First Aid For Your Cat
Choking | Foreign Bodies
| Resuscitation | Heart
Attack | Electric Shock |
Drowning | Animal Bites
| Abscesses | Snake Bites
| Stings | Poisoning |
Scrapes Bruising | Strains Limps
If your cat is injured in a place
where it could be injured further, for example on a busy road, move it
immediately but very carefully. Depending on where the injuries are, pick
the cat up gently by the scruff and support its weight with your other hand,
and put it in a suitable carrier. If the cat is unconscious, check in the
mouth for any chocking hazards and clear any blood or vomit by bringing the
tongue forward. The cats head should be below the body level when it is lying
down, so any excess fluids can run out.
If your cat is severely bleeding put
a pressure bandage over the wound. This works well on limbs, otherwise try
applying finger pressure to the wound.
If the cat is fighting for air wrap it in a blanket
to immobilize it and try looking in the mouth to see if there is anything
blocking the wind pipe. While someone is calling the vet you could try to
dislodge the object, by using a small torch and pulling the object out with
a pair of tweezers. Take care that you do not get bitten by the cat. If the
cat has swallowed a sharp object, you should get your vet to deal with it. If the cat has
swallowed string, do not pull it out, leave it for your vet to deal with.
or other objects get stuck in your cats ears or eyes, you may be able to use
ear or eye drops or olive oil, to float them out. Do not use tweezers on
these areas. A cotton bud can be used to remove foreign bodies from the cats eye.
If oil, paint or
chemicals are spilt on a cats coat, you should wash them off immediately
with a solution of mild detergent or soap and water. Any areas that are
badly soiled, should have the fur cut off and the area washed with soap and
A cat may
sometimes appear dead, but can be resuscitated if you act quickly. This most
often occurs with newborn kittens. You need to see if there is a pulse, you
can do this by feeling in the arm pit. If you can't find a pulse, it doesn't
mean that brain death has occurred and you may be able to resuscitate the
cat by gently massaging the chest between finger and thumb and holding
the head down.
How To Resuscitate A Cat
A feline kiss of life is hard to do
and will mean you have to have oral contact with either the mouth or
nostrils. For most owners, this isn't a problem, as they instinctive want to
save their cat.
1. Clear the airways of any vomit or blood and check the tongue is
pulled forward. Hold the cat's head gently backwards and blow into the
nostrils. If the nostrils are restricted, pinch the cat's mouth open with
your fingers pressing both cheeks to create a beep breath and blow into the
mouth. Don't over do it as a cats lungs are a lot smaller than a humans.
2. Between each breath, gently massage the chest to allow the air to
trickle out, and maintain a rubbing motion on the cat's chest to try to
stimulate heartbeat. Keep on with the mouth to mouth process until the cat
can breath regularly by itself. It may be that this form of resuscitation
does not work, in which case heart massage is the last option.
3. Heart massage may damage the cat. A delicate rubbing motion will
just not stimulate the heart into beating, so with the cat on its side,
preferably supported on a blanket or towel, press downwards firmly on the
chest just behind the front leg, about once a second. In some cases, ribs
have been broken in elderly animals, but the cat has survived. If this does
not work, at least you have done everything possible.
there has been an increase in the number of cats who collapse and die of a
condition called cardiomyopathy, there are various types of this condition,
which is commonly known as a heart attack. It is thought that this condition
runs in cat families. Sometimes, in mild cases, massaging the chest between
finger and thumb does help.
A cat can
have an electric shock from chewing through electrical flexes and cords. You
need to switch the electricity off straight away to prevent any further
shock. You should seek your vets advice, as a cat can get severe burns to
the lips and gums from an electric shock.
It will take
very little liquid for a cat to drown. All it needs is enough fluid for the
lungs to be filled so that oxygen is unable to enter the blood stream.
Patting the cats back can expel water from the lungs, but sometimes you may
need to swing the cat by the hind legs to get the liquid out, and the begin
resuscitation (see above).
If your cat
roams freely outside it is more likely to come into contact with other
animals. Fights over territorial rights are very likely. The bite of an
animal, including other cats, dogs, rodents and snakes can be very dangerous
as they carry bacteria in their mouths.
It may not be obvious
straight away if your cat has been bitten. If a cat has been hurt, it will
normally find a quiet place to lick it's wounds. This is your cats way of
giving itself fist aid, as a cats saliva contains a natural antiseptic. You
may not discover a bit, until you touch your cat and it reacts. keep you cat
warm and comfortable and seek advice. Don't delay with contacting your vet,
as an infection can develop very quickly which will make it a lot harder to
treat it and can be traumatic for your cat. Any wounds will need regular
cleaning with a suitable antiseptic.
If a wound is
left untreated it will probably become infected and result in abscess, which
is a large puss filled swelling. Without treatment, an abscess will burst
and there is a huge risk of septicaemia due to the toxins entering the
bloodstream. The original puncture wound will soon heal, so the proper
treatment will involve a trip to the vet so that it can be lanced, allowing
it to drain properly.
Septicaemia is serious,
as it is in people. It can happen quickly and within hours a cat can have a
high temperature. This may be followed by fits, sickness and a rapid fall in
temperature to below a normal level, collapse and then death.
