It is always worthwhile having a basic first aid kit for cats available, so that you can attend to your cat’s needs in an emergency. It does not have to be anything elaborate, and some household items can be pressed into service if necessary. You do need to be extremely cautious about using any human remedies for cats, as these can be potentially dangerous. Even treatments such as aspirin are hazardous, because of the cat’s unusual metabolism.
There are many outdoor hazards for your cat, such as barbed wire. Investing in a variety of items to form a first aid kit is essential for administering emergency care before you can get to a vet.
HANDY COTTON WOOL
Cotton wool is another item which has a number of potential uses, from cleaning the ears to bathing wounds. Smaller cotton wool buds can also be helpful, but never poke these too far down your pet’s ears, as they will cause pain and injury under these circumstances. Their small size means they can be useful to clean difficult areas, such as around the eyes, especially where there is any tear-staining.
A supply of basic dressings should also be acquired for the first aid kit. Absorbent lint, gauze and some crepe bandages plus safety
If you decide to keep small tubs of chemicals such as washing soda, helpful for causing vomiting and so treating some types of poisoning, these must be clearly labelled, so that anyone can identify the contents easily in the case of an emergency.
If you need to take a cat’s temperature with a rectal thermometer, be sure to shake down the thermometer first, so that you can obtain an accurate reading.
A cat’s normal body temperature is between 38.3 and 38.9°C (101-102°F), and roughly 0.3°C (0.5°F) lower for kittens; a cat will usually take between 20 and 40 breaths each minute.
Pins to hold these in place, or adhesive tape should be adequate. A pair of scissors will be useful to cut dressings, and even trim off any areas of fur which have been soiled by chemicals. Choose those with round rather than sharp, pointed ends so they will not cause injury to your cat if it should move unexpectedly while you are using them.
Tweezers too can prove useful, if you want to remove a thorn or splinter of any kind, and again, those with flat tips are the best choice. A styptic pencil, sold for shaving nicks, is another item that may prove useful, serving to stem any minor bleeding if you inadvertently cut one of your pet’s claws too short.
Should I keep any pet medicines on hand?
It’s useful to have a mild antiseptic to bathe any minor cuts, but check with your vet on what is suitable. You may want to invest in a small container of sodium bicarbonate, just in case your cat is stung, along with some anti-histamine cream, which will relieve skin irritation.
Can I use antibiotics from a previous illness?
No. These drugs are for use over a set period of time. If you do not complete a course of treatment, your cat may suffer a relapse and the bacteria involved can develop an immunity to that particular antibiotic.
Is there anything else that I may need?
Some items in the first aid kit are more likely to be used than others. A bottle of olive oil will often be useful, for example, for cleaning your cat’s ears or even treating it for constipation.