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A Guide to Emergencies and First Aid in Cats

A Guide to Emergencies and First Aid in Cats
Cats
,
Emergencies
Share this article
A Guide to Emergencies and First Aid in Cats
A Guide to Emergencies and First Aid in Cats
Cats
,
Emergencies
A Guide to Emergencies and First Aid in Cats
Share this article
A Guide to Emergencies and First Aid in Cats
While we hope that our pets stay healthy and happy, accidents do happen. It is worth knowing in advance how to deal with some common emergencies so that you can feel in control if the situation ever arises.

General Emergency Guidelines

In any emergency, it is important to stay calm. You must talk in low, soothing tones to reassure your pet. Screaming, shouting, or crying will make your cat feel more scared and stressed. If it is safe to stroke your cat, then they may appreciate some gentle soothing, however not all animals that are in pain will want this. Be aware that some cats may act out of character when injured and could lash out.

If it is safe to do so, move the cat to somewhere where they can’t do themselves more harm (i.e., away from the poison or out of the way of any oncoming traffic).

Call our branch nearest to you to let us know what has happened. This will alert us to the fact that you will be bringing your cat in for treatment, and will also allow us to give you any additional instructions over the phone that could help you manage the situation more effectively.

In all instances, follow our vet’s advice, if that means taking your cat to us immediately then make sure you do so.

Specific Emergency Scenarios

For all the following scenarios, phoning your vet, staying calm, and gently reassuring your cat is key.

Wounds and Bleeding

If your cat is bleeding heavily from an injury, then you may need to apply pressure to it. This will help slow any further blood loss. Use a clean cloth or gauze and wrap it firmly around the affected area to stem the flow, holding it in place for 10 minutes. It is important not to lift the cloth before this time as you may dislodge any clot that is forming.

Most wounds will need an urgent assessment from a vet. Don’t stress your cat out by attempting to clean it yourself – let your vet do this.

Burns

The ideal first aid for a burn is to put the affected area under a tap (continually flowing cool water, not ice water) for 10-20 minutes which will help to prevent further tissue damage. However, be aware many cats may not tolerate this, and you could risk getting bitten or scratched. To transport your cat to the vet, wrap the burn site loosely in clingfilm. This will help to give some protection and won’t get stuck to the injured area, unlike fabric or other dressings.

Broken Bones

Lift your cat very gently into their cat carrier, supporting the affected area with a towel or blanket. Never try to bandage or splint the area yourself, just call our hospital and get your pet to us as soon as possible.

Road Traffic Accidents

Broken bones and internal damage are very common in a road traffic accident, so always handle a cat with care that has been hit by a car. Make sure you keep yourself safe when retrieving your pet at the site of an accident. Use a towel to pick your cat up with, as pain may cause them to bite or scratch when you try and move them to their carrier. Call as soon as possible to let us know that you are en route.

Breathing Issues

A cat with laboured or rapid breathing should be handled with care. Any additional stress can worsen the condition of these animals. Move them as gently as possible into their carrier so that they can be transported safely to the vet for assessment.

Seizures

Seizures can look dramatic, and many owners want to hug or hold their pet while it is happening. However, the safest thing for you both is to remove external stimuli (e.g., darken the room and turn off anything making noise like the television) and ensure your cat is in a safe space. Then call our veterinary practice for advice.

Poisoning

If you have caught your cat eating something you suspect to be poisonous, move it away from the area or rinse the product out of their coat immediately to prevent further ingestion. Get your cat to the vet as soon as possible, ideally making a note of the product or plant that they consumed. Bringing packaging or taking photos can be helpful in this scenario.

Difficulty Urinating

Cystitis (inflammation of the urinary tract) is common in cats, but things quickly become an emergency if your cat is unable to urinate at all. An obstruction in the urinary tract can cause the bladder to swell painfully with urine. These cats often yowl in pain, look at their abdomen more than usual, keep going in and out of the litter tray unsuccessfully, and may even collapse. Carefully pick your cat up, not putting too much pressure on its lower abdomen, and put them in a carrier for transportation.

Insect Stings or Bites

Some stings and bites can be managed at home. If the stinger is still present, remove this carefully with tweezers. Once this has been removed, bathe the affected area in an alkali solution (dissolved baking powder) for a bee sting or an acidic solution (lemon juice or vinegar) for wasp stings. Alternatively, bathe the area in cool water if you are unsure what type of insect was responsible.

However, if your cat starts showing any signs of breathing difficulties or swelling, then take them to see a vet as soon as possible. This is more likely when they have been stung in the mouth.

