Convulsions (seizures) include a wide variety of signs consisting primarily of abnormal behavior and/or abnormal body movements. The most easily recognized signs are loss (or disturbance) of consciousness, loss of motor control, and involuntary urination and/or defecation.

Convulsions fall into two main categories in terms of whether or not they are emergencies:

  1. The single convulsion, which lasts for a minute or two and does not recur for at least twenty-four hours.
  2. Repeated or continuous convulsions.

Convulsions in the second category require immediate veterinary attention. Cats with convulsions in the first category should be examined by a veterinarian, but may not require emergency care.


The most important thing for you to do if your cat is having a convulsion is to provide gentle restraint so he or she will not become injured. One of the best ways is to place a light blanket or towel over the cat. It’s not a good idea to place your hand on the cat or in or near the cat’s mouth unless you are willing to risk serious scratches or bites.

Airway occlusion by the tongue rarely occurs. While one person restrains the cat, another can try to reach a veterinarian. Seizures in the first category are often past by the time you get in touch with a veterinarian.