There can be a number of reasons why a cat may suddenly have a seizure (or fit), one of which could be epilepsy. It is estimated that around 1% of all cats will contract epilepsy at some point in their lives, and it is the most common sign of chronic neurological feline disorder although, like human epilepsy, it can often be controlled by medication, and the majority of affected cats go on to lead almost normal lives for most of the time. It can be very distressing to see your beloved cat suffering from a seizure, but if you understand what is happening and can take appropriate measures, the situation can be monitored and you will be able to recognise the signs as soon as they appear and know what action you should take. Epileptic seizures occur as the result of a sudden disturbance in the function of the brain, although one single seizure does not necessarily indicate that the cat has got epilepsy but is a sign of a neurological condition. In the event of a cat having a seizure, you should keep calm, and make sure that the cat’s environment is quiet, explaining to any children that Puss isn’t well and needs complete silence to be able to get better. Try not to move or restrain a cat during a seizure, but make sure there is nothing in the way that could harm him, such as sharp objects or stairs that they could fall down. Epileptic seizures in cats can take three different forms. The mildest form is a partial seizure known as Petit Mal when the fit lasts for less than a minute, and symptoms can include the affected cat displaying a totally blank expression, shaking a paw and crying out. The most common form of epilepsy is another partial seizure known as Grand Mal and is more serious, lasting for up to five minutes. In this form, the cat loses control of its bodily functions and ’paddles’ its paws as if it were swimming, as well as crying out and probably foaming at the mouth. The most serious form of epilepsy is a generalised seizure known as Status Epilepticus and appears at first to be a ‘Grand Mal’ seizure, but lasts far longer, and immediately goes into another fit, although this condition is rare in cats. If this happens it is essential to get prompt veterinary assistance as prolonged fitting of this kind could lead to permanent brain damage, or even death.It is very important to take your cat to the vet at the first sign of a seizure of any kind, as it may not necessarily be a sign of epilepsy. In most cases epilepsy is not a life-threatening disease unless it reaches Status Epilepticus, and subsequent fits will be able to be treated at home by a cat’s owners once diagnosis has been confirmed. It might be helpful to your Vet’s diagnosis if you are able to take video coverage of what actually took place when your cat had a seizure.Your Vet will ask lots of questions to establish what happened and will want to know about your cat’s normal reaction to particular activities as well as asking about their eating habits to help them establish whether or not your cat has got epilepsy, or whether the fit is symptomatic of another condition. You may be asked about possible exposure to any poisonous substances within the home or out of doors, indoor/outdoor lifestyle, contact with other cats, and reactions to car travel. If you are visiting a Vet that has been seeing your cat since he was a kitten, he should have your cat’s full medical history on record, but if the situation arises when your cat is away from home, or if you have a rescued cat whose early medical history you are not aware of, you will be asked for as much medical detail as possible. The Vet will probably place the cat on the floor to see how he walks around the room, whether he knocks into things or seems very disorientated in some way, which could be indicative of damage to other parts of the nervous system, including the spinal cord. If the situation continues over a prolonged period of time, your Vet may suggest carrying out a brain scan and other neurological tests, but be aware that these can be very expensive, although should be covered if you have insurance for your cat. Even if your cat is normally very healthy, do not dismiss the importance of pet insurance, if only to meet the costs of the unexpected such as a neurological condition, that could happen to any cat.Affected cats may need antiepileptic treatment if the seizures are frequent, and as a cat owner, compliance with the Vet’s instructions may be the key to your cat’s improvement as treatment could be long term on a regular basis, and sudden stopping of the medication could lead to further fits. Finding the treatment to pinpoint your cat’s precise condition may take a while, and you will need to note exactly what is happening with regard to your cat’s physical reaction to the medication, and any side effects could be as stressful to the cat as the seizures. Your Vet will also want to take blood tests every six to twelve months to check the clinical effects of the treatment. If the cat ceases to have seizure after about a year of treatment, the vet may well suggest that they come off the medication, although again, this will need to be done gradually rather than in one go.