Simple first aid for cats and advice on looking after your cat or kitten
First aid kit for cats and kittens
If your cat is injured, then it is best to seek medical attention from your vet.
Phone your vet for immediate advice on whether to take your cat to the vet or treat at home.
Many pet insurers have a free helpline for advice which may also helpful.
Keep your pet warm and in a safe place.
If your pet is unwell always seek advice from your vet as soon as possible.
What to keep at home – first aid for cats
Minor injuries in cats
A clean blanket
If you need to give first aid to your cat it can be easier to wrap your cat in a blanket, as no matter how docile and friendly, if hurt the cat may be scared and so be unwilling to cooperate.
Minor cuts and abrasions
Minor cuts and abrasions should be cleaned as soon as possible to avoid the risk of infection.
For small cuts, stings and general care you can help your cat by knowing some simple and safe remedies.
Cleaning cuts – saline solution
Use a simple saline (salt solution) – 1 teaspoon of salt to 500ml of water. Cooled boiled water is ideal. This saline solution is as good as any antiseptic cream or lotion.
This solution can also be used to clean your cat’s ears, though you should never poke or push
near the ear canal.
If you use cotton wool dampen it first otherwise it will stick to the wound.
Re-hydration fluid for a cat
Re-hydration fluid for a cat who has been ill can be made from one litre of warm water mixed with 1 teaspoon of table salt and 1 tablespoon of glucose powder (available from your pharmacist).
Tweezers- to remove foreign bodies. These should have rounded points so avoid injuring your cat. Do not attempt to remove ticks with tweezers.
Surgical spirit can be used to remove ticks.
Ticks can look like swollen grains of rice and may be difficult to spot in long fur.
The most common tick to affect cats is the sheep tick. Ticks carry harmful bacteria and a range of diseases. Ticks may be caught from other cats and dogs or from vegetation which is infested with ticks.
Ticks attach themselves by their mouthparts to feed on your cat and so care must be taken to ensure the mouthparts are completely removed otherwise infection can occur.
Never pull a tick out.
Apply surgical spirit to the tick itself by painting it on with a small brush (a child’s paintbrush works well). This should kill the tick and it should fall off within 24 hours. You can alternately take your cat to the vet where the tick can be removed using specialist forceps. If there are many ticks, then you should seek medical care from your vet.
Some flea treatments give protection against ticks. Ask your vet to recommend a reputable product to use on your cat.
Fleas bite your cat to feed on the blood. They secrete saliva to stop the blood clotting.
A nasty flea infestation can cause anaemia, especially in small kittens. Some cats are also allergies to the saliva from the fleas, this is called ‘flea allergic dermatitis’. Regular treatment with a recommended product (ask your vet) can prevent fleas.
Wash your cats bedding on a hot wash. You may also need to treat your carpet or home with a flea spray.
Fleas can become immune to some flea treatments so always check your cat for the evidence of fleas or flea dirt.
Eye injuries – never try to treat an eye injury yourself always seek help from your vet.
Dirty areas around the eye can be cleaned with saline solution or cooled, boiled water.
Your cats self-grooming can cause an accumulation of fur in a packed ball shape to form in the stomach; the cat may cough or vomit it up. Sometimes fur balls can cause a mild blockage in the cat’s intestine. If your cat has a long coat or has been moulting a lot a teaspoon of liquid paraffin may help to prevent blockages. Always seek advice from your vet.
Cats with long coats should be rushed daily to help prevent a build of loose fur and also to stop matting of the fur.
This may be due to a change in diet or bacterial infection. Occasional vomiting is normal, however if it is recurring you should seek medical assistance. Diabetes, liver problems, high worm infestations and blockages are some causes of vomiting.
It may just be down to your cat hunting or savaging food. Ensure your cat has clean water to drink and introduce a light diet as your pet improves.
Small portions of boiled chicken or scrambled egg may be given. If you are worried about your pet or your cat is not drinking do speak to your vet.
It is vital that your cat does not get dehydrated.
Sometimes your cat may eat grass to help an upset stomach and to induce vomiting.
Broken teeth must always be treated by your vet.
If your cat has had a fight with another cat and has been bitten these bites often get infected.
Clean the area with saline solution. You may need to snip away some fur (remember to dip your scissors, cotton wool in water first to stop them sticking to the fur), after cleaning apply some antiseptic cream to the wound. If it shows signs of infection speak to your vet.
Your cat may need an anti-biotic as cat bites can sometimes be serious – remember always check and get advice fr0m your vet.
Ensure your cat is regularly wormed and treated for fleas.
Keep up vaccinations and have your cat neutered; these cats are less antisocial and also suffer from less disease than full ‘toms’ and ‘queens’.
Charlie says “If your pet is unwell always seek advice from your vet as soon as possible.”