Undeniably, Maine Coon cat seizures are distressing for both owners and pets.
Learning about seizures, including prevention, treatment, and outlook, is crucial for owners to navigate this difficult Maine Coon health issue.
Seizures in Maine Coon cats occur when disruptions in brain activity cause uncontrollable body movements. Health issues like brain tumors, toxins, genetic predispositions, or head trauma may cause seizures. Treatment and survival depend on the underlying health issue, and veterinary care can help manage seizures.
In this article, discover practical tips and key educational points to better understand seizures and how to keep Maine Coons safe while managing this cat health issue.
Read on for information about Maine Coon seizure symptoms, causes, treatments, and more.
Maine Coon Cat Seizures
The Maine Coon breed is a popular domesticated cat breed known for its giant size, sociable nature, and gentle temperament.
Maine Coons are wonderful companions with tufted ears, broad chests, and long, gorgeous coats.
Generally, they are considered a hardy breed, although owners may run into certain health issues, like these.
Among these concerning health issues are Maine Coon seizures.
What Do Cat Seizures Look Like?
In feline seizures, disruptions in the brain cause muscles to suddenly convulse involuntarily.
These episodes of abnormal electrical brain activity may last a few seconds or even up to an hour.
In a minor cat seizure, only one area of the brain is affected, meaning a limited area of the cat’s body seizes.
Seizures are not very common among Maine Coons, and they are usually symptoms of an underlying disease.
Symptoms Of Cat Seizures
Below are the main symptoms of a cat seizure:
Cats may drool excessively during a seizure.
This is because cats will lose facial muscle control and may be unable to swallow.
2. Momentary Staring Or “Zoning Out”
Mild cat seizure symptoms include:
- Temporary Disorientation
Owners may witness their cats zoning out, staring blankly into space.
3. Slight Head Shaking or Nodding
In mild seizures, cats may exhibit abnormal head shaking or other strange head movements.
4. Twitching And Shaking
Involuntary muscle contractions, twitching, and shaking are common symptoms.
These movements range from subtle motions to strong jerking or tremors.
Brief muscle twitching that is isolated to one body part, like the face or legs, indicates a mild cat seizure.
5. Whisker Twitching
Mild seizures may result in whisker twitching but no body twitching.
It may be so subtle that owners do not notice this symptom.
Repetitive, obsessive, and abnormal behavior like tail-chasing may occur during a seizure.
It may seem odd, but this is an effect of changes in brain activity that affects the cat’s motor functions.
7. Confusion And Disorientation
Owners may notice their cats becoming abnormally disoriented during the seizure.
They may seem confused or wander around sporadically.
This confusion may lead to odd behavioral changes, like unusual hiding or strange stillness.
8. Stiff Body
Cats’ bodies may become rigid during seizures due to muscle tightening.
As muscles contract, stiffening may occur at different degrees, from mild to severe.
Stiff body posture may affect one body part or the entire body.
9. Loud Cries
Cats may involuntarily emit loud vocalizations or yowls during a seizure due to disrupted brain activity.
10. Unexpected Aggression
As cats become confused and frightened during and after seizures, they may become extremely defensive and uncharacteristically aggressive.
Owners mustn’t respond to this behavior negatively, as this may upset the cat further.
11. Thrashing Or Paddling Limbs
Owners might witness their cats thrashing out in uncoordinated, frantic movements during a seizure.
Thrashing and paddling limbs are a response to abnormal electrical brain activity.
12. Loss Of Consciousness
In some severe cases, seizures may cause loss of consciousness.
This loss may be brief, partial, or total, and it is because of the disruptions happening in the brain.
What Causes Cats To Have A Seizure?
Many underlying health factors could cause seizures in Maine Coons, or other cat breeds.
Consulting the vet is necessary to help determine the root cause for individual cats, and to better understand what can trigger a seizure in cats.
The main reasons why cats have a seizure are as follows:
When considering what gives cats seizures, brain tumors are a factor.
Essentially, brain tumors are abnormal growths on the brain.
These growths can cause problems with the brain’s natural processes and usually require medical intervention.
Genetic Brain Abnormalities
Some cats inherit defective brain structures that may occur from genetic mutations or developmental issues.
Genetic brain abnormalities affect neuron communication and may also impair how essential proteins or enzymes function, leading to seizures.
Inflammatory diseases can cause a cat’s immune system to respond to injury, infection, or other triggers in a way that leads to inflammation in organs and tissues, including the brain.
If cats ingest toxic substances like household cleaners or certain medications, they may begin seizing.
Medications like Tylenol or Advil are toxic to cats.
Take a look at this list of foods that are harmful to a Maine Coon cat.
Liver Or Kidney Disease
These diseases disrupt a cat’s metabolic processes, which can lead to a buildup of toxins in the body.
Too many toxins in the bloodstream can trigger seizures.
If a cat has an accident or falls and hits her head, a traumatic brain injury could occur.
Seizures may occur as the brain tries to heal and recover over time.
Maine Coon epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes them to have recurrent, unprovoked seizures.
Epilepsy in cats, including Maine Coons, can result from various factors but may remain unknown (source 1).
How Long Do Cat Seizures Last?
Seizures in cats normally only last a couple of minutes.
The length of seizure time varies depending upon what type of cat seizure the cat is experiencing:
A generalized seizure, also known as a grand mal seizure, lasts one to two minutes.
Focal seizures occur in one specific area of the brain and may last only a few seconds to a minute.
Some continuous seizures may last more than 5-10 minutes and require urgent treatment.
Cluster seizures mean that repeated seizures occur over a matter of hours or days.
Seizures may last over half an hour, causing permanent brain damage.
Prolonged seizures are called status epilepticus, and may be life-threatening.
