A grey cat sits against a yellow background.

Life Happens; and there will be times our pets need emergency care, just like people. 

No matter what is happening, Long Animal Hospital is here to help in your time of need. Even though we have your back on the medicine part of things, your pet still needs your to recognize and act, though, when something is awry. Do you know how to help in the event of a cat emergency?

Calling It When You See It

Would you know a cat emergency when you saw it? Some things, like obvious trauma, are no-brainers. Other emergent situations are a little more subtle. 

Knowing which types of things qualify as a pet emergency can help you to act quickly and save precious time that may make the difference between a good and poor outcome. 

Cat emergencies that you should be aware of include:

Trauma – If something traumatic has happened to your pet, be it getting hit by a car, falling from a high distance, or getting slammed in a door, your cat needs to be examined right away. While things like bleeding or obvious broken bones tend to get attention, trauma can cause internal damage as well that may not be immediately obvious. 

Urinary obstruction – Cats, especially male cats, can suffer from urinary obstruction. This is a true emergency. Any cat who is straining to urinate, only urinating small amounts, seems painful, or has a tender belly should be examined immediately.

Toxin exposure – Cats are good at many things, but metabolizing toxins is not one of them. If your cat has been exposed to or ingested something potentially toxic, it is a true emergency. 

Dystocia – Most of the time cats are pretty self sufficient when it comes to having their babies, but any cat in active labor for more than 2 hours without producing a kitten may need help. 

Gastrointestinal problems – Vomiting is something cats do well, but vomiting more than twice in 12 hours, or diarrhea or inappetence that persists for more than 12 hours needs medical attention. 

Foreign body ingestion – If you know that your cat has ingested something potentially dangerous, intervention is necessary. Things like string, sharp objects, or toxic substance are cause for concern. 

Breathing trouble – Heavy breathing, open mouth breathing, noisy breathing, and bluish mucous membranes are never normal. Cats can be affected by things like asthma and pneumonia. Respiratory distress is always an emergency. 

Neurological changes – Sudden changes, such as loss of consciousness, drunken walking, vision loss, or seizures warrant immediate attention. 

Eye problems – Many things can affect the eyes. Some of them are pretty benign, but others can be quite serious and it can be quite difficult to tell the difference. An eye problem needs to be looked at as soon as possible. 

Pain – Of course, if your pet is in pain, it is an emergency. You don’t need to know where it’s coming from, that’s for our expert staff to figure out. 

Not sure if it’s an emergency? It is better safe than sorry, and it never hurts to call us and ask

Tips in a Cat Emergency

Once you have identified a cat emergency, it is up to you to get your pet the medical attention they need. Stay calm, take a deep breath, and remember:

  • Call us (if possible) to let us know that you are coming so that we can be prepared and coach you through any necessary triage.
  • Drive safely so that your pet can arrive to us for help.
  • Handle your cat calmly and carefully, especially if they are painful.
  • All animals can bite and scratch, and even the friendliest might do so if scared or in pain. A thick towel and/or thick gloves can help keep you safe.
  • Transport your cat secured in something like a crate to keep everyone safe. 
  • Take note of times of events and details of behaviors as this information may help us help your pet.
  • Bring along any packaging or information about potential toxins that your pet may have ingested. 
  • Grab any medications or supplements that your pet takes (it helps to have these in a centralized location with your pet’s medical records).
  • Bring a friend if possible for moral support. You may also need an extra hand.

Having a cat emergency is harrowing, but you can certainly help things to go more smoothly for your pet and set us up for success by acting quickly and efficiently. 

No matter what the problem is, no matter how small it may seem, we are here for you and want to help If you think that your pet is in trouble, don’t hesitate to ask for help. 

Helping pets is what Long Animal Hospital we do best!