As we all know, accidents happen. Oftentimes when people think of a pet needing emergency care, they think of a dog eating something he shouldn’t have or trying to jump over a fence and cutting himself. They do not often think of cats needing emergency care. Cats do get themselves into situations where accidents happen; they are just a bit sneakier about it than dogs. A cat is just as likely to need emergency care as a dog. Knowing the signs and having a plan of action is important to helping your cat in an emergency.
Cats can get themselves into plenty of sticky situations. My cat sister Tory is pretty trouble free now in her senior years, but I hear stories of when she was younger and mischievous. Cats love to jump and climb, which puts them at risk for falls. They also love to explore the world with their mouths (just like dogs) and may ingest a harmful substance. Bug bites, overexposure to heat or cold, or choking on an object are also common reasons cats need emergency care.
You may catch your cat in the act of the trauma, or you may not see the act but just the symptoms. Signs that a cat is in need of emergency care include:
• Excessive bleeding
• Loss of consciousness
• Difficulty or rapid breathing
• Rapid or weak pulse
• Difficulty standing or moving
• Inability to move
• A change in body temperature
• Pale gums
If your cat exhibits any of these signs, seek veterinary help immediately. If it’s during business hours, call your primary veterinarian and explain the situation. They will give you guidelines on how to care for your pet in route to the vet office. But sometimes accidents happen when the vet is closed. So next time you speak to your veterinarian, ask for the name and number of a good 24-hour emergency clinic near you. Keep the name of the office, address and phone number in an easily accessible place, like saved on your cell phone or taped onto your cat carrier.
Some cats, like Tory, are lucky and never need emergency care. But some cats are not as lucky. That’s why it’s always a good idea to know the signs of trauma and have a plan of action in place. It’s never a bad idea to plan ahead for the “just in case”.