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Crinkling Tin Foil and Other Sounds Can Cause Seizures in Cats

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Crinkling Tin Foil and Other Sounds Can Cause Seizures in Cats

By Samantha Drake

 

 

Everyday sounds, like crinkling tin foil, a metal spoon hitting a ceramic bowl, rustling paper or plastic bags, or hammering a nail, can have a worrisome effect on your cat, according to a new study. Researchers say certain high-pitched sounds cause noise-induced seizures in older cats — and the response is not all that unusual. 

 

Until now, the condition has not been well-documented, so many cat owners tend to dismiss the seizures as a sign of old age, notes Dr. Mark Lowrie of Davies Veterinary Specialists in Hertfordshire, England. Lowrie is the lead author of the study recently published in The Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.

 

“We don’t know the prevalence of this condition currently but it is far more common than anyone first thought,” he says. 

 

Older Cats Affected

 

The media has dubbed the seizures the “Tom and Jerry Syndrome” after Tom, the cartoon kitty who often jumps suddenly in response to the antics of Jerry, his cartoon mouse nemesis. Researchers call the disorder “feline audiogenic reflex seizures (FARS)."

 

FARS affects older cats, says Lowrie, with 15 being the average age of the cats in the study. Although any breed of cat could have FARS, about one-third of the cats in the study were Birmans, specifically those with blue and seal points, he adds. 

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The study of 96 cats, a population roughly half male and half female, also found that even relatively quiet sounds, like squeaky shoes or jangling keys, can cause a seizure. Lowrie explains that cats have an ultrasonic hearing range, including frequencies humans can’t detect. Many of the domestic sounds found to trigger seizures have a high amount of ultrasonic frequencies. “Therefore, they may sound innocuous to us, but to cats sensitive to these frequencies, they actually sound more startling,” he says.

 

Interestingly, about half the cats in the study were hearing-impaired or deaf, he points out. 

 

Managing FARS

 

Obviously, many of the sounds that trigger FARS can’t be entirely eliminated from a domesticated cat’s environment. Although there’s currently no cure for FARS, the anti-seizure medication levetiracetam helps to effectively manage the condition in cats, says Lowrie. 

 

The researchers began investigating FARS after the charitable organization International Cat Care brought the condition to their attention, Lowrie explains, adding, “This was a real concern.”

 

 

Image: Morgenstjerne /Shutterstock

seizure

An involuntary action in which the muscles contract; caused by a problem with the brain.

Source: Internet

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Crinkling Tin Foil and Other Sounds Can Cause Seizures in Cats Breed Characteristics

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Crinkling Tin Foil and Other Sounds Can Cause Seizures in Cats Breed Characteristics

Adaptability stars Energy Level stars Shedding Level stars
Affection Level stars Grooming star Social Needs stars
Child Friendly stars Health Issues stars Stranger Friendly stars
Dog Friendly stars Intelligence stars
  1. Adaptability stars
  2. Affection Level stars
  3. Child Friendly stars
  4. Dog Friendly stars
  5. Energy Level stars
  6. Grooming star
  7. Health Issues stars
  8. Intelligence stars
  9. Shedding Level stars
  10. Social Needs stars
  11. Stranger Friendly stars
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