The cat suffers from epilepsy: causes, symptoms and remedies

Does your cat have epileptic seizures? Here’s how to recognize feline epilepsy and all the secrets to help our cat avoid the worst.

Are you worried that your cat has had seizures but you don’t know if it is epilepsy? Here is what you need to know to recognize the most obvious symptoms and signs of this neurological condition which, in the acute phase, could have very unpleasant consequences for your beloved feline. Of course, it is advisable to contact a veterinarian who will subject the cat to a series of tests for a precise diagnosis. But when an epileptic attack arrives, what can we do to help our cat? Here is a series of useful tips to limit physical damage to the animal.

Epilepsy in cats: what it is

Although cases of epilepsy in dogs are often frequent, cats can also suffer from this particular neurological condition. Vulgarly, it can be defined as a sort of blackout of the brain, in which it stops, and the duration of this ‘shutdown’ is variable. One must be careful to distinguish epilepsy from seizure, as a series of seizures are not always traceable to epilepsy. Other intra-cranial diseases can also have these crises among the main symptoms.

Idiopathic epilepsy and acquired epilepsy

If at the base of the epilepsy there is a genetic and therefore hereditary brain problem, we speak of primary or idiopathic epilepsy. While if our cat has suffered a head and brain trauma then it is possible that the aftermath of the event also includes epileptic seizures. But let’s look at the two different types of epileptic seizures in detail.

Idiopathic epilepsy

First of all, there is a reassuring fact: it is quite rare in cats, while unfortunately it occurs more frequently in dogs. Its cause is often linked to encephalitis and tumors, but most of the time we tend to give the cause to genetics when there are no traumas that can justify the feline’s epileptic seizures.

Acquired epilepsy

If our cat has suffered an accident and has reported major trauma to the brain, or has been the victim of poisoning or intoxication (in this case it is appropriate to speak of a reactive epileptic seizure), damage to the metabolic or vascular system, the epilepsy is a direct consequence of one of the above factors. Unfortunately, there are no more ‘at risk’ ages than others and an equally irrelevant factor is the sex of the animal. Both in females and males, puppies or adults or the elderly, a malfunction of neurons can lead to electrical discharges. Furthermore, we must not look for the cause among recent events: even an accident that occurred some time ago can lead to this seizure.

Symptoms of Feline Epilepsy

The recognizable signs of an epileptic seizure normally resemble those that affect the dog: loss of consciousness, feeling of loss, lack of balance, secretions from the mouth and genital area (urine and feces), moreover the muscles are evidently more tense and stiffened. All these signals fall into four phases:

prodromal phase,

golden phase,

ictal phase,

post-ictal phase.

The stages of epilepsy in cats

The aforementioned initial phases, the prodromal and the aurea, are difficult to recognize since they last for a few hours and whole days, and in addition the symptoms of the feline in these phases are still too ‘generic’: change in character, anxiety, aggression, condition temporary blindnessexhaustion and compulsive search for the presence of the master. In the third and fourth phase, the ictal and the post-ictal, the symptoms manifest themselves in all their violence. In the final phase, in particular, the symptoms disappeared but they left behind a condition of disorientation and fatigue, as if the cat was still very much tried by the crisis just ended.

Other non-epileptic symptoms

It is often easy to make the mistake of confusing cat behaviors and associating them with some forms of epilepsy. But in reality some attitudes, such as aggression, chasing the tail, chasing imaginary prey or other obsessive-compulsive symptoms have little to do with this neurological condition. However, the veterinarian will be able to adopt an anti-epileptic drug that is given to treat cats that are suffering from epilepsy, Phenobarbital.

Anti-epileptic drugs

Before listing the main pharmaceutical remedies for the cat’s epileptic problem, it is essential to clarify that in no case should the owner take the place of the veterinarian. In fact, the expert is the only one entitled to prescribe the drugs and will be able to direct us on the use and frequency of the gradual administration of them.



Potassium bromide

Homeopathic remedies, such as Bach flowers

What to do when the cat has a seizure

Although it may seem like a trivial advice, the first thing to do for the owner is to keep calm: the cat would feel our state of agitation and this certainly would not calm him. Furthermore, anxiety prevents us from being lucid and from coping with the emergency situation in the best possible way. Apart from this fundamental detail, here is what else the human can do during the epileptic seizures of his beloved feline.

Do not put your hand in its muzzle: owners tend, at their expense, to stick the tongue out of the cat to prevent it from choking and drowning. However, this solution is often counterproductive for the owner who could easily get injured and pull out his bleeding hand without having resolved anything.

Limit the damage: that is, having the cat lie down or put blankets or pillows under the body and under the head. Anything that can cushion the violent blows that the seizures involve is useful for the purpose. In fact, more serious than the seizures themselves are the physical consequences that the cat could suffer if it violently bangs its head or limbs on the floor or wall.

Prepare the environment: a room with little light and possibly away from the noise of the house and the street helps the cat to calm down during his seizure.

Petting him: this advice is not always valid since it depends on the state of agitation of the cat and if we notice that it pleases him and does not stress him further. Of course, we avoid the muzzle area as the cat could bite a hand during the crisis.

Call the veterinarian: if the crisis does not seem to diminish nor to end, it is advisable to take the cat to the vet or to the nearest veterinary doctor’s office to have it sedated. If, on the other hand, the epileptic episode is over, it is advisable to inform the expert by phone and make an appointment for a visit. The veterinarian will advise us on how to proceed, which tests to prepare for the diagnosis and possibly prescribe anti-epileptic drugs such as those mentioned above.

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