Seizures in Cats: What you need to know

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Seizures are not uncommon among cats, but they should be taken seriously.

This is a sign of a serious medical issue that should not go untreated.

The sooner you take action, the better off your pet is going to be as a result.

What Causes Seizures in Cats?

A seizure is often caused by a neurological issue that involves a massive amount of electrical activity in the brain at one time. A cat may experience seizures as shaking (tremors), spasms, convulsions, or twitching.

Cats can experience seizures one after another for long stretches, or once every few days. It is usually hard to predict when a cat with epilepsy is going to have a seizure.

In some cases, a brain tumor can cause seizures to occur. While this is less common than epilepsy, it is a possibility to consider. Trauma to the head/brain has also been known to produce seizures.

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Common Signs Seizures in Cats

There are some common signs of seizures in cats that you will want to look for. Recognizing these signs can help you get your kitty the treatment it needs to stay healthy.

  • Drooling
  • Sudden periods of high energy activity
  • Twitching of the face
  • Uncontrolled muscle movements
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Aggressive behavior (such as hissing)

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important that you take your cat to the veterinarian right away. They will be able to perform the necessary tests to find out what exactly the problem is.

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Types of Seizures

There are two types of seizures cats can have—generalized or partial. 

Generalized Seizures

Generalized seizures affect the entire cat’s body. This is when their whole body is twitching or spasms all at once. They often lose consciousness for a short period of time during this type of event.

A generalized seizure disorder can cause a cat to have clusters of seizures that come one after another with only short spaces of time in between. They can also happen in succession with no recover period at all. This is by far the worst case scenario, as it is very taxing on the animal’s physical and mental health.

Partial seizures

A partial seizure is when only a certain part of your cat’s body is affected. You might notice their leg or even face twitching. This can become more serious over time unless the proper treatment is administered.

Some of the common signs of a partial cat seizure include drooling, yowling, and abnormal muscle movements. Cats usually do not lose consciousness with a partial seizure, though it is possible.

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How Are Cat Seizures Diagnosed?

A veterinarian has a number of ways to diagnose seizures in a cat to determine what is causing them. They may take some of your cat’s spinal fluid for testing. There are also CT and MRI tests. Some vets even use electrodiagnostics or EEG to diagnose this problem.

How Are Seizures in Cats Treated?

If your cat is having seizures on a regular or semi-regular basis, treatment will be needed. There are certain medications that your veterinarian can prescribe to reduce the frequency and/or intensity of the seizures.

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Sometimes medication works extremely well, but it largely depends on the cause. Epilepsy is a very treatable condition for most cats.

Most anti-seizure medications work well for cats with epilepsy, so there is no reason to panic if yours has this condition. Your veterinarian will ask you a number of questions to determine what dosage your cat should be given.

Some cats respond better than others to anti-seizure medications. This is just one of the factors that will determine the prognosis for your kitty.

Just because your cat has one seizure doesn’t necessarily mean it will need to take medication. While this can be indicative of a serious problem, it can also be fairly innocuous. 

Your veterinarian might recommend putting your cat on medication if they have more than one seizure each month. The severity of the seizures is something else they will want to know about before making a recommendation.

If the problem is something more serious like a brain tumor, surgery may be required.

How to Respond to a Cat Seizure

It is very important that you know how to react when your cat is having a seizure. A lot of people go into full on panic mode, which is not helpful at all.

Your first priority is to make sure that your cat is perfectly safe while it is seizing. It should be away from any staircases so there is no danger of it falling. If it has a seizure on the couch or some other piece of furniture, you should gently move them onto the floor.

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If your cat keeps having seizures one after another, you should take it to your veterinarian right away. Any seizure that lasts more than five minutes or so is very serious and will require immediate attention. You don’t want to wait, because your pet’s life could be at risk.

Conclusion

  • Seizures occur in cats when a massive amount of electrical activity occurs in the brain at once.
  • Epilepsy is a very common cause of seizures, though it is not the only one.
  • Your cat’s seizures could also be due to a brain tumor.
  • Generalized seizures affect the entire cat’s body, while partial seizures only affect one specific area.
  • Your veterinarian may prescribe medication for your cat if their seizures are frequent or intense enough to warrant it.
  • Many cats respond well to anti-seizure medication, but it can vary depending on lots of different factors.
  • The cause of seizures in cats can be diagnosed by performing CT or MRI scans.
  • If your cat is having a seizure, make sure that it is safe, on the floor and not in danger of falling down any stairs.
  • If their seizures keep coming one after another or last more than five minutes, you should see a veterinarian as soon as possible.

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