The biggest cause of an
abscess it a bite or claw puncture from another cat. These wounds are
normally sustained during a fight, so the most common abscess are around the
head, neck, paws and at the base of the tail.
bites are poisonous and may be followed by swelling around the wound,
progressive lethargy and hyperventilation which may be accompanied by fits,
followed by collapse and coma.
When you have found the
wound site, try to apply a tourniquet (see below) as quickly as possible.
The most likely place for a bite is on the leg, near the paws, in which case
the tourniquet should be applied to the upper leg. If the wound is around
the face or neck, then there is little that can be done.
When applying a
tourniquet to a snake bite, the aim is to prevent the venom entering the
bloodstream. But remember that the application of a tourniquet cuts of
the blood supply to the limb. It should therefore be loosened every 2 to 3
minutes to ensure that the tissue is kept alive, even if this means there is
a limited amount of venom getting into the bloodstream. If this is not done,
there is a possibility of such severe tissue damage that the limb would have
to be amputated.
Apply A Tourniquet
Place a loop of soft, narrow fabric, such as a stocking or a tie,
around the limb, on the heart side of the wound site.
If there is any swelling, apply a cold compress by wrapping a few ice
cubes in a cloth or use a packet of frozen peas.
Insert a pen, pencil, piece of cutlery or thin, strong stick between
the skin and the fabric loop
Gently wash the affected spot with a recommended antiseptic, diluted
to the manufacturer's instruction.
Twist the fabric until it is tight enough to cut off the blood supply
Any bleeding should stop. If it does not, the tourniquet is not tight
Loosen the tourniquet for a few moments every two or three minutes and
Try to bandage the wound and take the cat to the vet as soon as
possible. The wound may need stitching
A cat will chase
insects regardless of any danger. One wasp sting is not alarming, but
remember a wasp can sting many times. A cat can move fast, but if a wasp is
stuck in its fur it can sting a number of times before it can get free. In
contrast a bee will leave its sting behind in the cat. The bee will
sacrifice itself when it stings, and the full amount of venom is also left
behind. Stings can often occur in the mouth or throat if the insect is
swallowed. This will cause swelling, and the breathing may be restricted. If
it's external this is painful and rather unpleasant; but internal it can be
The cat may have an
allergic reaction to the sting. If the swelling has been caused by a bee
sting, you will be able to see the sting remnant. This must be removed if
possible with tweezers. Whether the sting is external or internal the cat
should see the vet straight away.
As a first-aid measure,
external stings by bees or wasps can be treated with antihistamine cream or
lotion. If this is no available, home remedies can be used. Bee stings can
be treated with alkaline substances such as bicarbonate of soda, whereas
wasp stings respond to the application of an acid such as vinegar. The cat
should not be aloud to like these substances.
Cats can walk through any number of toxic materials.
Transferred to the mouth through grooming, these substances can easily cause
poisoning and burning to the contact areas. Thorough washing of the paws
with a mild shampoo followed rinsing will alleviate some of the pain.
Vomiting, lassitude, apparent blindness, convulsions and collapse are all
signs of poisoning. If these symptoms occur seek veterinary aid immediately.
Don't try to ease your
cats suffering beyond keeping the cat warm and quiet. Take a sample of the
substance if you know what it is, or note the name, so that an antidote can
be found if there is one available. Your vet will have access to the
national poison hotline.
If your cat comes home
covered in motor oil, it is important to get the oil out of the coat
immediately, as it can poison your cats digestive system and result in
kidney damage. Use mild household detergent in lots warm water, and seek
veterinary advice if in difficulty.
harder to detect than cuts, though you will suspect their presence if your
cat becomes unusually unhappy about you touching a certain spot. Similar
signs are apparent if an abscess is developing on the site. As with humans
some bruises come to the surface rapidly, where as deep bruising can take
days to come to the surface. If in any doubt seek professional advice.
Bruises and contusions respond very well to the application of witch-hazel.
Although such a remedy can be taken orally in very limited doses, it is
better to prevent the cat from licking off any application by putting a
medical collar around the neck.
The cat may limp
and resort to excessive washing of the spot. If you think something is no
right, first examine the paw to see if there is a splinter or a thorn in it
and remove it with tweezers if possible. Disinfect the area, and keep an eye
on your cat. Confine the cat indoors, and if there is no improvement take it
to the vet.
If the cat has a strain,
the cat will aggravate the problem, as they will not rest on their own
accord and this will prevent it from healing, so try to keep your cat as
sedentary as possible until it improves.
Cats attracted by
cooking smells may jump on to cooking areas and may be scalded by
spilled hot liquid. A cat may also receive burns internally and externally
if it comes into contact with any of the lethal chemicals that can be found
in the house and garden.
When the skin is burned
body fluids rush to the affected area and a blister forms protecting the
tissue underneath. Do not burst the blister as the fluid in it helps to
prevent infection. You can bathe the burn with ice-cold water until all heat
has been taken out of the area. Call the vet.
You can apply a sterile,
dry dressing loosely over the burn to keep out infection. Do not apply
greasy substances - as this would be like putting butter into a frying pan.