When To Euthanize A Cat With Seizures?

Cats are wonderful pets that bring joy and companionship to our lives. However, sometimes they can develop health problems that require difficult decisions to be made. One of these problems is seizures, which can be scary and distressing for both the cat and their owner.

In some cases, euthanasia may be considered as an option to end the cat’s suffering. But when is it appropriate to make this decision? We will explore why a cat with seizures may need to be euthanized and what needs to be considered before making this decision.

What are Seizures in Cats?

Seizures in cats are sudden, involuntary muscular contractions of the body. The cat will become stiff and twitchy and may fall to the floor.

Seizures in cats are not uncommon, and they often resolve without treatment. However, if your cat experiences a seizure, seeking medical attention as soon as possible is important.

What Are the Common Causes of Cat Seizures?

Sick cat

1. Idiopathic epilepsy

This genetic disorder causes seizures in cats without any underlying medical condition. It is the most common cause of seizures in cats, and it usually develops between the ages of one and three years.

2. Brain tumors

Tumors in the brain can cause seizures in cats. These tumors can be benign or malignant, affecting different parts of the brain, leading to different types of seizures.

3. Infections

Infections such as feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), feline leukemia virus (FeLV), and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) can cause seizures in cats. These infections can affect the brain and nervous system, leading to seizures.

4. Trauma

Head injuries or trauma can cause seizures in cats. This can include being hit by a car, falling from a height or fighting with another animal.

5. Poisoning

Certain toxins can cause seizures in cats. These can include household chemicals, medications, and plants such as lilies.

6. Liver & Kidney Disease

Liver and kidney disease can cause seizures in cats due to the buildup of toxins in the bloodstream. This can affect the brain and nervous system, leading to seizures.

7. Hypoglycemia

Low blood sugar levels can cause seizures in cats. This can occur in cats with diabetes or cats that have not eaten for a prolonged period.

What Are the Different Kinds of Seizures?

There are several types of seizures that cats may experience, each with its own set of symptoms. Here are some of the different kinds of seizures in cats:

Generalized seizures

Generalized seizures are the most common type of seizure in cats. They involve the entire brain and can cause convulsions, loss of consciousness, and other symptoms. Generalized seizures can be further classified into different subtypes:

  • Tonic-clonic seizures: These seizures involve stiffening of the limbs and convulsions. The cat may also lose consciousness and drool excessively.
  • Absence seizures: These seizures involve a brief loss of consciousness and staring into space. The cat may appear unresponsive and unaware of their surroundings.
  • Myoclonic seizures: These seizures involve sudden jerking movements of the limbs and body.

Focal seizures

Focal seizures, also known as partial seizures, involve only one part of the brain. They can cause various symptoms depending on which part of the brain is affected. Focal seizures can be further classified into different subtypes:

  • Motor seizures: These seizures involve involuntary movements of the limbs or body.
  • Sensory seizures: These seizures involve abnormal sensations such as tingling or numbness.
  • Complex partial seizures: These seizures involve altered consciousness and abnormal behavior such as pacing or vocalizing.

Cluster seizures

Cluster seizures occur when a cat experiences multiple seizures within a short period, usually within 24 hours. These seizures can be a medical emergency and require immediate veterinary care.

Seizure symptoms in cats

  1. Convulsions: The most obvious symptom of a seizure in cats is convulsions. This can include sudden and uncontrollable movements such as shaking, twitching, and jerking of the limbs. The cat may also fall to the ground and lose consciousness.
  2. Loss of consciousness: During a seizure, a cat may lose consciousness. They may appear to be unresponsive and unaware of their surroundings.
  3. Staring: Some cats may stare off into space during a seizure. They may appear to be unresponsive and unaware of their surroundings.
  4. Vocalization: Some cats may vocalize during a seizure. This can include meowing, yowling, or howling.
  5. Drooling: Cats may drool excessively during a seizure. This is due to the loss of muscle control in the mouth and jaw.
  6. Urinary or fecal incontinence: During a seizure, cats may lose control of their bladder or bowels. This can result in urinary or fecal incontinence.
  7. Pacing or restlessness: Some cats may pace or appear restless before or after a seizure. This can be due to confusion or disorientation.

When to euthanize a cat with seizures?

euthanize cat with seizures

When a cat suffers from seizures, it’s important to consider whether or not the animal should be euthanized. If a dog has a seizure, for example, he will likely recover without any lasting effects. But if the cat does have another seizure, it could be fatal.

If your cat has had one seizure, you should take him to the veterinarian immediately so that they can determine what caused it and treat him accordingly. The vet will also be able to tell you whether or not there is any permanent damage from the seizure itself (which is rare).

If your cat has had multiple seizures, however, then euthanasia may be recommended. This is because most cats who suffer from numerous seizures cannot live out their lives without the incident reoccurring —they will likely develop epilepsy after two or three episodes of this nature.

The decision to euthanize a cat with seizures can be tough. However, it’s important to remember that this is the cat’s quality of life you’re considering: if the seizures are causing your cat pain or discomfort, then it might be time to consider ending their life.

different options for euthanasia

Euthanasia is a hard decision that many cat owners face when their pet is suffering from a terminal illness or injury. Always remember that euthanasia is not a punishment but a way to end suffering and allow your cat to pass peacefully.

