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Dr. Vicky Lamb
Dr. Vicky Lamb, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 892
Experience:  15 years small animal veterinarian
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My cat has seizures when he feels scared or trapped in any ...

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My cat has seizures when he feels scared or trapped in any way. He loses control of his bowels and gets rigid for a few minutes. Afterward, it takes him a few minutes before he can stand up again. Does he have epilepsy?

How old is your cat?

Has he been to the vet for this problem yet?

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Dr. Vicky Lamb's Post: Dr. Lamb,

I'm not positive how old Tigger is. We adopted him from a rescue agency and they thought he was three years old at the time. We've had him for 4 years, so that would put him at about 7 years old.

No, he hasn't yet seen a vet about this. The agency warned me about the problem when we adopted him (the people hosting him had dogs so he was quite often frightened and backed into a corner by the dogs), but in the beginning he had the attacks very rarely. I would say they have been increasing in frequency over the last couple of months. I forgot to mention that the attacks seem to happen quite often when he is going up or down the stairs...which is terrifying becuase if I can't get to him in time, he rolls all the way down the stairs. It's awful, but I am afraid I won't be able to afford treatment for be honest, that's why we haven't seen a vet yet. I'm afraid if I can't afford treatment, they'll tell me I have to put him to sleep.

Dear friend,

Dr Vicky is offline - she will be happy to help you when she comes on line so please be patient.



If he had a seizure problem when you got him, most likely he has epilepsy. Epileptic seizures are often triggered by stress. We don't see epilepsy as often in cats as we do in dogs, but I have seen a couple of cases in my years of practice where we thought it might be epilepsy (no found cause of the seizures). There are other causes of seizures in cats, but unless you do a lot of testing, including an MRI or CT scan, you might not know the exact cause. There are treatments for seizures, however.

If the seizuring has gotten worse recently, there is a medication that can be used to prevent them. The medication is called phenobarbital, and it is pretty inexpensive. You will need a prescription from the vet. The vet will want to examine your cat, and probably run some blood tests. They can then prescribe the phenobarbital. It is recommended to check the levels of phenobarbital after they take it for a month or so. This is needed to make sure they aren't getting too much, and it will let us know if we can increase the dose if the seizures are still occurring too often. The expense comes with the blood tests. In our office, initial blood work and a physical exam would run around 125.00. Of course, this will vary with the vet, state you live in, etc. The phenobarbital for a cat is really cheap, and most people can afford this medication.

Your vet shouldn't recommend putting him to sleep just yet. If they do, seek a second opinion. I would try to get him on phenobarbital, though, because of the concern with him having seizures on the stairs. He could really hurt himself one day!

Here is a website with information on seizures:

And a site about seizures in cats specifically:

Let me know if you have more questions!

Dr. Vicky Lamb, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 892
Experience: 15 years small animal veterinarian
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