Epilepsy and behaviour in cats

You may have noticed changes in your cat’s behaviour since epilepsy was diagnosed. Whilst studies on feline behaviour in epileptic cats is limited, there is some information on behaviour in dogs with epilepsy.

There is evidence that epileptic dogs left untreated tend to exhibit greater signs of fear/anxiety, defensive aggression (probably due to their anxiety) and abnormal perceptions of their environment (such as chasing shadows, barking for no reason, walking aimlessly). These changes have also been observed in humans, with increased anxiety and depression, and it is therefore highly likely that they affect cats too.

How to help your cat

Fortunately, there are lots of behavioural support options available for your cat. These include; veterinary advice, qualified behaviourists (see the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors, APBC), nutraceuticals, behavioural aids, pheromone products and prescription medications.

The most important thing is to record any changes in behaviour and discuss these with your vet. We recommend you act before the behaviour begins to affect your cat’s well-being (and yours).

You can also make certain changes to your pet’s environment to create a ‘Safe Zone’ where your cat can hide and take refuge if required – cats generally like places to escape that are at high levels.  Try to create hiding spaces (e.g. a box lined with a rug) and raised platforms where they can see out of the window (a cat tower, access to bookshelves).

An interesting living environment is a good way to ensure your cat is stimulated, and is thought to help reduce anxiety. An activity centre or funboard is also a great way to provide your cat with mental stimulation.

For further information and advice specific to your pet, please speak to your vet who can either provide direct advice or refer you to a qualified behaviourist.