First Aid for Cats


First Aid for Cats

Medical emergencies occur suddenly and without warning. It is important for all cat owners to have a basic understanding of common veterinary medical emergencies and basic first aid for their pet. While no one can be prepared for all emergencies, there are some simple guidelines you should follow and things to look for if your cat seems ill or is involved in an accident. For a general overview of what constitutes an emergency, and how to handle common crisis situations, see the handout: “Emergencies in Cats”.

Read also: cat health: signs of a healthy cat


What is first aid?

First aid is initial treatment given in a medical emergency. Its purpose is to:

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  • preserve life
  • reduce pain and discomfort
  • minimize any risk of permanent disability or disfigurement

In an emergency, what should I do first?


1. Keep calm and assess the scene for any additional threats to you or your pet. This is important for everyone’s safety.

2. Keep your cat warm (except in heat stroke), as quiet as possible, and keep movement to a minimum, especially if there is possible trauma, broken limbs, or any neurological symptoms.

3. Contact your veterinary hospital, inform them of the situation and get specific first aid advice.

4. To safely move or transport an injured cat, use a suitable container such as a strong cardboard box or a cat carrier (remove the top for easy and safe access to the carrier; DO NOT push an injured cat through the small door or opening). Place a blanket or thick towel over the patient.

5. Get to the veterinary hospital as soon as possible.

Read also: Rules of pet ettiquette

Are there any restraint tips that might be useful?

The majority of animals you will encounter will be panicked, disoriented, or injured. The stress of an emergency can cause an otherwise friendly animal to act aggressively. Although most panicky animals respond to a calm, soothing voice, use caution when approaching or touching any injured animal.

Muzzles can be difficult to put onto a cat, due to the shape of most cats’ faces. There are specific muzzles designed for use in cats, but they are rarely handy when an emergency strikes. You can drape a towel over the cat’s head to provide some measure of protection.

You can wrap the body of a frightened or unmanageable cat in a blanket or towel. Do not constrict the trachea or airway. If possible, leave the head exposed, unless the cat is very aggressive. Use caution if you are suspicious of a fractured bone or spinal injury.


If you are suspicious of a spinal injury lay the cat in a large box.

By Ryan Llera,

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