Cat first aid

Worried your cat may be sick or injured? Take a look at our guide on cat first aid.

Accidents and emergencies

If you suspect your cat is ill or injured, you may begin to get worried. From burns and scalds to suspected poisoning and even road traffic accidents, the best response to any scenario is usually to call your vet for advice. If you're concerned about your pet and wondering whether to give your vet a call, take a look at our tips to ensure they are safe and well. It is worth mentioning that you should never give your cat medicines intended for human consumption, as this could harm them.

Common injuries

There are several common injuries or illnesses that can benefit from basic first aid. For the following:

  • Bleeding: Keep you cat calm and put on a tight bandage to stem blood flow. Press a pad firmly on the wound and go to the vet straight away
  • Broken bones and tail injuries: Deal with any serious bleeding and put your cat in a well-padded carrier before visiting the vet
  • Burns and scalds: Run cold water over the burn or at least five minutes before seeing your vet. Don't apply any creams or treatments and ensure you keep your cat warm and calm
  • Poisoning: If you can, take the plant or item that you suspect has poisoned your cat with you to the vet
  • Fits: Do not try and hold your cat - instead, darken the room and reduce noise. Remove any items that may cause accidents and contact your vet
  • Heatstroke: Although heatstroke is rare, it might occur if a cat has been trapped in a hot space for a considerable amount of time. In this case, wet their coat with tepid water and put your cat somewhere cool before phoning your vet
  • Stings: Pull out the sting, bathe the area in water and apply a solution of bicarbonate of soda (bee sting) or diluted vinegar (wasp). Apply ice to reduce heat

When to call the vet

Although it can often be tricky to decide whether the situation is an emergency, you'll need to monitor your cat's behaviour to ensure they are safe and well.

If your cat displays any of the following behaviour, it is recommended that you call the vet immediately.
  • your cat is weak or dull
  • your cat has difficulty breathing
  • your cat appears to be in pain or discomfort
  • your cat has difficulty with balance
  • your cat has difficulty urinating or defecating

Remember to keep calm, approaching your cat carefully and slowly. A sick cat has the potential to lash out if they feel threatened. For more advice on common cat illnesses, take a look at our guide.

Related blog posts

Feline first aid FAQs - Want to brush up on your feline first aid? Have a read of this blog post, summarising some of Cats Protection vet Vanessa Howie’s answers to our recent live first aid Q&A on Facebook.

Feline first aid FAQs

Poisoning infographic - click to enlarge

Poisoning infographic

Related topics

Common cat illnesses - Topic

Finding a vet - Topic

Photo credit

Banner image - Sue Dobbs - CP Bridgend