A Surprise Cure for My Cat’s Idiopathic Seizure Disorder

This is Tabatha, our everyday ordinary house cat.

Well, she’s not completely ordinary. When she was seven years old she started having seizures a few times a week, entirely without warning. If you’ve never witnessed a pet having a seizure, be thankful—it’s profoundly disturbing to watch and the feeling of powerlessness at seeing a family pet suffer a seizure is something I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.

When Tabatha started having seizures we, of course, took her to our veterinarian who could not find anything wrong. Common causes of seizure disorders in cats are head injury (no evidence of that having ever occurred), bacterial infection, viral infection, poisons, or a failure of some major internal organ. After ruling out all of those potential causes, our veterinarian referred us to a cat neurologist. (Yes, there are cat neurologists.) The neurologist could not find a specific cause of the seizures, either. Other than the epileptic seizures, Tabatha appeared fine in every respect. The neurologist explained that it’s not uncommon for cats and dogs to develop seizure disorders in middle age and more than half of the cases she sees are determined to be idiopathic. Idiopathic is Latin for “we don’t know what causes this, but we’ll be happy to run every expensive test on the planet to try and figure it out.”

The neurologist prescribed twice daily doses of phenobarbital to help control the symptoms and this seemed to work. The seizures stopped as long as we were giving Tabatha her phenobarbital regularly. Even though I was uncomfortable giving her medication for the rest of her life, I was very happy that our cat wasn’t suffering from seizures any longer.

About a year later, the family discovered the benefits of a more natural diet, consisting of grass-fed meats, plenty of healthy fats, vegetables, nuts, and berries. We eliminated virtually all processed foods, grains, starches, and vegetable oils. In doing so, it was only natural that we switch our pets to a higher-fat, grain-free diet, too. We switched our cats’ diet from a very well-regarded, premium food that contained rice, wheat, and corn to a grain-fee diet. We also began allowing the cats to eat coconut oil and bacon grease that was left over from preparing meals.

After a few months on this new diet, Tabatha’s seizure disorder disappeared. It’s been two years without phenobarbital and Tabatha has not had a single seizure.

Why?

There’s no way to be 100% certain, but I speculate that it’s some combination of:

  • Wheat gluten, which has been shown in humans to stimulate opioid receptors in the brain and trigger seizures and other neurological dysfunction
  • Immune system response to the gliadin component of wheat gluten, resulting in inflammatory cytokines, which are detrimental to brain function as the anti-gliadin antibody attacks proteins in the brain that are indistinguishable from the gliadin protein
  • Increased fat intake (the brain is about 60% fat)

According to renowned researcher Dr. Maios Hadjivassiliou of the U.K., a world authority on gluten sensitivity, “gluten sensitivity can be primarily and at times, exclusively a neurological disease” and anti-gluten antibodies can be directly and uniquely toxic to the brain.

As cardiologist and author Dr. William Davis states in Wheat Belly, “Gluten-mediated reactions have been documented to affect every organ in the human body, sparing none. Eyes, brain, sinuses, lungs, bones… you name it, gluten antibodies have been there.”

While it’s impossible to know exactly why Tabatha’s seizures stopped when we changed her diet, I’m convinced that the elimination of grains and the increased fat intake is responsible.

Update (March 2014):

Tabatha is now twelve years old and it’s been five years since her initial diagnosis and four years since she’s had a seizure. Of all my blog postings, I get more feedback on this posting than any others. More and more people are seeing their pets suffer seizures, only to have them diagnosed “idiopathic seizure disorder,” and put on anti-seizure medications for the rest of their life.

While I certainly appreciate the relief that anti-seizure medications bring to the situation, I’m far more inclined to solve the problem rather than just treat the symptom.

It’s a shame that cat owners don’t see this blog until they search for a cure to their cat’s idiopathic seizure disorder. I wish everyone would feed their cats like the carnivores that they are so that feline seizure disorders would be as rare as hen’s teeth.

And, of course, the lessons that our cats teach us can help us as well. As Dr. Perlmutter explains so well in his book Grain Brain, grain-based human diets are exacting a damaging toll on human health, as well.

216 thoughts on “A Surprise Cure for My Cat’s Idiopathic Seizure Disorder

    • I know what you mean. I think about the grain-laden food that I fed all of my now departed pets and wonder how much longer, or how much healthier, they might have lived had I known better. The pets I have now are certainly eating much better than any I’ve owned before.

      • I have an 8 yr old yellow tabby cat named Sydney.She started having seizures a year ago.They were about every 3 months than monthly and last were every 2 weeks.The Vet did all the testing you described in your posts and everything was normal.In my desperation to find a cure without drugs,I looked online and found you.Sydney has been eating grain free wet and dry food since I read your post. She has been seizure free since I switched.I am amazed that this isnt on the nightly news.Thanks for sharing your knowledge and saving our sweety from drugs

        • You’re very welcome! I’m glad your kitty is responding well.

          It’s sad that we must discover for ourselves what should be obvious to the food manufacturers and our trusted veterinarians: that our carnivorous pets must be fed a carnivore’s diet. Pet food has too long been all about profit, not what’s healthy for our pets. (Which parallels what’s going on with human food these days.) I guess the typical veterinarian’s office likes the revenue from selling Science Diet (science? what science?), IAM’s, and the other grain-based products. Then when our animals get overweight, they sell us weight management pet food at even more of a premium. And when our cats start having seizures they sell us anti-seizure medication. There’s no profit in avoiding the problems altogether.

          The parallels between this and human health and feeding aren’t accidental. They’re borne of the same desire for profit, the same human nature that prevents practitioners from saying “we’ve been giving wrong advice all this time and we’ve learned,” and the same sad fact of human nature that we don’t pay attention to our health until it becomes broken.

          If there’s any light at the end of the tunnel is that more pet food manufacturers are releasing grain-free products these days in response to customer demand. You may need to go to a feed store or ag mart to find them, but they’re there.

          • My cat started having seizures, and I brought him to the vet. After numerous tests, he was diagnosed with epilepsy. He’s been on epilepsy pills since then and it seems a miracle to have food that can help him. I will definitely try this for him.

          • Good luck to you and your kitty. I marvel every day at the difference a diet change made in my cat. She’s been seizure-free for years now. Her coat feels like velvet. I’ve also noticed that she’s no longer skittish and fearful of everything like she used to be. It could just be her mellowing as she gets older but she no longer flees to a different room when company arrives and seems more brave and confident than ever before. Could be coincidence but there’s no denying that she’s no longer having seizures and is doing fine now that she’s eating a true carnivore’s diet.

          • Do you make these meals? Or can you purchase them? If you make them, I need the steps. My seven year old cat started epilepsy, and I started the meds, but I’ll try anything at this point.

          • I just buy a high-quality grain-fee cat food from the store. To that I supplement with healthy fats, like bacon grease, coconut oil, avocado oil, etc. I think both removing grains and adding healthy fats are helpful.

        • I am sorry to say, my cat was put down last night after having at least nine seizures in a row, with little to no breaks in between..they started out of nowhere , she was a stray we took in a year ago, starving and almost dead.. she was one of the smartest cats ive ever known, she was so attached to my husband, she would stand guard over him day and night.. he had a stroke, and she knew ahead of time something was going to happen to him, somehow, she knew.. and she started acting differently and kept patting him with her foot.. sadly , last night we took her to the emergency clinic, she had three seizures on the way in less than fifteen minutes, and four while we were waiting , and more back with the vet even on the IV he had her on.. I chose to put her down .. she was estimated around 9 to 13 yrs old, she was very drugged but she kept purring while he injected her for her final time.. I did not want her to go though trauma and fear being away from us, just so we wouldn’t have to say good bye before we were ready… i opted to end it for her .. I didn’t want her being scared and tormented for days of tests to find out theres no hope.. I hope I did the right thing, my gut feeling was at the time, that the food was somehow a factor.. I dont think my husband is going to get over her loss for a long time.. he was heartbroken.. RIP little Tubs..

      • Hi, my Ragdoll cat had recently experienced seizure attacks. Total 3 times and about 20 days apart. Could you please advise what food and how do I cook the food? Thank you.

        • I’m so sorry to hear about your kitty. I love Ragdolls. They’re gorgeous and so sweet. I suggest you read through the many comments to this posting and see what many of the others have said worked for them. The fundamental thinking is that cats are carnivores and should therefore eat a carnivorous diet, not one based upon grains as many pet foods are. It’s a misconception that carnivores in the wild are primarily eating protein. The truth is that wild carnivores primarily eat fat, which is why so many of us are seeing dramatic benefits to our kitties from switching them to a grain-free diet that’s supplemented with natural fats like bacon grease, coconut oil, avocado oil, omega-3 oil, etc.

          • Hi dear, I read through all comments and am so excited to try grain free food for my Ragdoll. Just to confirm that the butter and omega oil you mentioned, are these human food that you are giving your kitties?

          • Yes, all of the natural oils that I, and others who have responded here, are having success with are the same foods that humans eat (or should be eating): Butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, omega-3 (I pierce a capsule and drizzle the fish oil over the cat’s dry food), and the like.

          • Hi, my poor cat had another seizure attack this morning at 11am. It is like getting more frequent (12 days from last attack). I started her with coconut oil 1 week ago, 1 tsp once a day. In the midst of changing her dry food from royal canin to Origen. Am I doing correctly or did i missed out any steps? I feel so upset n disturbed every time I witnessed her having the attack. Desperately looking for help.

          • If it were my kitty I would give her as much of as many different sources as possible every day. Coconut oil, bacon grease, omega-3 fish oil, avocado oil, sour cream, etc. Let her have all that she’ll eat of as many different oils as have been mentioned here. And switch her to a grain-free food as soon as is absolutely possible. It’s been so long that I can’t tell you just how quickly my cat responded, but she definitely did respond. In my case, she was still intermittently taking the phenobarbital as we switched her diet, so it’s entirely that the phenobarb during that few weeks helped her stay seizure free while she responded to the diet change.

            If your kitty isn’t on any medication, perhaps asking your vet for a phenobarb prescription to give her for few weeks until her new diet can help heal her?

        • I’m going through the same thing. Snookie is 4 yrs old and just started having seizures. She has had 3 and they have been 20 days apart. Had blood work done and they found nothing. She is over weight so thought for sure it would be diabetes but all the blood work came back fine. I’m going to try switching the food. Thanks for your all the post. they have given me hope that I might not need to put her on meds the rest of her life. I have also been told that the cat box could be an issue to. Does anyone know anything about that? I’m constantly changing it. Thank you ahead for any input!

          • I’m so glad you found us! I’ve found that diet is the most likely culprit in cases like these, where seizures begin with no apparent cause. There’s lots of good information in this thread. I hope it helps. Good luck to you and Snookie!

    • Can someone please recommend what kind of food to give my cat. she has had this seizure problem and is on phenobarbital.
      She has developed pelvic limp I read about. I will appreciate anyone with info on what kind of food that is not full of toxins that i can buy at the pet store. Please help I am so depressed, I love her so much I rescued her from dying at 4 weeks. She is 9. And how do i wean her off the medicine? I cannot afford vet prices and I love my baby kitty.

      • Fortunately, sources of natural fats can be very inexpensive (bacon grease, coconut oil, butter, etc.). As for which kind of pet food, I would start with a grain-free dry or canned (or both). Personally, I think avoiding toxins is a very good idea but the biggest toxin to a cat is probably the grains that the common cat foods contain and just avoiding those will be a huge step in the right direction.

    • I have a going on 3 yo male DSH, who is all white. He’s such a sweetie, and we have had him since he was old enough to go home. Picked him out from the litter and everything. Even matched him with a great name; Turbo. Did the usual kitten stuff and had him neutered at the appropriate age, etc., and around 1 year we started noticing him having these “fits” that, for lack of better terms, looked like he was having a bad dream then awoke from them freaked out, but OK. Once he was about 2 years old, I finally caught him having a full blown episode. Since we witnessed what I believed to have been a seizure, he immediately was taken to the vet. Several vet appointments, test, and worrying later…he’s deemed a perfectly healthy kitty cat. Healthy, always cleaning his plate, as active as any house cat is expected to be, yet having seizures every 2-3 months. Turbo has always had seizures from a dead sleep. Never has he been awake and started showing signs, then progressed into the seizure. Sleep is always the key. I fought putting him on medicine, changed everything in my house to “green” or natural to ensure it wasn’t environmental, and started giving him safe supplements in his high quality food hoping that they would subside. I couldn’t bear to make myself shove a pill or syringe down his throat twice a day for the rest of his life…if he didn’t hate me already, that would be a quick way to do it (cat joke). Well, the seizures became more frequent and it got to the point where (and maybe I was just being paranoid) it sounded like he would have trouble breathing during the worst of it. His recoveries were also taking longer and longer also. I work from home specifically because of him. I quit my job being a UPS delivery driver because I didn’t want him to go through this alone when it happened, or even experience a complication from one and pass away. Finally I broke down and agreed to the meds. At first it was great! No seizures, and he was actually very active and as playful as ever! I didn’t feel so bad for making him take them. We use a liquid version that’s flavored so he doesn’t hate taking it. Then approximately 1 month to 6 weeks after he’s been on the phenobarbital he started to quit eating. He has always been a huge cat. The vets always estimated he mature between 18-20 lbs. He was around 18 lbs. going on the phenobarb to begin with. Within this short time he’s been on the drugs, he’s lost about 5 lbs. He refuses to eat, which he’s never done, except the occasional bite every day or two. Now, mind you this is a boy who always cleans his bowl and never misses a meal! I refresh his food every morning and night so it isn’t that, and I’ve even put him on the same brand high quality wet food as well – blue buffalo, to anyone who’s curious. All of my pets from dogs to cats, even to my rats when I had them, have thrived off of BB. I’ve never had an issue food/diet related while on this feed. Cats are on the indoor version (I’ve tried all flavors anticipating he was just bored of the same one we had been feeding). Dogs are on puppy (3 month old black lab), and my 10 year old black lab (who mind you is also as healthy as a horse – knock on wood) is on the senior version. However, the ones we feed are not 100% grain free. Plus, we have a female DSH as well, she’s 1 year younger than Turbo and she is completely healthy and seizure free. So we do base a lot off of her since she’s exposed to everything our boy is. We have an appointment this coming Monday for him, to check his levels and potentially tone down the dosage of his medication, however I’m skeptical it will do anything positive except keep the seizures at bay. After my concerns being raised yet again about this medication I stumbled upon this post…and I’m baffled. I am reading the same issues, same diagnosis from the vet, and seeing the same things. I called my vet to have her look into gluten complications, and I’m also asking for us to wean him off of the meds and try a grain free diet, with the healthy fats, etc. added in. I’m crossing my fingers that my boy will have the same results as your kitty! I use to have my dog on Taste of the Wild when he was younger, but I was convinced that BB was just as great a food and actually liked the way he looked on it better. I know TOTW is grain free, and I do know that BB makes a 100% grain free version of their feed instead of what we have now which includes “wholesome whole grains and veggies,” per their ingredients. All of my kids get bacon grease whenever it’s available because I have always known that is good for them. I’ve never tried coconut oil though. The dogs get fish oil on their evening meals for the joint/eye/overall health benefits (and LOVE it), and the cats just never liked it so I quit wasting the oil and food on them about a year ago. Everyone is UTD on vaccines and physicals as well. I take care of my critter kids better than myself sometimes, and I cannot stand to see my kitty baby wasting away when, although he was having the seizures before, he was fat (healthily), happy, and playful. Now he’s nonexistent, losing weight, and not happy whatsoever. I’d give anything for him to be healed and OK to live his life as it was before all this.

