Home: First Aid For Cats

First Aid For Cats
Tips About First Aid For Cats

First aid for cats requires having a small set of medical supplies, paying attention to your cat, applying basic medical skills and first and foremost, keeping your cool. Many things can happen to your cat and knowing how to respond to the situation can make the difference between life and death.

In this article I cover the basics. Get hold of a good veterinary first-aid book to keep on hand. In some communities you can even take a class on a first-aid for pets.

Whether your cat is an indoor or outdoor cat (or both) odds are at some point in time something is going to cause him injury. In an emergency it's a good idea to have already thought through your first aid for cats plan.

First, take consideration of your own safety. After all you can't help your cat if you're injured. If you can enlist the help of a human partner, do so.

Confine his movements...

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The first order of business is to get your cat in a position where you can comfortably control his movement and assess his situation. Initially your reaction may be to grab hold of Sammy with a vice-grip around his neck, arms or legs. This approach will increase his fear and anxiety level and cause him to struggle.

Try my standard method for confining my cat's legs and claws.

Take a large towel and wrap it around your cat making sure that you have his legs and feet and claws encased within this wrap. A pillowcase with the corner cut out works well too. Just drop the pillowcase over his head adjusting it so that his is head sticking out of the pillow corner. Use the rest of the case to confine and control his movement.

If this is an open wound, it may be a bite or a scratch. If the blood is still flowing, use a clean damp cloth to gently apply pressure until the bleeding has stopped. Then apply a broad spectrum top antibiotic and call your vet.

Sometimes first aid for cats means not treating the wound. If the wound has clotted, do not try cleaning it. You could restart the flow of blood. Do NOT use alcohol or peroxide on an open wound. This causes more pain and make it more difficult to stop the bleeding. If the wound is deep or long and you can't seem to get control the bleeding continue to apply pressure with a clean cloth and get your cat to the vet immediately. Do not use a tourniquet as you may cause serious damage to life and limb.

You may not notice that your cat has experienced a wound right away. You may discover it when your grooming your cat and notice a scab. The scab may break open and present you with a smelly gob of puss. This is what is known as an abscess. Most abscesses are caused by a scratch or bite from another animal—cat or otherwise.


One of the incredible things about cats is that they are very flexible. They can, however, break bones just like the rest of us. If your cat has been hit by a car, bicycle, fallen out of a tree, off the roof or even been stepped on by Grandpa, get him into your vet for x-Rays. It doesn't matter if he's still walking on all fours, you are better safe than sorry. Wrap him in your first aid for cats pillowcase or towel constraints, place him in a carrier if possible and get to the vet.

Again, it may help to have somebody else do the driving for you. It's a must to have another person drive if you can't get you cat in a pet carrier. An injured cat in the car with you at the wheel is a recipe for disaster.

A broken bone usually isn't a fatal sentence. Your vet can us pens, screws, plates, splints and casts to align the bone and promote quick healing.

Finally, when you and your family are working on your disaster preparedness plan, don't forget to include a plan for the family pets. During a disaster you need all of your wits and strength you can muster. Having a plan in place for your pets and children can mean the difference between rapid recovery and a lifetime of anxiety and regret. 

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