Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

If you are ever irritated by the sound of your spouse crinkling a packet of chips or rustling a newspaper, then spare a thought for your cat.

Vets are investigating an apparently new phenomenon whereby pet cats are suffering seizures triggered by everyday household sounds.

The animals have also been observed reacting to the clicking of a computer mouse, tapping a boiled egg and even the sound of a tin of cat food being opened.

The phenomenon has also been triggered by the popping of pills from blister packs, the dropping of metal items on tiled floors or ceramic bowls and the hammering of nails, as well as the sounds of owners slapping their foreheads or clicking their tongues.

Research began after International Cat Care (ICC), a charity, began receiving reports from owners reporting the strange behaviour.

A specialist veterinary centre is investigating the issue with researchers from University College London. Experts believe the reaction is similar to reflex epilepsy in humans.

The vets from Davies Veterinary Specialists, Hertfordshire, are seeking more cases to uncover the trends behind the reactions. They hope to establish whether some cats are more prone to episodes and if some sounds are more likely to trigger the response. Appeals are being posted in the ICC’s Cat Care journal and in veterinary publications.

The team also wants to conduct tests to see if there is anything in the affected cats’ genetic make-up.

They believe this could lead to greater understanding of similar conditions in humans.


Daily Telegraph UK