When to Euthanize a Cat with Seizures

Cat owners never relish the idea of euthanizing their pets, no matter the reason. Seizure-prone cats are the same way. Symptoms of seizures include short, mild seizures that last between 2 and 5 minutes or severe, prolonged seizures that may cause severe health complications.

You should consider your cat’s quality of life before euthanizing them. Here, we’ll see how seizures affect your cat’s overall health and vitality and when to put them down if they always have seizures.

When to Euthanize a Cat with Seizures


What Is a Seizure and How Does It Affect a Cat?

The symptoms of a seizure include involuntary movements, changes in behavior, and altered consciousness caused by sudden, uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain. There are many factors that can cause seizures, including genetics, infections, brain injuries, or toxins. Cats can experience a range of symptoms during seizures, according to their severity and duration.

These are some of the signs that a cat is having a seizure:

  • Body twitching, limb jerking, or jerky facial movements
  • Having trouble focusing or losing consciousness
  • Having a foaming or drooling mouth
  • Hissing or meowing as a form of vocalization
  • Bowel or bladder control problems
  • Stiffening of the limbs or body

Seizures can be distressing for cats and their owners and indicate an underlying health problem. If your cat experiences seizures, it is essential to seek veterinary care immediately to determine the cause and appropriate treatment.

Causes of Seizures in Cats

In order to provide appropriate treatment for seizures in cats, it’s essential to determine the underlying reason. There are many causes of seizures in cats, including:

Idiopathic epilepsy: Most cats suffer from seizures due to this condition. Idiopathic epilepsy refers to seizures that occur without an apparent underlying cause.

Brain tumors: Cats can experience seizures when they have brain tumors. Most cats will develop a meningioma as a brain tumor.

Infections: Some can cause cat seizures, like toxoplasmosis, feline infectious peritonitis, and distemper.

Trauma: Head trauma can cause seizures in cats. This can be the result of an accident or physical abuse.

Metabolic disorders: There are a number of metabolic disorders that can cause seizures in cats, including hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), and liver disease.

Exposure to toxins: Certain toxins, such as insecticides, plants, and medications, can cause cat seizures.

Idiopathic vestibular syndrome: Vestibular dysfunction affects balance and coordination by affecting the vestibular system. Some cats can suffer seizures from it. Getting your cat to the veterinarian immediately is vital if she has a seizure. Veterinary diagnostic tests can be performed to determine the underlying cause of the seizure and recommend treatment options.

How Do Seizures Affect a Cat?

The duration, intensity, and difficulty of seizures can vary. The symptoms of some seizures may include severe convulsions, drooling, and other horrible symptoms, but some seizures may last a short time, and you may not even notice them. When a cat has a seizure, its brain can start functioning normally again, but it may be disoriented afterward and require some time alone to recover.

Signs of Seizures in Cats

Symptoms: There are a variety of symptoms cats can experience during seizures, such as:

  • The twitching or convulsion of muscles
  • Consciousness loss
  • Inability to control bowels and bladders..
  • Movements that involve chewing or chomping
  • Using the legs to paddle
  • Having the urge to salivate or drool
  • Vocalizations of an unusual nature
  • Insomnia or confusion

According to the severity and type of seizure, seizure symptoms can vary. The duration of some seizures can range from mild muscle twitching to severe convulsions lasting a few minutes. In addition to seizures, other symptoms can also be present, like changes in behavior, balance issues, and vision problems, all of which may indicate an underlying health problem. Take your cat to the vet if you suspect it’s having a seizure.

Frequency: Cats can have seizures at different frequencies, which depend on several factors, including the severity of the condition and the underlying cause. Seizures can happen to cats once in their lifetime, or they can happen frequently.

If your cat has two or more seizures in a day, that indicates frequent seizures, and you need to take him to the vet. Cats who have regular seizures are known as epileptic cats, and they may need ongoing treatment to prevent seizures and manage their seizures.

Veterinary care is essential to determine the cause and develop a treatment plan if a pet suffers frequent seizures, which can indicate a more serious underlying condition. When pet owners see their pets suffer from frequent seizures, they may need to consider euthanasia as a possible solution.

Duration: It is common for a cat to experience a seizure for up to two minutes; however, this can vary from cat to cat. Seizures may last for a few seconds or several minutes, depending on the severity of the case. The cat can suffer great distress and discomfort from prolonged seizures, also known as status epilepticus.

Repetitive seizures in cats may indicate a more serious underlying problem, so it is essential to identify them early. You should get your cat a vet immediately if they have repeated or prolonged seizures. Early treatment can minimize the risk of complications and help prevent future seizures.

Severity: Several factors can affect how severe seizures are in cats, such as underlying causes, frequency, and regular health. The severity of seizures varies, causing severe convulsions and loss of consciousness in some cases and mild muscle twitching in others.

When cats experience severe seizures, they can be distressed and uncomfortable and may indicate underlying issues. Seizures that last too long, also called status epilepticus, can cause severe brain damage. Monitoring the cat’s duration, frequency, and other symptoms during the seizure can help you determine the severity of a seizure.