Summary

In all emergencies, acting calmly and calling your vet team will help improve your cat’s outcome greatly. Suppressing the instinct to become overly emotional is important. Instead, focus on reassuring your pet and making sure that their injuries are not made worse while you seek veterinary attention.

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While we hope that our pets stay healthy and happy, accidents do happen. It is worth knowing in advance how to deal with some common emergencies so that you can feel in control if the situation ever arises.

General Emergency Guidelines

In any emergency, it is important to stay calm. You must talk in low, soothing tones to reassure your pet. Screaming, shouting, or crying will make your cat feel more scared and stressed. If it is safe to stroke your cat, then they may appreciate some gentle soothing, however not all animals that are in pain will want this. Be aware that some cats may act out of character when injured and could lash out.

If it is safe to do so, move the cat to somewhere where they can’t do themselves more harm (i.e., away from the poison or out of the way of any oncoming traffic).

Call our branch nearest to you to let us know what has happened. This will alert us to the fact that you will be bringing your cat in for treatment, and will also allow us to give you any additional instructions over the phone that could help you manage the situation more effectively.

In all instances, follow our vet’s advice, if that means taking your cat to us immediately then make sure you do so.

Specific Emergency Scenarios

For all the following scenarios, phoning your vet, staying calm, and gently reassuring your cat is key.

Wounds and Bleeding

If your cat is bleeding heavily from an injury, then you may need to apply pressure to it. This will help slow any further blood loss. Use a clean cloth or gauze and wrap it firmly around the affected area to stem the flow, holding it in place for 10 minutes. It is important not to lift the cloth before this time as you may dislodge any clot that is forming.

Most wounds will need an urgent assessment from a vet. Don’t stress your cat out by attempting to clean it yourself – let your vet do this.

Burns

The ideal first aid for a burn is to put the affected area under a tap (continually flowing cool water, not ice water) for 10-20 minutes which will help to prevent further tissue damage. However, be aware many cats may not tolerate this, and you could risk getting bitten or scratched. To transport your cat to the vet, wrap the burn site loosely in clingfilm. This will help to give some protection and won’t get stuck to the injured area, unlike fabric or other dressings.

Broken Bones

Lift your cat very gently into their cat carrier, supporting the affected area with a towel or blanket. Never try to bandage or splint the area yourself, just call our hospital and get your pet to us as soon as possible.

Road Traffic Accidents

Broken bones and internal damage are very common in a road traffic accident, so always handle a cat with care that has been hit by a car. Make sure you keep yourself safe when retrieving your pet at the site of an accident. Use a towel to pick your cat up with, as pain may cause them to bite or scratch when you try and move them to their carrier. Call as soon as possible to let us know that you are en route.

Breathing Issues

A cat with laboured or rapid breathing should be handled with care. Any additional stress can worsen the condition of these animals. Move them as gently as possible into their carrier so that they can be transported safely to the vet for assessment.

Seizures

Seizures can look dramatic, and many owners want to hug or hold their pet while it is happening. However, the safest thing for you both is to remove external stimuli (e.g., darken the room and turn off anything making noise like the television) and ensure your cat is in a safe space. Then call our veterinary practice for advice.

Poisoning

If you have caught your cat eating something you suspect to be poisonous, move it away from the area or rinse the product out of their coat immediately to prevent further ingestion. Get your cat to the vet as soon as possible, ideally making a note of the product or plant that they consumed. Bringing packaging or taking photos can be helpful in this scenario.

Difficulty Urinating

Cystitis (inflammation of the urinary tract) is common in cats, but things quickly become an emergency if your cat is unable to urinate at all. An obstruction in the urinary tract can cause the bladder to swell painfully with urine. These cats often yowl in pain, look at their abdomen more than usual, keep going in and out of the litter tray unsuccessfully, and may even collapse. Carefully pick your cat up, not putting too much pressure on its lower abdomen, and put them in a carrier for transportation.

Insect Stings or Bites

Some stings and bites can be managed at home. If the stinger is still present, remove this carefully with tweezers. Once this has been removed, bathe the affected area in an alkali solution (dissolved baking powder) for a bee sting or an acidic solution (lemon juice or vinegar) for wasp stings. Alternatively, bathe the area in cool water if you are unsure what type of insect was responsible.

However, if your cat starts showing any signs of breathing difficulties or swelling, then take them to see a vet as soon as possible. This is more likely when they have been stung in the mouth.

Summary

In all emergencies, acting calmly and calling your vet team will help improve your cat’s outcome greatly. Suppressing the instinct to become overly emotional is important. Instead, focus on reassuring your pet and making sure that their injuries are not made worse while you seek veterinary attention.

