Cat First Aid

Serious cut or bite   Breathing Problems   Broken Bone   Choking   Electric Shock

 Eye Injury    Frostbite    Heatstroke   Fever    Poisoning    Shock    Skunks

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The first aid treatments outlined here should be used only until you can get professional help for your cat.

Always call your veterinarian ahead to alert the office of an emergency.

Know the number and address of the nearest 24 hr facility for emergencies that occur when your veterinarian is not in the office.

The best way to carry your cat to the veterinarian is to wrap her in a heavy towel or blanket.

Serious cut or bite

In cats, most skin wounds do not bleed profusely unless a larger, underlying blood vessel is opened.  Avoid manipulating the injured area since this can increase bleeding.

- Cover the wounded area with a sterile bandage or clean cloth and apply
   direct pressure.

- Secure with tape if necessary.  The bandage should stay in place firmly but
   not tightly.

- Take your cat to the veterinarian immediately.

- Do not use a tourniquet (it is not as effective as direct pressure and may
   cause additional damage). 

 

Breathing Problems

Brain damage can occur if breathing is interrupted.  It is not recommended you waste valuable time performing artificial respiration or CPR on your cat unless you are positive you can administer them expertly to restore normal breathing and heartbeat.  It is much safer to seek immediate veterinary care.

 

Broken Bone

  • Never try to set a broken bone yourself.
  • Control bleeding, if any, and restrict your cat’s movement while transporting her to the veterinarian

 

Choking

  • Open the cat’s mouth by pressing on either side of her jaw to see if the object is visible.  Do not tilt the head backwards.
  • Use tweezers to remove obvious obstruction.  You may use your fingers also but be careful of being bitten.
  • If the object is not visible do not poke inside her mouth since this may cause the object to become lodged further.
  • Instead, hold the cat upside down and press sharply on her chest with both hands.
  • Even if you remove the object your cat should be checked by the veterinarian  for any damage to the mouth or throat.

 

Electric Shock

Playful cats, especially kittens that are teething, may chew on electrical cords and this can lead to electric shock.  Electric shock can produce burns on the tongue, palate, lip folds and corners of the mouth.  Your cat may salivate profusely or have problems breathing.

  • Never touch an animal that is touching an exposed electrical wire. 
  • Turn off the current then use a dry stick to get your cat away from the wire.
  • Get veterinary help as soon as possible.

 

Eye Injury

  • For all eye injuries, take your cat to the veterinarian promptly.
  • Do not let your cat rub her eyes
  • Do not place medicine in your cat's eyes, unless instructed by your veterinarian.

 

Frostbite

Your cat can suffer frostbite on her ears, feet and tail.
Symptoms include: pale, glossy skin which then reddens and becomes painful to the touch. 

  • Immediately take your cat into a warm place.
  • Thaw out frostbitten areas slowly by applying, moist towels that are changed frequently.
  • Continue until areas become flushed.
  • Check with the veterinarian to the severity of the frostbite since it can result in damage to the affected areas.

 

Heatstroke, Fever

Heatstroke occurs in cats left in poorly ventilated, closed vehicles.  Lack of drinking water on a hot day or excessive exercise can also be the cause

Symptoms include; panting, foaming at the mouth, extreme agitation and depression or coma.

  • Sponge your cat with cool water and seek veterinary care immediately.
  • If the condition is severe, submerge her in cool water or place ice packs to her head and neck and get to a vet immediately. 

 

Poisoning

If you know or suspect your cat has swallowed poison call your vet immediately

Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, labored breathing, whimpering, collapse or convulsions. 

  • Contact your vet immediately for instructions.
  • Do not induce vomiting unless the vet recommends it, since some poisons can be even more harmful to your cat if vomited.

 

Shock

Shock frequently accompanies traumatic injuries especially car accidents or serious falls.
Symptoms include semi-consciousness or coma, panting and rapid breathing, a slow heartbeat and reduced body heat, especially in the extremities.

  • Wrap your cat in a blanket to keep her warm and keep her head lower than her heart.
  • Take her to the veterinarian immediately.

 

Skunks

  • If your cat has encountered a skunk, make sure your cat’s rabies vaccinations are up to date because skunks can carry rabies.
  • To get rid of odor, wash your cat with tomato juice then give her a bath.

 

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