What Does a Cat Seizure Look Like?

If the seizure lasts longer than five minutes, contact your veterinarian immediately. They may want to determine its cause, conduct blood work tests or imaging studies like an MRI.

Do not attempt to move a seizing cat unless they are in an enclosed environment that offers them safety; otherwise they could injure themselves and bite or scratch people who attempt to move them.


If your cat experiences seizures that last more than five minutes or have multiple episodes without recovery periods in between, seek medical help immediately to avoid brain damage or even coma. Taking swift action will reduce risks significantly and ensure their well-being.

Generalized seizure or grand mal seizure affects all parts of a cat’s body simultaneously and produces tonic-clonic movements called convulsions. Cats experiencing this type of seizure will typically clench their teeth, drool excessively, urinate regularly, defecate regularly, as well as show other symptoms including piteous cry, lateralizing behavior, chewing motions, tail piloerection and sudden aggressive or fearful behavior such as sudden change in personality aggressiveness or fear as well as yawning, hissing or growling before finally collapse occurs. These events may also preceded by “pre-ictal” stages which include lethargy, droolament or vocalization before finally succinctly before finally collapsing altogether.

There are various diseases of the nervous system that can cause seizures in cats, including stroke, trauma, tumors and infectious disease such as parvovirus, rabies, herpesvirus and influenza. Diabetes, liver and kidney diseases and thyroid conditions may also trigger seizures.

Even if the cause of your cat’s seizures cannot be pinpointed, anticonvulsant drugs should still be prescribed as treatment. Anticonvulsant treatments typically are successful if frequency of seizures reduces by at least 50%; dosage and type will be determined by a veterinarian; taking them exactly as instructed can cause withdrawal seizures that further aggravates their condition.

Keep a log of when, where, what type, duration and frequency your cat experiences seizures so that when visiting the veterinarian it can assist them in better diagnosing and treating your pet. In some instances they may need to test different kinds and doses of medication before finding one that works – this may be tedious but finding medication suitable for your cat’s long-term wellbeing is paramount.


People tend to think of generalized tonic-clonic seizures when thinking of seizures in cats, but myoclonic is actually the more prevalent type. Myoclonic seizures involve involuntary muscle twitching that affects head and neck muscles as well as eye muscles. They usually occur briefly and may be difficult to detect without knowing what signs to look out for; other symptoms of myoclonic seizures may include drooling prior, during, and post seizure as well as paddling of legs before foaming at mouth as well as autonomic release (urination/defecation/thrashing around on the ground).

After the twitching ends, your cat may become confused or fearful as their brain recovers. To support them during this phase, remain calm and don’t try to snap them out of it; rather reduce stimulation as much as possible by turning down TV volume and dimming lighting; this will make the post-ictal phase less stressful for your cat and help reduce chances of another seizure occurring from still feeling the effects from their initial one.

Once your cat has returned to normal, be sure to inform their veterinarian about what happened. Your vet will want to know about any pre-ictal, ictal and post-ictal phases as well as which seizure type occurred, any underlying health conditions or exposures which might have contributed to it and any possible toxic exposures which may have led to this incident.

If your cat experiences seizures lasting five minutes or longer, this should be considered a medical emergency and immediate care should be sought from a veterinarian. A full health examination may include taking samples of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF surrounds both brain and spinal cord and should be sampled. Anticonvulsant medication such as phenobarbital, potassium bromide, levetiracetam (Keppra), or zonisamide are usually prescribed to treat seizures; either alone or together with other targeted medications that address its source.


Reaching a vet as quickly as possible following your cat’s seizure can be life-saving, particularly if the seizure lasts over five minutes or occurs multiple times without adequate recovery periods between each one.

Your veterinarian will want to thoroughly examine your cat and his or her history, and may suggest lab work as well. Once they know more about what caused his seizure, they can create a treatment plan which should prevent future episodes.

When taking your cat to the vet after they experience a seizure, be sure to describe exactly what occurred, including its length and any symptoms during. Videoing the event on your phone may also give your vet an idea of what’s happening inside their brain.

Seizures in cats may be indicative of an underlying medical issue; liver or kidney problems could cause seizures. Your vet may prescribe drugs to reduce frequency and duration of seizures depending on which condition has caused them.

Cats diagnosed with epilepsy will typically receive anti-epileptic medication such as phenobarbital or levetiracetam to try to minimize seizures. Although these drugs don’t cure epilepsy directly, they’re thought to slow the activity of neurotransmitters within their brains, helping reduce seizure episodes.

Psychomotor or complex partial seizures in cats can be effectively managed with medication. Psychomotor seizures include violent chewing on their tail or skin, loud vocalizations and random racing bursts – such as “fly biting”. A classic example is when cats suddenly start biting at air in attempts to catch a fly!

The post-ictal phase occurs following a seizure and typically lasts 48 hours as your cat recovers from convulsions. Your feline might appear disoriented and have difficulty eating or drinking during this period.


When your cat has a seizure, it is vital that they remain as safe as possible. The ictal phase (when convulsions take place) presents risks to both themselves and anyone around them; your pet could injure itself by clenching their jaws or hitting their heads accidentally during convulsions, or accidentally defecate in their area – so setting aside an area to rest with thick blankets or pillows could help protect them from getting injured during these moments of confusion.

At this point, it is also vital that no contact be made between owners and pets; any attempts at doing so could cause additional trauma and prompt another seizure. Once the ictal phase has ended, your pet will enter post-ictal phase, which can last from seconds to days and manifest as confusion, aimless wandering, pacing, drooling, urination and/or defecation.

No matter how frightening seizures may be, most aren’t medical emergencies. If your cat experiences multiple and frequent seizures it would be wise to consult their vet as they may be able to identify an underlying cause and offer treatment solutions.

Once an underlying disease is identified and addressed, seizures often stop, allowing patients to resume normal lives. However, for many who have experienced multiple or severe seizures, medication may be necessary in order to control frequency of episodes and prevent more serious or lasting side effects from appearing.

If your cat is experiencing regular seizures, keeping a diary will allow your veterinarian to find the most appropriate anticonvulsant drug for him or her. Be sure that any prescribed tablets are administered on time and in accordance with dosage recommendations; failure to do so could lead to additional seizures for some cats. If they refuse taking pills directly, try hiding them inside treats or use pill pockets, which look like treats but have holes for tablets inside.

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