Thursday, August 20, 2009

Feline First Aid

First aid is never, under any circumstances, a replacement for veterinary care, which should always be sought when your pet is ill or injured. However, knowing some basic first aid tips will assist during an emergency. Be sure though that you always seek care from a veterinarian following first aid treatment.

The first thing you need to administer first aid is a good pet first aid kit. These are available at many pet stores, animal shelters, or veterinary supply outlets. One important thing you should add to your pet first aid kit is a card containing emergency phone numbers, such as the phone number of your local veterinarian, and emergency/after hours vet clinic (if there is one in your area). While you may feel you have those numbers stored in your head, during an emergency it is sometimes difficult to remember the numbers you will need the most.

Here are some common problems you may encounter and some basic tips to help your pet:

If you notice an abscess on your pet, this should be investigated by a veterinarian. If the abscess bursts before you get to the vet, you can use a mild saline solution to keep it wet until seeing the vet. An abscess can cause many problems and should not be ignored.

If you cat has experienced an accidental injury, they should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. There are three things you need to check if you pet has been injured in an accident:

1. Check for a clear airway and clear any loose obstructions or excess liquid from the cat’s mouth.

2. Ensure the animal is breathing by observing chest movement and condensation on a shiny object such as a mirror. If there is no breathing, breath air into the cat by mouth to nose through cupped hands approximately 10 breaths per minute.

3. Check for circulation and control any serious bleeding using a non-adhesive pad. Make the cat comfortable by placing it in blankets or bubble wrap, and place on a rigid surface and take the animal immediately to the veterinarian.

Allergies can affect cats, just as they do humans. If the cat is experiencing an anaphylactic reaction, it will have difficulty breathing and can go into shock. An anaphylactic reaction is a medical emergency. If necessary you can breath air into the cat, as noted above, and ensure the cat receives immediate care by a veterinarian.

Bee Stings and other Bug Bites can cause discomfort to your cat. The affected area of the bite should be bathed in ice water to reduce swelling. Swelling will normally subside in a couple of hours. If the bee sting is in the eye, mouth or throat, your cat should be taken to the veterinarian. A cold compress can be held against the eye during transit, to reduce swelling and discomfort.

For bleeding apply pressure to the wounded area by using a pad or bandage from the first aid kit. Wind the bandage around the pad and the cat to hold it in place. If the pad becomes saturated, apply more layers to it. If there is excessive bleeding or the wound itself is large (not just a small nick or scratch) the cat needs to receive medical care from a veterinarian to ensure it is properly cared for and to prevent infection.

For treating burns, the application of something cold is essential. Ice cubes and cold water are best for minor burns on the body. Do not place any other substance on the body and ensure the cat is taken immediately for veterinary care.

If your pet is choking, seek professional help immediately.

For fractures, it is best to leave treatment to the vet. The cat should be placed very carefully in a very padded carrier and transported to the vet immediately.

If you suspect your cat has ingested a poison, rush the cat immediately to the vet’s office.

Shock is a very serious medical condition and requires immediate care by a veterinarian. Symptoms of shock include inactivity, pale gums, reduced mental awareness and cold extremities such as ears, paws and tail. Keep your cat warm while en route to the vet. Talking to your cat will also help to maintain its mental awareness while taking it for medical care.
If you notice your cat sneezing it can be a symptom of cat flu, an upper respiratory infection or other nasal issues. If you are concerned about your cat sneezing please see your vet.

Like humans, cats can get sunburned. White cats are particularly prone to this problem, especially on their ears and nose. The best course of action to prevent sunburn is to limit the amount of time your cat lays in the hot sun.

The best way to prevent a lot of illnesses in your cat is to ensure that its vaccinations are up to date and that your pet has regular health exams with your veterinarian. Check with your veterinarian regarding a vaccination schedule for your cat.

Remember – first aid is in no way a replacement for care by your veterinarian. But hopefully these tips might help you if your favourite feline ever needs emergency assistance.




  1. Thanks for posting this Creamsicle. We don't have a first aid kit, but are going to get one now. Well, at least our Mom and Dad are....we are not allowed out to go to the store.

    Sam & Sadie
    Edmonton, Alberta

  2. judy and cat friendsAugust 30, 2009 at 7:23 PM

    great advice, everyone needs to read this, put it on the refrigerator.