Having a cat means a lot of purrs, meows, and head butts but it can also mean being prepared for unfortunate and sometimes unforeseeable accidents. When traveling or just at home, your cat may find him/herself in some sticky situations and it’ll be up to you to give comfort, safety, and ease any pain until you get to a vet. If you’re lucky enough you’ll be able to get your cat to the vet immediately but if you are traveling, finding the emergency vet can be tricky and may be in another town or miles away. Until you can get there, there are some things you can do.
Emergency Situations and What to do
Skunk! – It happens. Your cat strolls outside into the yard and comes face to face with a skunk. The skunk freaks and sprays your cat. What do you do? First, make sure your cat has not been bitten or injured as skunks can carry rabies. Yes, your cat will smell horrible and you’ll be slightly grossed out to pick her up and bring her inside but you’ll have to or at least bring her into the garage.
Your cat will need a bath. You’ll need help and old clothes that you don’t care about. Get some dishwashing soap,like Dawn, tomato juice, towels, cat safe shampoo, and a tub or basin for washing your cat. Fill the tub with three to four inches of water, put your cat into the water, wet her down, soap her up with the dishwashing soap to break up the oils from the skunk spray, rinse with clean water (you may need two basins – one with clean water, one with the cat in it), pour tomato juice onto the cat and massage it in for about 5 to 10 minutes, rinse, and then shampoo with the cat shampoo, let that sit for another 5 minutes, rinse. Once your cat is completely rinsed, lift her out and wrap her in towels and place her in a warm dry place. Some of the smell may not be completely gone and her eyes might be irritated. Hopefully you’ve also been able to get in touch with the local vet and can bring her there shortly afterwards to make sure she’s ok.
Broken Bone – Before you get your cat to the vet, control its bleeding and confine its movement before you get to the hospital. Approach your cat slowly as s/he may be freaked and scared. If the fracture is closed, place the cat in a carrier to confine movement and get to the emergency vet as soon as possible. If the fracture or broken limb also has an open wound, rinse the wound with clean water. Don’t use any antiseptics or peroxide to clean the wounds. Wrap the leg with a clean cloth or sterile bandage to control bleeding. Then place your cat into a carrier and head to vet.
Choking – First, open your cats mouth by pressing either side of the jaw, and look to see if the object is there. Don’t tilt your cat’s head back. If you see something obvious, use tweezers to get it out but you’ll need help. Be careful since your cat may freak and try to bite you. Also, you might accidentally push the object further down. If your cat is choking on food (my cat has been known to do this) hold your cat upside down and press on its chest with both hands and pat on the back. A vet visit is, of course, needed afterwards to make sure your cat’s throat is ok and there’s no lacerations.
Electric Shock – Cats and kittens will sometimes chew on electric cords. It’s not common but it does happen. In this situation, do not touch your cat, but unplug the cord and if your cat is breathing, pick her up and bring to her a vet asap. If there are burn marks around the lips you can treat them with a little hydrogen peroxide but that’s it. Make sure to unplug the cord before touching your cat or you could get chocked too. If your cat isn’t breathing, perform CPR and get your cat to the nearest emergency vet as soon as you can.
Heatstroke – Cats who suffer heatstroke need treatment as soon as possible. Get your cat into a cool bath and apply a ice pack to your cat’s head that will help bring the temperature back down. Once you’ve gotten in touch with your vet, take the cat and place her into a carrier with the ice pack placed under her head and a towel that is soaked in cool water under her body.
Image from Simplycatbreeds.org