It can be very distressing watching your cat or dog have a seizure or an epileptic fit, especially if it has never been witnessed by you before and you don’t understand what is going on.

Many years ago now, I owned a little black cat called Whoopi. (Named after the actress Whoopi Goldberg). I found her in the middle of the driveway one dark night; a tiny kitten no bigger than the palm of my hand that had obviously been dumped. I lived in a rural district back then and the dumping of cats was quite a common occurrence in our area.

My Doberman, Takoda, was also a young puppy at the time and Takoda and Whoopi would play together for hours. Takoda had this awful habit of picking Whoopi up by the tail and swinging her around. Great fun for both it seemed as Whoopi would always come back for more.

Nonetheless one day disaster struck as Takoda launched Whoopi into a helicopter swing a little too close to a concrete step. Little Whoopi’s head smashed into the step and she dropped to the ground dazed and shaken. After a few seconds, a more than likely concussed Whoopi picked herself up and wandered off.

In hindsight, having witnessed this dreadful incident, I think this may have been the reason why, as Whoopi grew older, she started having epileptic type fits. Takoda had probably, inadvertently caused her brain damage.

The first time I saw Whoopi have a seizure, I absolutely freaked!! I totally did not understand what was going on. I thought she was dying. She was unconscious, convulsing violently and frothing at the mouth. The seizure lasted a couple of minutes then Whoopi got up, sat for a second then walked off as if nothing had happened.

I was extremely upset and rushed her off to the nearest Vet. They could find nothing wrong. The seizures and subsequent panicked trips to the Vet transpired a couple of times more, until finally the diagnosis was that Whoopi was epileptic.

Over the following years I learnt to deal with the seizures and not panic. If I happened to be on-hand, I would go to Whoopi and stay with her, moving her safely away from any furniture or objects which could harm her. I would comfort her and wipe all the drool and saliva off her body and see her happily on her way again.  Whoopi lived until around nine years of age and she also became blind near the end of her life.

Having experienced this type of illness with Whoopi all those years ago put me in good stead for what happened at the cattery recently.

We were looking after a diabetic cat called Lily. Lily is about thirteen years old and has a unit of insulin twice daily. I let Lily out her unit for a wander while I sorted her medication and evening meal. As I turned from the food trolley, there was Lily in the corridor having a violent seizure. I calmly went to her side and waited until the seizure stopped and Lily walked off seemingly none the worse for wear. Arrangements were then made to have Lily seen by her Vet.

So dear Whoopi, may you rest in peace, thanks to you I did not panic.  So…. .To summarise;

  • Stay calm!
  • Make sure your pet is a safe distance away from furniture or sharp objects.
  • Keep your hands away from your pet’s mouth and paws.
  • If your pet is on a bed or couch, make sure they do not fall.
  • Keep other animals and children out of the area.
  • Observe your pet closely so that you can give your Vet as much information as possible.

There are many conditions which may cause your pet to have a seizure so seek a Veterinary consult as soon as possible. Pro-longed or repetitive seizures can be fatal.