Although less common in cats than dogs, a cat having a seizure will frighten any pet parent. But what can you do during and afterwards to help the situation?
The same for dogs and humans, a cat seizure is due to an electrical discharge in the brain. This may be caused by a number of different factors, including but not limited to:
- A cerebral lesion as a result of a trauma
- A haemorrhage due to a blocked blood vessel
- A drop in blood sugar level (hypoglycaemia) or calcium
- A problem linked to the liver
- A tumour
The frightening symptoms of a seizure
Even though the seizure won't likely last more than a few minutes, witnessing one can be a very upsetting and scary experience for a cat owner. The cat will tremble uncontrollably; their fur will stand on end; they may salivate, urinate or defecate; they might meow; and they may even become unconscious. The symptoms will all depend on the cause.
Avoid touching your cat
Whatever the reason for the seizure, you should avoid touching your cat whilst it is occurring. Unless they are in a dangerous position or near something harmful to them, such as a fireplace, stimulating their senses may only prolong the seizure, which could cause further harm to your cat.
Once the seizure has passed, your cat may come to dazed and disoriented. It is possible that they will not recognise you immediately, or even become aggressive towards you. You should therefore be careful.
Consult a vet
Once the seizure has ceased, it is highly recommended to visit a vet immediately.
If your cat is covered by pet insurance, treatment following a seizure will likely be covered if they are taken to their usual vet, a clinic with an A&E, or even visited by a vet at home. It's worth checking the insurance policy when it is taken out.
During the examination by the vet, he or she will take into account the age of the cat, the frequency of any seizures, make sure there are no behavioural issues, or ingestion of a toxic product. They will also check the general health of your cat, especially their nervous reflexes. Blood work is also likely to done and can prove to be informative.
Treatment will depend on the cause and frequency of any seizures. Anti-epileptic pills may be prescribed, or even medicines targeting a lesion or blood problem. Hospitalisation may even be necessary. However, a treated cat (with the cause known) may live a long and happy life yet.
Have you ever witnessed your cat having a seizure?