      I know that was lengthy, and I will keep this thread saved in the even anyone else would like to know the results as they come. I cannot believe I stumbled upon this, and I’m slightly put at ease that maybe there are answers out there for us yet! Thank you so much!

      • Thank you so much for writing. I hope that your kitty responds to the dietary changes you’re planning. I believe that my seizure kitty benefited not only from the removal of grains (to which she was obviously sensitive) but also the addition of the healthy fats. I found, like you, that my cats didn’t like omega 3 fish oil, which I found puzzling. They love avocado oil and bacon grease the most at the present time. (I keep a saucer of avocado oil next to their food all the time. They lap it up like it was milk.) Cats can be fickle so I’m fully expecting them to eventually turn their noses up at avocado oil and I’ll have to switch to something else.

        I wouldn’t hold my breath getting buy-in from the vet on dietary changes. Most every vet I’ve encountered can/will not see the connection between diet and neurological health. It’s not surprising, seeing as how must physicians are similarly challenged to see the connection. There are some neurologists out there talking about neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s being the product of diet and not really being unexplained diseases, but they’re rare, too. You might have to make the dietary changes on your own and then decide for yourself after a month or so if you’re going to wean him off of the meds.

        Good luck with Turbo (great name, by the way!) and please let us know how he’s doing.

  1. Could someone maybe give an specific example of a cat diet done this way? Maybe just a day’s example? Is there a specific brand of cat food that closely incorporates these kinds of ingredients? Or are you literally feeding your cat the “human food” that meets these criteria? Thanks for any info.

    Rick T

    • We feed our animals Taste of the Wild pet food and have been pleased with the animals’ health. (This is the food that we switched Tabatha to and then saw her seizure disorder disappear.) In addition, we’re pretty generous with table scraps, providing they’re animal safe (e.g., no xylitol, no onions, etc.). Some of our cats’ favorite table scraps include any full-fat dairy product, like melted butter or whipping cream as well as eggs, beef, pork, seafood.
      I know that many endorse the BARF (bones and raw food or biologically appropriate raw food) diet, but with all of the meal prep we do for the humans in the household, that’s just too much additional effort to squeeze in and the Taste of the Wild serves us very well. (It’s not available in normal pet supply stores. We buy our at a nearby agricultural store.)

      • We were feeding Taste of the Wild to our cat but she started having seizures. I looked it up and found it had recalls. The seizures started after she had been eating that bag of cat food for a month, so either it built up in her system or she hit the bad patch. We live in one of the states where they sent the bad food. We changed her diet but she is still recovering. The siezures are less frequent but still happen. I think it takes a long time for a pet to recover from ecoli or whatever the reason they had to do the recall.

        I was shocked to discover Taste of the Wild is made by a big manufacturer, Diamond. And there have been quite a few recalls over time. So watch for that with regular internet searches.

        Our pet store didn’t warn us about it.

  2. I have a one-yr old cat that started having seizures when he was 9 months. We aren’t sure what is causing them but he was very sick as a kitten. We fostered his litter from 4 mos and he had Herpes, conjunctivitis, and an upper respiratory infection. Plus he’s blind in one eye from a ruptured cornea. He is now on Leviteractium (Keppra) and Potassium Bromide every day and he still has frequent seizures. 1) Are there any negative side-effects to the diet? 2)How do you “switch” them without upsetting their stomach? 3) Was your vet supportive of the change? I was all ready to order Taste of the Wild until I read the last review.

    • I’ve not seen any ill effects from my cats’ new diet. This doesn’t surprise me, considering cats are carnivores and moving them to a carnivorous diet seemed logical. As for the conversion, I just switched them all at once. A more cautious approach, however, might be to slowly replace their old food with the new over a period of days, increasing the ratio of the new food each day.

      I see what you mean about Taste of the Wild. I’m a little more concerned about it after finding out about these recalls. Fortunately, I’ve never had any problem with it since I started my pets on the diet. I’m going to watch online closely for any future recalls and will also begin looking at other grain-free pet foods in case I decide to make a change.

  3. I have an adorable 3year old cat, Tom, he started having these horrible seizures last year, took him to the vets, was checked over, had blood tests, which were clear and no explanation for the seizures, he had another one yesterday, i dont know what to do for him :-(

    • Sounds just like my kitty, Tabatha. Every test was clear. We were very happy to find that switching her to a grain-free, higher fat diet completely eliminated the seizures. It’s been more than three years and she hasn’t had a seizure.

      What is Tom eating?

  4. We live in the Uk, tom eats cat meat in jelly and cat biscuits, and also little treats, dont think the food you feed tabitha is availble over here.g by the way our other cat is called tabitha..,., cute. Angie

    • I quick Google search brings up a number of grain-free pet food manufacturers in the UK. I would seriously consider switching to a completely grain-free diet that is further augmented with natural fats like bacon grease, butter, and coconut oil. I would definitely avoid any treats or biscuits, as they almost certainly are grain-based. With my cat, I think it was as much the absence of high-quality fat in her diet as it was the presence of the grains that caused the seizures. Addressing both issues solved her problem.

      Good luck with your kitties!

  5. My cat patches is 11 yrs. She is all i have. My best friend. I worked a lot of hrs. And i guess i was too tired to notice she was looking weary. She has been having seizures. I have lost so many nights of sleep and have spent over 1000 dollars in tests and vet.visits. they know it is allergy related. I fed her fancy feast. Recenty by accident i bought her a different brand and the seizures stopped for 5 days. I bought her fancy feast again and 2 hrs later she had back to back seizures. I was up all night again. Not a coincidence. I am scared to buy any can cat food but i know she needs the nutrition. What should i buy. Scared of recalls.

    • I understand how you feel. Our pets are very important to us. I’m a little concerned about the occasional recall by Taste of the Wild, but in more than three years of feeding three pets, I’ve not had any problems and my pets are healthier than they’ve ever been. Tabatha’s lack of seizures, if nothing else, convince me that they’re all on a much better diet.

      If you are concerned about Taste of the Wild specifically, there are a number of other high-quality grain-free alternatives out there.

      After watching Dr. David Perlmutter’s talk “Grain Brain: Your Brain’s Silent Killers,” I’m even more resolute in my belief that grains are intrinsically harmful. Not just to me, but to my pets, as well.

    • I’m pleased to see more and more pet food manufacturers offering grain-free options. I think about all of my past pets and how much healthier they’d be if I knew about the harm that grain-based pet foods were causing.

      • My cat is 5 years old and she is my baby….she started having seizures 2 weeks ago and nearly broke my heart….reading this blog, I was wondering how much of an effect the food type could have….I switched to Sheba about 3-4 weeks ago for her afternoon treat, and the seizures started a short time after..she is know phenobarbitlol now and it kills me to watch her…it has changed her whole personality…can any offer any insight?

        • The fact that your vet has put her on phenobarb suggests that other factors like pathogens or neurological injury has been ruled out. I therefore think that food type is the most likely suspect at this point. My cat craved fatty foods like bacon grease and coconut oil after her seizures began. Removing grains from her diet by switching to a grain-free pet food and allowing her all the fats like coconut oil, bacon grease, and full fat sour cream seemed to make a dramatic difference in our cat. By the time she had been eating this way for just a few weeks, her seizures abated.

          I’m sorry to hear about your cat. I know how special these little critters can be to us. I hope she makes a full recovery.

  6. We got Flash when he was about 9 months . He started vomiting almost everyday we had been feed active cat by diamond and that seemed to help then we were giving him and his sister a 1/4 of a can of frisky can cat food until I give then the salmon all of the cats got sick and started vomiting. We discontinued giving the wet food ans now they are on blue buffalo but I think the seizure started a couple months ago. Just witness the 2nd one this am. I will research more before I put him on drugs diet and homopathic is my first direction. Kim

    • Sorry to hear about your kitty. Is he receptive to things like bacon grease and coconut oil? I recall that Tabatha seemed to crave those things when her seizures started, which was one of the key indicators that her diet was lacking healthy fats.

  7. Wow, I love your findings. I hate a kitten who’s been suffering from a seizure for a year now. My savior was and still periodical medicine, not pheno but diazepam. It will works for a few days and repetition of feeding is required to prevent seizure. But like you, I’m lurking for a cure, a real safe cure.

    I’m switching from Royal Canin to Origen, a grain-free diet food. Hope my little furry kid will response positively to this change. Thanks again, and I personally love this one over the home made aloe gel remedy. It sounds safer :3

      • Hi again,

        Hmmm…quite a a positive outcome. The seizure timing gap widens to another 12 hours after 3 days on the grain free diet. Usually it occurs every 3 days, manage to sustained till 4 now.

        I’m very happy on this news, will continue and see what happens after few weeks :)

        Thank you.

  8. One of our “shop” cats, Sam, recently started having “episodes”. He had one of these “episodes” about 6 weeks ago and it consisted of him staggering while howling very loudly and then he laid down, went catatonic (no pun intended) and defecated – it happened one time . . . until Tuesday. Same scenario. Wednesday brought two “episodes”, and my assistant was out sick so I wasn’t able to get him into the vet. Shortly after I got to work Thursday, Sam had another “episode” – this time he urinated himself.

    I had found a puddle of urine under my chair when I got to work and couldn’t figure out who had done it because all of our cats are very good about the litter box. I put two and two together . . . . and called the vet. Luckily, they had an afternoon cancelation and I was able to take him in for blood work. We got the results today . . . . and everything was normal, which makes this a neurological issue.

    He had several smaller episodes today, so when the vet called with the options to consult with a neurologist or treat him with an anti-seizure medication, I opted for the medication. I gave him his first dose this afternoon and am wondering if I made the right decision.

    Sam is about 6 years old (he was a feral rescue), has always been a big boy (he weighs 21 pounds) and has been in good health, to date. He is a super charmer, I love him very much, and I want to do what is right for him. Thoughts?? Suggestions??

    • My neurologist told me that the seizures themselves, no matter their root cause, can cause damage, thereby increasing the likelihood of future seizures, which in turn do further damage. To prevent this accelerating cascade of neurological damage, I too opted to start my cat on anti-seizure medication. As I stated in my original blog post, I was able to stop my cat’s seizure medication after switching her to a grain-free, higher fat diet. I was pleased to discontinue the phenobarbital, too, because of possible long-term complications.

      Which brings me to the principal question: what is Sam’s diet? As a pet owner seeking to address any condition, I would start first with diet. Like I and many others have reported, our cats have responded very favorably to grain-free, higher fat. After all, cats are carnivores, which means a diet of fat and protein, in that order. Many people think that carnivorous animals primarily eat protein, but I think that overlooks the fact that internal organs, the food of most carnivores, is much fattier than lean muscle protein. Accordingly, I’m happy to give my cat as much coconut oil, bacon grease, animal fat, and egg yolks, as she wants, in addition to her grain-free dry food.

      Good luck with Sam. I hope you’re able to reverse his condition.

  9. Hi there, I have a almost 2 year old cat who had cluster grand mal seizures about 5 months ago. The vet has recently told me I can reduce her phenobarbital medication and see if she has any seizures. After reading this I might try a change in diet as well. I have 6 other cats (I work at a vets office so taking home the “broken” pets is a perk!) who refuse to eat the grain free food. I will have to get her her own bag. I feed everyone separate and I feed them twice a day in order to keep them from gaining weight. I have some coconut oil at home as well I will try adding that to her food. Thank you so much!

    • Have you tried very slowly changing the cats’ diets by mixing in a slight amount of grain-free food and increasing the ratio of grain-free to grain-based over a couple of weeks? I’ve had success changing the diets of picky eaters using this method.

  10. It is wonderful to read the positive outcomes of the grain-free food and coconut oil. My tabby Jaephra is 20 years old and he started having seizures about 1 year ago with them becoming progressively worse. He also started throwing up bile every few days. We visited the vet and he stated his bloodwork was completely normal and that it is because Jaephra is an older. I refused to give up. I started giving him Felovite 2 w/Taurine oral gel for the vitamins and found the seizures reduced by 80% within the first 3 weeks and BONUS he has completely stopped throwing up. Now learning about the grain free and coconut oil, I am hopeful he will make a complete recovery. I wish all kitty lovers everywhere learn about the benefits of this diet. I’ll post again in a few weeks about Jaephra’s recovery. Thank you for creating this blog.

    • You’re welcome! I’m glad to hear that you’re seeing success with Jaephra. Good luck to you. I think we can learn a lot from our cats: mammals don’t need grains and, in fact, are harmed by them.

  11. My cat, Louise, is 10 years old. She had her first “spell” on 2/25/14. It freaked me out. Since then she has had 3 more. My vet did blood work and everything is normal. He also stated her organs were fine and has since diagnosed her with idiopathic epilepsy. He put her on Phenobarbital twice daily. I asked what I could do and he said nothing. I mentioned about her diet and he said to just keep doing what I have been doing – basically keep feeding her what I have been feeding her. I have been reading so much on the internet and have determined that I WILL be changing her diet. Having to deal with this has been really upsetting to me and my anxiety level has increased tremendously worrying over my cat and when & if she might have another “spell”. I am thankful that I came across this blog.

    • I’m so glad that you’ve decided to modify Louise’s diet. I have to believe she’ll be better off for it. I’m not surprised that the vet suggested no changes to her diet and just prescribed phenobarb. That’s exactly what my cat’s neurologist said. People think “protein” when they talk about cats being carnivores, but wild carnivores actually get more fat than protein, as they eat the organ meats before muscle meat. The difference my Tabatha after removing grains from her diet and dramatically increasing her fat intake was amazing. She’s completely seizure-free for nearly four years now.

      Good luck to you and Louise. And thanks for posting!

      (BTW, the lessons our pets teach us about a healthful diet translate well to we pet owners, too! As I talk about in Don’t Die Early, most of what ails us comes from our own diets of grains, vegetable oils, and sugar.)

  12. Hi, I am curious as to what everyone is considering as a seizure. How extreme are they? My cat Mike started to have tremors right after eating a few weeks ago. We have made many trips to the ER vet, have now gone to an internist and a neurologist besides our regular vet. He’s had tons of tests, blood work and an ultrasound. Everything has come back normal. None of the vets can tell me what is wrong. After everything we still don’t have a diagnosis. I have seen these tremors before when he had a urinary tract blockage. At that time he was in pain and distress so I assumed we were having the same problem again. But the urinalysis also was normal. The neurologist seems to think these are seizures. He isn’t completely out of it though when he starts shaking. It’s just like he’s shivering. He’s fully conscious, purring and sometimes plays with his toy. Then, back to the shivering. Sometimes it can last for hours. I’ve woken up in the middle of the night with him shaking next to me. I’m at a total loss as to what is wrong with him. We have not tried any anti seizure meds yet although they gave me some Keppra to try. Is this a safe med? Any long or short term side effects? His appetite has gone down so I worry about upsetting his stomach. I think I might give the grain free diet a go and see what happens. I’m glad I found this blog, very interesting. Thanks!

