Epileptic Al's FAQs

Q. Who was Al and what is feline epilepsy?

A. Feline epilepsy is a condition where cats experience recurrent seizures (periods of unconsciousness and/or rapid uncontrolled jerking movements of the body).

Cats (and humans) can have seizures due to various causes like metabolic abnormalities, brain abnormalities, liver disease, internal organ diseases, or ingesting certain medications or toxins. When one of these conditions leads to seizures, it's termed secondary (or acquired) epilepsy.

In cases where the seizures have no obvious cause, it's known as primary (or idiopathic) epilepsy. That's the type of epilepsy Al the Epileptic Cat had. 

woman with glasses holding a white cat with beautiful blue eyes

Al was one of a littler of six kittens born in April of 2021 in Cullman, Alabama, into a family that accepted him as he was and did all they could do to help him control his seizures (with the help of some great folks at Northside Veterinary Clinic). He had a great life in spite of his illness, and gained quite a following on Facebook. But sadly, Al's journey ended on August 18, 2023. He was only two years old. 

Al's seizures were very hard to control. He took three different medications three times a day. By the end of his life, he was going almost a full month without a major seizure. Some cats, however, respond very well to medication - and some cats are even able to stop taking medication after going a certain period of time without a seizure. 

Like human epilepsy, feline epilepsy can be a tough illness to manage. And just like humans with epilepsy, EpiKitties (or EpiCats) are tough. They have to be!

Want to know more about feline epilepsy - including its symptoms and treatments? Find out on cats.com!

More about Al the Epileptic Cat at facebook.com/mycatal!

SHOP EPILEPTIC AL'S SHOP - your one-stop shop for cat-themed and epilepsy-awareness merchandise!


Q. What does a feline epileptic seizure look like?

A. According to cats.comfeline seizures are divided into two types:

  • Partial or focal seizures, where just a part of the brain is affected, leading to localized muscle twitching e.g face, eyelids, one limb, etc.

  • Generalized seizures (also known as “grand mal” seizures) where the abnormal electrical activity affects most of the brain, causing generalized muscle twitching and contractions that usually symmetrically affect the whole body.
hand holding white kitten that appears scared with eyes wide open and mouth open

Generalized seizures typically occur as isolated events, but cluster seizures can occur when a series of seizures happen over a few hours or days. Cats usually experience seizures at random times of the day, walking normally beforehand, but some may seize while sleeping.

Possible causes of seizures in cats are wide-ranging. They include extracranial (coming from outside of the cranium and brain) causes, such as heat stroke, poisons, viruses, bacteria, parasites, and metabolic diseases (including liver disease and kidney disease).

Other causes stem from the brain, including congenital abnormalities or tumors. Some seizures are primary or “idiopathic” (of unknown cause). 

Most affected cats will show most of these six signs during a seizure.

  1. Loss of consciousness (seizing cats may appear distressed but they are unconscious so have no awareness of what’s happening).
  2. Flailing movement of the limbs; i.e. extension and flexion, rapid paddling as if trying to run while lying down.
  3. Urination and defecation.
  4. Staring, with wide-open eyes and dilated pupils.
  5. Vocalization, which can sound distressing (even though seizing cats are unconscious so they are not aware that they are vocalizing)
  6. Autonomic activity i.e. salivation and drooling, rapid heart rate, and panting.

If your cat shows any or all of the signs listed above, then they are having a generalized seizure.

If they show less severe signs, such as twitching of part of their body (e.g. one side of the face) then they may be having a partial seizure.

A seizure has three stages:

  1. Prodrome. A cat may show behavioral changes before a seizure. During prodrome, an owner may notice their cat behaving in a way that’s different from normal, such as being more clingy, less playful, or just “different."
  2. Ictus. This is the seizure itself. When a cat has a seizure, they collapse, with their limbs flailing and thrashing, showing some or all of the signs listed above. This usually lasts no more than seconds or a few minutes, although rarely it may continue for longer.
  3. Post-ictal phase. This is the period of altered behavior immediately after a seizure, with disorientation and some confusion, while a cat gradually returns to normal.

After a seizure, during the post-ictal stage, a cat may seem disoriented, pacing around, vocalizing, perhaps seeming restless or dazed. This can last minutes or hours.

This information was provided by cats.com. Much more information on feline seizures - including diagnosis and treatment - can be found here.

More about Al the Epileptic Cat at facebook.com/mycatal!

SHOP EPILEPTIC AL'S SHOP - your one-stop shop for cat-themed and epilepsy-awareness merchandise!


Q. Why does Epileptic Al have his own shop?

white cat looking off to the side

A. Al passed away rather suddenly at two years of age. After Al's passing, his "mom" decided that she wanted to not only preserve his memory but also raise awareness of epilepsy while sharing items that show her love of cats. And EpilepticAl.com was born!

Al was already fairly well-known, though, as thousands of folks followed his struggle with epilepsy on his Facebook page. Al's mom realized after creating the page that lots of folks have EpiKitties, and that each case is different. Some cases are relatively easy to manage. Some are not. 

Al's mom made this store to provide cat-themed and epilepsy-awareness merchandise. We hope you like it and we hope it keeps the focus on finding better treatments - and eventually a cure - for epilepsy