Keep Reading
Keep Reading
Keep Reading
Subscribe
Always be up to date!
Receive a digest of the latest events and offers for you and your pet every month.
While we hope that our pets stay healthy and happy, accidents do happen. It is worth knowing in advance how to deal with some common emergencies so that you can feel in control if the situation ever arises.

General Emergency Guidelines

In any emergency, it is important to stay calm. You must talk in low, soothing tones to reassure your pet. Screaming, shouting, or crying will make your cat feel more scared and stressed. If it is safe to stroke your cat, then they may appreciate some gentle soothing, however not all animals that are in pain will want this. Be aware that some cats may act out of character when injured and could lash out.

If it is safe to do so, move the cat to somewhere where they can’t do themselves more harm (i.e., away from the poison or out of the way of any oncoming traffic).

Call our branch nearest to you to let us know what has happened. This will alert us to the fact that you will be bringing your cat in for treatment, and will also allow us to give you any additional instructions over the phone that could help you manage the situation more effectively.

In all instances, follow our vet’s advice, if that means taking your cat to us immediately then make sure you do so.

Specific Emergency Scenarios

For all the following scenarios, phoning your vet, staying calm, and gently reassuring your cat is key.

Wounds and Bleeding

If your cat is bleeding heavily from an injury, then you may need to apply pressure to it. This will help slow any further blood loss. Use a clean cloth or gauze and wrap it firmly around the affected area to stem the flow, holding it in place for 10 minutes. It is important not to lift the cloth before this time as you may dislodge any clot that is forming.

Most wounds will need an urgent assessment from a vet. Don’t stress your cat out by attempting to clean it yourself – let your vet do this.

Burns

The ideal first aid for a burn is to put the affected area under a tap (continually flowing cool water, not ice water) for 10-20 minutes which will help to prevent further tissue damage. However, be aware many cats may not tolerate this, and you could risk getting bitten or scratched. To transport your cat to the vet, wrap the burn site loosely in clingfilm. This will help to give some protection and won’t get stuck to the injured area, unlike fabric or other dressings.

Broken Bones

Lift your cat very gently into their cat carrier, supporting the affected area with a towel or blanket. Never try to bandage or splint the area yourself, just call our hospital and get your pet to us as soon as possible.

Road Traffic Accidents

Broken bones and internal damage are very common in a road traffic accident, so always handle a cat with care that has been hit by a car. Make sure you keep yourself safe when retrieving your pet at the site of an accident. Use a towel to pick your cat up with, as pain may cause them to bite or scratch when you try and move them to their carrier. Call as soon as possible to let us know that you are en route.

Breathing Issues

A cat with laboured or rapid breathing should be handled with care. Any additional stress can worsen the condition of these animals. Move them as gently as possible into their carrier so that they can be transported safely to the vet for assessment.

Seizures

Seizures can look dramatic, and many owners want to hug or hold their pet while it is happening. However, the safest thing for you both is to remove external stimuli (e.g., darken the room and turn off anything making noise like the television) and ensure your cat is in a safe space. Then call our veterinary practice for advice.

Poisoning

If you have caught your cat eating something you suspect to be poisonous, move it away from the area or rinse the product out of their coat immediately to prevent further ingestion. Get your cat to the vet as soon as possible, ideally making a note of the product or plant that they consumed. Bringing packaging or taking photos can be helpful in this scenario.

Difficulty Urinating

Cystitis (inflammation of the urinary tract) is common in cats, but things quickly become an emergency if your cat is unable to urinate at all. An obstruction in the urinary tract can cause the bladder to swell painfully with urine. These cats often yowl in pain, look at their abdomen more than usual, keep going in and out of the litter tray unsuccessfully, and may even collapse. Carefully pick your cat up, not putting too much pressure on its lower abdomen, and put them in a carrier for transportation.

Insect Stings or Bites

Some stings and bites can be managed at home. If the stinger is still present, remove this carefully with tweezers. Once this has been removed, bathe the affected area in an alkali solution (dissolved baking powder) for a bee sting or an acidic solution (lemon juice or vinegar) for wasp stings. Alternatively, bathe the area in cool water if you are unsure what type of insect was responsible.

However, if your cat starts showing any signs of breathing difficulties or swelling, then take them to see a vet as soon as possible. This is more likely when they have been stung in the mouth.

Summary

In all emergencies, acting calmly and calling your vet team will help improve your cat’s outcome greatly. Suppressing the instinct to become overly emotional is important. Instead, focus on reassuring your pet and making sure that their injuries are not made worse while you seek veterinary attention.

Keep Reading
Keep Reading
Keep Reading
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Receive a digest of the latest events and offers for you and your pet every month.
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