Sounds Linked to Seizures in Older Cats — and More

An evaluation of 96 cats’ medical records and owner questionnaires suggests that some high-pitched sounds can cause seizures in older cats. At the same time, the study uncovered a mystery: Half the evaluated cats were deaf or hearing impaired, according to their owners. How did they hear the sounds?

The University College of London School of Pharmacy and Davies Veterinary Specialists in the UK identified common triggers for seizures, such as crinkling tin foil; metal spoons clanging in ceramic bowls; tapping on keyboards; clinking coins and keys; nails hammering, even the clicking of an owner’s tongue. Average age of seizure onset was 15 years.

Cats do hear higher frequency than humans. “We wonder if these cats have gone deaf to sounds people can hear but retain their ultrasonic frequency range,” a researcher says.