Other health problems

Epilepsy in Cats

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: February 22, 2018
Epilepsy in Cats

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Epilepsy is a neurological disease that affects many different animals, including human beings. It is a more common disorder than you'd think, which makes it difficult for the party suffering from it to lead a normal life, because they may suffer an epileptic seizure at any point.

When this disease is diagnosed in your cat, you need to make sure that its environment and surroundings are calm, quiet and, above all else, safe. We should inform cat owners that this disorder isn't as common as epilepsy in dogs, which is good news.

In this AnimalWised article we will let you know how to detect epilepsy in cats, with a round-up of the common symptoms and usual treatment, together with a guide on caring for epileptic cats so that you can be confident and relaxed when it comes to living with this disease.

You may also be interested in: Why is My Cat Having Seizures?


  1. What is epilepsy?
  2. Symptoms of epilepsy in cats
  3. Diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy in cats
  4. Caring for an epileptic cat
  5. What NOT to do when a cat has a seizure

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy includes different neurological diseases that signal a dysfunction of the brain. These neurological diseases are manifested through epileptic seizures, the main symptom. However, isolated seizures can occur in diseases and circumstances other than epilepsy.

Epileptic seizures in cats and other animals can be triggered by different causes, some of which are hereditary, known as idiopathic causes, while others are caused by disorders. This latter group includes everything from the consequences of an injury such as falling and banging the head - which is hard to spot in cats - to infectious causes.

The treatment and specific care for epileptic cats will depend on the type and cause of the epilepsy, which will be diagnosed by a professional vet. We'll go over them later on.

Epilepsy in Cats - What is epilepsy?

Symptoms of epilepsy in cats

If you think your cat may be suffering from epilepsy, consider the following symptoms to determine if it really is suffering from this disease:

  • Spontaneous seizures
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Loss of balance
  • Difficulty in eating and drinking
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Hyperactivity
  • Hyperventilation (usually before a seizure)
  • Nervousness

Diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy in cats

While epilepsy in cats occurs much less often than in dogs, certain pedigree cat breeds have a greater predisposition to these diseases. Epilepsy can manifest quite early, so the first years in the life of these cats will be crucial to determine their quality of life.

As we already brought up, epilepsy can derive from various causes. If you notice that your cat has one or more of the pertinent symptoms, you should go to the vet for an official diagnosis as soon as possible.

Diagnosis of epilepsy in cats:

The professional who sees to your cat will take into account its weight, age and type of epilepsy, and will also perform blood and urine analyses, X-rays and even encephalograms to help reach a diagnosis.

Treatment of epilepsy in cats:

The treatment for your cat will be decided after analyzing all the test results thoroughly. Here are the possibilities which need to be assessed:

  • Pharmacological or traditional medicine: there are short and long term drugs that can help treat epilepsy, and they must be regulated by the vet.

  • Homeopathy for cats: this is can be an effective therapy to stabilize animals with an incurable disease, as it will help boost their quality of life.

  • Bach flowers: practitioners of alternative medicine recommend Bach flowers as a non-holistic but still natural remedy. They can be combined with other therapies listed in this section.

  • Reiki: this in another form of alternative medicine that can help the cat to connect with its surroundings and inner peace. It can be a useful treatment for pets who suffer from increasing numbers of seizures when pharmacological drugs do not have the desired effect.

While you can suggest other therapies to the vet, it is the professional who will make the final decision, as they are the person with the scientific knowledge of the clinical case.

Epilepsy in Cats - Diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy in cats

Caring for an epileptic cat

First of all, in order to care for an epileptic cat you'll need to provide your pet with a safe environment that meets its every need at home. Minimize situations the cat might find stressful, because this can trigger an epileptic seizure. It is not an easy condition to manage, but when well cared for, epileptic cats have a normal life expectancy.

Avoid having open windows or letting the cat near stairs or windowsills without your supervision, and hang nets in potentially dangerous areas. Move objects away from the cat's food bowl, litter box and bed that might cause accidents or injuries if it suffers a seizure.

Epilepsy in Cats - Caring for an epileptic cat

What NOT to do when a cat has a seizure

If you notice your cat having an epileptic seizure, here is what you should never do:

  • Hold its head: You can fracture its neck.
  • Give it food, water or medication at that time.
  • Cover it with a blanket or try to warm it up: It can suffer from asphyxiation.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Epilepsy in Cats, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

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Epilepsy in Cats