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Cat First Aid

cat first aid

NOTE: If you’re cat suffers from a serious illness or injury take them to the nearest vet hospital immediately!


When a cat is injured or has a medical emergency, pet owners may need to provide first aid until veterinary help can be obtained. If done properly, first aid for cats can prevent further injury, reduce pain, and even save a life.

Once the necessary first aid has been administered, the cat should be taken to an emergency clinic or pet hospital for veterinary care. When you’ve selected the right pet insurance through, it can reimburse you for covered veterinary treatment following an emergency or accident.

What’s Needed

Before an emergency happens, pet owners should prepare by keeping a stocked and maintained first aid kit for cats in a location that is easily accessible. One can purchase a pre-filled cat first aid kit or create their own by filling a bag or box with needed supplies.

The first aid kit should be regularly stocked with basic first aid items such as antiseptic wipes or spray, cotton balls, cotton swabs, gauze pads and rolls, adhesive tape, and sterile saline.

A first aid kit for cats should also contain disposable gloves, a rectal thermometer, blunt-tipped scissors, tweezers, an ice pack, and a first aid book for quick reference.

The veterinarian and poison control phone numbers should also be kept in or near the cat first aid kit.

Stop Bleeding

Stopping blood loss from an injury is crucial to prevent shock or even death. First aid for cats that are bleeding externally includes:

  • Applying direct pressure to the wound for 10 minutes using gauze or a clean cloth. Keep the covering on the wound to avoid dislodging any clots, and add more if needed. Depending on the location, the cloth may be loosely secured with a gauze wrap or surgical tape.
  • Elevating bleeding extremities so they are above the heart to slow the blood flowing from the wound.

Signs of internal bleeding include pale gums, a distended belly, coughing up blood, and cool extremities. To administer first aid, simply keep the cat as warm, calm, and comfortable as possible and take it immediately to a veterinarian.


If a cat has a fracture, caution must be used to not worsen the injury. If there is bleeding or the bone has punctured the flesh, control the blood loss first, then cover the fractured area.

Prepare to transport the cat to the veterinarian by placing it on a rigid surface such as in a cardboard box or the bottom half of a plastic pet carrier.

Carefully move the cat while keeping it as calm as possible.

No Breathing

When a cat is unconscious and not breathing, rescue breathing may be required. Rescue breathing, which is like mouth-to-mouth with humans, must only be performed on an unconscious feline.

To perform rescue breathing, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Check that there are no obstructions in your cat’s airway by gently grasping its tongue and tugging it forward.
  • Determine if there are any visible foreign objects blocking the way; remove them with your fingers or tweezers if necessary.
  • If no object is found, gently hold the cat’s mouth closed and place your lips over its nose.
  • Exhale into the cat’s nostrils to expand the chest, but do not over-inflate. This should be repeated so that 20 breaths are given per minute.

No Heartbeat

If a cat has no detectable heartbeat, chest compressions are necessary. Chest compressions are started only after one has begun rescue breathing for their pet. To start chest compressions:

  • Cup the cat’s chest so that your fingers are on the right side and your thumb on the left. Squeeze gently to compress the chest. Repeat 100 to 150 times per minute.
  • Alternate chest compressions with rescue breathing, but do not perform the two actions simultaneously.
  • Continue until the cat begins to breathe on its own or until you’ve reached the vet.

First aid should never be considered a replacement for medical care. Although pet emergencies can be expensive, the right pet insurance can help reimburse you for the cost.

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