Cat first aid
Prevention is better than cure so keep your cat in at night, as this is when most road accidents occur. If you find a cat involved in a road accident, take them to the vet, even if the cat appears to be unhurt. There may be internal injuries that are not immediately obvious. Pick up the cat carefully, keeping them warm, and place them in a box for transportation to the surgery.
Falls can cause severe injuries. If you live in a flat, open windows should be covered with screens. Do not let your cat out onto an unprotected balcony. If your cat falls from a height, take the animal to the vet for a check-up.
Keep the cat quiet and calm. Put on a tight bandage. Improvise with strips of towel or clothing if necessary. If blood is seeping through, apply another tight layer. Only use a tourniquet as a last resort. If you cannot put on a bandage, press a pad firmly onto the wound and hold it in place. Go to the vet straight away.
If you have bandaging materials, layer these as follows. Firstly, place a non-stick dressing on the wound and cover with swabs or a cotton bandage. Then place a layer of cotton wool over this and cover again with cotton bandage. Secure this top layer of bandage to the hair with surgical tape, and cover all of it with adhesive bandage or tape. Do not stick Elastoplast to the hair and never leave a bandage on for more than 24 hours.
See your vet if your cat’s tail is limp, has been trapped in a door, or pulled hard. Such injuries can cause serious bladder problems.
Deal with any serious bleeding but do not apply a splint – it is painful, and can cause the bone to break through the skin. Confine the patient to a well padded carrier for transportation to the vet.
Burns and scalds
Run cold water over these for at least five minutes then contact your vet. Do not apply ointments or creams, although you can cover the wound with a saline-soaked gauze pad while awaiting treatment. Remember to keep the patient warm.
Try to find packaging from the substance swallowed and have it with you when you phone the vet. If chewing of plants is suspected, try to find out the name of the plant, and cut a sample. Call the vet immediately and do not make your cat vomit unless the vet says to do so. Take any packaging or plant cuttings with you to the vet.