12 Signs Your Cat Is Having a Seizure

Have you ever wondered if cats can have seizures? Do you have cats and want to be prepared in case they ever have one?

Learn the signs of cat seizures by reading our Milwaukee, WI, urgent care animal hospital‘s article below.

cat seizure milwaukee, wi

Cats and Seizures

Cats can have seizures. Just like with humans, seizures may be a health problem all their own or they may be a symptom of another health problem.

There are two categories of cat seizures: intracranial and extracranial. Intracranial seizures are seizures that are caused by something inside the skull. Extracranial seizures are caused by something outside the skull.

Causes of Seizures

Since there are two types of seizures there are multiple causes of seizures.

Intracranial Seizures may be caused by:

  • Brain tumors
  • Brain infections
  • Brain trauma and inflammation
  • Parasites in the brain

Extracranial Seizures may be caused by:

  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Ingestion of human medications
  • Exposure to a flea or tick medication that is not meant for cats
  • Heat stroke
  • Infectious diseases
  • High blood pressure
  • Other Illnesses

Your vet can help you determine the cause of a seizure. The treatment will depend on the cause. Some seizures are treatable while others are not.

Can Cat Seizures Be Caused by Epilepsy?

Yes, epilepsy can be a cause of seizures in cats. Epilepsy in cats is rare, but can be diagnosed by your vet.

Symptoms of Cat Seizures

Seizures in cats are harder to diagnose than in humans. However, they do have many symptoms in common. These include:

  • Convulsions
  • Rigidity of limbs
  • Limbs paddling
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Abnormal vocalizations
  • Loss or urinary control
  • Loss of bowel control
  • Tail chasing
  • Aggression
  • Shadow chasing
  • Biting
  • Abnormal behavior (after a seizure)

Seizures may be so quick you don’t even notice it. However, if they last more than a few minutes contact your vet immediately. If unable to contact your vet, find the nearest animal hospital or emergency vet. A seizure that lasts more than three minutes is a medical emergency.


Convulsions are the most common and easiest symptom of seizures to recognize.

Rigidity of Limbs

Rigidity of limbs is another common symptom. Your cat may appear unable to move.

Limbs Paddling

Your cat’s limbs may move in a paddling motion. As if they are trying to swim.

Loss of Consciousness

If your cat suddenly loses consciousness, it can also be a symptom of a seizure.

Abnormal Vocalizations

If your cat suddenly starts making noises that are unusual or strange, they may be having seizures.

Loss of Urinary Control

During a seizure, a cat may lose control of their ability to hold their pee. They may have an accident.

Loss of Bowel Control

Cats may also lose control of their bowels and have an accident.

Tail Chasing

Partial seizures may lead to odd behavior such as sudden tail chasing or staring blankly at a wall. This is a rare symptom.


During a seizure a cat may act aggressive and unlike themselves.

Shadow Chasing

Cats may also appear to be chasing shadows or things that are not there. This is a rare symptom.


Aggressive cats may bite you during a seizure. Cats may also accidentally bite you if your hand gets near their mouth during convulsions.

Abnormal Behavior After a Seizure

After a seizure, your cat may act differently. Seizures can temporarily or permanently change a cat’s behavior and/or personality. This is known as the post-ictal period.

When Is a Seizure a Symptom of Something Else?

Seizures are almost always a symptom of something else. If your cat has a seizure, call your vet immediately. They can help you determine the cause and any possible treatments.

For the different causes listed above, here are some other symptoms you may notice:

Brain tumors

  • Abnormal behavior
  • Changes in habits
  • Changes in behaviors
  • Head pressing
  • Over-sensitivity or pain when touched on the head or neck area
  • Bumping into objects, furniture, walls, doorways, etc.
  • Visual problems
  • Circling
  • Ataxia (walking like they are drunk)
  • Uncoordinated movement

Brain Infections

  • Fever
  • Decreased responsiveness
  • Paralysis
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Unequal size of pupils

Brain Trauma and Inflammation

  • Fever
  • Decreased responsiveness
  • Paralysis
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Unequal size of pupils
  • Signs of trauma (such as a bump on the head)
  • Behavioral changes
  • Head tilting
  • Circling
  • Small, pinpoint pupils
  • Decreased consciousness
  • Unconsciousness

Parasites in the Brain

  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headache (Cat may be sensitive to touch)
  • Muscle ache (Cat may be sensitive to touch)
  • Skin rash
  • Circling
  • Blindness
  • Altered behavior
  • Breathing problems

Liver or Kidney Disease

Liver disease symptoms include:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of skin, eyes, and mucous membranes)
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Lethargy
  • Changes in appetite
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Weight loss
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Kidney disease symptoms include:

  • Increased or decreased thirst
  • Increased or decreased urination
  • Dehydration
  • Sores in the mouth
  • Foul breath
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased appetite
  • Fever
  • Decreased activity
  • Urinary incontinence and accidents
  • Inability to urinate
  • Back pain
  • Fluid filled swelling of limbs

Ingestion of Human Medications

  • GI upset
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • Pale or dark gums
  • Signs of pain
  • Rapid heartbeat

Exposure to a Flea or Tick Medication Not Meant for Cats

  • Tremors
  • Muscle twitching
  • Trembling
  • Ear twitching
  • Loss of balance
  • Stumbling
  • Lethargy
  • Drooling
  • Itchiness
  • Agitation

Heat Stroke

  • Restless behavior
  • Panting
  • Drooling
  • Sweaty paws
  • Excessive grooming
  • Fever
  • Rapid pulse
  • Rapid breathing
  • Redness of tongue or mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Stumbling
  • Staggering

Infectious Diseases

There are many potential infectious diseases that your cat can get. Some common symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Nasal discharge
  • Dehydration

High Blood Pressure

  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Change in behavior
  • Blindness
  • Weakness
  • Heart murmurs
  • Eye problems
  • Bumping into things

Other Illnesses

There are many other illnesses that can lead to the development of seizures in pets. If your cat is having a seizure, contact your vet or a nearby vet hospital. They can help you figure out what is wrong and how to treat it.

Treatment for Seizures

Treatment for seizures will depend on the cause. If your cat has epilepsy, then your vet can prescribe medication for them. Different medicines or treatments will be prescribed for different causes. Some treat the seizures; some treat the cause.

If Your Cat is Having a Seizure, Contact our Milwaukee, WI, Urgent Care Vets Immediately

If your cat is having seizures, always check in with your vet. Even if it is not a medical emergency, a seizure can be a symptom of an underlying medical problem.

Please reach out immediately to our urgent care animal hospital in Milwaukee, WI, by giving us a call at (262) 226-2055.