    • My cat’s seizures were disturbingly intense. Her spasming and flopping around resembled what one normally thinks of when thinking of an epileptic seizure. I also seemed that Tabatha knew something was coming on because she would frequently try to flee and find a secluded spot for her seizure to occur. All in all, her seizure events were quite unmistakable.

      From what little I know, I understand seizures can be of many different types and intensities, with some being so subtle that they’re all but unnoticeable. I wouldn’t presume to try and diagnose exactly what’s happening with Mike, only to say that I would tend to agree with a neurologist’s opinion that they’re seizures. While not programmed to think of prevention and root causes, I have to believe that cat neurologists are probably very good at recognizing seizures.

      I have a friend (human) on Keppra and he’s tolerating it well, but I would always want to try dietary changes first before starting my pet on a brain altering medication, especially one that has been tested in a very very limited way on cats. Cats are carnivores, which means they’re evolved to eat a grain-free diet, rich in fats (think fatty organ meats) and some protein. The change I saw in Tabatha was dramatic and four years without another seizure, coupled with all that I’ve learned since then and the feedback I’ve received from other pet owners, absolutely convinces me that today’s increasingly common diagnosis of idiopathic seizure disorder in middle-aged household cats is 100% diet induced. For Tabatha, her cure was a simple as switching from a grain-based cat food to a grain-free diet and letting her snack on bacon grease, coconut oil, full-fat sour cream, butter, etc. to her heart’s content.

      That said, if you’ve already started Mike on Keppra, don’t stop it suddenly because doing so can be harmful. If Mike’s already on Keppra and you decide to discontinue it, I suggest that you inform your vet of your plans and ask him for a dosing schedule to safely discontinue the medication.

  13. This is an update to my 2/22/14 post. I have to say that I am amazed at the recovery that Jaephra has made. He has been eating grain free (Orijen cat food) for three weeks and continues taking the Felovite 2 w/Taurine oral gel and I happily say that he is 99% seizure free and he still has not thrown up any bile or for that matter hair balls (knock on wood). Being that Jaephra is an indoor cat, I’m a little leery feeding him full fat anything. My vet tells me that he should not weigh more than 12 lbs. and he doesn’t. I’m confident that with this diet change he will make a full recovery. However, he is now meowing more than ever and I attribute that to him wanting more attention; afterall he is 20 years old. The older he gets the more he meows.

    As a side note: I did my research on the grain free food and I have found that Orijen was the only brand that did not have any recalls and the cats love it.

    • I’m so glad to hear that Jaephra has responded so well to a grain-free diet. That’s wonderful news. I wouldn’t worry about increasing his fat intake. Neither people, nor cats, will gain weight by eating more fat. Weight gain is caused by a high insulin levels caused by eating grains and other high-carbohydrate foods.

      And thank you for the tip about Orijen. I’ve been worried about Taste of the Wild’s past recalls. I’ll look into Orijen as new option.

  14. Hi, been a while since i hv posted. Been down lately because my cat’s seizure getting worse. Most probably because of intense hot weather, might cause her stress. Keeping her in airconditioned room makes it better. But for now I am keeping her in a matress build fotress to avoid her injuring herself.

    My possible problem might occur because.
    1. Cat stress, over weather and ear mites.
    2. Too quickly to withdraw it from it’s medicine ( that is current, because after a four day seizure free period )

    Now I am adding DMG to the equation, i bought the dmg with lysine from Vetri to aid her recovery.

    Still, on origen, now i see it must be more than diet to this girl. But nevertheless, the diet did assist during that time. Just that something might went wrong, maybe an injury which I cannot see.

    • I’m sorry to hear that she’s not responding more dramatically. Is she eating just the grain-free food or are you also supplementing with other fats like coconut oil, bacon grease, butter, etc?

      • So far, just origen, diazepam and clean water. At the moment im keeping her stress free.

        Can you elaborate on type of fat supplements you cab recommend? Haven’t try that one yet

        • At first, my cat would jump up on the stove when we weren’t looking and lick bacon grease out of the pan. That was one of the first signs that she was craving fats. Once we realized that, we began offering her must any fat source that we encountered in our food preparation. This includes such fats as bacon grease, coconut oil, butter, and full-fat sour cream. I’ve also recently began poking a hole in an omega-3 fish oil capsule and squeezing the oil over our cats’ dry food. They seem to sometimes love that and other times they walk away from the food when I do that but return an hour or two later and eat it. I’m not sure what’s going on there. Maybe it changes the smell of the food that they’ve been eating for years and they’re still becoming adjusted to it with fish oil on it.

          I would try whatever healthy fats I could get my hands on, directly and mixed with foods, to get as much fat into her as possible to see if that helps.

  15. Thank you so much, I am so pleased I stumbled upon this site! I live in the uk and have a cat which has fits, thankfully not often. She had her first one on the way home from the vets after her first jabs. They now happen when shes been sleeping for a while. But, I had said to the vets that it seemed to happen when I changed her food but I didnt really think much of it and he didnt say anything about the coincidence. I have been waiting and wondering when her next one would be as it had been a while a d then she had one the other day. But…I bought a different cat food as I had run out and was in Lidl. I have googled the one I normally buy and it says gluten free and states they use meat and dont bulk it out so maybe thats why she hasnt had one for a few months! Now I know what could prevent them I am going to make sure I only buy grain free ones. Butchers classic is the one I have been using!

    • You’re very welcome! I hope your cat improves with her new diet. Are you also supplementing with lots of natural fat sources like coconut oil, bacon grease, and omega 3 oils? I’ve recently been sprinkling omega 3 oils (from a punctured fish oil supplement capsule) onto my cats’ dry food and it looks like their coats are even richer and shinier now. They were initially hesitant about the fish oil on the food, but they love it now.

  16. My 10 year old cat Jasper has been having seizures for 3 years now. All tests came back normal so the vet put him on phenobarbital twice a day. He’s been on this medication for 16 months now and is still having seizures (in the past 4 months he’s had 8). As mentioned before it’s very disturbing to watch your pet have seizures. I feel so helpless but am determined not to give up. There must be something that can help him. I began doing more research and found a site suggesting a grain-free diet. I switched him to Blue Freedom and he had a seizure after 2 weeks. With a questionable ingredient…I then switched to Canidae Grain-Free about 4 weeks ago. He did well until this morning when he had another seizure. This was his longest time between seizures in the past 4 months. So I’d like to think the food is helping. My goal is to stop them permanently and get him off medication. After reading this blog I will attempt to add more fat to his diet. I will try the bacon grease and coconut oil but he’s a very picky eater…will not touch table scraps! I will update in a few weeks.
    Thank you so much for the info! I will try anything safe & healthy to put and end to these seizures!

    • I’m encouraged that the new diet is helping Jasper. I can certainly understand your desire to eliminate the seizures altogether. For the past few weeks, I’ve been puncturing a 1000 mg omega 3 fish oil capsule and drizzling it over my cats’ food. At first, they were a little wigged out and didn’t eat as readily, but after a day or two they became accustomed to it and resumed eating their food as before. It may be my imagination, but the 500 mg omega 3 per day per cat (I have two cats) seems to be making their coats even more luxurious than they were before. Rather than adding more fat separately, you may want to very slowly introduce omega 3 fish oil, bacon grease, etc. to his dry food to see if he’ll eat that.

      You might want to try some heavy whipping cream in a dish, too. My cats will occasionally lap up some whipping cream.

      And don’t forget to ask yourself, if grains are giving my cat seizures, is there something to what physicians like neurologist David Perlmutter “Grain Brain” and cardiologist William Davis “Wheat Belly” are saying: that grains, especially wheat, are harmful to humans, as well?

      If you’re interested in learning the root causes of most of the diseases that plague us today, give “Don’t Die Early” a look. It will help you better understand why heart disease, diabetes, and other common maladies have become so much more prevalent in recent decades.

      Good luck and let me know how Jasper is doing!

  17. I noticed that most animals who are raised for food are fed diets that contain wheat, and it is a low quality sub-human grade wheat. Do you suppose that any of the problems associated with feeding wheat is also present in the meat from those animals? I don’t know. Perhaps, someone has some information on that? If I use all organic ingredients (I am.), then even the animals raised on organic farms might have organic wheat in their diet? Unfortunately, in the US there is no longer any guarantee that even organic products will not be 100% non-GMO since there has been so much cross-contamination of the crops.

    I am making my cat’s food now (using Dr. Michael Fox’s grain-free recipe for cat food). She seems to like it. I contains meat (of course) and chicken hearts. Now I am starting to become even more concerned.

    • First, there are feed animals that shouldn’t be fed grains at all. Cows should eat grass, not grains. I’ve seen studies that show grain-fed cattle produce meat that is significantly higher in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. Talapia, I recently read, is highly inflammatory. One piece of talapia has more omega-6 than a person should eat in an entire day. This is because talapia is fed garbage grains while being farm raised.

      Personally, I think our health benefits when the animals that we eat (and the animals that produce foods we eat, like eggs and milk) are fed the most healthful diets possible. This means that hens should be free-range. Truly free range, not confined to a warehouse where they share a 4-foot porch with 100,000 other hens, accessible by a teenie door that is a 1,000 yards away from them. This way, they can eat their natural omnivorous diets. I cringe every time I see an egg package that says “100% vegetarian-fed, free range hens.” Like a friend of mine says, “If you say they’re free range and they’re 100% vegetarian, you’re either lying or you’re not paying attention.”

  18. First of all thank you for this site!! I have an almost 2 year old Bengal Cat. I went through quite the process in order to adopt him. Mainly I had to promise to feed him a special diet, (no wheat, no corn or corn gluten), use wood chips as cat litter, no declawing, keep indoors, and to not allow vets to give unnecessary immunizations. I have followed all of the rules ! Simba was born 6/6/12 and we took ownership in October 2012. His first seizure was sometime in March/April/May I say this only because I had not witnessed the seizure but only his weird activity after. Salivating, walking with a limp and just basically out of it. His first real seizure episode was 5/13/13 that I witnessed. I would say a Gran-mal episodes. I took him to emergency and test were run and all was negative. On 5/21 he stopped eating, lost weight got very sick. He finally improved but then the seizure activity increased. I was able to get seizure episodes on video for the Vet. I was then referred to a Cat Neurologist where they were able to keep him overnight to run tests like a MRI brain, spinal tap, urine etc. You name it he had it done! I thought for sure he had cancer or a brain disorder. Everything was negative. His breeder insists there are no cats in her breeding line that have had this disorder. Brother and sister are completely normal. She seems to think he may have gotten into something that has caused him some sort of toxicity. Possible lead poisoning from a phone cord?? Eating a house plant?? I just cannot imagine that a cat could be so sensitive to those types of things to cause seizures?? These are basically wild cats how can they be so sensitive? I also want to mention that the seizures occur at all hours. Sometimes in the middle of the night, mornings afternoons etc. We finally decided to put him on Phenobarbital. We started at a low dose and now we are almost to the maximum dose. The Neuro wants to maybe add a second med to try to help control his episodes. Might I mention he has gone from full blown seizures w/o loss of urine to head banging episodes where his front paws collapse and his head thrusts into the ground and his cries of pain are beyond bearable. He then comes out of it 45 min later and is back to his loving little self. I need help on a diet!! Simba has been eating Life’s Abundance Premium health food dry and Life Abundance Instinctive Choice wet. This was the breeders recommendation and I have to order on line. I’ve checked this food its wheat free, corn free and no artificial flavors added. How do I know if this is right for Simba? Or causing an allergic reaction of seizures? It may obviously not be the healthiest for him. Could he be allergic to something in it?? Unfortunately once I started Simba on the pills it was tough to get him to take them so I bought “Greenies” smart bite treats to follow with his meds. Now he sits in the chair waiting for me to give him his pill so he can get his treat! I do not think these are healthy! I just discontinued tonight after reading your Blog and gave him some sour cream as a treat after his medicine. Is there someone I can contact that can just tell me what to feed Simba?? I was told by our Breeder to contact a Dr Don Hamilton a leading expert in Homeopathic care for cats. Has anyone heard of him or used him? The only problem is that he resides in New Mexico and I live in Mesa, Arizona!! He does phone consults so I’m thinking about contacting him. I have everything documented that we have been through with Simba and keep a daily diary on his episodes. I just want to eliminate these horrible seizures and in turn help others do the same.
    THANK YOU!

    • You are very welcome. I’ve recently switched my dog to Orijen grain-free food, based upon research that they’ve never had a recall. My cat still loves bacon grease, coconut oil, and other fats. I’ve also started puncturing a 1000 mg omega-3 fish oil capsule and drizzling it over the my two cats’ food bowls, giving them approximately 500 mg of EPA/DHA per day in addition to all their other fat sources. This seems to have made their coats even silkier than they were.

      I would keep trying to find the ideal food for Simba. Try Orijen. If that doesn’t work, try another high-quality grain-free food. Supplement with omega-3. Give him as much healthy natural fats as you can. Don’t stop trying. I don’t think anyone can tell you 100% what will be ideal for him, just that avoiding grains, additives, etc. and increasing his intake of natural fats as much as possible is the best diet for him.

      Good luck.

  19. Well, it has been a couple of months now with repeated trips to the vet, who could find nothing wrong with my cat. She had started having very violent grand mal seizures. He finally prescribed phenobarbitol, but she never had to take it.

    Several days before the prescription, I decided to try giving her a daily fish oil capsule. She hates it…. she has always been extremely finicky and likes only certain things. So, I squeeze the oil out of the capsule into a little dish and add about 1/4tsp of semi-soft butter or clarified bacon grease. Mix it up until it is creamy and then very gently rub it on her front paws and lower legs. She licks it off.

    And you know what? SHE HASN’T HAD A SEIZURE SINCE. NOT ONE. NOT A SINGLE SEIZURE. The effect was immediate.

    I give her the fish oil mixture daily now. I am also making all of her food now, based on the Dr. Michael Fox recipe. My cat is starting to like it too, which is a miracle.

    And now I’m taking a daily fish oil capsule, too. :)

    • I’m thrilled to hear that your kitty has responded so well! I’m beginning to think that our pets are like the canaries that they used to use in coal mines to detect unsafe conditions: we can see in our pets dangers that aren’t as noticeable in ourselves. I think my cats’ sensitivity to low-fat and grains simply mirrors what is wrong with a great many people today. I’ve received numerous emails from people who feel better after eliminating grains in favor of healthy fats and grass-fed protein.

      It’s too bad that our medical establishment is more focused on treating diseases than in preventing them. Sadly, there’s no profit in prevention.

      I hope we can all take a lesson from our pets and improve our diets and our health.

      Good luck with your kitty’s continued improvement. I’ll have to tell Tabatha about another success story. She feels like a hero!

      • After what happened with my cat, I’ve been thinking about the same thing about how much human medical problems are probably the same. I am re-thinking everything now.

        • I’m so glad to hear it! I think that so much of what ails us is preventable. The hundreds of sources I reference in Don’t Die Early feel the same way. There are a lot of physicians and researchers out there who are trying to be heard through the misinformation. Good luck!