It is essential to seek veterinary care immediately if a cat has frequent or severe seizures to pinpoint the cause and create a treatment plan. It may be necessary to consider euthanasia in some cases due to the severity of the condition.

How Long Can a Cat Live with Seizures?

Seizures in cats can be a concerning health issue, and the length of time a cat can live with seizures can vary depending on several factors. It’s important to note that seizures can be a symptom of an underlying condition and treating that condition can be crucial to managing the seizures.

If left untreated, seizures can become more frequent and severe, which can potentially shorten a cat’s lifespan. Additionally, seizures can cause injury or accidents, such as falls or drowning in water bowls, which can also affect a cat’s lifespan.

The cause of the seizures will determine the best course of treatment. Some conditions, such as epilepsy, can be managed with medication, while others may require surgery or other interventions.

Overall, it’s difficult to determine a specific lifespan for a cat with seizures, as it depends on the underlying condition causing the seizures and how well it is managed. It’s important to work closely with a veterinarian to monitor and manage a cat’s seizures and to address any underlying health issues.

Can A Seizure Itself Kill a Cat?

The fact that seizures alone do not represent a high risk of death for cats is important to know, even though we just discussed the life expectancy associated with the causes of cat’s seizures. The symptoms of seizures alone include vomiting, convulsions, and drooling.

Nevertheless, if you are sure that your cat is not seriously ill, has no brain tumor, or has not sustained head trauma, you can be assured that the seizure will not have a fatal outcome. The reason for your cat’s seizures is therefore important to understand, and there is no need to overlook the fact that seizures may be harmful and may even be life-threatening.

How Long Do Cats with Seizures Live?

The lifespan of a cat with seizures can vary depending on the underlying cause of the seizures and how well they respond to treatment. Some cats with seizures may live a normal lifespan, while others may have a reduced lifespan due to the severity of their seizures or other health problems.

Points to consider:

  1. Underlying cause: The underlying cause of the seizures can have a significant impact on a cat’s lifespan. If the seizures are caused by a treatable condition, such as a brain tumor or infection, then the cat’s lifespan may be extended with appropriate treatment. However, if the seizures are caused by a progressive disease, such as epilepsy or a degenerative neurological disorder, the cat’s lifespan may be shortened.
  2. Frequency and severity of seizures: The frequency and severity of the seizures can also affect a cat’s lifespan. If the seizures are infrequent and mild, then the cat may be able to live a normal lifespan. However, if the seizures are frequent and severe, they can cause damage to the brain and other organs, which can lead to a shorter lifespan.
  3. Response to treatment: The response to treatment is another important factor to consider. If a cat with seizures responds well to treatment, their seizures may be better controlled, which can improve their quality of life and extend their lifespan. However, if a cat does not respond well to treatment, their seizures may continue to be uncontrolled, which can lead to further health complications and a shortened lifespan.

In conclusion, it is difficult to give a specific lifespan for cats with seizures as it depends on many factors. It’s important to work closely with your veterinarian to manage your cat’s seizures and provide the best possible care to improve their quality of life and extend their lifespan.

How To Treat Seizures?

Your veterinarian may prescribe you medications if they do not know what is causing your cat’s seizures and are unable to diagnose the cause. To treat the seizures that repeat over and over again, your cat will probably require long-term treatment with an anticonvulsant.

Furthermore, the vet will monitor and adjust the dose of the medication he prescribes. Toxins that are ingested will result in vomit, which the vet will treat with medication. In order to help your older cat, it might be wise to change its diet.


What is the life expectancy of a cat with seizures?

Currently, there is no known method for preventing epilepsy since the main causes are unknown or genetic. Most epileptic pets are able to live a normal life with medication.

Do cats suffer when they have seizures?

Cats can have dramatic seizures, but they are usually not in pain. Cats can suffer seizures for as long as a few minutes, and they will need time to recuperate from them.

How many seizures is too many for a cat?

Even if the cause of seizures is unknown, cats who have daily seizures (more than one every six to eight weeks) should receive treatment. Having more seizures may lead to more severe seizures and complications, since each seizure can damage the brain further.

What do cats do before a seizure?

Just before a seizure begins, cats may display symptoms such as being uneasy, restless, salivating, and requesting attention. It is also possible for them to suddenly hide in the opposite direction. Before a seizure, some cats look perfectly normal.

How does a cat feel after a seizure?

During the postictal period, which occurs after a seizure, you may notice abnormal behavior. You might notice your cat is excessively tired or excited, eating or drinking too much, or pacing too much. Do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian if you observe any of these signs.

How can I treat my cats seizures at home?

Here are some tips you can try if your cat begins to have seizures.

  • Pay attention to the time.The length of the seizure should be known in advance.
  • Stimulate less.
  • Avoid touching or moving the cat.
  • If the seizure continues, contact your veterinarian.

Final Thoughts

You need to look at things as they are when it comes to euthanizing a cat with seizures. You don’t want your cat to have seizures, but most seizures aren’t serious. When you discover seizures early enough, you can manage them if you know all the facts and causes.

Angela Young
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