Who would’ve thought? Crinkling tin foil can cause seizures in cats.
If you live with an older cat, you might want to think twice about crinkling tin foil or clanking a metal spoon against a ceramic bowl. These and other high-pitched sounds can cause seizures in cats, especially elderly ones.
Audiogenic reflex seizures (FARS) was first reported in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. Other sounds that can trigger FARS are tapping on glass, crinkling paper or plastic bags, tapping on a computer keyboard or clicking the mouse, clinking coins or keys, hammering a nail and even clicking your tongue.
Until recently, no one had even thought there might be a connection between loud noises and seizures in cats. But International Cat Care received so many inquiries from alarmed caretakers, the UK based charity asked neurologists at Davies Veterinary Specialists, UK for help.
Mark Lowrie and Laurent Garosi of Davies Veterinary Specialists and Robert Harvey from the UCL School of Pharmacy in London designed a questionnaire that drew responses from hundreds of people worldwide. All said their cats had seizures after hearing certain sounds, but their vets had no idea why. Many of the vets found it hard to believe that a sound could trigger a seizure.
In their paper, the researchers wrote about 96 cats. They said the average age of onset in their study was 15 years, although some cats as young as 10 suffered from FARS. The loudness of the sound seemed to increase the severity of the seizures.
While the obvious solution to this problem is to avoid making the sounds that trigger seizures in your cat, that’s not always possible. As an alternative, Lowrie says levetiracetam “is an excellent choice of medication for managing this condition.” The researchers will be publishing a second study on that soon.