  20. I just had to tell you that this post saved my little Pumpkin’s life. It’s been a tough week for our family and it all started on Monday. Pumpkin had her first seizure that morning and I rushed her to the vet. After observing her all day and two more seizures there at the vet’s office, we decided to bring her home. The vet wanted us to take in her in for all of these tests that we couldn’t afford and put her on, what I call “the zombie” seizure medicine. We declined it all and figured we wanted her to be comfortable at home and with her family if she was going to pass away. That night she had three more seizures while we were comforting her and reading your post. The next day we kicked into action with a change in her diet as you outlined and fish and coconut oil. Tuesday was better, but we still weren’t out of the woods. She had three more seizures that day. We continued to keep her comfortable and proceeded with the diet. I’m so happy to report that Wednesday she had NO seizures and was acting like her old self. It is now Thursday and she is still seizure free for the day. Fingers crossed. I just wanted to thank you, thank you, thank you because without this post, I’m sure our little Pumpkin would still be having seizures. This post was a miracle for us and we feel so much better about her state now. We owe it all to you! If I knew you, I’d hug you! God bless you!
    -Shanda (Pumpkin’s Mommy)

  21. Help! I could use your help and response ASAP. My cat has had four seizures that I am aware of and although they aren’t long (about 30-40 seconds) and her blood work from this weekend came back completely normal, the doctor said I could, if I want, put her on a medication (the same one your cat used to be on). I found this article and think it’s really interesting. I feed my cats Wellness grain free dry and wet food (I mix it). Not sure if it’s got super high fat content. Can you suggest a brand?

    Thanks for your help!

    • I give my cats Taste of the Wild, still, and recently switched my dog from Taste of the Wild to Orijen. My dog was having a problem with the Taste of the Wild causing her a bit of nausea.

      As for the fat, I believe strongly in supplementing with as much healthy fat as the cats will eat. Coconut oil, egg yolks, full-fat sour cream, bacon grease, omega-3 fish oil (puncture and squeeze a capsule over their food), animal fat from frying ground beef, etc. Any natural fat source you can get them to eat will help, I think.

  22. My 1-1/2 year old Savannah cat just had his second seizure two weeks after his first (and how do they always end up having these at 3 am?), and we’re considering starting him on anti-seizure meds. I found this site while searching for information on what would be involved with medication — frequency, method, dosage, etc.

    I used to feed our cats (we have 4, though only one has started having seizures) B.G., which was grain-free, but it recently disappeared from the shelves of our local pet store. I started buying Wellness, thinking it was high-quality and therefore okay. After reading this article, I checked the ingredients, and was appalled to realize the particular variety I bought contains barley!

    I’ve taken up all their dry food, fortunately the wet we have on-hand is all grain-free, and I’m going to switch them back to 100% grain-free dry. My poor guy has an appointment to see a neurologist on Friday, but now I’m wondering if I should put it off to give the change in diet a chance. He already had a CBC after the first seizure that revealed no abnormalities, and I’m hesitant to spend $2k+ on the kitty neurologist if there’s a chance that eliminating gluten and increasing fat could be all my baby needs.

    I’ll mull over that decision; in the meantime, I just wanted to say thank you for posting this information. Facing 3x daily medication for life is daunting, especially when he’s only 1-1/2, and to think there could possibly be a more natural way to handle this is really encouraging.

    • You’re welcome! Read all of the comments here and the responses for some additional suggestions for increasing fat intake. I think diet is key. I don’t regret spending the $$$ to try and find out what was wrong with my cat, but knowing what I know now, a change in diet was all that was required in my case.

      • Just wanted to let you know, we’re at 2 weeks since Ezio’s last seizure, which means we’ve passed the recurrence period of his first two. He’s now on a diet of Acana Cat Grasslands and Addiction Brushtail Raw Dehydrated, plus cod liver oil on the dry kibble every morning (btw, Twinlabs makes a liquid form with no additives so you don’t have to pierce and squeeze the capsules, I’ve been getting this from Vitamin Shoppe) and coconut oil on his paws in the evening (all the other cats are actually interested in the coconut oil, but the one cat I WANT to eat it has to be coerced!). I’ve tried giving them bacon grease, but they didn’t seem too interested in it; we’ll try ground beef grease the next time I make that.

        I’m uncertain about offering them sour cream: I’ve always read that dairy isn’t really great for cats? I’ve also read from other sources that casein (found in dairy products) can be a seizure trigger, though perhaps less so than gluten. I will try egg yolks though.

        I’m SO glad you posted this information and that I found it. <3 <3 <3

        • I’m thrilled to hear that things are looking good for Enzio! If you’re uncomfortable with sour cream, how about heavy whipping cream? There’s virtually no dairy protein in heavy whipping cream. Same with butter or ghee. And thanks for the tip about the cod liver oil.

  23. Just wondering if you seen immediate effects after switching Tabatha’s diet? My Max had his first seizure last fall, and we didn’t think much of it as he never had another one until mid April of this year. We took him to get checked out at the vet, but after everything checked out okay, we decided to just keep monitoring it as his seizures weren’t constant enough to convince him to put him on the Phenobarbitol. Then on May 13th, we woke up in the middle of the night around 3 AM to him having another seizure, this one the worst yet with loss of bladder control and some excessive drool ( but all seizures have been less than a minute in length still at this point). After cleaning him up and giving him some treats, we went back to bed. Unfortunately, I woke up around 8 AM to him having another one ( no more serious, same amount of time). Discouraged, we took him back to the vet and ran more tests, and the vet recommended we put him on the Pheno until we get results back. So we started them for about 3-4 days, and just weren’t comfortable feeding him meds when we weren’t even sure if he needed them – I might also mention he was just not himself while on them – almost depressed and not nearly as cuddly and care free as he usually is.
    After doing copious amounts of research and reading this blog, my husband and I decided to take him off the meds, change his diet, and hope for the best while we monitored the results. One other post I came across mentioned their cat started having seizures after eating the seafood type of temptations treats (the kind he was currently eating)… and me thinking I had a light bulb moment, prayed that maybe, just maybe that alone was the cause as I did give him MORE of those treats after the first seizure that night, resulting in another just a mere 4 hours later. In addition, prior to switching his food, he was being fed Nutro Max Cat which I also have since learned has been discontinued because of all the “fillers” and byproducts.. sigh.
    So after switching his diet to Orijen all natural grain free food, giving him the odd taste of coconut oil (which might I mention, he loves!) and cutting him cold turkey from his treats, all was well…. until May 24, 2014. That morning around 11 am, he had another one, same severity and length. And then another again on May 27th…

    So needless to say, after four seizures this month, we went back and have started him on the Pheno. However, I do strongly want to believe that changing his diet is only going to help.

    Long story short, I guess I just wanted to ask – When you switched Tabatha’s food, did she suffer any in the few months after switching? I guess I just don’t want to lose hope and continue to treat things as we are, in hopes that he can be seizure free for years to come like your kitty.

    • I’m sorry for the delay in responding to your post. I recently implemented some plug-ins that are supposed to assist with the wordpress comment spam (I was getting nearly a hundred spam comments every day), and unfortunately, a number of non-spam posts were blocked.)

      On to your question…
      I was able to track down some notes with specific dates that might help build a timeline for your reference.

      Tabatha’s first seizure was December 2008. It happened in the evening and we took her to the emergency vet right away. The vet’s first thought was an ingested toxin or an insect sting. There was no evidence of either and she seemed okay after the seizure subsided, so we brought her home. (As you probably know, emergency vets are about dealing with the immediate crisis, not troubleshooting.)

      Her second witnessed seizure was eight weeks later and we took her to our regular vet for a more detailed workup. All the blood work was fine and since this was a repeat, it suggested that the problem was not neurological trauma. Our regular vet put her on 16 mg phenobarb per day, divided into two equal doses and referred us to a neurological specialist, whom we saw a week or two later.

      The neurologist did a bunch more tests to rule out everything under the sun, declared the condition “idiopathic,” reduced her dosage to 8 mg in the evening and 4 mg in the morning (presumably, seizures are more likely to occur at night, hence the higher evening dosage).

      At this point, we were diligent with Tabatha’s phenobarb, giving her the meds faithfully twice a day. (Knowing now that phenobarb has a very long half-life, I’m not sure how important it is to split the dose in this way. Of course, knowing what I know now, I no longer think the phenobarb was the answer any way!) After some time, though, we cut the dose to once a day, through a combination of desire to reduce her stupor and plain old neglect. (I’m embarrassed to admit that as much as we love all our critters, once the seizures stopped, it was easier for us to forget to give her the meds as faithfully.) After a few months had passed, we were probably giving her 8 mg every couple of days instead of 12 mg per day.

      After one year had passed since starting her on the phenobab, Tabatha had lost weight, presumably because the meds were suppressing her appetite, and was much less her old self. It was about this time that we humans switched our diets to a low-carb, high-fat, grain-free diet. As a natural result of our new diet, it was more common to find pans of bacon grease, coconut oil, egg yolks, and other high-fat foods readily abundant and Tabatha was quick to pounce on any leftover fats that we left sitting. It was common for her to jump up on the stove before we had cleaned up from breakfast, for example, to snag some bacon grease in the pan. Either in response to her obvious like for the fats or as an extension of the humans’ new diets, we switched our pets’ diets, too, initially giving them Taste of the Wild. And we were much quicker to share high-fat leftovers with the pets, too, a pretty radical shift from our previous “no people food” philosophy.

      By this time, Tabatha’s phenobarb had all but fallen by the wayside. After slightly more than a year without a seizure, and having been slowing reducing her meds to probably once or twice a week at this point, at most, we made the decision to just stop the phenobarb altogether. Even though we hadn’t been giving the phenobarb very often, the pointed decision to stop was a bit stress inducing. We watched Tabatha like a hawk for weeks afterwards, but the seizures never reappeared to this day.

      Her typical diet today is Orijin (1/2 cup) in her bowl, sprinkled with the contents of a fish oil capsule (1000 mg total, drizzled over two bowls since we have two cats), and as much fatty leftovers as she wants. If we fry bacon we might scoop some bacon grease onto a small saucer and sit it next to her food. Or we’ll give her a small pile of coconut oil whenever we have it out. Or when we dish out sour cream we’ll lay the spoon on a saucer next to her plate and pick it up an hour later and put it in the dishwasher. There’s no rhyme or reason to what we give her other than her food/fish oil (and the addition of fish oil is relatively new; about a month now). We just give her a dab of whatever we’re cooking with or is left over at the moment.

      For Max, I would be extremely careful about any prepackaged cat treats at all. Like humans, I think the cats do way better avoiding processed foods altogether. Single ingredient foods are best for all of us. Many of the treats sold contain additives or grains or other components that may not be received well by a cat, especially one that’s recovering neurologically.

      I’ve been told that each neurological seizure can make future seizures more likely, as the seizure event causes new electrical channels to form, which can become the preferred electrical route. The same, I’m told, is true for cardiac arrhythmia: the more often a heart goes into arrhythmia, the more likely future episodes are to occur. For this reason, I think there’s a certain wisdom in keeping a cat medicated until the new diet has had a chance to effect positive results. I wish I could tell you exactly how many doses of phenobarb overlapped with her new lifestyle change, but all I can remember is that we had tapered her to a couple of times a week by the time we changed her diet and it was probably a month or two of overlap, with us administering one or two doses a week at most, before we discontinued the phenobarb altogether. Even at this point, she had been seizure-free for a year, presumably because of the phenobarb.

      Clearly, in Tabatha’s case, diet was sufficient to cure her, as she’s been completely seizure-free for four years now. I can only speculate that we somehow timed the medication tapering with the dietary change sufficiently to prevent any recurrence of the seizures during that transitional period. Perhaps there just hasn’t been enough time with the new diet (and/or it’s not as high in fat as Max needs) to prevent seizures once the phenobarb was removed. If I were in your place, I would probably start him back on the phenobarb, too, just to help reduce the chance of causing more damage, while I gave diet another month or so to help. During this time, I would be especially diligent about the food and provide as much supplemental natural fats as possible. What might help, also, is tapering the phenobarb, as we unintentionally did. Perhaps a sudden drop in phenobarb levels is somehow a factor, too. Be sure and check the phenobarb half-life in cats (I think it’s about 60 hours) when you decide upon a tapering schedule (or if your vet is a cooperative type, he may recommend a dosing schedule).

      Good luck with Max. Please let me know how he does.

  24. Hi. I’m getting desperate here. My 10 yr old cat began having grand mal seizures 2 years ago. They disappeared for a while without medications (he got so afraid of me at med time that I couldn’t even catch him to rub the phenobarb cream in his ear!) I kept a log but that hasn’t helped me identify any pattern. And the ER doctor couldn’t find any cause of these seizures.

    So now he’s begun having these seizures again and just like before they are increasing in frequency. It’s been a week now and he’s having seizures almost every 2 to 3 hours, so I have to do something. About 5 days ago I started weaning them off their grain kibble to gluten free kibble (Natural Balance). They have accepted it so far. They don’t like any of the grain free canned food I’m trying so far. So I’m continuing to feed them Friskies and Fancy Feast. They eat more of that than they do the kibble.

    This morning I scrambled an egg with a very small amount of Ghee mixed in. He wouldn’t touch it. So I gave him baked chicken (white meat only, no skin) I had in the fridge. He also licked a bit of leafy greens pureed with chicken stock. I know this isn’t grain free, after all the commercial chickens eat grain, but he is so hungry after a seizure that he meows non-stop for food. Yet he is picky and won’t eat just anything.

    Any suggestions please? What am I doing wrong? I’m going to have to take him to the hospital if these seizures don’t slow down.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your kitty! The very lengthy discussions accompanying this posting talk about a number of different cat foods (“Taste of the Wild” and “Orijen” are two), as well as a huge variety of fats that have been used to increase fat intake. Coconut oil, MCT oil, butter, ghee, bacon grease, avocado oil, animal fat trimmings, heavy whipping cream, etc.

      How about stirring some of those fat sources into whatever grain-free canned food he’ll eat? Stirring a raw egg or some coconut oil or some MCT oil into one of those foods?

      Don’t give up. Try every combination of food and supplemental fat that you can think of. And there is a role for anti-seizure medications of a medication will help control the seizures while you are transitioning to a more effective diet.

      Good luck with your kitty.

  25. Our adopted “Tortie” from the shelter, Lucy, began to have seizures about every 6 to 8 weeks. They were grand mal, with a loss of her bladder, and difficulty walking after each one. The vet could find nothing wrong with her and diagnosed her with epilepsy. She has been on a very low-dose phenobarbital (2 ml in the am and 2 ml in the pm) for 3 years now. She continued to have seizures with some lengthening in time – sometimes up to 10 weeks but it did seem that the medication made her recovery from the seizures much easier for her. In recent weeks Lucy has begun eating/snacking on some of our daily yoghurt. She loves it! Now the good news – she has been seizure free for 19 weeks. A new record! Could the yoghurt be a contributing factor in her not having seizures?
    thanks – Julia

    • It’s certainly possible that the increased fat in the yogurt has helped. The threads accompanying this blog post tell the story from many cat owners who witnessed an end to seizures with just diet change. My cat is a prime example. Have you fully switched Lucy to a grain-free diet like Orijen or Taste of the Wild. You can also increase her fat intake through the addition of things like coconut oil, MCT oil, butter, ghee, bacon grease, avocado oil, animal fat trimmings, heavy whipping cream, etc.

