Animal bites
Cats are at risk from bites by other cats, and by rats. If you suspect your cat has been bitten by another cat, clip the fur away from around the bite and clean the wound thoroughly with saline solution, followed by diluted antiseptic lotion. Dry the area, then apply a liberal dusting of antiseptic wound powder. Repeat twice daily – it is important the wound is kept clean, or it may fester, become infected and result in an abscess. Cat bites almost always end up infected if they are not treated adequately.

Rat bites are especially dangerous, as these rodents carry many harmful diseases. Treat immediately as for cat bites, then take your pet to a vet who may administer an antibiotic injection and prescribe an antibiotic dusting powder for the wound.

Snake bites
It is extremely important to keep the injured cat as calm as possible and prevent him from running around, or even making any movements, as this will speed up the circulation of the venom around his body. Try to remain as calm as possible and seek immediate veterinary attention.

Pull the cat out of the water, and hold him upside down if possible to drain the water from his lungs. Then lay him flat and rub his body fairly vigorously to promote respiration. If he is not breathing, commence artificial respiration and summon veterinary help as soon as possible.

Foreign bodies
In most cases, it is best to leave the removal of foreign bodies lodged in an area of the cat’s body to a vet. If you have not done a veterinary first-aid course, bandaging is best left to vets and veterinary nurses, since incorrect application can do more harm than good by restricting blood circulation. Ask your vet clinic to show you what different bandages are used for, and how to apply them correctly.

Choking warrants immediate action: taking the cat to a vet will waste time and may result in death from asphyxiation. Securely wrap the cat in thick material and open his mouth to see if there is anything stuck in his throat. The main worry is that, in trying to remove a foreign object, you will push it further down the throat and make matters worse. If you have a helper, ask them to hold his mouth open while you remove the blockage.

If whatever is blocking the airway is wedged in place, do not try to pull it, or you may cause more damage. Instead, with the cat on the floor in front of you but facing away from you, sit down, take the cat’s hind legs and lift them to your knees, and hold the legs between your knees. Place one hand on either side of the chest and squeeze using jerky movements, to try to make the cat ‘cough’. Squeeze about four or five times and the cat should cough out the object. Let your cat rest, then take him for a veterinary check-up. If the object does not come out, take the cat to the vet immediately.

Check for foreign objects lodged in a limb or paw, and also for broken bones. Seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.

Fits and convulsions
Limit how far the cat can move -put him in a large, well-padded cardboard box. Seek veterinary attention urgently. Seizures are extremely serious and potentially life-threatening.

Shock following an accident, injury or terrifying experience causes an acute fall in blood pressure and is life-threatening. Signs of shock include cool skin, pale lips and gums due to a lack of blood circulation, faint, rapid pulse and staring but unseeing eyes. Keep the cat quiet and warm by wrapping him in a space blanket or equivalent, and promote blood circulation by gently but firmly massaging his body, taking care not to aggravate any injuries in doing so. Seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.

Bleeding wounds
Most cuts and lacerations heal on their own fairly quickly; treatment consists simply of keeping them clean with cotton wool dampened with saline solution. Initial bleeding, which may be profuse, helps clean the wound of debris, thus lessening the possibility of infection. Seek veterinary attention immediately, however, if:-

-the wound is spouting bright red arterial blood in jets.
-there is a constant flow of dark red venous blood that refuses to cease.
-the wound is deep or serious enough to cause concern, as sutures may be required.
-gunshot wounds are suspected.
-the skin has been punctured – these wounds appear tiny on the surface, but can be quite deep and are thus particularly prone to becoming infected. Never attempt to remove a foreign object from such a wound as this may aggravate the injury and/or allow large amounts of bleeding to occur while it is in place, the object acts as a plug and maybe preventing massive blood loss.
-cuts affect toes or a limb, as tendon damage may have occurred.

Veterinary Surgeon, London at Blue Cross UK | + posts

A London based Veterinary surgeon, Sanja is also an avid writer and pet advocate.