Cat first aid skills won’t be needed every day thankfully. But there will be a few occasions when you might face an emergency situation which threatens your cat’s life. However, being aware of what to look for may be vital to ensuring your pet’s survival. It helps to choose a veterinary practice near to your home, so that you can rush your cat round there for treatment if there is an emergency. Always telephone to alert staff that you are on your way, so that your cat will be able to receive immediate assistance.
If your cat shows signs of ill health, it is sensible to seek professional help in the first instance. There is little else you can do, other than to make your cat as comfortable as possible.
Kittens are probably more likely than adults to end up in a situation where they need emergency assistance, because their curious natures can lead them into danger. They are also at greater risk of suffering from dehydration as the result of vomiting or diarrhoea, which can develop into a crisis situation if the young cat starts to become seriously dehydrated.
Common Causes of Cat Emergencies
An obstruction of the urinary tract, which is most likely to strike male cats, is a relatively common situation which needs emergency assistance. Your cat will appear distressed and will not be able to squat to urinate, but will remain huddled with its back slightly raised because of the pain.
The biggest danger facing cats outdoors is the risk of being hit by a vehicle, and this is something which always requires an urgent veterinary check-up, to ensure all is well with your pet. Although there may not be any obvious injuries, there could be internal complications such as a rupturedspleen, which are likely to be fatal if left undetected.
Should your cat come back home at any stage showing unexpected signs of illness, then you will need to contact your vet without delay. There is a risk that your cat could have swallowed toxic chemicals or may even have been bitten by a poisonous snake. Even a relatively minor insect sting in the mouth can be serious, if the swelling threatens to block off the airways.
The kitchen can be one of the most dangerous rooms in the house. It is especially risky to feed your cat here, because you could trip over the cat when carrying saucepans, spilling their boiling contents on your pet.
You can create emergencies yourself, by poisoning your cat inadvertently, using human remedies such as aspirin for minor feline ailments. If in any doubt, seek veterinary advice.
Are there any precise emergency signs which I need to look for?
Choking, difficulty in breathing and collapse are all signs of an emergency. Anything which causes severe, sudden pain, such as a bad burn, is also likely to be an emergency.
My cat has collapsed. Is there anything that I can do to help the vet reach a diagnosis?
Make a note of what your cat was doing prior to its collapse. Cast your mind back over the past few days, to anything which could have led to an injury, or any changes in its behaviour. If you have changed practices recently (or know that your vet does not have complete records) tell the vet of any similar episodes of collapsing in the past, and describe the treatment that it received at the time. Collect samples of vomit and urine, if appropriate.