Cat seizure - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-25-2008, 02:03 AM Thread Starter
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Cat seizure

I have a 16-year old male Siamese cat, which has never had any real health problems (he does have a touch of arthritis in his front leg, though).

He was serenely sitting on the sofa tonight when he suddenly jumped down and started creeping along the floor, as if something had scared him (in a belly-to-the-floor fashion). Then it appeared as if he were chasing a particularly elusive cricket or something - he was darting in and out on the floor, with his claws gripping the area carpet. He started growling, then he flipped over onto this side, then his back, kicking his arms and feet furiously. His seizure lasted between 60-90 seconds until he gradually subsided. He was breathing hard when he was done (he really gets no exercise), and he meowed softly afterward like he does when he's upset or scared. His eyes were quite dilated and he had bit his tongue.

I also want to mention that immediately prior to his "event," I had started trying to capture my 5-month old son's attention, who was lying on his back next to him, by raising my hands near my head and snapping my fingers loudly, over and over (it usually gets my son to look up and smile). I wonder if that could have triggered my kitty's seizure? I've heard that sometimes audio or visual stimulation can trigger them. My kitty's never had a seizure before that I know of.

Could someone please comment? I'll be taking him to the vet first chance I get, but I don't really know what they'll be able to find if he doesn't seize right in front of them.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-25-2008, 09:45 AM
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Re: Cat seizure

I'm sorry, your kitty looks very beautiful.
We have another member whose cat had a few episodes of seizuring. Perhaps she will be able to respond to your thread. I know vets can sometimes control this with medication, but I don't know the success or side-effects of the meds.
Best of luck,

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-25-2008, 09:59 PM
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Re: Cat seizure

I am sorry to hear about your cat. I would imagine that the first thing your vet will suggest is getting a full bloodwork panel done, especially since your kitty is considered "senior" at 16. Has he had bloodwork done recently? Most vets recommend getting bloodwork done on older kitties about once a year.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-26-2008, 09:16 AM
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Re: Cat seizure

I'm probably the member Heidi mentioned. Our beloved Rookie, a 3-year old gray tabby DLH, started having seizures this past February. The first couple seizures happened when we weren't home, so all we knew is that she had peed all over herself. We took her to the vet twice in 3 days, and both times the vet shrugged off the problem as behavioral. (He later apologized profusely for missing the signs.) It wasn't until the following Saturday when we were home that we saw her have a seizure. Epilepsy is rare in cats, so many vets don't really know how to deal with it. So that's one good thing in your case -- you saw it happen earlier in the process and know what you're dealing with. No vet will be able to tell you it's behavioral.

I say the following strictly about Rookie, since I obviously don't know your cat and for sure am not a vet . . . but it turned out that she had what they called primary epilepsy. They put her on a high dose of phenobarbital, which had the effect of stopping her seizures for a couple days but turned her into a complete zombie. She would sit motionless for half an hour at a time, barely able to lift her head. Then she started having seizures again, which made it clear that phenobarbital wasn't going to stop them all together (and they don't claim it does). After one seizure, she lunged at me and attacked me, hanging off my arm by her teeth. The only thing the vets could suggest was having a neurologist do a bunch of tests like a spinal tap, which they said had a 50/50 chance of finding the cause of the problem. And what if they found something? Would we really subject her to brain surgery? Eleven days after the onset of the seizures, we made the impossible decision to put her to sleep. She was my first cat ever and I still miss her every day.

One thing I learned is that as awful as it is to watch your pet having a seizure, the seizure itself doesn't really hurt them. They come out of it dazed and confused, but there are no long-lasting ill effects of the seizure itself. What could cause harm is what happens during the seizure, like if they happen to bump into something sharp, fall down the stairs, etc.

You didn't mention if your kitty peed all over herself during the seizure, but I imagine she did. That was a major problem too, since the vet said not to try to clean her up because that would be stressful to her, which could trigger another seizure. A couple months ago I saw a list of symptoms with points assigned to each, as a test to tell you whether it's time to euthanize a pet. Most of the things were worth 2 or 3 points each, and it said if you got to 8 points, it was time to euthanize. Peeing on themselves was worth 8 points.

I'm so sorry you're going through this. I know how painful it is to watch. I hope you're able to get some answers and that it's something treatable. It may come down to how vigorously you want to treat an animal with a condition like this. I know in our case, the course of treatment sounded extreme, very expensive, and maybe wouldn't even find a cause. I just hope your situation is different. As I said, I'm only telling you what happened in our case; it could be a completely different story with yours.

Please keep us updated, okay?

Holly and Murphy
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-27-2008, 09:01 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Cat seizure

It's been almost a week now, and I haven't seen Ming have another seizure (though he may have done so while I was away). I don't know if there's medications a cat can take to prevent seizures. If not, what would a vet telling me "Yes, you're cat is sick" accomplish? What could be done by a vet even if he started having them daily?
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-27-2008, 11:58 AM
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Re: Cat seizure

Originally Posted by October
A couple months ago I saw a list of symptoms with points assigned to each, as a test to tell you whether it's time to euthanize a pet.
thank you for sharing your painful ordeal.
if you happen to have a link to such a list
could you please dig it up and share it.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-28-2008, 01:03 AM
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Re: Cat seizure

Thoughts and prayers for you and your kitty.

cats leave paw-prints on your heart
It takes a cat to turn a house from a cold building into a warm home.
Cats teach us it's the simplest things that really matter
eternal angel Arianwen
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-28-2008, 01:29 AM
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Re: Cat seizure

I'm sorry to hear about your cat.
As October mentioned, a vet would probably put you cat on phenobarbital if they think she has epilepsy. It can be very effective but, as October found, it can zone some cats out.
Aside from epilepsy, seizures can be caused by imbalances in the system or even an inner ear infection, all treatable. With help from your vet seizures can often be controlled from epilepsy and your cat can live a pretty normal life or completely normal life depending on the cause. Without treatment, they can get progressively worse and cause irreversible damage.
I hope you take her in.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-29-2008, 10:26 AM
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Re: Cat seizure

As Nanook said, a vet would at least have medication for the problem. In our case it was phenobarbital, the same drug they give people with epilepsy. They usually have to hone the dosage a couple times. In our case, the initial dose was intentionally high, and that's when she was so sedated by it.

I think you would know if your kitty had a seizure while you were gone, primarily because he would have peed all over himself. You'd smell it for sure. If his fur looks and smells normal, chances are he didn't have one.

Holly and Murphy
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-29-2008, 10:37 AM
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Re: Cat seizure

It took a little digging, but I found that link about deciding whether or not to euthanize based on point values: ... nions.html

It was posted by another member a couple months ago. I thought it might be really helpful because it takes some of the emotion out of it.

Holly and Murphy
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