by Soojin Um
Did you know that April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month? Yeah, we’re right in the middle of it right now. That makes it a perfect time to learn about basic first aid tips so that should anything happen, we will be better aware of what to do and how to proceed. We usually think of emergencies happening to people, but our pets can be vulnerable too. Cats, especially, can seem like they can handle just about anything. However, sometimes, things can happen even to them. In emergencies, time is of the essence, so we should have in mind a game plan so we can take action right away. Here are three common scenarios that your cats can get themselves into, and some tips on what to do. Caveat: we want to emphasize here that we are not veterinarians and this is not a substitute for professional medical training or treatment.
Whether indoors or out, sometimes your cat may step on something sharp or get caught by an object and get themselves a cut or scrape. If that happens, try to (if your cat lets you) cover the wound with a clean bandage and apply light pressure. Hopefully, a few minutes of this will stop the bleeding. If it’s a minor or superficial wound, this should do the trick. You can then try to clean it with water. Even if the wound has stopped bleeding, it’s a good idea to take the cat to the vet to make sure. If further treatment isn’t necessary, at least your vet can do a checkup to make sure everything else is OK. By the way, if your cat doesn’t let you treat her, wrap her in a towel and take her to the vet immediately. Since you can’t examine the wound, you won’t know how serious she is wounded.
Our homes contain a lot of substances that can be toxic to cats. It can range from detergents to insecticides, and even to plants and foods. Cats don’t always have to ingest these substances either, oftentimes they can be toxic when simply touched or inhaled. If you think that your cat might have been poisoned by a substance, contact the ASPCA poison control center right away. They can be reached 24 hours a day, and are staffed with medical staff that specialize in poison treatment. If you’re close to the vet, take your cat there immediately. Of course, be mindful to drive carefully. Don’t speed or drive in a panic as that will not help your cat, especially if you get into an accident or get pulled over.
Insect bite or sting
Does your cat love to go outdoors? Whether it’s prowling the flowerbeds in the backyard, or just roaming around the neighborhood, your cat might discover he is sharing his outdoor playground with other creatures, namely insects. During the spring and summer months, insects can be out in force. If cats aren’t careful, they can find themselves in a confrontation with some of these hexapods (that being a fancy name for insects). Occasionally, these confrontations can lead to a bite or sting. Most of the time, it shouldn’t be a big deal, but sometimes they can result in a serious reaction. Cats can be allergic to bees just like people. If your cat has been stung or bitten by a bee or spider (technically, spiders aren’t insects, but we’ll include them here for now), you should first check for any swelling or itching. You can try to clean the area with cold water. However, an allergic reaction can occur, resulting in breathing difficulties, extreme swelling, or vomiting, to name a few. At the earliest signs of these types of symptoms, take your cat the vet at once. Also, once there, let the vet know which insect or spider your cat came in contact with so they’ll know how best to treat him.
Lastly, we want to reiterate that this article is not meant as a substitute for proper training, nor are we medical experts. Our intent was solely to bring some awareness to these issues, and also as a call to action on learning more about first aid situations. In fact, there are pet first aid courses out there taught by professionals, and we highly encourage you to find out more about them. Some are basics courses, while others are more in depth training (such as pet CPR certifications, etc). It might be very beneficial to research training centers and learn some of these skills. It could save a life.
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