Cat Seizures While Sleeping

Cat seizures can occur during sleep and in some cases the cat may not even experience seizures but simply move during sleep. It is important to distinguish between sleep apnea and seizures and find the cause of the seizures to be able to administer a suitable treatment.

Cat Seizures

Cat seizures may be caused by epilepsy or other medical conditions but may also be idiopathic. Some other conditions that can cause seizures include poisoning, trauma, heat strokes, cryptococcosis, negative reactions to medication or other chemicals, low calcium in the blood, neurological problems, low blood glucose, diabetes, brain tumors, kidney or liver dysfunction.

Cats suffer from seizures less frequently than dogs; however, the symptoms can be alarming. A seizure can last up to 5 minutes in cats. In severe cases, the epilepsy can last longer and may be fatal.

Cat seizures occur without any warning signs and may also occur during sleep. The cat will move involuntarily, shake, may drool and have foam in the mouth area. The epileptic seizures can be triggered by excitement or may occur when the cat is waking up or falling asleep, when there is a change in the brain activity.

The first epileptic seizures typically occur when the cat is 2 to 3 years old.

Sleep Movements that Look like Seizures

Sleep apnea and the involuntary movements during sleep can look like the cat is having seizures.

The epileptic seizures are the only ones that can occur during sleep. Seizures that are due to underlying conditions will manifest while the cat is awake.

To distinguish between seizures during sleep and involuntary movements, you have to watch the timing of the seizures.

The epileptic seizures occur just when the cat falls asleep or is about to wake up. If the cat displays epilepsy like symptoms during the rest of the sleeping period, these are most likely just muscle twitches.

When the cat is having a seizure during sleep, he cannot be woken up; if the cat twitches or peddles his feet during sleep, you can easily wake him up and he will stop.

Treatment Options for Seizures in Cats

If the seizures are caused by underlying medical conditions, these should be treated with suitable medication. The treatment options may range from the administration of glucose (i.e. honey or maple syrup) to antibiotics or surgery.

Epilepsy cannot be fully cured but it may be controlled with medication. The epilepsy requires medication only if the seizures occur more often than once every 2 to 3 months. If the seizures are more frequent and last more than a few minutes, anticonvulsants (i.e. Phenobarbital) will be prescribed. These anticonvulsants can prevent seizures and may control the severity of the seizures.

You should also try to prevent the seizures by monitoring the factors that may trigger the seizures and try to remove these from the dog’s environment. When a seizure occurs, you should make sure that the dog is safe and that there are no sharp objects that could harm him.

If you notice that your cat has a seizure during sleep, you should consult the vet to determine if your pet has epilepsy.