Feline Absence Seizures

writingislove

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Hi all. I recently posted in the cat behavior forum when my cat Orville started violently attacking the other cat, Winston, even though they've coexisted peacefully for 10 years. There had been no changes in the house and no strange animals outside. Moved over to this forum because we've now seen the vet.

The doctor ran full senior blood panels on both cats and everything looked "perfect," as she called it. She was very thorough during the visit--she spent 1.5 hours with us. We discussed a week of unexplainable seizures Orville had back in 2014. He frequently went limp and convulsed daily for a week and spent a night in the hospital with no real answers. After a week the seizures ceased and have never (noticeably) returned, although Orville's personality has never quite been the same since. Every 2-3 months he goes through a period of reclusiveness where he'll hide all day every day for up to a few weeks, and then suddenly he'll snap out of it and be extremely clingy for weeks afterward.

Because of this history, the vet suspects he may have silent seizure activity going on in his brain that we can't see on the outside, and is causing him to lash out on the other cat. She did put him on Gabapentin while she consults with a specialist at the animal hospital to determine next steps. The meds have definitely eased the violent attacks, but there's still a little bit of tension there.

I've tried to do some research on absence seizures in cats but the majority of what I'm finding involves seizures with convulsions that you can witness with the naked eye. I'm wondering if anyone here has experience with a cat with absence seizures who can let me know what you experienced. Mostly I'm trying to formulate questions to ask the vet when she follows up later this week.

Thanks in advance to anyone who has any input or insight!
 
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writingislove

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Is there any chance sounds trigger these behaviors? When I searched "absence seizures in cats" on Google, this was the first result:

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Gosh, it’s so hard to tell. I’ll have to watch him extra closely to see, but it would almost make sense because at times he relentlessly and violently attacks Winston, and other times he’s cool as a cucumber. There’s no consistency or pattern to what will set him off, but the attacks always seem unprovoked. Like, Winston will just be lying there not doing a thing and Orville will go after him so badly that Winston gets wounded. Other times Winston will walk by and Orville couldn’t care less.
 

FeebysOwner

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That article is the same one I found when searching. When looking for sounds that might trigger his behavior, make sure you also pay attention to outside your home - things you take for granted, such as car alarms, construction in the neighborhood, kids playing nearby and making noise, dogs barking, etc. Although what Orville does to Winston sounds like corelative re-directed aggression, possibly brought on by these 'noises', pay close attention to Winston to see if there are noises being made by him since the attacks are always directed toward him.

While it might not work if Winston is the one making the 'triggering noise', one thing to consider is playing cat music or other forms of calming music to help drown out the noise making trigger(s).

Ask your vet/internal medicine specialist if testing Orville's hearing would be of any benefit. I am not sure what testing his hearing will accomplish, although it could help to identify certain triggers during the testing process and actually demonstrate to the vet what happens with Orville when they happen. And, I suppose it might also help to assess how to handle these absence seizures?
 
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writingislove

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That article is the same one I found when searching. When looking for sounds that might trigger his behavior, make sure you also pay attention to outside your home - things you take for granted, such as car alarms, construction in the neighborhood, kids playing nearby and making noise, dogs barking, etc. Although what Orville does to Winston sounds like corelative re-directed aggression, possibly brought on by these 'noises', pay close attention to Winston to see if there are noises being made by him since the attacks are always directed toward him.

While it might not work if Winston is the one making the 'triggering noise', one thing to consider is playing cat music or other forms of calming music to help drown out the noise making trigger(s).

Ask your vet/internal medicine specialist if testing Orville's hearing would be of any benefit. I am not sure what testing his hearing will accomplish, although it could help to identify certain triggers during the testing process and actually demonstrate to the vet what happens with Orville when they happen. And, I suppose it might also help to assess how to handle these absence seizures?
Thank you, this is all great information to consider!
 

fionasmom

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Your vet sounds very competent and thorough. Would she refer you to a neurologist at a teaching hospital or to a specialty clinic? She could probably communicate with specialists at those places on your behalf.
 
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