There are several options available for cat euthanasia, including:

In-home euthanasia

Some veterinary clinics offer in-home euthanasia services, where a veterinarian comes to the cat’s home to perform the euthanasia. This can be a more comfortable and less stressful option for both the cat and the owner.

Veterinary clinic euthanasia

Most veterinary clinics offer euthanasia services. The cat is usually given a sedative to help them relax before the veterinarian administers a lethal injection. The cat usually passes away quickly and peacefully.

Shelter euthanasia

If the cat is in a shelter and is deemed unadoptable due to illness or behavior issues, the shelter may choose to euthanize the cat. This is often a last resort when all other options have been exhausted.

Group euthanasia

In some cases, multiple cats may be euthanized at the same time. This is often done in shelters or veterinary clinics when multiple cats are suffering from the same illness or condition.

Procedures for Euthanasia

Euthanasia is a difficult decision that pet owners may have to make when their cat is suffering from a serious illness or injury. It is important to understand the procedures involved in euthanasia to ensure that it is done in a humane and compassionate manner. Here are the steps involved in the euthanasia process for cats:

1. Consultation with a veterinarian

The first step is to discuss the decision to euthanize your cat with a veterinarian. They will assess your cat’s condition and provide guidance on whether euthanasia is the best course of action.

2. Consent form

Once you have decided to euthanize your cat, you must sign a consent form. This form confirms that you have given permission for the euthanasia to take place.

3. Sedation

Before the actual euthanasia procedure, your cat will be given a sedative to help them relax and feel more comfortable. This can be given orally or by injection.

4. Administration of euthanasia solution

The euthanasia solution is typically a combination of a sedative and a drug that stops the heart. It is given by injection, usually into a vein in the cat’s leg. The solution works quickly, and your cat will lose consciousness within seconds.

5. Confirmation of death

After the euthanasia solution has been administered, your veterinarian will confirm that your cat has passed away. They may check for a heartbeat or other signs of life, but in most cases, it will be obvious that your cat has died peacefully.

6. Aftercare

You will have the option to take your cat’s body home for burial or have it cremated. Your veterinarian can provide guidance on aftercare options and help you make the best decision for your family.

What is the life expectancy of a cat with seizures?

Seizures are scary for cats and their owners but are fairly common. If your cat is suffering from seizures, you may be wondering how long your cat will last.

First things first: seizures are not a death sentence for your cat. As long as you keep them on medication and manage the underlying conditions, they can live a long and happy life.

But how long do cats suffering from seizures live? The answer to that depends on the type of seizure and whether or not they have other health problems.

How Can Seizures Be Treated?

Treatment for seizures in cats depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the seizures. Here are some of the ways seizures can be treated in cats:


Anti-epileptic medications are often used to treat seizures in cats. These medications can help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures. Common medications for cat seizures include phenobarbital, potassium bromide, and levetiracetam. Your veterinarian will determine which medication best suits your cat’s needs.


Some cats may benefit from a special diet that is high in fat and low in carbohydrates. This is known as a ketogenic diet and can help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in some cats.


Surgery may sometimes be required to treat the underlying cause of seizures. This may be necessary if a brain tumor or other structural abnormality causes the seizures.

Management of underlying conditions

If the seizures are caused by an underlying condition such as liver disease or kidney disease, treating the underlying condition can help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures.

Seizure management

In some cases, it may be necessary to manage the seizures themselves. This can include administering emergency medications such as diazepam or midazolam during a seizure or providing oxygen therapy to help the cat recover after a seizure.

Can a cat die from a seizure?

While cats can die from seizures, it is less common than dogs. The most likely reason for a cat to die from a seizure is the lack of oxygen that the body experiences when it occurs. In case you witness your cat having a seizure, it is recommended to contact a veterinarian right away to provide proper treatment.

How many seizures are too many for a cat?

If the seizures only last a few seconds and happen infrequently, then there’s no need to worry. However, if your cat is having multiple seizures every day or week, there might be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

Do cats feel pain during seizures?

Seizures are a neurological condition that affects cats. They’re characterized by sudden bursts of muscle activity, which can cause the cat to fall down or twitch.

Whether or not your cat feels pain during seizures depends on the type of seizure and how severe it is. Some cats may experience muscle spasms that are so mild they don’t even realize they’re having a seizure at all. Other cats may experience more intense muscle spasms or convulsions, which will cause them to feel discomfort during the seizure. In most cases, however, the discomfort is minimal at best and does not continue after the seizure has ended.

cat food causing seizures

Cat food-causing seizures are a rare occurrence, but they can happen. In some cases, certain ingredients in cat food can trigger seizures in cats. Here are some of the ways that cat food can cause seizures:

Food allergies

It’s important to know that some cats might have allergies to specific food ingredients, which could lead to seizures. Common allergens in cat food are beef, dairy, and fish.


Some food additives, such as preservatives, dyes, and flavorings, can trigger seizures in cats. These additives can be found in both wet and dry cat food.


Certain toxins, such as aflatoxins, which are produced by mold, can cause seizures in cats. These toxins can be found in contaminated cat food.

Nutritional deficiencies

A lack of certain nutrients, such as thiamine, which is essential for neurological function, can cause seizures in cats. This can occur if a cat is fed an unbalanced or inadequate diet.

Final Thoughts

If you have explored all of your options and your cat’s seizures remain uncontrolled, it is time to talk with your veterinarian about palliative care. If your cat has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and the prognosis isn’t good, that is another reason to consider euthanizing.

Other Cat Issues: