Cats are normally very careful and cautious creatures. They will not jump onto a ledge if they are unsure it will hold their weight, for example. However, accidents do happen and you need to be able to deal with them. You need to know when to take your cat to the vet immediately and when you can treat your cat at home.
Firstly, it is essential that you have a first aid kit for your cat. You have one for your family and you do need one for your pets as well. Your kit will contain many of the same items but it is necessary to have both kits.
For any injuries you cat might have, minor or major, it is essential that you try to keep your cat as calm as possible. This means you need to be calm as well. You will want to talk gently to your cat and stroke it while examining the injury. If there is a second person there that the cat trusts, this is even better.
Scrapes and Abrasions
For minor injuries such as scrapes or minor abrasions, clean the area with an antiseptic solution such as Betadine. It will be necessary to get any blood, dirt or other debris out of the injury. If you wish, you can wash the area with sterile water (bottled is fine, not tap water) first. This way you can see if everything has been removed but use the Betadine when it is clean.
Next, apply an antiseptic ointment to the area. You only need a thin coat of this. For scrapes or minor abrasions you shouldn’t need a bandage, and you might have trouble having your cat keep it on. It will be necessary for you to clean the abrasion two or three times a day, using the antiseptic ointment, until it appears to be healing. Your cat will also lick at this to speed up the healing process. The licking will help keep the abrasion clean. If it is not healing after three days, contact your vet.
Minor cuts can most likely also be treated at home. A minor cut is one that stops bleeding on its own after a couple of minutes. If it keeps bleeding longer than that, contact your vet. To treat this at home, get some clean gauze pads and press gently but firmly on the cut until the bleeding stops. Clean the cut as you would for an abrasion, then apply a small amount of antiseptic ointment onto a clean gauze pad and wrap the area with a gauze bandage. If the cut is on a limb or the tail, this should be fairly easy.
However, if the cut is on the body, you will have to wrap it as best you can. If you have trouble keeping the gauze on the cat, just apply the antiseptic ointment liberally. Keep your cat somewhere you can keep an eye on it for a few days to make sure it is healing well.
I strongly suggest keeping your specialized ‘pet first aid kit’ next to your own. You never know when you will need it.
Please, if you have a wound that continues to bleed or a more serious injury, or even if you are at all worried about your cat, contact your vet. Most vets will have a method of dealing with emergencies or can tell you where to take your cat.