As you have already known, accidents can happen to anybody and anywhere. Unfortunately, that includes your beloved kitty. Therefore, it is crucial to be prepared and decide how to handle cat health in incident emergencies and instantly react when something bad happens.
Unfortunately, it can be challenging for many pet parents to make rational decisions when their cat's life is in danger, which can be fatal on some occasions.
That is why you should have an emergency plan just in case. Let's learn primary things to quickly determine the urgency level of probable situations and the direction of your actions.
What Is an Emergency?
The first thing you need to do when something unexpected happens to your kitty is to determine if that situation is an emergency.
It is crucial to decide if your pet needs urgent veterinary help in the middle of the night, or a few hours of waiting won't make a big difference.
Some emergencies are apparent, but it is not always the case with cats since they often give their best to hide pain and first symptoms of illness.
Even though you can't be absolutely prepared for every possible emergency, you can notice some subtle signs that will help you react in time.
The most common kitty emergencies include:
- Trauma, including a car accident
- High fever
- Breathing trouble
- Urinary blockage
- Frequent vomiting
- Swallowing a foreign body
The rule of thumb is to call the vet if you recognize signs of these conditions. Always follow your instinct and ask for help when you deeply feel that something is wrong.
When estimating that situation is highly urgent, don't hesitate to call an emergency veterinary hospital to get trained professional help.
What to Do?
First of all, don't panic since it won't help your furry friend. Assess the situation and decide the primary steps you need to take.
Make a call
Call the emergency vet, explain what has happened, and let them know that you are on your way. Always follow specific advice given, especially regarding the head and neck immobilizing when necessary.
Keep the cat warm and immobilized
Wrap the pet snugly in a blanket to keep it warm. Try to reduce its movements during transportation, particularly if you notice broken bone, neurological symptoms, or spinal injury.
First aid methods will help you stabilize your cat and give you time to transport it to the clinic safely.
In such a case, you should elevate the affected body part and pressure the wound to prevent the cat from bleeding.
Immediately place a finger in the cat's mouth to remove the blockage if possible. You can also sharply knock its chest (a modified Heimlich maneuver) to remove the object.
In some cases, you will need to perform CPR by blowing into the nostrils once in three seconds.
Where there are no heartbeats, include three quick chest compressions between each respiration.
Find a way to transport your cat safely. If possible, use a carrier or place it in a strong cardboard box when estimating that you will hurt it less that way.
Don't allow the stressful situation to worsen because of a lack of valuable information about your cat's health condition. You should have all the medical records prepared for emergency cases on time.
Unlike your vet, the one in an emergency clinic won’t know the kitty's medical history. You are the one who needs to let them know about the vaccination dates and current therapy.
Set up an account for your cat's electronic records, if there are any. Take care not to forget your username and password.
It is wise to note emergency vet numbers in the area where you live or the place you plan to go to on time.
Who to Call?
The right person to call when an incident emergency occurs and your vet is not available is - an emergency vet. There are a few possibilities, such as
Full-service vet clinic
Some big vet clinics provide emergency care along with routine care. They are often open during business hours but have on-call vets who help after hours when necessary.
24-hour emergency vet clinic
These clinics provide full routine services, but their specialists treat only severely ill and injured pets after consultation with your regular vet.
Nowadays, you can find such places across the US, and you should have their phone numbers noted and at your fingertips just in case. If you live in a large city, you can choose between a few.
Some of them even have an ambulance service for picking up injured pets.
After-hours vet hospital
Such a place doesn’t provide routine vet care but takes care only of urgent cases. You can expect it to work only when regular vets are closed, including after business hours, weekends, and holidays.
Their vets will stabilize and treat your cat when necessary and then let your vet follow-up care.
Common Mistakes When an Accident Occurs
Waiting too long
Don't wait a moment and take your cat to the vet as soon as you notice the first warning symptoms.
Giving human medications without consultations
The difference between you and your vet is that they have the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine diploma.
So, you should give your best to notice the problem and transport your kitty to the ambulance.
Then, let the expert diagnose the health condition and prescribe adequate therapy.
Avoiding routine visiting
The vet often detects some health problems and prevents complications when you regularly take your kitty to the clinic.
Please do it at least once a year for vaccination and routine check-ups.
Exposing the cat to harmful situations
Letting your kitty off-leash walk, especially if you live in a big city, can be highly dangerous. You can also expect an accident to happen if you miss to pet-proof your home or allow your cat unhindered access to a balcony.
Don’t learn it the hard way like I did, after my Clementine flew out through the terrace door and fell from the third floor to the concrete patio.
The best way to help your cat when an incident happens is to be prepared, concentrated, and react fast. Call a vet, give your kitty the first aid, take it to the clinic, and leave it to the professionals to solve the problem. Good luck!
My name is Jovanka Panic. I am a writer, translator, veterinarian, humanitarian, and passionate traveler. After playing with white bears and elephants in the Belgrade ZOO and dealing with the Rabies virus in the Institute Pasteur, I enjoy writing. My five beasts are my ultimate love, including three cats (Clementine, Josephine, and Sophia) and their 'mom' American Stafford Terrier (Malena).