  26. In March of this year my 2 year old tabby started for no reason violent siezures. Our vet came to pick her up within 15 minutes,and to date we never found out what the problem was. I was useing grain free science diet,but notice Daisy was getting into our other cat’s food(hills c/d for bladder health)which does contain grains and other additives. Of course they started her on the phenobarbitol but I was uncomfortable with the long term effects from the drug that can occur. She remained siezure free for several weeks,then when she gained access to the room where the cat with the special bladder diet is kept she started to sneak the c/d again,then the siezures started coming back. I questioned the vet about this and they said it was coinsidance but i believe it was the food(hills c/d). I am now feeding in different rooms and noticing the siezures are less frequent. I use wellness grain free for my cats and for my foster cats as well. Although the benefits of the c/d are great for the cat with the bladder health condition,I believe that it contributed to Daisy’s siezures. What are your thoughts on this?

    • I think it’s certainly possible that Daisy is sensitive to the grains or other additives in the Hills food. It’s no different than humans who have neurological symptoms from eating grains. (Grain Brain, by neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter speaks to this). Have you also started supplementing Daisy’s diet with high-fat foods, as are discussed throughout these comments? In addition to keeping her away from the Hill’s, I think she would benefit from a higher fat intake.

      • Yes I have. And also have her on a multi vitamin as well. To make feeding easier I have switched all my cats and my foster cats as well to the grain free diet and the one on the hills c/d is fed alone. I am just not crazy about the effects the phenobarb can have,so if switching her diet and adding extra fat will help,I am all for it. She is very skinny anyway<so the extra fat and vitamins wont hurt her.
        Thank you

      • We have our two cats on the Hills cd/ diet. Lucy, our cat with seizures, eats that food and we do give her a small dose of phenobarbital morning and evening and blood tests indicate she is fine and we have seen no ill effects for the drug. Even with the phenobarbital Lucy continued to have seizures every 6 to 8 weeks – although we are convinced the effects of the seizures were less severe once she was medicated. But now that we have given her yoghurt every day she has been seizure free for 23 weeks. I am also putting the contents of a Fish Oil tablet into her food every day. Now I can’t say for sure that the fat in the yogurt has made the difference but for 3 years Lucy had seizures like clock-work – every 6 to 8 weeks. The yogurt is the only difference in her diet – so we are hopeful that can be the answer. We have decided if we are fortunate enough to go a year without seizures – we will discuss with the vet taking Lucy gradually off the phenobarbital.

  27. I have a 13 week old kitten who started having seizure very early. I first saw it after she spent sometime being boarded at the vet. I have also spent close to $1,000 to find out the cause of the seizures. She has had two seizures yesterday and today a total of 4, both 1hr 1/2 apart. They offered me phenobarbital to increase the time between the seizures but not to stop them. I have always fed her blue buffalo grain-free food. I am at a lost as I can’t afford the neurologists and am forced with making a decision of euthanizing her so she can have peace. The seizures are very hard to watch and my instinct is always to pick her up and hold her through it. Please help me!

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your kitten. I went and looked at one of the Blue Buffalo kitten formulas and see that it is, indeed, grain-free. It has some fat, in the form of chicken fat and some fish meal and sunflower oil. With the exception of the small amount of omega-3 and omega-6 in the fish meal and in the sunflower oil, I’m wondering if that’s nearly enough fat for the kitty. Have you tried supplementing her diet with some of the higher quality fats that are mentioned in all of the comments to this post? Heavy whipping cream, coconut oil, full-fat sour cream, avocado oil, actual omega-3 fish oil dribbled from a capsule (or purchased as a liquid), bacon grease, MCT oil, etc. I would try to find some combination of healthy fats such as these that kitty is willing to eat. As much as possible every day. It sounds to me like her developing brain hasn’t gotten nearly enough fats that it needs to develop properly. Like humans, developing kitty brains need lots of fats, too.

      Good luck with your kitten and let me know now things go!

  28. I am so grateful to have found this blog. Our 15 month-old cat Haley had her first seizure 2 days ago. Since then, she has had 3 more. We are frantic. We took her to the pet hospital and they recommended seeing a neurologist. We, also, are hesitant to spend thousands to learn what we already know. We will switch her immediately to a grain-free diet with lots of healthy fats. I can’t tell you how helpful this information is. Keep up the good work.

  29. I’m so happy I found this blog, thank you. The comments about vets reactions to epilepsy are really interesting, it has also been my experience – I thought I just had a bad vet, but seems it’s a lack of understanding about this condition. I think it would be better if vets had a passion for their job – rather than being just there for the money.

    I’ve found, that love and care can go a log way with helping these kinds of cats. That, and it’s intresting about the comments about diet – I will keep that in mind.

    I’ve also found, that meditation music works, and things like birds sounds work – to calm cats.

    Love, and thanks J x

    • I’ve lost count of the number of emails that I’ve received detailing dramatic improvements when people put their carnivorous animal on a truly carnivorous diet. When people hear “carnivore,” they immediately think “high-protein,” but carnivores in the wild do not subsist primarily on protein. They subsist primarily on fatty organ meats. Fat is vital to a carnivore. And here we are feeding our cats mostly carbohydrates, very little fat, protein in the form of spray dried, oxidized animal meals, and some cheap vitamins. And we wonder why idiopathic seizure disorder is becoming a common occurrence in house cats. I like my vet but when I tell him about how we’ve cured our cat’s seizure problem, he just smiled and nods his head while he continues loading his shelves with grain-based, low-fat cat foods.

  30. This article is amazing. My cat sonic has been having seizures for over 6 years which is how old he is now. It still get very upset when he has one. Had him checked up when he was 6 months old (which is when his first one happened) and he was put on medication right away. I didn’t want to have to do that to him for the rest of his life It wasn’t fair. The medication cause some gross side effects where he would scratch himself so bad that he would bleed and loose his fur. I love this cat more than anything in this world and it hurt me to watch him do that. It’s been over a year and a half now that I have taken him off of the medications. His seizures come and go still once every couple of months. Reading this article and learning what kind of food he should go on instead of what he is being fed is great. I never thought about trying this. I have a second kitty which I’m sure he would love the no grain diet. I have also heard that grinding up egg shells to a fine dust and adding it to wet food helps with seizures.

    Thank you very much for writing this. I am hoping this helps my fur baby in the long run.

    • I hope it helps Sonic, too! I’ve not heard about adding egg shells to a cat’s diet. I’ve recently been purchasing organic avocado oil from my local Costco and found that my cat Tabatha absolutely LOVES it. I pour a tablespoon of avocado oil into a small saucer and she runs to the dish to lap it up. I’ve made avocado oil a regular addition to my pets’ diets now.

  31. I just wanted to say what a fantastic thread of information. We have had our resuce kitty just about a year now that we saved from a roof top. Jai Alai has been having seizures and we are in the process of changing his diet. The one item that we discoverd that is homeopathic and called Nuroplex from allergic pet. We are only able to use the water based spray in some gravy before his meal times not the capsule. We cannot get anything else in him. We have noted that it assists in the duration and recovery time of our little guy’s episodes. Will be trying the recommends noted on here to help him even more. Thank you to everyone for loving kitties:)

      • Hello again Rocky,

        We would like to try getting more of these fats you mention in Jai Alai’s diet. How much do you give per day of the fats? The Nuroplex spray we are still using and he is grain free. The past few seizure sessions were a little ahead of his average of 22 days and he also had two yesterday. The 2nd seizure was very fast and he recovers quickly, this is actually the second time he had two in one day about 7 hours apart is our estimate. Still want to do whatever we can for him since he is never going to take a pill… What is your experience with phenobarb cream for the ears of cats as an option?

        Thank you so much!

        Denise

        • I’ve never given the phenobarb cream, just the pill. I give our cats as much fat as they want, largely by offering them the remnants of whatever fat we humans have cooked with or have on hand from that day’s meals. For example, if we sauté something in coconut oil or bacon grease, they’re interested in the remaining oil from the pan, which we put into a dish for them. Or if we’re using full-fat sour cream or heavy whipping cream for cooking we’ll put a dollop onto a saucer and sit it near their food. For a while, I was piercing a fish oil capsule and dribbling it on their food each day. They ate that, albeit reluctantly. They didn’t really like the taste of the fish oil.

          Their latest love is avocado oil which we buy from Costco. We pour a two- or three-inch puddle onto a saucer every day and both cats lap it up like a kitten drinking milk from a saucer.

  32. My cat started having what I assume is a seizure. This all started after we took her to the vet because she was violently scratching her ear. The doctor said ears were fine, but gave her kenalog (steriod) and cefovecin (anti biotic). We also changed her food away from chicken and to grain free. Her stratching went away 2days later and she was a normal kitty again. Then a few days later she started having these attacks. She falls over and becomes very tense and a little shaking but she is awake. (She did get into the basement a few days ago and licked he concrete floor that was treated with a chemical) also she did have an attack after eating dirt from house plant. Please any advice would help. Thank you

    • Sorry for the delay in answering you. My blog isn’t notifying me readily when people post questions. Another reader posted pretty much the same question: what can be done in addition to switching to a grain-free diet? My suggestion was that they consider adding healthy fat sources to their pet’s diet. With my cat, I don’t think it was enough to simply go grain-free. I also gave her coconut oil, avocado oil, bacon grease, full-fat sour cream and heavy whipping cream, etc. Currently, her favorite is avocado oil. I get it from Costco and pour a small puddle of it into a saucer each day and she laps it up.

  33. Can you/someone please tell me if this would also be the case for my 5 y.o.Standard Poodle who’s had seizures & been on Phenobarb since 1.5y.o.? He’s on a Verus Grain Free kibble & canned..Can someone suggest a better alternative? I will sometimes give him veggies, fruit, or chicken breast. But “grain free” reg.diet. Holy crap..except for “Buddy Biscuits” a premium $6 Lb. dog cookie. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. ALSO..how long to try the 100% grain free diet to decide/rule out if his epilepsy is indeed triggered by glutens??

    • With my cat, I don’t think it was enough to simply go grain-free. I also had to supplement her diet with sources of healthy fat. As many of the posts on this thread detail, animals with seizure disorders that are dietarily influenced can benefit from such things as coconut oil, avocado oil, bacon grease, full-fat whipping cream, full-fat sour cream, etc.

  34. I stumbled upon your article quite by accident searching for a solution for Possum, my almost three year old cat. He and his brother were adopted at the same time. Skeeter does not have seizures. Possum began experiencing seizures about four months ago. Coincidentally, I had switched them from Taste of the Wild to Nutrish, to save a money. The seizures began to happen more frequently, eventually weekly. I did switch them back to Taste of the Wild four weeks ago after finding your article. In addition I added coconut oil, which he loves. I thought we were good until he had another seizure two nights ago. Now I’m not so sure. I guess my question is now what? Does the toxin from the other food take time to leave their system or is he destined to be on meds? Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    • I think it takes some time for the brain to heal itself after a diet that is too low in fat. My cat enjoys avocado oil mostly these days. I buy it at Costco and pour a few tablespoons in a shallow dish every day and she just laps it up. This, combined with her grain-free food (Orijen) and supplemental fats that include bacon grease, coconut oil, heavy cream, etc., she’s fully recovered and has been seizure free for years now. Offer Possum as much fat as you can, in as many different forms, ensuring that they’re natural fats like the ones discussed in the article and in the follow-up comments. It may just take time. It’s not only about what he’s no longer eating, it’s also about healing.

    • By the time the diet change occurred we had tapered off the medicine somewhat, just by inattention. Because the meds were controlling her symptoms it was easy to forget to give it to her twice a day. I would estimate that she was getting phenomenal three or four days a week at that time.

      Over the ensuing months after the diet we gradually tapered to nothing.

      I’d like to say this was by an enlightened grand plan on our part but much of it was happenstance. We sorta realized “Hey, we have been doing a horrible job giving Tabatha her meds the last few months and she’s been fine.” That revelation, combined with her diet change and what we had learned by that time about grain-free and healthy fats all converged to make it all clear.

      If I were to do it again, I would carefully taper her dose to zero over a period of a month or so after she had been on the new diet a couple of months, just to be cautious.

  35. Thank you very much for the info. My cat is almost 2 years old and he recently started having seizures weekly so suddenly. It turns out the new canned food I bought him contained wheat gluten. The seizures started a week after I began to feed that to him. It was the gravy lovers from fancy feast. He had this in addition to his old diet of purely just fancy feast seafood canned food. I wanted to consider orijen but dry food has caused urinary blockage in him. Or at least I think that’s was what happened. Going to the vet hasn’t really been helpful since they couldn’t tell me much of anything in both cases (seizures and urinary tract infection).

    Are there any good canned food I could get for him since his infection might come back if I give him dry food?

    Also I’m going to try to feed him more fat and oils. He needs to get fatter anyway, that runt.

    Again, thank you so much for this.

    • You’re very welcome! Clearly your kitty is quite sensitive to wheat gluten. I’m afraid I don’t have much experience at all with canned food. For convenience, we’ve always fed our cats dry food. It’s interesting that you mention urinary tract problems. One of our two cats was recently treated with a UTI (she’s on Taste of the Wild). Our dog developed a sensitivity to Taste of the Wild about six months ago and we switched her to Orijin. I’m wondering if our cat has become sensitive to something in Taste of the Wild. It may be time to switch the cats to Orijen.

      The extra fat will certainly benefit his brain, though I wouldn’t expect it to cause him to gain weight. If anything, it will help him slim down, as he’ll likely be getting less carbs and protein.

          • Thank u so much for your reply.I have a cat named scooter she is 12 years old Thursday she collapsed to the floor was disoriented and wet on herself took her to vet put her on phenobarbital half pill every12 hrs.she was lifeless wobbly not eating pittiful to watch.called vet Monday said reduce it a quarter every 8 hrs.just a lil better ate some this morning still wobbly not herself.beginning of Feb.I changed her food cause of hairballs.she got a bacterial infection also and that too I read can cause seizures.she had got better for like ten days then started seizures.the omega 3 fish oil capsule is it a human vitamin that u can buy at drugstore.and just break open the capsule.I’m desperate she has been in bad shape.I don’t know if its meds or seizures making her this way or both.I’m so afraid I’m gonna have to make the hardest decision of my life im really upset she’s my best friend family and helped me thru somuch.I don’t know if u pray or not but if u do please pray for scooter.we are desperate.before I got her to vet she had like five that day very intense ones.I don’t want to give up.I’ll do anything.I’m even setting my alarm for am cause he started her on 8 hr dose yesterday at 7 pm.I’m not good with internet so I just replied on on of these post hoping to reach u .any suggestions desperate will do whatever..

          • I feel for you. It’s a frustrating,helpless feeling, I know.

            When Tabatha was on phenobarbital, she was listless, too. I took comfort that the medication had given us a reprieve from the seizures and we weaned her off over time. In the meantime, I would try every fat I could to see if she would accept it. A little coconut oil, bacon grease, avocado oil, etc. I had a kitten who loved when I mixed some tuna juice, from canned tuna, in with her dish of avocado oil. I guess it made the avocado oil more tasty for her.

            Don’t give up!

  36. How do you incorporate the fats in the diet. My cat has been having what I thought was Feline Hypersthesia her whole life. I’ve switched to grain free food but my cats don’t like it. I have seen marked improvement in her symptoms but I’m worried her and my other cat aren’t eating enough.

