Medical emergencies happen at random when we least expect them. Our previous cats lived an indoor/outdoor life and as a result were exposed to greater dangers and accidents. Angel Rose came home one evening with a broken leg, Angel Bowie was run over by a car on our steep downhill driveway, Angel Ginger went fishing by the creek and came back with a fish hook lodged firmly in his mouth, Angel Onyx suffered tick paralysis after an adventure in the surrounding bushland. They all survived, but these were stressful times.
In our current feline family, the most recent incident involved a case of redirected aggression when Charlie and Max turned on each other after being spooked by a new neighbourhood cat outside the sunroom window. Their attacks were so ferocious; that Max ending up with a bleeding cut on his leg and Charlie who received minor bites and scratches was left shaking and in shock.
In all of these circumstances, and whenever your cat is involved in an accident or suddenly becomes ill, it is helpful to have a basic understanding of first aid – in fact, it may save your cat’s life.
Remember, first aid is not an alternative to seeking veterinary attention. Rather, it is initial ‘first response’ treatment that you can administer at home to reduce pain and discomfort. In case of serious illness or accidents, basic first aid can keep your cat alive until you can get to your emergency or local vet.
What to do First!
- Ensure the safety of yourself and others – injured animals are often scared and in pain and they may try to bite or scratch.
- Keep calm – often easier said that done but by remaining calm you’ll think more clearly and you’ll reassure your cat too. Cats are sensitive creatures, so if you panic they are likely to as well.
- Call your veterinarian, give them an overview of the situation, explain your cat’s symptoms and seek specific first aid advice.
- Get your cat ready for transport to the vet. Use a towel or blanket to pick up your cat, and place them inside a secure carrier or strong cardboard box. Keep your cat warm to avoid shock, and minimise movement – your cat will naturally lay down in a position that causes them the least pain.
Do You Know Your Vet’s Phone Number?
Whenever, we have a pet emergency it’s nearly always at the weekend, when our local vet is closed and we have to travel further to the emergency vet clinic.
I have our vet’s details recorded in my mobile phone, they are a 20 minute drive away. I also have the number of the closest vet surgery to home (about 5 mins away), and full details of the after-hours emergency vet clinic – this includes their phone number and physical address, so that I can determine the quickest route in an emergency situation (it’s a 40 minute drive).
Don’t have a mobile phone? Grab a couple of business cards from your vet clinic – stick one in your purse or wallet and the other on the fridge.
The Importance of Writing Things Down
When we’re stressed, we forget things. So, when you make that first call to the vet – write things down so you are clear on any initial first aid instructions.
Later, when you are at the vet clinic with your cat, ask them to clearly write down what you need to do, what signs you need to watch out for during recovery, or any medication details. Alternatively, make your own notes so that you can easily recall important information related to your cat’s treatment.
If you don’t have pen and paper handy, grab your mobile phone and use one of the notes apps or open a new email. The important thing is that you have clear and concise notes to aid your memory.
Do You Have a First Aid Kit?
When Charlie and Max recently attacked each other leaving Max with a bleeding cut on his leg, having a basic knowledge of first aid was definitely helpful. Max’s injury was minor so I was able to stop the bleeding fairly quickly using a cotton ball and by applying pressure. On this occasion, we didn’t need to seek veterinary attention but it reinforced for me the importance of being prepared.
You can create your own pet first aid kit, but it’s often easier to buy a ready-made first aid kit from a reputable supplier, such as Creature Clinic’s Pet First Aid Kit for Small Dogs and Cats.
Designed by Veterinarian Dr Joanna Paul, this pet first aid kit includes key items for canine and feline emergences. It also includes a pet first aid manual which provides simple, step-by-step instructions for how (and when) to perform pet cardiopulmonary cerebral resuscitation (CPCR), how to assess your pet’s vital signs, and advice on managing common pet emergencies.
With luck you’ll never have to use a pet first aid kit, but it’s always a smart idea to be prepared.
Do you have a pet first aid kit in your home? Have you ever needed to use it? Please share your stories below.
DISCLOSURE: We received a complimentary First Aid Kit for Small Dogs and Cats from Creature Clinic for review. Our opinions and reviews of products and services are never influenced by monetary or other compensation we may receive. We only recommend products we believe are relevant to our readers.