Basic Cat Emergency Care

When a cat emergency takes place, it's easy to panic if you don't know what to do.

Feline First Aid Kit

To administer emergency care in an efficient amount of time, a first aid kit should be assembled. This kit should include important phone numbers such as:

  • Animal poison control
  • Veterinarian's office
  • Emergency veterinary hospital
  • Copies of the cat's vaccine records should also be included.

Keep a rectal thermometer with instructions that tell the normal range of a cat's body temperature: 100˚-103˚ F.

Other items to keep in a feline first aid kit include:

  • Small flashlight
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Nail clippers
  • Splints or tongue depressors
  • A pipette
  • Towels
  • Cotton balls
  • Gauze rolls and pads
  • Adhesive tape
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Petroleum jelly
  • An antiseptic (powder, spray, lotion or gel)
  • Instant ice packs
  • Sterile saline solution
  • Solution for ear cleaning

A cat may need to be restrained if it's injured, as they're prone to bite or scratch a person who may be trying to assist them. Items that can be used to restrain a cat include a muzzle, pet carrier, a large towel, and a pillow case.

Basic Feline First Aid

In the event of an emergency that involves a cat, remove the cause of injury if possible.

If the cat is bleeding, the condition needs to be controlled as soon as possible. Clean the wound with water, gently: it may to your advantage to restrain or harness the cat for this. Using tweezers, take out any debris that may be in the wound and apply gauze over the injury. Apply pressure.

Cat Shock

Cat shock happens if a feline has experienced a traumatic injury or has lost a lot of blood. One way to tell if a cat has gone into shock is by pressing on his or her gums with a finger enough to make them turn white. The finger should be held there for a couple seconds and then released. In a healthy cat, the gums would turn pink within seconds. A cat in shock will also hyperventilate, feel panicked and cold.

Items that are Toxic to Cats

Cat toxicity is a common problem when items cats should not ingest are accessible to a feline.

Food items cats should not eat include:

  • Avocados
  • Chocolate
  • Raisins or grapes
  • Salt
  • Yeast dough
  • Products artificially sweetened
  • Mushrooms
  • Walnuts
  • Potatoes
  • Any food that is moldy or spoiled

Varieties of plants are toxic to cats and can be harmful even if it is not ingested. Some well known plants cats should not be around include alfalfa, aloe vera, baby's breath, ferns, lilies, ivy, oaks, morning glory, mistle toe, marigolds, hydrangeas, holly, poppies, primroses, tobacco, and tomato plants.

Common items found in the house that can be dangerous are medicines like acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, and laxatives. Chemicals that are dangerous for small children to handle should also not be accessible to cats.

Many other food, plant and household items can cause cat toxicity. Consult a veterinarian for an exhaustive list. If a cat has eaten or come in contact with a toxic item, do not induce vomiting. Immediately call your veterinarian or an animal poison control center instead.

Knowing basic emergency care for a cat not only means knowing what to do in a time of crisis, but also knowing how to avoid potentially dangerous situations.