    • My cats seemed to crave the fats. They would jump on the stove and lick bacon grease from the still-warm pan, for example. We’ve tried a variety of different fats (all mentioned in the many comments to this posting), including fish oil, coconut oil, and bacon grease. Their current favorite is avocado oil (purchased from Costco). I pour the avocado oil into a dish each morning, a puddle a few inches in diameter, and they lap it up during the day.

      You may want to try pouring some bacon grease over their grain-free food or giving them a dish with some coconut oil or avocado oil on it.

  37. So happy I found this wonderful information today! My owner took me to a couple of veterinarians this week for some horrible seizures I’ve had recently. The evil people in the white coats told my owner that I should have a CT scan (for a possible cancerous growth) and an MRI (for a possible brain tumor). I’m an older gal, 14-years-old, and at this stage of the game, my owner does not want me to endure an operation, or chemo! Neither do I! Today, a veterinarian gave her a bottle of phenobarbital. She didn’t look too happy when she came home from the hospital. I suspect she doesn’t want to give me the medicine! I don’t want any, either! printed out all this great information, and will leave it on the kitchen table. Hopefully she will read it, and add some fat to my diet asap. Wish me luck!

    • I’m so glad that you found this information and I certainly hope that your owner switches you to a grain-free diet, full of yummy fats! My cats’ current favorite fat is avocado oil. They drink a small puddle of it every day, lapping it up from a saucer.

  38. This week has been AWFUL! My husband and I were at our wits end. I just stumbled upon this wonderful blog by accident.
    My ‘Baby K’ started having seizures this week. At first I thought she was trying to cough up a hair ball. This morning we woke up to a Gran Mal seizure. We rushed her to the vet only to be told they can find nothing wrong. They said it is probably epilepsy and prescribed pheno barbital. Amazing that most of the desperate people writing to you have the same story. My Baby K has had a seizure every 10 to 20 minutes ALL DAY. she just started losing her bladder control. She has had her two doses of medicine and I feel she is worse. After reading ALL of these blogs I just threw out her dry cat food. I put albacore tuna with two capsules of omega 3 on it. I put a couple Tbsp.s of heavy cream next to her water. I will be at Costco in the morning to buy that avocado oil (It is 1am here). I will be on the internet looking for Orijen. I feel very hopeful.
    I will let you know about her FULL recovery!

    • Notes like this warm my heart! Thank you so much for writing. I’m thrilled that you have decided to give this a try, for “Baby K’s” sake! Please, let us know how things go. You may have to try different sources of fat to find those that she likes. There are a ton of options mentioned in all of these comments: bacon grease, coconut oil, avocado oil, lard, organ meats, omega-3 oil, cod liver oil, butter, heavy whipping cream, etc. All are good options for adding badly needed fat to her brain. And removing grains are ideal, as it’s likely that the sensitivity to grains, as well as the absence of fats, are playing a role in her seizures.

      It boggles my mind that today’s vets can’t see the obvious need for a carnivore to eat a carnivorous, not grain-based, diet.

        • Also the vets would lose a huge amount of revenue, just like an MD, if we all got cured by eating right and using the natural way of healing. Not saying they are all like that though.

          • Most vets are just like most physicians: people who care deeply but are the victims of the skewed med school training and post-graduate “continuing education” that’s hopelessly biased in favor of the drug companies that produce most continuing education courseware.

        • The phenobarb began helping within a few days, if I recall. Because her diet change occurred while she was on the phenobarb and then we quit giving her the phenobarb, there wasn’t an opportunity to gauge how long the diet took to make a difference. I’m glad I did it that way, though, even though that wasn’t planned.

  39. My baby Jax…(I call him my booboos) is five years old and randomly started having seizures a couple days ago. And they were extreme and today he has two twice a day. We just started the phenobarbital tonight and after reading this site in definetly going to change my cats diet! I’d do anything for my baby…he has helped me when i had a battle with depression. I’m so scared by all of this everyday….I feel like changing his diet and adding natural fats to his food can’t hurt anything so why not? I so hope this works!!

    • I’m so glad you found the blog entry. Be sure and read all the comments because they contain nuggets of helpful information. If you’re interested in reading more about what our cats are showing us, read Grain Brain by neurologist David Perlmutter and read Wheat Belly by cardiologist William Davis. The more I learn about optimum brain and cardiac health for humans, the more I realize that we’re also doing great harm to our pets, all in the name of profit for food companies that load their products with wheat, soy, and corn.

    • I followed this advice and my Baby K has been medicine AND seizure free for over a month. She is 100% better. She eats the Orijel brand cat food. We give her Albacore tuna when we eat tuna.

  40. I so wish I would have found this post earlier. I just lost 2 brother kitties in the same week from long, traumatic seizing episodes. I have scoured my house for poisons and can find nothing. Feeling heartbroken & devastated :(

    • I’m so sorry to hear this. I, too, am saddened by every past pet I’ve ever owned who might have lived a longer, healthier life if I knew then what I know now. It amazes me how something simple like feeding a carnivore a carnivorous diet escapes so many veterinary professionals. Much the same way, I’m afraid, that so many other fundamental concepts escape human medical caregivers.

  41. Hi, I just ran across your article and it makes so much sense! My kitty of 1 and a half just had his first seizure. I was so terrified and I didn’t know what to do. I haven’t had him tested for with blood work or scans but he had never had a problem in the past. Hopefully this will help!

  42. I have a 4 year old cat named Lucy. I have been feeding her wheat gluten for two weeks to save money. Before then she was on grain free diet. She had a seizure three days ago. The seizure was very hard to watch but I sat there to let her know everything was going to be OK. I started looking on the internet for the reasons why. Before taking her to a vet. who will run all of these tests and gives me a bill for a thousand plus dollars and then still say….we need to wait a few months and run more tests but here some pills and let me know if they work and wish me good luck.

    Thanks to you, I was able to see that the diet just maybe the problem….it made sense. So yesterday I went down and placed Lucy on…..Taste of the Wild…Rocky Mountain Feline wet and dry…..I see now that you like Orijen…they have 5-6 types…which one do you have for your cats ?
    So yesterday I did give her the new wet food only all day and everything was fine. Then last night I gave her the new dry food and afterward she had a very small seizure. Did not pass out like before. I don’t think it was the new dry food but maybe the wheat gluten is getting out of her system.
    This being the third day she is better. I will be give her the coconut oil and other items to increase the fat in her diet.
    Lucy and I thank you for your web page…..job well done.

    • I’m so glad to hear that Lucy is improving with her wheat-free diet! My entire family, quadruped and biped alike, has been much healthier since we gave up wheat. I wish veterinarians would start seeing the light the way that some of the more enlightened physicians have and start talking about the harm that today’s wheat causes.

      Good luck to you and Lucy and thank you for writing!

  43. Hi I have a kitten named midnight recently she’s been having seizures some nights worse than the next. I do t have money for a vet to see her but I can bet my last penny they will not find anything wrong with her. She’s my little fluff ball and I don’t want to lose her and I don’t know what to do. Medicine is expensive and so is all the vet tests they will do. What can i do for her so she can be seizure free. This was a horrible experience I had and it will only get worse if she dies on me I need some advice please

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your kitty. If it were me, I would immediately switch her to a grain-free food. There are many options now, as manufacturers are starting to realize that pet owners are seeking grain-free options. Even many grocery stores carry grain-free cat foods now. I would also read every post on this thread, and all the responses because they contain a lot of useful information. I would supplement my cat’s diet with as many sources of natural fats as I could find until I found some that she liked. My cats have lapped up heavy whipping cream, avocado oil, coconut oil, bacon grease, full-fat sour cream, and many others from among the items listed here.

      In short, I would remove the grains and add as many natural fats as I could into her diet as quickly as possible. If your cat is like mine, she’ll flock to the supplemental fats because she somehow knows what her body is needing. Between all the different options in your grocery store, you’ll find something that she really enjoys. My cats’ favorite is currently avocado oil, but that’s a little tricky to find. They also love coconut oil. I just put the day’s fat on a saucer next to their food bowls and they lap it up.

      Good luck to you and your kitty!

  44. My cat is a 16 yr old stray I took in 13 yrs ago or so. She suddenly had a seizure last night and it freaked me out. She thrashed around the kitchen for about 2 mins, there was urination all over the floor, her back legs gave way, and started howling a terrible cry. I finally calmed her down and after a while she seemed fine. Later in the evening I gave her some canned food, the moment she ate it, she had another seizure, I thought that the food might be bad or poisened, don’t know how? It was a fresh can. Again after about 2 minutes or so +/- the seizure stopped, and she came back to normal. I did not feed her the whole day. I gave her some cooked ground beef this evening, and she seems fine. Cats are made to eat meat and fish, period. No rice, vegetables, grains, corn, wheat and other food humans consume. I will see how she fares and give more info later on. But I am convinced its the food they make for these animals. It’s pure garbage.
    Only cooked gound beef and tuna for Kitty from now on. May try a gluten/grain free cat food in a few months. Just my 2c.

    • I agree. Our cats are carnivores. A carnivore certainly doesn’t need most of the (high-profit) ingredients that are in the average cat food product. Many think that carnivores’ primary macronutrient is protein, but it’s not. It’s fat. If you watch carnivores in the wild, they eat the organ meats, not the leaner muscle meats. The scavengers eat the muscle meat. Our cats do very well with a grain-free diet that’s supplemented with various natural fats, including avocado oil, coconut oil, bacon grease, animal fats, butter, etc.

    • PJ
      While I agree that it is best to get your cat off a cheap diet of cat food, there are essential vitamins and minerals in cat food, in addition to oils that are very important for your cat’s health. Taurine is one of them. I would highly suggest researching a homemade cat food recipe in order to get your cat the best diet. I have found this one, but have yet to start making it myself as the ingredients are very difficult to obtain here in Hong Kong. Check out this article:
      http://cats.about.com/od/homepreparedfood/a/homemadecatfood.htm

      • Yes, micronutrients are important, too. I recently acquired a new kitten and have included a high-quality kitten vitamin with her daily intake. I believe I see an improvement in her coat in just a matter of a couple of weeks.

  45. My big boy is about 2.5 years old and roughly ten pounds and started having seizures about three months ago. I have had him on pheno and they’ve just kept telling me his levels aren’t getting any better, so I suppose I’ll try this. I switch foods every time I buy more for he and the kitten. I’m really hoping this will work, being 20 and on my own with him being my first cat, rescued at that… I’ve almost never seen anything that broke my heart more than him having seizures. 2.5 is a very young age for a cat to start having seizures… Do you recommend any brands ? Simba is far from picky.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your Simba. I’m glad that you’re attempting to find the root cause, rather than be satisfied to just treat the symptom forever. If you read through all of the comments and responses to this article you’ll see that most of us here are having success with a grain-free diet, supplemented with natural fats. My cats’ current favorite fat is avocado oil. They lap it up from a saucer as though it were milk. They also like coconut oil, bacon grease, butter, animal fat (e.g., from fatty cuts of roast beef or brisket), and the like. As for brands, I just rotate between the various grain-free brands of dry food, supplementing also with the occasional can of wet food. I believe that the supplemental fat is vital, not just the grain-free diet. Our kitties are having seizures because of lack of health fats. (Most people don’t realize that once the water is removed, our brains are mostly made of fat.)

      We recently rescued a kitten and she loves when I add a bit of tuna juice to their dish of avocado oil, so I’ve started doing that, just to add some more flavor.

      Good luck with your kitty!

        • I’ve mixed the various oils and butter into my cats’ food and I’ve also just filled a saucer and let them lap it up at their whim. Their current favorite in the saucer is avocado oil. In warmer days they like coconut oil, too, though it’s a little tough to keep the coconut oil liquid, as it tends to solidify below around 78 degrees F or so.

  46. What a great find your web site is. Our little guy is also a rescue kitten. He’s now almost 2 years old. He started having seizures last Xmas while we were away from home. Luckily two fantastic friends took him to the vet’s and he was put on Keppra. His seizures are further apart but have been ongoing. We had him MRI’d and it turns out part of his brain is missing. The vet said that most of these little guys are still born and was amazed he’s even alive let alone the fact that he’s a happy normal cat. I was pretty sure that diet had something to do with the seizures. I posted this question on PetMD and some pompous ass vet posted back that food has nothing to do with it. I replied that he should do his patients and colleagues a favour and consider finding a different line of work if he’s going to spout off unresearched comments with such pompous authority. To their credit the web site apologized and asked if they could do anything else to help.

    I’ve been trying to get our little guy to eat coconut oil but he’s really having none of it. We’ve currently got him on Core Wellness wet food, but we had him on a lot of dry food at Xmas as it was the easiest way to feed him when nobody was home. I was always convinced that it had something to do with the seizures so finding out about your experiences on here are the best find ever. We’ve ordered the Origen food and are looking at other wet foods. We will try other types of oil until we can get him to eat something oily. You’re a life saver.

    • What an amazing story! I hope your little guy does well. We recently acquired a new kitten and I mixed coconut oil in with her canned food, heated the mixture in the microwave for about eight seconds, stirred it, and served the warm mixture to her on a saucer. She loves it and it’s a great way to get her to eat coconut oil. After a week of that she began lapping avocado oil up from a saucer, too.

      It’s sad when veterinarians say things like diet doesn’t matter to a carnivore. They’re carnivores! They should be eating foods that duplicate the macronutrient content of organ meats, not eating grains and low-fat by-products. There are some vets out there who get it (just like there are some human doctors out there, too) but they’re rare.

  47. Our boy was diagnosed with the same at 3 months, he’d been fed on science diet since birth, a year on and after having put him on phenobarbitol we changed his diet, and took him off of the pills and fingers crossed he’s been good since, he’s now 5, the only time we’ve had some funnies is when we put him back on a special science plan diet to try and reduce his weight (he’s a big boy).

    Our vet denies there is any connection yet still tells me there is no reason they can find that he has / had the fits.

    Eddie now has a mainly wet food diet from Felix / whiskas and the occasional dry food from Costco.

    • I’m very glad to hear that your kitty is doing well. It saddens me and boggles my mind when a veterinarian says that there’s no connection between idiopathic seizures and feeding a low-fat, grain based diet to a carnivore.

      My Tabatha has now been 100% seizure free for five years. You can’t tell me there’s no connection between diet and brain health. It’s true for humans, too. Dr. Terry Wahls was incapacitated with MS and reversed her disease with diet change.

      It’s all about diet. For all of us, two legged and four.

  48. Thanks so much for your posts. One of our cats is 4 years old and had one seizure before I brought her to the vet. They did the blood tests and were all clean. They said to monitor them and let them know what the frequency was before they would give her appropriate medicine. She had another seizure 8 days after that and then 2 days after that. That’s when I came upon your post and removed all crap food from the house and replaced with grain free wet and dry food- including grain free snack food that they all love. I also removed the clumpable scented cat litter and replaced with a corn version and wheat version. I am monitoring what foods the cats enjoy the most. I also started using the fish, avocado and coconut oil. None of the cats like the fish oil or avocado oil sprinkled on their food but I do put the avocado and coconut oil on the top of their paws to lick off. The 4 year old has not had another seizure in almost 14 days and counting. A healthy plus is that all the cats’ fur is shiny and they don’t shed as much.

