First aid measures can save your cat’s life. As a cat owner, you should therefore know the most important emergencies and how to react best. You can find out what these situations are and how to apply first aid to your cat here.
What is the purpose of first aid for cats?
As the name suggests, it is about being able to act quickly in an emergency. Often it is the half hour to the veterinary clinic that has to be bridged in order to save the cat’s life. If you manage to support your darling for that long, experts can take care of him afterwards.
What are the cat’s vital signs?
Check the vital signs when your cat is at rest and record the values in the animal profile. This will give you a good baseline to know if the values are elevated or depressed in an acute case. Check the vital signs even if your cat is not feeling well. The values in a healthy animal should be approximately as follows:
- Respiration: 20-40 breaths/minute at rest. Observe how often your pet’s chest rises per minute.
- Pulse: Heart rate 120-240. Find the femoral artery on the inner thigh with your index and middle fingers and measure how often you feel the throbbing per minute.
- Capillary filling time to check circulation (Lift the lip and press on the gums. Measure how long it takes for the mucosa to turn pink again. It should not take longer than 2 seconds)
- Mouth mucosa (pink = ok, pale = shock or anaemia, blue = lack of oxygen, grey = poisoning, yellow = liver problem)
- Skin elasticity (Carefully pull up the skin fold in the neck. This should retract immediately and not remain to rule out dehydration)
- Temperature: 38-39.3°C (insert the thermometer carefully into the anus)
What are the most common emergencies?
In any case, it is important to stay calm and not put yourself in danger. A cat that is in pain or shock may also bite its own owner. So take precautions, such as putting on a bite guard, to avoid being injured yourself and not being able to help.
- Bite injuries
- Heat shock
- Window fall
- Foreign body
- Road traffic accident
Even if you can’t immediately detect an external injury, your cat should be examined by a veterinarian immediately after such accidents. Internal injuries can otherwise be overlooked and have serious consequences. In shock, the cat may not show the pain, and only later may you notice changes in behaviour.
What immediate measures must be taken in an emergency?
- Secure the accident site and protect yourself
- Move the cat out of the danger zone if possible
- Check vital functions
- Stop heavy bleeding
- Notify veterinary hospital and follow instructions
- Gently place cat on board, crate or blanket for transport
- Take to veterinary clinic
How does resuscitation work in cats?
If you cannot detect a pulse, heartbeat or breathing, you should start resuscitation as soon as possible. Attention, this measure only applies to absolute cardiac arrest! Follow the veterinarian’s instructions.
- Position- stable side position: Lay the cat on its side so that it is lying on its right side. Make sure the surface is hard, e.g. a mattress is not suitable. The neck and head must be stretched out and the mouth open.
- Cardiac massage: Grasp the chest and place your thumb on the heart (approximately where the elbow is pointing when it is bent). Now begin to press down firmly (don’t be alarmed if ribs crack) and release the pressure. Repeat the pressure 10-15 times.
- Resuscitation: If possible, otherwise leave it at chest compressions. Keep your mouth shut to prevent the air from escaping. Place your mouth over both nostrils and exhale gently and firmly 1-2 times. The cat’s chest should rise. Then continue with chest compressions.
Stop resuscitation if the cat shows signs of life. After resuscitation, the cat must be taken to the vet!
There are some accident situations, but only rarely do you actually have to administer first aid to your cat. No matter what kind of accident it is, always have your pet checked by a vet to rule out injuries and not put its life in danger unnecessarily. If your cat shows no signs of life, it must be resuscitated. As a cat owner, you should at least know about first aid for cats in order to be able to act in an emergency.