Jack was having seizures and died. Photo by espie (Flickr)
I list the reasons for a cat seizure by reference, primarily to the best reference work on cat health.
- Advanced liver failure can cause a seizure. Other possible signs are: weakness, lethargy, loss of appetite, lost of weight, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drinking, abdominal pain, headache, stupor.
- An anatomical defect called a “portosystemic shunt”. The vein that normally carries nutrients from the intestines to the liver, bypasses the liver and carries the blood to the heart. The processing of the nutrients is not carried out by the liver leading to an ammonia build up causing possible seizures, circling, headache (head pressing against a wall), vomiting, drooling, weight loss, diarrhea.
- Low blood sugar levels – hypoglycemia – can cause a cat seizure. It can be caused by an insulin overdose given to a cat with diabetes. Or the cause might be tumors of the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Other possible symptoms are: confusion, staggering, disorientated, collapse.
- A blood clot of the cerebral artery can cause a cat seizure. Clotting of an artery is called a “thrombosis”.
- Disease of the brain can cause seizures. Diseases of the part of the brain called the “cerebrum” – the largest part of the brain composed of two hemispheres – can cause other symptoms such as: blindness, aggression, circling and pacing.
- Brain injuries from which the cat recovers can result in permanent behavioral changes including seizures, head tilt, blindness and/or paralysis.
- A stoke, which is bleeding in the brain, can cause seizures. Other signs are spasms of the face and limbs, lack of coordination and blindness.
- Brain tumors produce symptoms that are similar to those of a stroke, although they develop more slowly.
- A genetically inherited disease that is more commonly found in Siamese cats and which is caused by an autosomal, recessive gene can cause seizures in kittens. It is called “inherited metabolic disease”. The central nervous system degenerates. DNA tests can detect the presence of the gene in a carrier. Other symptoms are: wobbly gait, weakness & paralysis of limbs and blindness. Carriers of the gene should obviously be removed (“culled” – this does not mean killed) from breeding.
- Cat poisoning can cause seizures.
- Kidney failure.
- Epilepsy. Epilepsy can be caused by injury to the brain or a defect of the brain.
- A form of cat seizure is suddenly falling asleep, a condition called, “narcolepsy-cataplexy”.
It should go without saying that a seizure requires a proper veterinary diagnosis to ascertain the cause and treatment.
Seizure: uncontrolled and sudden activity that might include foaming at mouth, jerking of legs, chewing and champing (to bite noisily), temporary incontinence, sudden rage, biting.
Cat Seizure to Home Page