By Veronika Broukal

Emergency care for cats


It's every cat owner's nightmare: your pet needs first aid. We describe what to do in these situations and tell you when to see a vet.

First of all, it should be emphasized that if you are unsure about the condition of your animal, you should of course immediately go to the nearest veterinary clinic or practice. Especially when it comes to your own pet, it is often difficult to assess the situation correctly. The conditions discussed in this article (almost) always require medical attention.

Superficial wounds

Whether from another animal, a piece of broken glass on the ground, or a fall, abrasions and other wounds can occur quickly. We tell you how you should behave.

Bite wound

These are not to be underestimated. Even if a bite wound appears harmless, it can very easily become infected due to the many germs in the animal's mouth. In this case, as with all other accidents, the first thing to do is to remain calm. Assess the wound and, if necessary, apply a sterile dressing for transport. A cat with a bite wound should definitely be taken to a veterinarian, otherwise there is a risk of bacterial sepsis and shock.


This type of injury also requires professional treatment. It is best to try to get your cat to a veterinary practice as soon as possible with the transport cage and cover the wound with sterile clothing. If there are foreign objects in the cut,remove these not itself. Here, too, a bacterial infection can develop under certain circumstances.


This means superficial abrasions in which neither the tissue nor underlying structures such as vessels were affected. Shave the fur around the wound and rinse with clean water, or even better, saline. You can then apply a clean bandage. Make sure your cat doesn't lick the wound or try to remove the band-aid. A funnel or body works great for this.


Unfortunately, it's easy for your cat to ingest something that may be harmful to them. This can be a food, but also a chemical. Poisoning is generally less common in cats than in dogs, but it does occur. The symptoms of poisoning are varied, some examples are listed below: Vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, increased salivation and shortness of breath. Of course, if your cat is poisoned, it will need treatment. Roughly speaking, in addition to the condition of the patient, veterinarians make a distinction here in terms of the time at which the poison was ingested. At under an hour, the cat can be made to vomit, hopefully removing the liquid or object. If this is exceeded, gastric lavage must usually be carried out in addition to infusions and other therapies.


This is also rare in cats, but animals in locked cars in particular can be affected. Heat stroke is a serious condition that can result in the death of the animal. You can tell whether your cat is suffering from this by a lack of responsiveness, dark red mucous membranes (e.g. on the lips) and possibly diarrhea and vomiting. As you can imagine, this condition needs treatment as soon as possible. Move your animal to a cooler location and begin to cool down (slowly!) from the limbs towards the spine. These measures serve to stabilize the patient so that it can then be taken to a clinic.

Anaphylactic shock

There are several types of shock, such as the cardiogenic or neurogenic type. Anaphylactic shock is an immediate immune system response to an allergen. If the entire body is affected, an anaphylactic shock can result. Capillary filling time, for example, can be used to determine whether a cat is in this state. This should normally be 2 seconds, in the case of a shock it is significantly longer and the mucous membrane is usually very pale. In addition to administering suitable emergency medication, the veterinarian must pay particular attention to stabilizing the circulatory system. In addition to transporting your cat  to a doctor's office or clinic as quickly as possible, you should above all try to record and note down the vital parameters. A cat's heart rate ranges from 80 to 140 beats per minute. It's best to place your index and middle finger on the inner thigh and count for 15 seconds. The resulting number is multiplied by 4. You should also record your animal's respiratory rate, since anaphylactic shocks often affect the respiratory tract. It is best to stand or sit  a little behind the animal and count how often the chest rises and falls for 15 seconds. This number is also multiplied by 4. Your vet will thank you if you can give him these two values ​​(or their progression) when your animal arrives.

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