Convulsions in Cats – Causes and What to Do

At YourCatCareguide we know that taking care of your cat’s health is essential to having the quality of life you deserve. Felines are usually strong and resistant animals, little prone to contracting diseases. However, this does not mean that you should lower your guard against any strange behavior.

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A cat having convulsions is a situation that generates high levels of discomfort in its human companions, because it is a very distressing situation to witness. So is it for our feline, who does not understand what is happening. However, stay calm, assist you at the moment and consult your veterinarian and the indicated way to help him. That is why we will explain to you what are the causes and what to do in case of convulsions in cats . This way you will know how to tackle this problem in the most appropriate way.

What are seizures?

They are a series of repetitive and uncontrollable movements produced by a change in the normal functioning of the brain activity. A simple way to explain the process is to say that they originate when neurons, responsible for carrying the electrical impulses through the nervous system, receive an excitation greater than they can bear, causing abnormal electrical discharges in the brain as a product of excessive stimulation .

When the brain receives these abnormal discharges, it responds with the obvious signs of a seizure. The danger lies not only in the attack itself, but can also cause brain damage and affect other organs, such as the lungs. Because of this, early diagnosis and timely treatment are crucial to avoiding lethal consequences .

Convulsions are not common in felines, and usually occur as a symptom of another condition . They should not be confused with epilepsy. Epilepsy occurs on its own and is for life, without any other disease that may influence its appearance. On the contrary, seizures are accompanied by other conditions and are a product of them and, even with treatment, may not disappear completely, although it is possible to control them.

Causes of seizures in cats

There are multiple disorders that may have as a symptom the seizures in cats, then we explain what are:

  • Infectious diseases : toxoplasmosis, meningitis, encephalitis, peritonitis, among others.
  • Congenital deformities : hydrocephalus, among others.
  • Head trauma .
  • Cerebrovascular diseases .
  • Intoxications : with insecticides, poisons against pests, antiparasitics for external use, household products with toxic and dangerous labels.
  • Metabolic diseases : hypoglycemia, thyroid pathologies, liver problems, among others.
  • Brain tumors .
  • Rage.
  • Use of certain medications .
  • Deficiency of thiamine .
  • Feline leukemia .
  • Presence of certain parasites that migrated abnormally in the cat’s body.
  • Feline immunodeficiency .

Symptoms of seizures

In cats, seizures occur in different ways . In some cases, the symptoms are fairly obvious, while in others the signs may be difficult to detect. The most common signs are:

  • Uncontrolled movement of the legs
  • Rigid body
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Uncontrolled chewing
  • Salivation
  • Defecation and urination
  • Fall to one side

The crisis may last 2 to 3 minutes , and before it, the cat may try to attract the attention of humans or, on the contrary, hide. These types of episodes are simple to identify, although other lighter signs may also occur, manifesting themselves in behaviors such as obsessively pursuing the tail, uncontrolled movement of features and search for something that is not there, among others. In these cases, the cat only loses consciousness of what happens in a partial way. Any abnormal behavior should be consulted with the veterinarian immediately.

What to do during the attack?

When an episode of seizures occurs in the cat it is necessary that you be prepared to know what to do, because some mistake will cause the cat or you to get hurt, or that the attack lasts longer. Therefore we recommend that:

  • Stay calm : Avoid crying, making some loud sound and even talking to him, as this kind of stimulation can excite the cat’s nervous system even more.
  • Remove any object that could hurt the cat, but avoid touching it , as it could bite or scratch you, because you are not aware of what you are doing. You should only touch it if you are in danger of falling from somewhere. In this case we recommend that you take it with a towel and put it on the floor or move it with kitchen gloves.
  • Eliminate any sound that may exist in the environment, such as television or music, turn off the lights, and close the windows if intense sunlight is entering.
  • Do not wrap the cat if it is not needed or expose it to heat.
  • Do not try to give them water or food , or offer them when the tremors are over.
  • Never self-medicate your cat , only a veterinarian can tell you how to proceed from here.
  • Once the attack has passed, take it to a cool place under your surveillance and contact your veterinarian .


In order for the diagnosis to be satisfactory, you should provide the veterinarian with all the information about the signs that you could detect, this will help you to know which tests are most appropriate to detect the root of the problem. The diagnosis is directed at whether it is epilepsy or seizures, and what could be causing them. In this sense, it may include:

  • Complete clinical history: information on all the diseases, injuries and diseases that the cat has suffered throughout his life. Vaccines administered and medications used.
  • General physical examination.
  • Neurological studies.
  • Electroencephalograms, electrocardiograms, radiographs and magnetic resonances, among others.
  • Urine and blood analysis.

It may not be necessary to perform all these exams in all cases, it will depend on the specific case.


The treatment against seizures is intended both to reduce the frequency and intensity of seizures , and to stop what causes them . Therefore, depending on the cause, you will need a specific treatment, which must be prescribed by your veterinarian.

In relation to the seizures, in animals, phenobarbital is usually used to prevent convulsive episodes, and diazepam is used to control them when they occur. However, the medicines must be prescribed by your veterinarian , as well as the dose and frequency of these. These two specific components can not be used in cats with liver problems.

Usually, medications should be given for life, always at the same time and at the same dose. Seizures may recur, but the animal will be able to follow a normal life if the veterinarian’s recommendations are followed.

Early diagnosis and continuity of treatment can greatly improve the condition of the cat, but the longer you wait to see a specialist, the worse your final prognosis will be, reducing your chances of a normal life and increasing the risk of seizures more often.

As an extra recommendation, it is best to prevent your cat from leaving the house to avoid suffering from an attack while abroad, exposing himself to dangers of all kinds against which he will not be able to assist him.

This article is purely informative, in we do not have the capacity to prescribe veterinary treatments nor to make any type of diagnosis. We suggest you bring your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or malaise.

If you want to read more articles similar to Seizures in Cats – Causes and what to do , we recommend you to come into our section of other health problems .

Emily Harris

Hi Guys, Girls, and Cats:-p I am Emily Harris, and you can see in above pic. She loves me I swear. I saved her from a dumpster a few weeks back.

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