How to treat common cat emergencies
April 21, 2022
Cats are very inquisitive creatures and often get themselves into trouble as a result. Head Vet Nicola Armstrong and the team at Avenues Vets know this only too well having seen many cat emergencies over the years.
It is always better to be prepared for cat emergencies – pop our number in your phone if you don’t have it already. You may want to give it to your neighbours, family, friends, and your holiday cat sitter too if you have one.
Here’s our number: 0141 643 0404
Dealing with Common Cat Emergencies
According to Nicola, some of the most common cat emergencies include:
- Road traffic accidents
- Wounds / bleeding
- Broken bones
Below is some more information on each cat health problem and what you need to do in the event of an accident.
Cats and road traffic accidents
With many cats spending lots of time outdoors in Lanarkshire, road traffic accidents are always a possibility. Injuries can range from a gentle knock that gives the cat a mild concussion, to more severe broken bones, wounds, or impact to their organs. It is important to ensure that you follow DR ABC’S advice;
- Danger – ensure it is safe for you and the animal before you assist them
- Response – check if they are responsive to you talking
- Airway – is their airway clear?
- Breathing – are they breathing?
- Circulation – do they have a pulse or heartbeat?
- Send – get someone to find help
If there is an obvious bleed, you can use clean material and pressure to slow blood loss – read more about this below. Never try to ‘set’ or straighten a broken bone yourself. It is important that any cat suspected of being hit by a vehicle is checked over by a Vet to ensure there is no internal damage or risk of shock from the trauma. Call Avenues Vets on 0141 643 0404.
Wounds or any bleeds should be treated as a first-aid measure to reduce the amount of blood loss. If they are bleeding use a wound pad, a clean towel, or bandaging to press on the wound to help reduce the amount of blood loss and get them to a Vet straight away. Contact your Vet first to let them prepare for your cat’s arrival and injury needs.
Burns often occur when cats jump onto hot cooking surfaces; they can also come from freshly tarred roads, surfaces treated with bleach or other chemicals, electrical sources, or being scalded by hot liquids. If your cat has a burn (not chemical), run cold water over it for a minimum of 5 minutes before getting them to the Vet – try placing a damp cloth over the burn and adding cold water, or immersing the burned area in cold water – be careful as most cats don’t like water. Do not apply any creams to the burn and ensure your cat is kept warm and calm to avoid shock. For chemical burns, wear gloves, goggles, and other safety gear and contact our Vets for first aid advice.
There are many different poisons that can harm cats with some of the most common being antifreeze, rat poison, paracetamol, and lily plants. If your cat has potentially been poisoned move the item away from them immediately. Always call your Vet straight away and be ready to take your cat there quickly so that treatment can commence without haste. Do not try to make your cat sick as this can make things worse. If they have rolled in something such as oil or have lily pollen on their fur, put a buster collar or shirt over them so that they can’t lick and ingest the poison and try to wipe it off with a damp cloth.
Cats can have seizures for many different reasons. If you ever see your cat having a seizure do not pick them up or put anything over the top of them. Turn off any stimulants such as TVs or Radios. Make the room dark and remove anything they may hurt themselves on. Time the seizure and contact our Veterinary team.
Heatstroke and your cat
Heatstroke is common in the summer months, particularly if your cat has managed to become trapped somewhere it is very hot, like a shed or greenhouse. If they are exposed to intense prolonged heat use tepid running water to help cool them down. Do not put any damp towels over them, keep them in a cool area, ensure they have access to plenty of water, and phone the Vet – 0141 643 0404.
Treating insect stings
Again, because of cats’ inquisitive nature, they often end up getting stung. If this has happened, pull (or scrape using a credit card) the sting out and apply either bicarbonate of soda to a bee sting or diluted vinegar to a wasp sting. The area may be very swollen and inflamed so apply an ice pack. If the sting is anywhere near your cat’s eyes, mouth, or throat contact our Vets as any swelling here could potentially close airways.
You will never stop cats from being adventurous and unfortunately, having accidents. Our Vet Nicola recommends the best thing you can do is to be prepared – know how to apply basic first aid techniques as described above and always have our number to hand.
Call us in an emergency on 0141 643 0404.