Seizures are sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbances in the brain. As a result, if a cat owner realizes that their cat is having a seizure, they should take action as soon as possible so that they can minimize the potential negatives.
How Can You Tell When Your Cat Is Having a Seizure?
Generally speaking, seizures are categorized as either generalized seizures or focal seizures. For those who are curious, a generalized seizure means that the entire cerebral cortex is causing the problem whereas a focal seizure means that a part of the cerebral cortex is causing the problem. As such, generalized seizures tend to be very recognizable whereas focal seizures tend to be more difficult to distinguish from other potential problems.
When a cat suffers a generalized seizure, it is common to see them collapse, stiffen, and then start suffering from uncontrolled convulsions. It is possible that the cat’s head will arch backwards. Furthermore, it is possible for the cat to start rolling about, for the cat to start moving their feet in a paddling fashion, and for the cat to start opening and closing their mouth. On top of this, generalized seizures can even cause cats to empty either their bowels, their bladder, or both. In contrast, when a cat suffers a focal seizure, they can experience an even wider range of symptoms depending on the exact part of their body that is being affected. One example would be how some cats that suffer focal seizures start salivating on an excessive basis, while another example would be how some cats that suffer focal seizures can’t get up because they have lost control of one of their legs.
Besides these symptoms, it is worth mentioning that it is possible for cats to experience other symptoms both before and after their seizures. In some cats, their seizures are preceded by behaviors such as pacing, circling, and vomiting. Meanwhile, it should come as no surprise to learn that seizures tend to be very disorienting for cats, which can be combined with a number of potential symptoms such as vomiting, temporary blindness, and temporary lose of control of one of their limbs. Most of the time, these symptoms will clear up with the passage of time, but this is by no means guaranteed to be the case.
What Causes Seizures In Cats Anyways?
Unfortunately, cats can suffer from seizures for a number of reasons. For instance, it is possible that the cat has been exposed to a toxin called pyrethrin, which is a chrysanthemum-derived pesticide that sees use in controlling fleas, flies, mosquitoes, and a wide range of other pests. The problem is that pyrethrin isn’t species-specific but is instead capable of affecting a wide range of living beings in sufficient concentrations. Cats are particularly vulnerable to pyrethrin because they lack the liver enzymes needed to process the relevant compounds once absorbed through the skin. As such, cat owners should watch out for products containing pyrethrin because pyrethrin poisoning is capable of killing cats. Moreover, even if the veterinarians manage to save their cats, they can expect to get hit with a sizable bill in the process.
Moving on, it isn’t uncommon for cats to suffer seizures because of some kind of damage that was done to their brain by head trauma, whether it was inflicted by a fall, a moving car, or some other cause. However, it also isn’t uncommon for cats to suffer seizures because of some kind of underlying sickness, with one potential example being a malfunctioning liver that isn’t filtering out compounds that can cause seizures with sufficient exposure. With that said, there are some cases in which cats suffer seizures without there being any seeming cause for said phenomenon. When this happens, it is simply epilepsy.
What Should You Do If Your Cat Is Having a Seizure?
Whatever the exact cause, seizures are very serious, meaning that cat owners should take action as soon as possible. However, before they move to help their cat, they should remember the importance of remaining calm in potentially problematic situations. After all, a calm state of mind is what will enable them to make the right choices as soon as possible, thus enabling them to help their cat as soon as possible.
First, cat owners need to watch out for their cat. Generalized seizures render cats unconscious, meaning that they have no control over their movements. As a result, if cat owners aren’t careful when helping out their cats, they could wind up being bitten and scratched. Something that should be avoided because that will just result in a bigger mess that will have to be resolved by them.
Second, cat owners should move their cat to a safe place. In part, this means moving them away from stairs, furniture, and other things that they could hurt themselves by bumping into. However, cat owners should also move their cat away from other household animals. Partly, this is because household animals have been known to attack cats suffering from seizures, and partly, this is because there is no need to stress them out with the sight of one of their suffering house-mates.
Third, cat owners need to make a choice to either bring their cat to the veterinarian right away or wait until their cat’s seizure has come to an end. In a lot of cases, waiting should be fine. However, if a cat is either continuing to undergo seizure or is experiencing multiple seizures in a cluster, that is a sign that the cat owner should be rushing them to the veterinarian as soon as possible, not least because veterinarians can use drugs to stop the seizures. Please note that some cats might not recognize their cat owners in the immediate aftermath of a seizure, meaning that cat owners need to be prepared for potential aggression as well as potential evasive behavior.
Fourth, cat owners should follow the recommendations of the veterinarian. If there is some kind of underlying problem causing the seizures, the veterinarian is the one with the expertise and experience needed to handle it. If there doesn’t seem to be an underlying problem, it is possible that the veterinarian will prescribe anticonvulsant medication. However, this isn’t done unless the cat suffers frequent seizures because of the stress that such medication can put on their liver. For that matter, even if a cat is prescribed anticonvulsant medication, expect regular check-ups to make sure that the prescription isn’t causing other problems.