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First Aid For Cats: A Guide

First Aid For Cats: A Guide

Cats are natural explorers and while they are generally graceful animals there may be times that they experience injuries or sudden illness. Here, our Fairhaven vets share the common injuries to cats, how to perform basic first aid and wound care and when it might be an emergency.

Basic First Aid For Cats

Here are some helpful first-aid tips for cats you can do before bringing them to the nearest emergency vet in Fairhaven.

  • To be safe, restrain your pet in a gentle and safe way before you begin to examine them, they may react negatively to the pain they are experiencing.
  • Press a clean, thick pad of gauze over any cuts or scrapes, and keep your hand on the wound until the blood starts to clot. Do not check for clotting until at least 3 minutes have passed.
  • Aim to keep your companion warm and in a quiet relaxed environment while you are tending to their injury.
  • If you think the pet has broken bones, find a flat surface, like a board or stretcher, that you can move the pet on from place to place. It may be ideal for you to tie your pet to the stretcher while you are moving them.
  • Regardless of the severity of your pet's injuries, you should always seek veterinary attention. First aid care is not the same as veterinary care, but it could save your pet's life until it can see a vet.
  • Some animal hospitals that treat emergencies have ambulances. Call your vet to find out how to move an injured animal based on your specific situation.

Caring For Cat Wounds

The immune system of your cat will begin to fight off any potential infections the moment an injury happens. while this is a great start it won't be sufficient as the only line of defense. Your cat will need first aid and/or emergency vet care to help prevent any complications.

If your cat becomes injured you should contact your emergency vet right away. They will be able to provide you with the steps you should take depending on the situation at hand.

Here are some steps you should take if your cat becomes injured.

Contact Your Emergency Animal Hospital

If you notice your cat is injured don't hesitate to call your veterinarian or the nearest emergency vet clinic in Fairhaven. They will tell you the steps you need to take based on the type of wound your cat has received and the level of bleeding that's occurring. It's very important that you follow these instructions carefully.

Thoroughly Examine Your Cat's Wound

If your cat's wound is older it could already be developing an infection. Some signs of infection are abscess, fever, noticeable discomfort or pain, behavioral changes, or/and a discharge of pus. If you find signs of infection it's essential to bring your cat to the vet as quickly as possible for treatment which could consist of antibiotics.

Determine the Severity of the Wound

If you didn't spot any signs of an infection, your kitty's wound is most likely fresh. It should be easy to determine the severity of the wound just by looking at it. If a cast, stitches, or surgery is required you need to call your vet or bring your cat to the nearest emergency vet immediately.

Apply Pressure To Stop Any Bleeding

When it comes to treating a cat's minor open wound, administering successful first aid care and managing any bleeding is key. You may be able to staunch the bleeding by applying pressure directly to the wound with a sterile gauze or a clean cloth. Depending on the depth and location of the wound it could take approximately 10-15 minutes for a blood clot to form. If a blood clot isn't forming properly, you must take your cat to an emergency vet immediately.

Raising the limb above the heart of your cat is an effective way to help manage the bleeding.

When to Take Your Cat to the Vet

If there are signs of infection, severe bleeding, broken limbs, fever, or other severe damage like the above examples, these are a veterinary emergency and you should bring your cat in to be examined as soon as possible.

If you are unable to determine the severity of the injury and are unsure about seeking emergency care please contact your emergency veterinarian. 

How To Perform CPR on Cats

One thing we may not consider is the ability of CPR to save our pet's life during a veterinary emergency just as it would for a human. CPR for dogs and cats is virtually the same as CPR for people. Follow these directions if your cat is already unconscious.

  1. Remove any obstacles. Open the animal's mouth and make sure its air passage is clear. If not, remove the object blocking the airway.
  2. Extend the head and give the cat a few breaths.
    • You may be able to cover the entire nose and mouth of your cat with your mouth while breathing. The chest of the animal should rise. Take two deep breaths.
  3. Do chest compressions
    • You may need to lay the animal on its side and compress the side of the rib cage for cats. You can also turn the animal on its back and press on both sides of the rib cage.
    • The rate of chest compressions varies depending on the cat's size.
      • Cats that are over 10 pounds: 80-100 compressions per minute
      • Cats that are 10 pounds or less: 120 compressions per minute.
  4. Alternate each set of breaths with a set of compressions. The compression-to-breath ratio should be similar to that of humans - 30:2. Repeat until your cat becomes responsive and is breathing on their own.

Once your cat has regained consciousness you should contact your emergency vet and bring them in for an examination right away to ensure that the danger has passed and that there is no permanent damage.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your cat is sick or hurt and you think they may need urgent veterinary care, contact our Fairhaven vets.

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New England Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Fairhaven companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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