What To Do When A Cat Is Having A Seizure
Cat owners who are educated on seizure protocol may one day save their cat’s life.
So, what should you do if your cat is having a seizure?
1. Move To Safety
If a cat starts seizing in a precarious place, like the edge of a counter or bed, quickly and firmly move them to the floor or another safe space to prevent injury.
It is best to move a seizing cat by wrapping a towel around them, as they may be moving uncontrollably.
2. Provide Space
Once the cat is in a safe location, give them space instead of crowding them.
Keep other animals or people away.
3. Be Safe
Cat owners must remember to keep themselves safe from accidental bites or scratches while a cat is seizing.
Since their movements are uncontrollable, they may accidentally harm their owner.
Cats may be uncharacteristically aggressive and fearful during and after seizures.
4. Gather Information
If it is safe and possible, time and record the event.
This will help the veterinarian understand and diagnose the problem more effectively.
5. Use Calming Techniques
Try to soothe the seizing cat by speaking gently to them.
It is possible that stroking their back may comfort them during the episode.
Also, offer fresh water and food, but never force it.
6. Vet Visit
If the seizure is longer than five minutes or more than one seizure occurs within 24 hours, go to the emergency vet.
Cats with known seizure disorders may not warrant a vet visit upon every seizure, but call and follow up with the vet if there are any questions or doubts.
Cat Seizure Treatment
Treating cat seizures depends on what health issue is causing the seizures.
Veterinarians strategize cat seizure management using the following information:
- Underlying Medical Issues
- Frequency Of Seizures
- Other Relevant Information
Depending on the case, vets may prescribe anticonvulsant medication to help prevent seizures or make them less severe.
If a brain tumor is causing the seizures, surgery may be necessary to remove the tumor.
In the event of toxins causing a seizure, the toxins must be removed from the body via bathing or induced vomiting.
Anticonvulsant medications require time, patience, and many vet consults to achieve the right dose for the cat.
In addition to medication, owners must vigilantly monitor their cats to watch for and document further seizures.
How Long Can A Cat Live With Seizures?
The expected timeframe that a cat can survive with epilepsy (recurrent seizures) varies depending on the underlying cause, and is difficult to predict.
In one study published in the National Library of Medicine, researchers found that the average survival rate among a group of 76 epileptic cats was 3.2 years, ranging from 1 to 11 years.
In this study, signs, symptoms, nor seizure type predicted lifespan.
Most cats recover well following a seizure, but in rare, tragic cases, the seizure itself may be fatal due to injuries during the incident.
Generally, more frequent and longer seizures put cats at greater risk of permanent brain damage and lower life expectancy.
When To Euthanize A Cat With Seizures
The decision to move forward with euthanization is heartbreaking for cat owners, and this decision requires careful deliberation.
It is best to consult with veterinarians regarding this decision, as they can use the specific, unique circumstances of the individual cat to assist with the decision.
Two key factors to examine when making this decision are the underlying health condition and the quality of life.
For instance, cats who experienced a seizure due to a one-time toxin overload would have no need for euthanization because both are treatable.
Cats with a single, minor physical head trauma or epilepsy would not need euthanization.
If seizures are caused by brain cancer, owners may consider the severity of the cancer and quality of life and weigh those against euthanization.
Quality Of Life
Regarding the quality of life, owners must assess the cat’s comfort level or pain level.
Can the cat’s suffering be alleviated with medication or treatment?
Is the cat able to perform normal daily activities, like:
- Using the litter box
How are the cat’s behavior, mood, and energy levels?
If the quality of life has severely deteriorated, owners may consider euthanization a compassionate choice for their beloved pets.
Untreatable Or Unmanageable Brain Tumors
Euthanasia may also be considered for cats with untreatable or unmanageable brain tumors.
In such cases, owners must weigh up the following:
- Treatment Options
- Symptom Severity
- Long-Term Prognosis
Importantly, pet owners must also consider their own finances and emotions.
They must ask if long-term brain tumor management or treatment is financially feasible, as such treatments can be expensive.
Even so, this extremely sensitive and difficult decision should prioritize the cat’s well-being and focus on minimizing their discomfort as much as possible.
Home Remedies For Cat Seizures
Before considering home remedies for seizures, it is critical to consult a trusted veterinary office.
Home remedies generally do not substitute professional veterinary care.
However, some owners may find that a few home remedies may help soothe their cats while they undergo stressful situations, including seizures.
Below are some suggested home remedies you might want to use, to help your cat. Please note that these methods will not cure or prevent cat seizures:
First, changing to higher-quality feline food may improve a cat’s overall health, strengthening the muscles and immune systems.
Second, minimize stress at home by creating cozy, safe resting places for the cat. This will also help during seizure episodes.
Third, supplementing the amino acid called taurine may help with seizures, but it is important to ask the vet before doing so.
How To Calm A Maine Coon Cat
Calming Maine Coons is an important skill for owners to understand so they can support their cats’ well-being, and help them during stressful times that come along with seizures.
Owners can set the stage by creating a peaceful environment free from loud noises or disturbances.
Owners should make safe hiding spots available for their cats.
Even outgoing Maine Coons need private hiding areas every once in a while if they feel afraid or stressed.
Using cat pheromone sprays or plug-ins releases a scent that naturally calms down stressed cats.
Regular grooming sessions strengthen the bond between the owner and Maine Coon.
Gently brushing the cat during or after a seizure may help provide a calming experience.
In summary, Maine Coon cat seizures are a concerning issue that can be stressful for owners and cats alike.
However, owners can manage the situation by consulting with veterinary professionals and following prescribed treatment plans.
While some seizures and underlying health issues are lethal, cats may still live relatively healthy lives after experiencing seizures.
Understanding what to do during and after seizures and utilizing stress-reduction techniques help owners effectively care for their beloved pets.