Seizure Disorders in Cats

Seizure disorders in cats are symptoms for different medical conditions. Seizures can be caused by a large variety of factors including parasites, epilepsy or head injuries. Seizures are characterized by convulsions and involuntary muscle contractions, accompanied by foaming at the mouth. The severity of seizures varies from twitches to losing control of the entire body.

Seizure Disorders in Cats

Seizure disorders in cats manifest as convulsions and uncontrollable muscle convulsions sometimes associated with foaming at the mouth.

Seizures are symptoms of some underlying medical conditions and are triggered by various factors. Seizures can manifest as twitches or as severe attacks. The cat loses control over his body during the seizure. Seizures can last from a few seconds to several minutes.

Seizures can acute or chronic, depending on what is causing them. If a seizure lasts for more than 5 minutes or repeats within 24 hours, you should go for an emergency veterinarian checkup.

Causes of Seizure Disorders in Cats

Seizures are generally symptoms of other diseases. They are usually caused by:

  • Epilepsy
  • Hepatic encephalopathy (a liver disease)
  • Poisoning
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels)
  • Nervous system disease
  • Parasitic infection
  • Brain tumor or head injury
  • Medical conditions affecting the blood supply to the brain
  • Genetic problems which occur at birth (such as hydrocephalus)

Sometimes the cause of the seizure cannot be determined and doctors refer to the seizure disorder as idiopathic epilepsy. Idiopathic epilepsy has no determinable cause.  

Manifestation of Seizure Attacks

Before your cat actually has the seizure, he can exhibit the following signs:

  • Shaking
  • Restlessness
  • Whining
  • Excessive salivation

These signs may start days or minutes before the seizure actually happens.

During the seizure, the cat loses control of his body and is unaware of his surroundings. Seizures manifest through:

  • Falling on the side
  • Salivating, urinating, defecating
  • Lack of response to external stimuli
  • Kicking and paddling

After a seizure attack, the cat will be disoriented and confused. He may still produce saliva in excess, hide or look for a safe place. The post-seizure behavior might also last for a few days.

What to Do during Seizures

When your cat is having a seizure it is recommended that you remain calm and start timing the seizure. Note the abnormal symptoms he exhibits.

During a seizure, the cat is unconscious and is not in pain. However, you need to make sure he does not hurt himself during seizures. Keep him away from stairs, water or sharp objects. Move the furniture in the immediate area, to avoid injuries. Protect him from other animals or children. Stay by his side and offer him comfort as soon as the seizure ends. Supervise your cat closely after the seizure.

If the seizure lasts for more than 5 minutes call your veterinarian and get emergency help. Do the same if he has not fully recovered after half an hour from the seizure or if the seizure repeats within 24 hours. The cat may require anti seizure medication such as phenobarbital and treatment for the underlying condition.