My cat has developed sensitivity to clicking sounds causing twitching

by Antoinette Worrall
(Birmingham England)

My cat has developed very sensitive hearing to clicking sounds causing him to twitch and today he had what could be described as a small fit.

I was about to feed him and he was sitting on the table as usually waiting. I was scrapping the leftovers from the tin with a fork and the sound it was making caused him to repeatedly twitch and as I stop it, he starting to run around in a circle.

I took him off the table and he tried to run away but was not in control of his body and still continued to try and run round in a circle.

I tried to hold him because he was heading for the wall and in doing so it appears as though he was having difficulties with his mouth and his tongue.

I held the wee chap until it passed which only took seconds. This was extremely upsetting to witness. I have booked him in with the vet today.

This sensitive hearing started to occur when his brother died on July 10. As time has gone on he has become more and more sensitive to any clicking sound especially the computer mouse.

Please let me know if you have heard anything like this before and what is it. Inner ear problem? He has no other health issues. He is generally a very happy/healthily cat (13 years old).


Hi Antoinette…. thanks for sharing and asking.

I am at a disadvantage as you are going to the vet soon.

Note: this page has been updated regularly as comments come it. The page was written around 4 years ago and since then a new condition has been named called Feline Audiogenic Reflex Seizures. (FARS). This is a form of epilepsy more common in older cats and Birmans. The words that follow were also largely written 4 years ago. — Michael (Admin)

Nonetheless, as you have asked, I will answer as best as I can but this is theoretical based on what you have said.

I don’t think it is connected to the loss of his brother except for the fact that this condition appears to be linked to age. The comments indicate it occurs in elderly cats. Perhaps the loss of his brother knocked him back emotionally and that brought this condition on. I have not found anything in the textbooks which refer to increased sensitivity to sound.

He may have encephalitis, a brain infection but I think this is unlikely. This is because he has a behavioral and personality change which goes wider than hearing problems. However having read the comments it appears to be linked to a change in brain function brought about by a degeneration of the brain due to old age. That is a guess obviously.

Update: I believe this condition is related to old age and associated changes in the brain but that is just a personal theory. More and more comments come in from caretakers of elderly cats (17th Sept 2015).

Click on this link to read more.

For the sake of completeness, Encephalitis can be brought on by:

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIV)

Panleukopenia – feline distemper

Feline Leukemia – signs. FeLV

Rabies (this does not apply because rabies as been eradicated in the UK).


Toxoplasmosis can also cause encephalitis. This is caused by a protozoan

Bacteria can also cause encephalitis.

A fungal infection (Cryptococcus) can also cause it.

The treatment is dependent on the cause.

I won’t go any further as you are seeing a vet who can make a far better diagnosis with your cat in front of him and the full force of his/her training behind him

Good luck to you both.

Update: Please see the comment by Mel at base of page. Very interesting. This may be a case of hypersensitivity to vibrations caused by sound due to deafness.


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Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment written by visitors. It is a way visitors can contribute to animal welfare without much effort and no financial cost. Please comment. It helps this website too which at heart is about cat welfare.

51 thoughts on “My cat has developed sensitivity to clicking sounds causing twitching”

  1. I worked in veterinary medicine for years about 15 years ago and have seen many seizures in cats(and dogs) but never remember linking sound to them. Just rescued a new cat and a new vacuum and sure enough she has what appear to be small seizures as soon as you turn it on and recovers a few minutes after it stops. Obviously I don’t want to repeat this but we did confirm it twice. The only difference is the age, she is roughly 2 years old. I know people are thinking it’s just a weird reaction to the vacuum not a seizure and I would be one of you but the fact is I have literally seen about a thousand different animal seizures in regular and emergency veterinary hospitals over 10 plus years of veterinary (head surg tech) work. Wondering if anyone has heard of it happening to such a young cat and I will be sure to post any updates as far as other sounds. I do remember the lawn mower from the gardener causing a reaction but was watching TV and not even thinking about seizures but will be watching more closely now. Thank you for starting this page and to the vets who finally linked sound and seizures it is really a sight you have to see to believe!


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