Humans can become dizzy by spinning around quickly. Small children will occasionally do this on purpose, for the thrill.

However, intentional dizziness inducing behavior is (as far as I am aware) never observed in cats or kittens. (Although I did see a particularly spectacular quadruple spin after one of my kittens collided with another in midair.) It would also be harder to observe the effects of dizziness as cats are quadrupedal and so are more stable than bipedal humans.

According to some not-always-reliable sources on the internet (such as Yahoo Answers or YouTube), cats can become dizzy, but recover from it much more rapidly than humans; but these accounts appear to be merely anecdotal, with others reporting the opposite, that despite their attempts they have been unable to induce observable dizziness in their cats.

It is a known fact that cats can become dizzy due to things like ear infections or medication side-effects, and that motion can aggravate it (link), so it would seem plausable that a cat could become dizzy by spinning fast enough for long enough even in absence of those factors. However, I can't find any non-sketchy sites that give a clear answer about this.

Can cats become dizzy due to spinning, in absence of disease or other special circumstance? How quickly do they recover from dizziness compared to humans?

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    Note, please do not go abusing your cats just to test this. Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 13:51
  • When I was 10, I spun my cat around, poor little guy. We were 'waltzing'. He did indeed get dizzy, scratched me in his panic, and then recovered quickly enough that he had ran off by the time I was non-dizzy enough to follow him. I can't remember how long it took, unfortunately. Poor cat :(
    – Piper
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 16:10
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    Yes, a cat can get dizzy. No need to experiment.
    – Oldcat
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 0:55
  • Here is some footage of a cat becoming dizzy: i.imgur.com/y2NsObg.gif
    – user6951
    Commented Apr 2, 2016 at 15:59

2 Answers 2


No thanks to our friend, our cat rapidly chased a laser light in tight circles for one minute. The result when she stopped was that she looked dazed and wobbled when trying to walk and then fell over--Classic signs of dizziness. Following a brief second she belly crawled away until she regained balance, then hid for several minutes. Though unscientific, I'd say my friend definitely caused her to be dizzy.


Dizziness is probably an artifact of how the nervous system processes input. As animals, we're adapted to pay attention mostly to changes in the environment, and to do that we tend to compensate for constant input... and it can take a while to readjust afterward. That's why we see after-images after staring fixedly at something for a while and then looking away, and why those are "negatives" of the original stimulus. More directly related, if you look out the window of a moving vehicle for a while, and it then stops, you may see the world outside seem to shift in the other direction for a moment -- you had adapted to seeing the motion as "normal", and shen it stopped you over-compensated as a result.

Apply that principle to many senses at once -- sight, the inner ear's sense of orientation and acceleration and balance , proprioception (our sense of our body's position), possibly others such as hearing -- and you get dizziness; you had started to adapt to the spin, and stopping it briefly feels like spinning the other way.

So I would expect that cats can get dizzy. Whether an of them enjoy it is a different question and probably depends on the specific cat and how much it's willing to trust its humans.

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    Motion-induced dizziness is a result of the effects of the accelerations on fluid inside a set of channels known as the semicircular canals, located in the inner ear. Ear disease can cause dizziness by interfering with them. Normally, these canals function as accelerometers; gravity or other forces displaces fluid in them and this displacement is measured by nerves that connect there. Dizziness happens when the fluid is disturbed in a way that interferes with getting consistent readings, resulting in apparent and sometimes actual loss of balance. Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 3:19

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