Seizures in old cats

Updated July 18, 2017

Feline seizures may be terrifying for both the cat owner and the cat. Although the cat is not in any physical pain when a seizure occurs, it can be very frightening. The key is finding the underlying cause of the seizure so that the cat may be properly treated.


Seizures occur when some sort of disorder in the brain causes erratic electrical impulses to be sent out to the body. A seizure is a symptom of another disease and does not always mean that a cat is suffering from epilepsy.

When a cat has a seizure, it typically loses control of its body, and the seizure can last up to five minutes. Feline seizures can also exhibit other symptoms such as frantic running, a change in breathing, dilated eyes and attacking invisible objects.


Causes of seizures can vary but may include epilepsy, brain trauma, a brain tumour, an infection, an overdose of medication or a toxin. Metabolic disorders such as diabetes, kidney or liver failure may also cause seizures in cats.

Seizures in Older Cats

An older cat becomes more susceptible to diseases, and its body does not repair itself as quickly as it used to. Internal organs may begin to malfunction and cells begin to change, according to This makes the cat more prone to diseases such as kidney failure, cancer and diabetes, which may cause seizures. When an underlying cause cannot be found, the disorder will most likely be labelled as idiopathic feline epilepsy, as stated by

If a cat has several seizures within a 24-hour period of time, it should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.

How You Can Help

When a cat is having a seizure, you should avoid interfering so that you will not cause any injuries. Make sure the cat is out of danger during the seizure. Seizures are not painful to the cat but can be very terrifying for them. Your presence will help to comfort the cat during and after the seizure.

You should take mental notes as to what happens before, during and after the seizure so that you can give the information to the veterinarian. This will help him make a proper diagnosis as to why the seizure happened and how serious it may be for your cat.


Treatment for the seizures is dependant upon their causes. If the cause is an underlying disease or illness, treatment will be needed for the disease. If a brain tumour is causing the cat to have a seizure, surgical removal of the tumour may be required, according to When epilepsy is the underlying cause of the seizures, the cat may be treated with anticonvulsant drugs such as phenobarbital or diazepam.

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