Their great agility and natural cautiousness usually protect the domestic cat from injury, but when coupled with a natural curiosity and adventurous streak… accidents do happen.
Cats tend to become more accident-prone as they age, as their hearing becomes less sensitive in warning them of danger, their reflexes slow and their bodies lose their agility.
Treating Minor Cat Injuries
Apply Gentle direct pressure using a dampened clean pad of cotton material, before cleaning them. Where arterial or venous bleeding is present, apply indirect pressure not on the wound itself to the appropriate artery or vein if you can feel it under the skin on the heart side of the wound; otherwise, press a cotton pad over the wound to help stem the flow of blood. Elevating the injury, if possible, will enable gravity to help reduce the blood flow.
These can be detected by abnormal swelling of the abdomen; bleeding from the mouth, nose, ears, eyes, sex organs not to be confused with a queen’s natural estrus or anus; bloodstained urine and/or faeces; shock; or signs of bruising on the skin. Seek veterinary attention immediately.
Causes of Serious Injuries in Cats
The most common serious injury cats are likely to experience involves motor vehicles. Despite their nimbleness and often skill at avoiding traffic, in the city their sheer volume of traffic makes collisions between cats and cars inevitable… and in the country… the lack of traffic volume can result in a cat being caught unawares when a car does come along.
Sadly but also mercifully, a collision between a cat and car is usually immediately fatal, but a wounded cat that survives such an accident is going to need veterinary treatment and fast.
Firstly, take care of your own safety. Rushing out onto the road to recover and injured cat without first looking for cars might seem like a no brainer but in the heat of the moment, people tend to forget this step.
Next, be aware and injured cat is likely to protest being moved as a result of the pain and may lash out with claws and teeth. Best to move them with the aid of a thick towel or a blanket to protect yourself from this natural reaction.
An injured cat may try to run from the pain and place themselves in more harm, but running back into traffic or hiding under a house thus preventing an urgent trip to the vet. Gently but firmly restrain an injured cat that is trying to make its escape.
Your injured cat needs to be placed in a cat box, or a cardboard box secured with tape in order to get them safely to the vet. Best to always have a cat box on hand, but if you don’t have one find a cardboard box will suffice. Your cat is likely in shock, may have broken bones and internal injuries so it needs to go to the vet straight away. Even if your cat seems to only be slightly injured, best to take them to the vet as they may have internal injuries that will get worse over time, and in any case, they will already be in shock.
Other causes of Injuries in Cats
Falls from Height
Cats are generally very careful with heights, and will safely navigate a balcony or rooftop with no real danger. But add a distraction into the mix such as a bird, a loud noise, and they can lose concentration and fall.
A cat that falls less than 6 metres is likely to do so with little more than hurt pride and a little bruising, but over that height and expect broken paws, perhaps internal injuries and certainly shock. Cats can survive falls from as high as 15 metres or more but generally do so with severe injuries.
Are oh so fun to play with… and oh so dangerous as well. Kittens playing with cables should be very much discouraged. As they grow, their teeth and claws will easily penetrate the cable and it may result in severe electrical burns or death.
If you find a cat that has been electrocuted, firstly assume the current is still live, and that if you touch them you will be electrocuted too. Isolate the current by switching it off at the powerpoint of the power board. Don’t grab the cable – it may well be live and your hand will involuntarily clasp it.
Fights with other Animals
Such injuries can range from very minor, to life-threatening. All fight wounds are likely to get infected due to the bacteria present on all animals’ teeth and claws. If wounds are minor, clean them and monitor. Severe injuries can not only abscess… they can damage the lymphatics system so your cat’s extremities are continually swollen. These will require vet treatment.
Don’t apply antiseptic ointment to a cats wounds as it will ingest it.
More serious wounds that require stitching will, of course, require a trip to the vet.