Seizures & Deaths in Cats

If your cat has a seizure, you should seek veterinary care as soon as you can.
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Seizures, which also may be called convulsions or fits, are the most common neurological problem in cats, according to the East Padden Animal Hospital. Seizures can cause death, but most end quickly after they start and can be controlled with proper veterinary care. If your cat has a seizure, take him to the vet as soon as possible. Seizures should never go untreated. Always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet.


Most cats experience seizures as a result of poisoning from chemicals that you may have in your house right now. Common poisons include lead, insecticides, rat poison and antifreeze. If you have these items in your house, keep them locked up or store them high up and away from your cats. Other possible causes of seizures include head trauma, kidney failure, liver failure, stroke, brain tumors, metabolic disorders and epilepsy.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs of a seizure usually start and end fairly quickly, according to the East Padden Animal Hospital. You may notice signs of a seizure in your kitty's whole body or just specific body parts, such as the legs or muscles in the face. Clinical signs of a seizure may include loss of consciousness, abnormal muscle contractions, non-responsiveness, hallucinations, pacing, running in circles and other changes in behavior. Since it is highly unlikely that your veterinarian will witness your cat's seizure, it is important to observe the seizure characteristics closely. This way, when you talk with your vet, you will be able to describe the seizure accurately.


Kitty’s prognosis, and the effectiveness of treatment, depend on what caused the seizure and how well she responds to treatment. Some seizures may cause sudden death, but there usually is an underlying cause. Once your vet determines what caused the seizure, most of the time the seizures can be stopped with proper treatment. Make sure to give your cat any medication exactly as your vet recommended.

A Note on Epilepsy

Most seizures in cats are not caused by epilepsy. Carnegie Melon University states that the epilepsy diagnosis generally is given when your vet has determined no other cause for the seizure. There are two forms of epilepsy: primary, or idiopathic, epilepsy and secondary, or symptomatic, epilepsy. If your vet diagnoses your cat with primary epilepsy, it means that he was unable to identify any other cause for the seizures. Secondary epilepsy describes seizures that occur as a result of an underlying condition.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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