  49. My 4 1/2 year old sphynx cat has been having seizures since she as 2. They went away for a few years and recently have come back much more frequently. We took her to see a neurologist and no cause could be found. She was started on phenobarbital abd has been getting it twice a day. I switched her to transdermal phenobarbital but we have not ha cluck getting her in a therapeutic range and she has had 2 seizures, 1 tonight. I’m going to try switching her diet from science diet to a grain free. In regards to the coconut oil, how much would you give each day? My other sphynx cat has developed a skin condition, gets scabs on ears, tail, and feet. I’m wondering if switching him to grain free may help as well?

    • I’m sorry to hear about your kitty. I hope that you see an immediate benefit from changing her diet. I let my cats demand feed when it comes to the oil. I just keep a plate of their favorite oil at the time (be it coconut oil, avocado oil, etc.) in a dish next to their dry food and let them have it, as desired.

      One alternative, which is what we just did with a kitten we rescued, is to get some high-quality canned food and stir in some coconut oil and let her eat that. For the kitten I gave a few heaping tablespoons of canned food and a half a teaspoon or so of coconut oil. I also mixed in some powdered cat probiotic powder, for its benefit. If I had to, due to room temperature, I would warm the canned food/coconut oil mixture in the microwave for 8 to 10 seconds and then give the mixture a good stir. This ensured that the coconut oil melted. She loved it.

      One thing we noticed when we rescued the kitten is that her fur felt dry and rough, almost straw-like. After about six weeks on the new diet, her fur feels like velvet. We also included a chewable vitamin that we gave her twice a day because she was truly starving when we found her. I would expect that a diet with healthful oils would benefit the coat and skin, as well, in a matter of a couple of months.

      Good luck with your kitty and let us know how she’s doing!

    • I’m sorry to hear about your kitty. I hope the very long discussion on this posting helps her. I believe that “feline idiopathic seizure disorder” is nothing more than the effects of feeding a carnivore a non-carnivorous diet. I know my cat responded wonderfully to the diet changes discussed here, and many others echo these results.

  50. I felt I just had to write to you to give you some feedback on your article. I have previously been feeding our 2 ragdoll cats Royal Canin light food and had no problems – although all the time I was feeding them my cats always seemed not too enthusiastic about eating it, but would eventually finish the food. I wasn’t concerned about this although they would harass all the family when we were eating meat to the point they had to be shut out of the room we were eating in as they would do anything to steal our food!

    Suddenly a few weeks ago our 5 year old male cat starting having seizures and so was rushed to the vets. After a full suite of tests he returned home in a stressed out state refusing to eat and sleeping all the time. Being honest I thought we were going to lose him – this would have been a huge blow for the whole family. The vets called to say that all the tests had come back clear and there was no reason of the seizures, seeing our adored family pet having a seizure was traumatic for the whole family and I felt completely helpless. The vet had suggested the next course of action would be an MRI scan but this would cost thousands and may still not give us the answers we needed, they suggested the cat could be medicated to help alleviate the seizures.

    In desperation I turned to google to see if anyone else had come across this, and came across your article – I was stunned to learn that it could be the Royal Canin food due to the contents of gluten/cereal. At this point I was willing to try anything and contacted by best friend in Canada who suggested the Orijen range as that is what she feeds her dog.

    I immediately stopped feeding the cereal based food and moved the cats onto Orijen dry food and treats, firstly they loved the food and ate every last morsel, but more importantly from the day the food was changed to Orijen the seizures stopped and gradually after 3 days the playful, cheeky, loving cat reappeared.

    I can’t thank you enough for saving my cat’s life with your article.

    • You have made my entire day! My week, even! It warms my heart every time I hear of another kitty saved by a change in diet.

      Every time I look at my now healthy Tabatha I realize that the harm from grains isn’t limited to cats. As the authors of the books Grain Brain and Wheat Belly assert, grains (especially wheat) are harming us, too. We have a cousin who reversed her multiple sclerosis, eliminating five MS lesions in her brain, by eliminating grains.

      Thank you so much for writing! I couldn’t have asked for a better start to a Mobday morning!

  51. Add us to the list of cat owners having success with the gluten-free diet. Our cat developed seizures aut 4 years ago. Phenobarbital (quarter tab, 1x daily) reduced the frequency to one every 6-8 weeks, but Sophie still had the occasional seizure and even cluster seizures.

    We switched her diet to “Beyond Grain Free” and eliminated all human ‘treats`. It has been 6 months without a seizure and we are hopeful that will continue. She is still on the same dosage of Phenobarbitol. If she continues to do well we may take her off completely.

    A huge “thank you” goes to the author for making us aware of the impact that gluten can have on some cats!

    • You are so welcome. I’m thrilled whenever I hear of another kitty saved by a diet change.

      After spending years researching gluten sensitivity, I’ve come to believe that, whether human or feline, there’s far more damage being caused by grains than the general public realizes.

  52. HI. my kitty started with fhs seizures and of course started the phonebarbital. She’s been on a raw diet sense 6 months of age. We are trying a different meat. swithcing from beef to chicken. Can you tell me how long it took to see a difference in your kitty once you switch diets?

    • It’s difficult to specify an exact time period because our actions weren’t intentional or even conscious. We switched her diet because we switched ours and it just seemed to make sense that if we were eliminating grains that all the mammals in the house should eliminate grains, too. Coincident with that, we started letting her have leftovers like bacon grease, coconut oil, sour cream, cuts of meat, etc. Having a household that’s very hectic at times, we unintentionally started skipping doses of her phenobarb around this same time. The net result of all this is that over a period of some months, we switched her diet and tapered her off phenobarb entirely. If I had to guess, looking back, I would say that over a period of three months or so, we tapered her off her medication entirely.

  53. Hi, I came across this page a few months ago after my kitty started having seizures . I changed her diet and she be seizure free for 2 months now . She Just recently started being spastic where she will just be staring off and then take off and run as around . I’m working if it’s a form of seizure ? She also started pee’ing and poop’ing in the bathtub. He litter box is always clean and changed . She does use the littler box too . Don’t know if anyone would be able to give any advise . I don’t know if her using the bathroom other places is a valid reason to see a vet ?

    • I’ve always heard that when cats pee or poop in unusual places that it can be a sign that they don’t feel well and are wanting to call attention to their situation. This could just be an unfounded belief but when my kitties do that, I’m quick to have them checked out. I’ve had cats pee and poop elsewhere if they were suffering from digestive issues or a urinary tract infection.

      I’m glad to hear that the seizures stopped after dietary change. Are they also getting enough fat, in general? For my cats, removing grains was crucial but they also seem to respond well to having adequate fat in their diet, not just the absence of grains. And how is their gut health? Are you giving them any probiotics?

  54. Hi everyone!

    I have a 8 cats at home in Garut, West Java Indonesia. 2 are the parents, 5 kittens, and 1 rescue. The kittens are going to be 3 months old in a few days. Unfortunately one of the kitten had fever yesterday. Very high. She was dilated and less energetic. We took her to the only vet that we know in town.

    On our way since we were using public transport, while we were walking it was very noisy with the motorcycles and the kitten got really scared. She suddenly had seizure and foamy mouth. It last maybe a minute.

    The vet checked her and measure her temperature and said she has very high fever. He gave her injection and vitamin. But said nothing about the seizure. He said she can be at home. So we took her home.

    At home we separated her from the others and she was eating just fine. She went to pee twice then She sleeps most of the time. At around 2am she had seizure again and then stop when I held her. Then she continued to sleep this time in my lap.

    At around 7am she woke up, walk around and eating. Suddenly she started having seizure again this time more aggressive and she made noise unlike before. She also urinated and poo her self unlike before. Afterwards, she calmed down. Sleeps or unconscious for maybe half an hour then she woke up and eat again.

    I called the vet and he said she needs to be put down. There is no animal klinik in Garut and vet mostly practice in their own home. This vet doesnt have a lab or anything to check my kitty further. Ive also checked the town next to Garut. Bandung which is bigger town. Bandung also doesnt have animal hospital.

    So I want to ask for an advice from as many people as possible. Because lack of resources here, and to drive to Jakarta (capital city) is 5 hours long. Judging by her seizures, does it worth it to go and drive to Jakarta? Or should I let her go and put her down?

    Its been 4 seizures now every 6 hours and in less than 24 hours. She is still having less energy and sleeps most of the time. I dont want her to die but I also dont want her to suffer. What would you do in this situation?

    Your advice would be really helpful.

    Thank you

    Sarah

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your kitty! Have you been able to start her on any medication, like phenobarbital, just to treat her symptoms while you investigate further? My concern is that there are many reasons for seizure and without ruling out other causes, there’s no way of knowing if the problem is diet related. One significant concern I have is her high fever. That suggests to me that there’s an underlying condition that may be causing the seizures.

      I think an ideal diet is beneficial for all animals, but there’s no way of knowing if diet is the cause in this specific case. If it were my cat, I would try to treat her symptoms with medication from my local vet while trying at the same time to optimize her diet. Because seizures themselves, no matter the cause, can cause damage, I would try very hard to see if the local vet could prescribe something to help the seizures. If medication helps, then that gives you some time to start feeding her some beneficial foods to see if she can either fight off whatever is causing the seizures or, if the problem was diet, can respond to the improved diet.

      My first step would be to discuss the seizures with the local vet and see if he can help treat those right away to buy you some time.

      Good luck with your kitty. I’m so sorry to hear of her difficulties.

      • Hi, thank you so much for your reply. Ive been anxiously waiting every 15 minutes and reload your page. Thank you thank you so much.

        The annoying thing is that the vet doesnt have a lab. so does other vet in this city. Animal hospital is 5 hours away. So I dont know how he can check my kitten Ponyo for further diagnose. Today he said it might also low in calcium and suggested me to put some Nutri-plus-gel in her wet food.

        She doesnt seems to be able to poo or pee while concious so far. (She poo and pee during seizures 2x) But she eats with normal appetite.

        What also worry me is she sleeps sitting down with her head down all the time. She rarely sleeps laying down or looking comfortable while sleeping. And woke up every now and then walking in circle to find comfortable spot.

        I called my vet after dinner. Asked him if he has phenobarbital but he didnt answer. I will ask him my self tomorrow morning.

        Originally I planned on putting her to sleep tomorrow morning as she looks really sick and in pain. But its been 8 hours since the last seizure. So if the seizure is less frequent then i’m going to wait.

        But I’m really annoyed at my self because I couldnt bring her to a proper animal hospital. We also dont have our own transport. So i am afraid if i take her by bus, she will be in the bus storage and I’m afraid it will stressed her out.

        Do you have opinion on her sleeping position? Thats what makes me really feel bad and want to ease her pain.

        :(

        • I have no opinion on sleeping position. If she’s sleeping and not crying out then I would assume she’s comfortable.

          Have you tried looking online to see if there are any homeopathic seizure treatments that are readily available to you in your area? Some homeopathic veterinarians advocate a variety of natural substances that can help treat seizures. If some of them are available to you while you are waiting to make contact with your veterinarian, perhaps that could bring her some relief? I’ve never had to put an animal down and I would try everything I could before doing so. As long as she’s sleeping I would assume she’s not in pain.

  55. We have a cat that started having seizures around10 years old and is on the phenobarbital and still occasionally has them. As you stated, the seizures are quite traumatic to witness! Our cats have been on the Purina One and Cat Chow for indoor cats. This does have corn and soy but no wheat from what I can tell. Are the cat foods that are “grain free” but contain brown rice acceptable?

    • I’m pretty sure that any food labeled “grain-free” won’t contain rice because rice is considered a grain. My concern with many of the more common pet foods are that they not only have grains, like rice and corn, but also soy, and very little beneficial fats. I believe that’s why I, and the others responding to this thread over the years, have had success with true grain-free foods, combined with supplementing with healthy fats like coconut oil, avocado oil, bacon grease, butter, etc. that seems to provide the fats that even the best foods might be lacking.

  56. Hi,
    Your article gave me hope for my 1 year old Turkish Angora. He started having seizure in the midst of a heavy fungal infection, but it persisted, to a smaller scale, when the infection subsided. (After a 5 month long anti fungal therapy!)

    I am about to change my kitty’s diet and give him only cereal-free dry foods and from time to time his favourite: roast turkey breast, I’ll add some melted lard on it to give him extra fats. It destroys me psychologically to see him having seizures and he’s the sweetest little guy ever, never scratched me or anyone, always purring, always playful. He needs to feel good again! :)

    Thanks again, I’ll report any improvements or lack of thereof.

    • Our cats love the grain-free wet foods, too. We’ve switched from dry food only to wet food every day and keeping bowls of dry food available to them all the time. They still love lapping up avocado oil, coconut oil, bacon grease, and all of the other fats mentioned in the very lengthy discussion here!

  57. Hi there,
    I have some concerns regarding the use of fats because my cat is slightly old considering she is 9 years old and rather inactive. I’m afraid fats will make her obese…

    • It’s an unfortunate myth that fats make us fat. It’s not true for humans (who are omnivores) and it’s certainly not true for cats (who are carnivores). Many people see the word “carnivore” and think that a cat needs to live off of protein because that’s what they think is the primary macronutrient in animal meats. If you see animals in the wild, however, they first eat the organ meats, which are very fatty. Only after the fatty organ meats are gone do the scavengers eat the muscle meats, which are primarily protein.

      Cats are carnivores. They need fat.

      BTW, my cat Tabatha is now 13 years old and she’s in perfect shape. She laps up avocado oil from a saucer every day, as though she were a kitten drinking milk.

  58. I saw a comment above about giving your cat avocado oil. I may be quite late, but to anyone who sees this, avocado is poisonous to cats, quite like chocolate. I assume that avocado oil would have the same effects.

    With that aside, I will be trying this out with our cat before paying for expensive blood tests and having to make the unbearable car trip there. (Our cat hates leaving the house!)

    • Thanks for writing, Annie. I’m glad you brought up the subject of avocado toxicity. The myth that avocados are toxic to cats and dogs is an internet rumor that needs to perish. While it’s true that avocados are toxic to birds, horses, and fish, and the leaves and pits can be harmful to many animals, the meat of the fruit and the oil from an avocado are beneficial, not harmful, to cats and dogs.

      One of the many researchers attempting to dispel the myth of the toxic avocado is Dr. Art Craigmill, from UC Davis, who is a Professor and Extension Specialist in Environmental Toxicology, who has written extensively on the subject.

  59. Hi, Im so relieved to see you found something for your cat, our wallace is a little over 4 years old now and he started having seizures in september/october. started pheno in october, and was doing alot better but now is starting them up again once a week or every other week. i do not want him to continue the seizures OR the pheno.
    If i start the grain free food ,oils, and the rest of the diets you are talking about , how do i get him off the pheno?
    do i consult our vet first? do i slowly give him less a day? do i just completely stop giving it ? do i only give it once a day instead of twice?
    THANK YOU SO MUCH!

