First Aid for Cats: Coping with Seizures


Seizures, or "fits," are not uncommon in cats. In fact, they're one of the most common neurological emergencies in felines. Most seizures are brief, last less than 10 minutes, and end without lasting effects. Here are some tips on dealing with a seizure if your cat is having one:

Seizures are the most common neurological emergency in cats

They are caused by a wide variety of things, including poisoning or drug reactions, head trauma and bleeding in the brain, infections such as feline leukemia virus (FeLV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), liver disease, kidney failure, and electrolyte imbalances. The small size of cats makes them more sensitive to these toxins than larger animals; therefore it's important to watch for signs of toxicity when treating your pet.

The first step toward determining what's causing your cat's seizures is keeping track of when they occur and what happened beforehand--this will help you make an informed decision about treatment options later on.

How long does a seizure last?

It's important to note that seizure duration can vary greatly from cat to cat. Some seizures may last only a few seconds, while others can last for several minutes or more. Seizures are classified as grand mal (the most common type) or petit mal (less common).

What should I do if my cat is having a seizure?

  • Keep calm.
  • Keep your cat safe.
  • Stay with them! Do not try to restrain them in any way; this could cause injury or make things worse by causing additional stress on the body during an already stressful situation. Monitor their breathing and heart rate throughout the episode; if they stop breathing, perform CPR immediately.
  • Call a veterinarian immediately after the seizure ends so they can assess whether any damage has occurred.
  • Write down the date and time of each seizure along with notes about what happened during each one until you get in touch with your vet.
  • Don't forget these steps when dealing with future episodes--they'll help determine whether they're related at all

        How can I tell if my cat has epilepsy?

        • Seizures can be a symptom of epilepsy. Other symptoms include behavioral changes, abnormal vocalization, and body tremors.
        • Your cat may have seizures even if he or she does not have epilepsy. In other words, your cat might have one or more seizures without displaying any other symptoms at all!
        • The intensity and duration of a seizure vary widely depending on the type of seizure being experienced by the cat and how long it takes for first aid to begin after onset. Some seizures may last only a few seconds while others may last several minutes or longer before they subside on their own. The threshold at which any given individual will experience an episode is different from person to person; however, there are some general guidelines as far as what constitutes an "epileptic" event versus something else entirely

        What medications are used to treat feline seizures and epilepsy?

        The most common medications used to treat feline seizures and epilepsy are:

        • Phenobarbital, which is a sedative that helps to control seizures. It can be given in a liquid or pill form, depending on the cat's age and weight.
        • Potassium bromide is another sedative for controlling seizures in cats. It's administered in liquid form only; it's not available as an oral pill or tablet.

        The dosage will depend on your cat's age and weight, but generally speaking, it will take about two weeks for the medicine to start working effectively and preventing further episodes of feline epilepsy.

        What can I do to prevent seizures in my cat?

        • Cat's diet: Low-quality diets are a common cause of seizures in cats. If you have recently changed your cat's diet and he or she has had a seizure, it may be worth trying to reintroduce the old food before attempting to switch again.
        • Exercise: Seizures can be triggered by stress and excitement, so it is important not to overstimulate your cat with too much attention or exercise right before bedtime if they tend to suffer from sleepwalking episodes (also known as complex partial seizures).
        • Stress: Stressful situations can trigger seizures in some animals--for example, when moving into a new home or introducing new pets into the household--so do everything possible to keep things calm around them during these periods!

        Seizures are scary, but they're not always deadly

        • If your cat has a seizure, he may be unconscious (this is called status epilepticus). He might also have a muscle spasm or jerk and then recover quickly without becoming unconscious. Sometimes this is accompanied by sudden behavioral changes like increased activity level or vocalization--and sometimes these signs of seizure activity are followed by loss of consciousness (called nonconvulsive status epilepticus).
        • The length of time between seizures varies--the condition can last for hours at a time if left untreated, but it can also stop on its own without any intervention needed on your part. In some cases where cats are having frequent seizures over long periods of time, emergency veterinary care may be required to keep them safe until their condition improves enough that they no longer need professional care around the clock!


        It's important to remember that seizures are not always fatal and can be treated. If your cat is having a seizure, call your vet right away so they can give you advice on what to do next.


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