to have your veterinarian examine your cat.

Personally, I’ve always found Siamese eyes alluring. After your cat has seen her doctor, would you ask her to give me a call?

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