What to do when your cat is having a seizure
What to do in the event that your cat has a seizure at home
The first thing to remember is just to stay calm. It can be really distressing to see your cat having a seizure, but the main thing to remember is that cats will rarely cause damage to themselves during a seizure event. If you try and interfere with them too much, however, they may inadvertently injure you with scratching or potentially with biting. So, try and stay calm.
Generally, the seizures won't last for more than 30 seconds to maybe one to two minutes. Just give the cat time to settle down. What can be really helpful is to make a note of the time that the seizure started and certainly observe your cat to see what types of symptoms they're showing, such as paddling or twitching, or whether they pass urine or stools as well because that can also give us some really important information.
When the seizure has finished, keep your cat nice and calm. If we have seen you previously, we may provide you with some medications that you can give to your cat at home. Essentially, every time your cat has a seizure, the brain becomes super excited, and there's a lot of abnormal electrical activity happening in your cat's brain. Every time they have a seizure, they're more likely to have a second seizure. So, we may prescribe you medication to give to your cat at home to try and shut down that effect of having ongoing seizures.
The medications that we use are typically a drug such as diazepam, or there's another drug called midazolam, which is the same class or the same type of drug. These are very short-acting anti-seizure medications. They're not drugs that we use for long-term control. This is just in the immediate period of when a cat is having a seizure or recovering from a seizure.
The way that you will receive this drug is typically labeled in a light-proof bottle, and all the information on how to give the medication should be written on the label. Now, this medication can either be given per rectally, so into the cat's bottom, or potentially intranasally where we squirt the medication up the cat's nose. A lot of cats will then sneeze the drug out, but they will absorb a lot of it, so it should still have a good effect.
You'll be provided with a syringe and most likely a catheter tip to draw the medication up. Remove the child-proof tamper lid from the bottle and draw up the appropriate dosage that's written on the front of the label. You may then need to place the soft catheter tip onto the syringe. This is typically what we would use for per rectal administration, or we may have provided you with an atomiser for intranasal use. This delivers a very fine spray up the cat's nostril. It needs to be primed, so you inject a small amount into this tubing before you spray that up the cat's nose to give the medication.
You might need someone just to gently support the cat's head and also to gently stroke them. Essentially, we're holding this little tube right up against the cat's nose and then squirting that up the cat's nose. They will most likely pull their head away, but hopefully, you'll get enough in there to have a good anti-seizure effect.
Alternatively, if you're using the per rectal route, insert the catheter just a small amount into your cat's bottom and then again depress the plunger to push that drug into the cat's rectum. Now, every cat and every owner will find a different technique either per rectal or intranasal that they find easier. So, don't hesitate to chat to us about which technique you find best.
Essentially, with this medication, we can repeat the drug dosage every five minutes for up to three doses. If your cat is still seizuring after that time, however, it's imperative that you do seek veterinary attention. So please either contact your own vets, ask at Cat Specialist Services, or alternatively, your local emergency service as well.