    • I’m not a vet so I’m not comfortable giving advice directly for anyone’s specific situation, but I’ll share my opinion. Yes, if he were my cat I would switch his diet immediately, getting him grain-free and consuming healthy fats as soon as possible. Then, because seizures themselves are damaging each time they occur, I would keep giving him the Phenobarbital for a few months. I think I’d give the phenobarb for a solid 90 days, just to be sure. Then, if that 90 day period was seizure free (or if there were seizures only at the beginning and they have been absent for a couple of months), I would taper him off the phenobarb slowly over the period of another month. I wouldn’t stop suddenly. At first, I’d give the same frequency but less dosage. Then, when the dose was small, I’d start spacing the frequency out. All of this, of course, depended upon him being seizure-free.

      And, personally, I wouldn’t tell my vet until it was all over and he was off the meds and free of seizures for months. Vets are taught what they’re taught and getting a vet to be comfortable with stopping meds and making a diet change isn’t likely to be successful. After the fact, if you’re successful? Maybe more so.

      I don’t think there’s any harm in keeping him on the phenobarb for that few months, just to be safe.

      Good luck with your kitty!

  60. Hi I have a 7 yrs old tabby who has been having seizures at least 2-3 times a week, im taking him to the vet today. Do you think I should change his diet?

    • If he were my cat and he’s been eating like most house cats (e.g., a diet that includes grains and fillers and is devoid of healthy fats) I would definitely change his diet. Read through the many comments on this thread to see what others are saying about the benefits of making such a change. Remember, cats in the wild and domestic cats are carnivores. This means they get their nutrition primarily from fatty organ meats, not grains and fillers. And not, as many think, high protein. If you watch cats in the wild, the first thing they eat is the fatty organ meats. They leave the lean muscle meats for last, or for the scavengers. Grain-free, added healthy fats like the ones mentioned numerous times in these comments, is the way I’d go.

      Also, the vet will probably prescribe more tests to rule out toxins or physiological damage, but in most cases vets will say that middle-aged feline seizure disorder is idiopathic (cause unknown), because they’re getting information about “ideal” pet nutrition from the same food manufacturers who sell grain-laden cat food. The vet will likely prescribe low dose phenobarbital to mitigate the seizures and that’s probably a good thing at this point. Seizures are damaging in and of themselves and anything you can do to avoid seizures while you’re changing the cat’s diet is a good thing. I’ve heard many positive stories about weaning a cat off of phenobarb after they’ve been on a new diet for a month or two.

      Good luck and don’t give up on your kitty!

  61. My wife and i bought a house that came with a very cool and cute looking calico, she is a love but enjoys being an outdoor. I was preparing to pay a lot of money for the neurological visit and or having some of my sisters friends from uc davis experiment witb diagnosis and possible treatment options. Finding this post i need to know what dose ratio possibly in milligrams of phenobarbital to start her on to stop the siezers. She has been having at least 15 to 20 episodes a day, im fighting hard for her and wont give up until ive researched every possible avenue of our weak evolution. I will start her on this diet, but i need the seizures to stop in the mean time. Can a vet prescribe phenobarbital or do i need to outsource to a old friend?

    • Yes, any vet should be able to prescribe phenobarbital. If it were my cat, I’d want to start her on it right away because the seizures themselves are damaging, even if they can ultimately be reversed by a diet change. Twenty episodes per day is an alarming number, to be sure. I wouldn’t hesitate a moment to get her medicated to stop the damage.

  62. Hi,
    My cat Luke has been having seizures for many years. He is 9 years old, slightly overweight but otherwise the vet says he’s very healthy. His seizures are so bad and extremely difficult to watch. He goes long periods with out them and then goes to having 2 or 3 a month. Without fail, he will jump off the bed, run down a flight of stairs and that’s when they happen. When the seizure is over he allows us to bath him and love him. When we put him down he goes straight for his food and eats like he hasn’t eaten in a month. When he’s done he’ll go for the dog food. Once he’s got his fill he’ll rub his head on anything he can while purring like crazy. I am going to try this grain free and fats. I’m hoping and praying that it will work for him.

  63. Hi Rocky, like many others I’m relieved to have come across this thread. From what I had heard and read, seizures in cats are much more rare and it’s nice to know I’m not alone… Not that I wish this on any kitty or cat parent!! My Zoe is 3-5 years old, not sure on her age as I adopted her from the humane society. She’s been living with us for almost 2 years now, and it wasn’t until 3 weeks ago that she had her first grand mal seizure. She had another grand mal a week after the first. She also has what the vet calls “mini seizures” in which her face and head will twitch when she is awake and alert but also when she’s sleeping she will have twitching that is more than just dreaming. Phenobarbital was prescribed, half tablet every 12 hours, and like others have said, she’s just not herself. Very sleepy and seems sad. :( It’s hard to see her this way and the idea of meds for life is not appealing. I’m very interested and encouraged by all the positive comments regarding diet change. Ever since I’ve had Zoe I’ve fed her dry cat food, I tried wet early on but she wasn’t interested. Then in December 2016 we tried wet food again and she liked it! My local pet supplies store is very encouraging of wet food and raw food diet, so I’ve been buying canned, grain free paté from them and sometimes the basic friskies or Purina paté from the grocery store. I also kept her dry food available to her. I’m not sure if there’s any correlation between her diet change and the seizures… Seems like all her seizure activity started this year, mini and grand mal. Do you have any thoughts on that? Not sure if this is possible but I wondered if having grain free introduced caused her body to further reject the grain? I’m intending on looking for grain free dry food and supplementing with coconut oil, fish oil, and possibly fat from cooked meat along with her grain free wet food. Thanks so much for this post, it has given me new hope.

    • I’ve heard of humans becoming more sensitive to something after a period of total abstinence, so it seems possible. I understand your desire to completely eliminate grains to see if that is an issue. Plus, adding supplemental healthy fats might be of benefit, too.

      Good luck to you and Zoe!

  64. Thank you so much!
    My Siamese/Tabby had a grand mal seizure 8 months ago. Took her to the vet and they could find nothing. She then had another one a week later and another a week after that. The only thing I could think of that had changed recently was her cat food. So I began searching on line trying to see if that could be the cause. I found this site and immediately put her on grain free high quality cat food. I’m happy to report that she has not had another seizure in 8 months. Vets don’t usually believe that diet can cause seizures but at this point I’m a believer! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  65. I have a 14 year old big gray cat that has had seizures about every 3 weeks for the past 7 months. He is currently on Gabapinten which seems to help and the big seizures subsided for a little while but now they are back. He has frequent minor attacks lasting no longer than a couple of seconds during the day. He has been on a grain free diet since I have got him at the age of 7. His personality is intact, he has good manners and eats well and seems to have a good quality of life so far except during the big seizures. I have seen bacon grease and butter mentioned. What are the benefits of adding these to a cat diet and do they help? I hate seeing my boy suffer so. He’s so friendly and has tons of personality. I’ve had cats all my life and he is the first with seizures. Any and all advice would be appreciated.

    • The thinking behind adding health fats like avocado oil, bacon grease, coconut oil, and the others mentioned is that cats are carnivores. Many think a carnivorous diet features protein as the largest macronutrient but studies of carnivorous cats in the wild show that wild cats first eat the organ meats, which are much higher in fat than muscle meat, which is typically eaten later by the scavengers. If water weight is discounted, mammalian brains are mostly fat. Accordingly, mammalian brains not only benefit from the absence of grains but from the presence of healthy fats. Human studies showing that those with higher cholesterol have reduced incidence of dementia and Parkinson’s disease further illustrate the need for healthy fat for neurological health.

      I think the cats instinctively know that they need fat. For example, my cats’ feeding area currently includes a small saucer that I keep filled with avocado oil. They all drink from the saucer every day.

  66. I know this is a quick update and may be my wishful thinking but I immediately offered “Max” bacon grease and a little butter along with his regular dinner that also included his seizure meds. I let him eat all the fats that he wanted and I swear that the little tics that he has every other moment subsided. He cleaned the plate this morning too and I will make available good fats for him 24/7. I still have not noticed the little tics that recently have been all too common. He suffered a grand mal seizure yesterday afternoon which we all know is so scary to witness. Hence the desperate research to find anything that will help. I hope this is not too soon but I am cautiously optimistic.

    • I’m cautiously optimistic. My cats seem to go through phases as to which for of fat they’re in the mood for. Currently it’s avocado oil. There are times they want bacon grease. Other times, it’s coconut oil. Every now and then I’ll empty the contents of an omega-3 fish oil capsule into their wet food and mix it all up and they’re okay with that. Basically, I’m happy to give them whatever fat they want. Their coats are shiny, they’re in great health, and most importantly, Tabatha has now been seizure-free for more than five years.

      Please keep us apprised about Max’s condition! Good luck to you both!

  67. This thread is great! Thought everyone would enjoy this reading: Dr. Pierson has some of the most important points on her site. Every cat owner should read. All of her pages are good. Though I am not keen on preparing my own diets- I am willing to recognize her valid arguments against the vast majority of commercial diets.

  68. Hi,

    I have a one year old bengal cross tabby called Mylo. Last week he had two seizures within the space of four hours, we had blood tests done and nothing came back. We kept him indoors as with the hot weather we thought perhaps he ate toxic flowers or slug pellets, he had no seizures but as soon as we let him out the very same day he had another seizure.

    We feed mylo tuna in spring water, sardines in tomato sauce and whiskas dry biscuits. Can i please get some advice as to what I should feed him that is grain free, what do you now feed your cat to see such improvements. Its so upsetting seeing Mylo go through seizures anything I can do to help i will.

    Thank you in advance for your help and advice.

    • I’m so sorry! This comment ended up in my spam folder and I just now saw it.

      I, and many of the commenters who have written, found that their cats responded most favorably when they eliminated grains and added high-quality fats. Cats are carnivores, which means that they’re best suited to eat fatty organ meats, not grains or veggies or starches. My cats eat a grain-free dry food that I leave out all the time but their primary source of food is grain-free canned food, supplemented with healthy fats. The fat source could be something like heavy whipping cream, butter, bacon grease, coconut oil, or avocado oil. I’ll melt butter or coconut oil and mix it in with the canned cat food and they love it. For the past couple of years, I’ve kept a saucer filled with avocado oil and they drink it like it was a saucer of milk.

      In short, I advocate feeding carnivores like carnivores: adequate protein, most calories from fat, no grains, and as little vegetables or other non-fat, non-protein component.

      Good luck with Mylo! I hope he recovers well. Be sure and read all of the comments here for more insights.

      And, if the seizures continue, I personally think it’s wise to do whatever is necessary to stop the seizures while dietary changes are taking effect. Because seizures themselves are damaging, I would be comfortable with a month or two of an anti-secure medication like phenobarbital while I was feeding a grain-free, high fat diet to help my cat’s brain recover. Then, weaning the kitty off of the medication slowly once the diet change has improved neurological health. That’s how we treated our cat six years ago and it worked well.

  69. Only Grain free,avocado oil, bacon grease…?.. because my cât s Love To eat raw meat( pork, veal, cicken). I change to Grain free But i stiil gave him some meat ( do i stop this?) ( LOVE YOU!!)

    • If your cats love raw meat, give them raw meat! High-quality raw meat is an ideal food for cats.

      When I say grain-free, I simply mean that if a person is buying any kind of commercial cat food, be it canned or dry, make sure it’s manufactured without grains.

      I’m sorry for any confusion!

  70. Hello, thank you for providing great information for concerned pet owners. My 17-year-old has recently started having weak spells where he suddenly collapeses, he is unable to walk.
    This lasts for several minutes, he then is able to stand and walk again, our vet said she doesn’t consider this to be a seizure more of a neological problem. Have you received a similar comment – just hoping that someone had experienced something similar and may know what the problem is and what is recommended. He eats wet grain-free food only for the last 5 months. I will definitely start giving him the fats you have suggested. Again, thank you so much!

    • There’s no way for me to know more than your vet. If she thinks it’s neurological, that’s certainly a solid place to start. And, as she indicates, there are a huge number of neurological conditions that don’t produce seizures. I have to think that a diet that’s healthy for the brain can only help the situation. I would definitely ensure that his diet had adequate fats and, while I was at it, I would ensure that he had a good cat probiotic and vitamin supplement, just in case he can benefit from those, as well.

  71. I am inquiring about a couple of issues and would appreciate your response. I was told years ago by a vet that my cat had pancreatitis because his diet was too rich with fats – in your opinion do you believe this is a possibility? Also, I was told that if a cat has hyperthyroidism he should not eat dairy – wondering because you suggested butter, sour cream as a source of fat
    Thank you.

    • I’m certainly not a vet but my research shows that there is considerable debate about what causes feline pancreatitis. One source I found states that the consensus among traditional veterinarians is that there is no established cause in the vast majority of cases. In a small percentage of cases, the disease has been traced to trauma, viral or parasitic infection, or exposure to pesticides. Also, phenobarbital, prednisone and other steroids, and certain diuretic drugs cause pancreatitis.

      Veterinarians who are more in tune with ideal nutrition are saying that pancreatitis is caused by inflammation that begins in the digestive tract, typically caused by food sensitivity. Often, it’s observed, that eating the same food day after day for months and years at a time can cause a cat to become sensitive to certain ingredients, causing inflammation that affected the pancreas. High carbohydrate, grain-laden foods also cause an increased demand on the pancreas as it’s required to secrete more insulin, which can also lead to pancreatitis.

      All in all, I found a scant minority of vets even suggesting that it is caused by high-fat diets. They seem to be overwhelmingly overridden by the far more common causes that I describe above.

      As for dairy, I’m not a fan of dairy for cats at all. I think dairy proteins are too often treated as foreign proteins by the body (cats and humans) and promote an immune system response, which can lead to inflammatory and autoimmune issues. As for butter and cream, there are virtually no proteins in either heavy cream or fat. Sour cream, yes, there are more dairy proteins in sour cream and I’d easily find an excuse to use other sources of fat than sour cream. My cats have sour cream very rarely, perhaps to lick a spoon here and there every few months.

      • At the time my “boy” was diagnosed with pancreatitis, he was being fed dry kibble containing carbs and canned food. What you have described does make a lot of sense – more of a reaction to his food than any other possibility. He no longer has carbs in his food. I will include the heavy cream & butter in his diet without concern of the pancreatitis reoccurring. Thank you so much for the information you researched regarding this, much appreciated. I hope vetranarians will one day stop pushing dry carb ladden kibble on our pets and make us feel we are the cause of our pet’s ailments if we don’t provide kibble.

  72. We are on raw cat food for years, almost whole prey ….yet my 9 y old cat was diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy . All tests came back negative….
    3 years ago he got also crystals being on raw. They have never returned after treating them…but wondered how. Maybe due to stress.
    Can epilepsy be triggered by extreme nervousness in cats?

    • I have a cat that develops crystals when she is stressed. My vet has searched for every possible cause and can find nothing, hence the diagnosis of stress. As for epilepsy being caused by stress, that is something that researchers are seeing. A study at Johns Hopkins in-patient epilepsy unit showed that nearly 1/3 of patients (human patients) admitted were having seizures that were psychogenic in nature. That is, they were suffering from physical manifestations of emotional stress.

      I figure that if humans can have seizures from extreme stress, then so can cats. That said, I would certainly seek to ensure that there were no dietary or environmental factors. Any grains sneaking into their diet somehow? A lack of fat? Are there additives or pesticides or herbicides in the raw food they’re eating? Environmental agents around the home or yard? All of those are possibilities to consider.

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