Clinical emergencies happen suddenly and without preamble. For information on cat first aid, you can read this blog.
Some emergencies are very apparent, while others might first escape your notice. While no person can be ready for all emergencies, there is some basic knowledge that will be helpful to you as a pet owner. Knowing the clinical signs to tell whether your cat is sick or involved in an accident is an edge in critical moments.
Urinary System Blockage
If you notice your cat having difficulty peeing in the litter box, it may be struggling with cystitis (inflammation of the bladder) or bladder stones. These can obstruct the flow of pee and stop the bladder from emptying. Call your vet instantly if these signs happen, as this causes agonizing pain and can be dangerous for your cat.
Cats generally breathe with their noses, so if you notice them breathing with their mouths open or panting, this is a cause for concern, and they need to be examined swiftly. Heatstroke can cause your cat to breathe with difficulty. Labored breathing is known as dyspnea, while rapid breathing is called tachypnea. Breathing difficulties can impact cats of any breed or age, and the problem can quickly escalate, so call your veterinarian asap if you see the following:
- Any changes in breathing patterns or relentless breathlessness
- Open-mouthed panting lasting more than a minute
Road Accidents and Traumatic Injuries
These types of accidents need veterinary attention immediately. Internal injuries and bleeding can occur without apparent outside indications, which can be very dangerous for your cat.
Since felines are very good at the art of escaping, secure your cat to the best of your abilities. If you suspect your cat has a busted leg or a head injury, you should carefully put your cat in a towel or blanket. Then, place the cat in a box for transportation to the emergency vet.
Feline Aortic Thromboembolism (FATE)
This is a severe condition where an embolism (blocked artery caused by a blood clot or air bubbles) obstructs a significant blood vessel supplying the back legs.
Signs to look out for:
- Abrupt loss of the capacity to use one or both back legs
- Crying out and seems to be suffering.
Cat owners often confuse embolism with roadway accidents. Regrettably, this problem is not treatable for most cats, and euthanasia might be the kindest pathway for your cat. Call your vet immediately.
Infected Injuries and Bite Wounds
These usually appear as a swelling around the face, head, or tail's base. They may burst, and a brownish or bloody liquid will come out. You must help drain these injuries by routinely cleansing the area with warm, slightly salty water and a cotton ball. Felines with infected wounds might require antibiotics, and you must look for veterinary attention and guidance.
Felines can have fevers due to infections. Feverish kittens may be dull or tired and reluctant to drink and eat. Bear in mind that cats can have a high temperature without being warm to the touch. Contact your vet for additional advice.
Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are dangerous to cats if ingested. A vet should give painkillers guidance.
There are plants and flowers in your home that are poisonous to cats. Permethrin, an insecticide commonly seen as an over-the-counter treatment for fleas, is highly harmful to felines. You can read our previous blog to know more about poison dangers to cats.
Diarrhea and Vomiting
Call your veterinary care provider straight away if you notice your cat vomit more than once, especially if it cannot keep its water down. It's also an emergency if you see blood or foreign objects in their vomit or feces or if you witness your cat eat something it should not.
Seizures and Fits
Epilepsy is perhaps the number one cause of seizures in cats. Signs of attacks are:
- Unmanageable drinking
- Loss of consciousness
- Paddling with the legs
- Possible loss of bowel or urinary control
If your cat is epileptic, not every seizure is an emergency. If your feline has multiple episodes within a 24-hour duration or an attack lasts longer than five minutes, your vet needs to know and see your cat. If this is your cat's first seizure, contact your veterinarian for recommendations and book a consultation for a check-up.
Eye issues can worsen rapidly and, if left unattended, can result in blindness or the removal of the infected eye. Signs include redness of the eye, discharge, excessive tear production, swelling, scrunching up or shutting eyes, the appearance of the nictitating membrane (third eyelid), and constant pawing of the eyes. If it is just a matter of a foreign body in the eye or a surface scrape on the cornea, timely vet intervention can stop minor trouble from worsening.
Stings and Allergic Reactions
Stings are more common cat emergencies in the summer months, but they can happen any time of year. You may be able to notice swelling around the face or hives that are easily noticeable on the tummy. These can be pretty scratchy. Extreme allergic reactions can also lead to respiratory problems because the passages can swell. Other allergic reaction symptoms include considerable body swelling, diarrhea, and shock. Multiple stings likely cause severe reactions. If you see signs of discomfort or distress in your cat, please contact your vet straight away.
A collapse is defined as a loss of energy, causing your cat to drop and be unable to stand up. Possible reasons may be heart disease, vascular (capillary) condition, bleeding (internal or exterior blood loss), anemia, respiratory (lung) illness, neurological (brain/spinal cord) problems, muscle mass disease, poisoning, and ingested medications. If your cat collapses, immediate vet attention is needed as there can be a life-threatening reason.
When In Doubt, Call The Emergency Vet
If it seems like your cat is in a situation that can not wait, call the emergency vet right away. They will give you guidelines for bringing in your cat and help you understand what to expect when you show up. We hope that after reading, you gain more knowledge and are better equipped to decide if your cat needs emergency vet care. By knowing the life-threatening signs and symptoms of a medical emergency, you may be able to make that choice much more quickly and save your cat's life.