10 Cat Emergencies to Never Treat at Home

Seizures: These may affect just one area of the body or be more generalized. The cat may lose urinary and/or fecal control. If the seizure is over in a few minutes, contact your veterinarian for advice. Seizures that last more than five minutes require immediate veterinary attention.

Sudden loss of mobility in the hind limbs: In some cases, the rear paw pads may feel cooler or can appear blue-gray in color compared to the front paw pads. This can be an extremely painful condition for cats, and it calls for a trip to the veterinarian ASAP.

Loss of appetite: Although dogs can go for a day or two without eating, cats really shouldn't. When their body is deprived of food, cats can develop a condition called hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease, which can be extremely serious. If your cat hasn't shown any interest in food for two days, schedule a veterinary appointment.

Keep a First Aid Kit Handy

When planning for an emergency, the most important items to have on hand are the phone numbers for your regular veterinary clinic, the nearest emergency veterinary clinic and poison control center. Never attempt to treat your cat yourself without first discussing the situation with a veterinarian. Should your veterinarian advise immediate on-site treatment (which she will talk you through over the phone), it can be helpful to have a first aid kit at the ready. Your first aid kit should include the following:

  • Rectal thermometer (normal temperature for a cat is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Petroleum jelly (you can use this to lubricate the rectal thermometer)
  • Scissors with rounded ends
  • Tweezers
  • Sterile gauze pads and rolls
  • Self-adhesive bandage (such as Vet Wrap)
  • Sterile saline solution
  • Instant cold compress or ice pack
  • Eyedropper
  • Over-the-counter antiseptic ointment
  • Pen light
  • Towel
  • Disposable gloves
  • Styptic powder


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