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How do I care for my cat if he gets injured?

Despite strolling around like they’re the masters of all they survey, cats are far from invincible and can occasionally come a cropper, picking up cuts and scrapes along life’s highway. A crash course in kitty first aid might do your fury friend the power of good some day, especially if your feline is the outdoor type and more likely to encounter danger.

Many cuts, bruises and scrapes are not life threatening and will heal with treatment at home, so here’s some advice on what you might want to do to help your injured cat.

Look out for tell tale signs of injury, including bleeding, swelling, missing hair, cut, scraped or torn skin, limping, tenderness or pain. If you don’t manage to catch a wound when it’s fresh it might end up getting infected, which may result in pus discharging from the skin or accumulating just beneath it (an abscess), or a fever, which can make your cat lethargic and make its ears feel hot to the touch.

Not surprisingly, if it is distressed your cat will determine what treatment you can give at home. Sometimes you have little choice than to pop them into their crate and make a beeline to the nearest vets. There are however some things you could do to help, especially if it takes a while to reach a vet.

If your pet’s bleeding, place direct pressure on the wound. Cover it with sterile gauze or a clean cloth and reapply pressure. It may take five or ten minutes for the bleeding to stop, but once it does, you will be able to tape the gauze in place. Keeping the gauze still will stop the clotted blood from being pulled away, which will restart bleeding.

If there’s no bleeding and the injury looks minor, you might want to try cleaning the wound. Use an antiseptic solution or water to gently clean around the damaged area. A syringe will come in handy for flushing across the surface of the wound, but be sure not to use a cotton cloth as the fibres may stick to the graze.

Antiseptic solutions can be made by diluting shop bought products that contain either povidone iodine or chlorhexidine diacetate as the active ingredient with water. Be careful not to use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on the wounds, as these will damage the tissue.

Try and keep your pet inside after treatment and watch the injury for signs of healing. If the wound starts to look red or inflamed, or if pus develops in or around the surface, contact your vet immediately.

If the wound is on your cat’s paw, it is worth remembering to replace its litter with newspaper. This will stop litter particles from irritating the wound or causing an infection.

A vet should treat puncture wounds and those involving more than minor blood loss as soon as possible. If in any doubt about your cat’s health, contact your vet as soon as possible. 

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21 April 2015

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