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First aid for cats – Fractures, hemorrhages, burns and more

The term “first aid” refers to the techniques and procedures immediately applied to the victim of an illness or accident. When your cat has an accident, your vet is unfortunately not by your side, hence the importance of knowing basic skills in first aid and applying them to your pet while taking him to the vet so you can save his life.

If your cat has an accident, it´s important that you keep your calm, while calming the animal too. He senses your mood and if you´re nervous you´ll transmit that mood to him. Taking him to the vet as quickly as possible is what´s most important in these cases.

My cat has suffered a fracture

Car accidents and falls from considerable heights may cause serious injuries and even the cat´s death. When facing situations like these, you should know which actions to do and which ones to avoid.

Cats first aid- Cat fracture

                                                     Image / Mark Smithivas.

What to avoid

  • Brusque movements on the cat.
  • If you can see a fracture (deformation zone or direct visualization of bone), don´t try to place it in its normal position. Let the vet handle this.
  • Don´t give him anything to eat or drink, as he can be anesthetized for surgery or revised (as a general rule, there shouldn´t be any eating or drinking before an anesthesia).
  • Be careful when touching him while performing first aid: if he feels much pain he can bite you.

What to do

  • If you need to mobilize him, it´s convenient to do it in a table so as not to damage the fractured area, especially if it´s the spine.
  • Wrap him in a blanket or towel to keep him from scratching you.
  • If the fracture is in a leg, keep him lying down and wrap the injured extremity with a towel to prevent any possible movement.
  • Go see your veterinarian immediately.

My cat has an hemorrhage

An hemorrhage is a loss of blood through an injury. It can be external, caused by skin damage, or internal, due to injuries in internal organs.

What to do in case of an external hemorrhage?

  • Before taking care of the wound you must wash your hands with soap and water to avoid infecting.
  • If your cat is bleeding, cover the wound with a gauze soaked in cold water. Press it with your fingers (trying to close it) for a few minutes to stop the bleeding.
Gauze with blood
Gauze with blood

Image / Quinn Dombrowsky.

  •  If the bleeding continues, place a second gauze pad and secure it with a bandage also.
  • Use hydrogen peroxide or Pervinox to disinfect the wound (don´t use alcohol).
  • Go to the vet immediately.

Internal hemorrhage

If he´s got an internal hemorrhage, you just have to take him to the vet immediately. Call him before to let him know you´re going, this way he´ll have time to prepare for the cat´s arrival. Also, ask him if there´s anything you can do to make the cat more comfortable while you arrive. Time is very important, hence you must be able to recognize the symptoms of internal bleeding as soon as possible:

  • He looks lethargic and weak when walking.
  • Breathes with difficulties, at a faster speed than usual.
  • White and pale gums.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Vomits.
  • Also, if he shows some external bleeding, that could be a symptom of internal bleeding too.

Be specially aware of these symptoms if your cat got hit by a car, had a fight with another animal or got injured in any way. Don´t just think he´s fine because he´s not bleeding externally. 



My cat is choking 

Situations that may cause this

  • Water (for example, a fall into the pool or sea).

Cat in pool beneath the water

  • Swallowing an object.
Cat biting an object
  • Ingestion of a thread.

What to do

  • Hold it by the hind legs so that the head is hanging upside down. Swing him between your legs to expel the water out of him or the swallowed object.
  • Take him to the vet as soon as possible.

What to avoid

In case of thread ingestion: in order to prevent damage to the intestines don´t pull the thread which may show in the mouth or anus. It´s advisable to cut the thread and leaving a couple of centimeters to avoid the risk of a sharp pull.

My cat has a fever

The normal temperature for a cat is 38 degrees Celsius. Fever is always a symptom of a disease or infection. The right way to take the temperature is to use a rectal thermometer smearing it with vaseline so that it enters more easily and doesn´t harm the cat.

Recommendations to reduce fever

  • Put cold compresses on his forehead.
  • Give him plenty of water to avoid dehydration, and if he can´t drink it you can use a syringe (without the needle).
  • If fever persists you should go immediately to the vet. Sustained high fever for many hours may cause irreversible brain damage.


Usually caused by direct contact with a heat source (stove, hotplates) or domestic accidents (boiling coffee, oil, water).

Cat first aid - Cat burn

Image / Animals Abused & Abandoned.

If injuries occupy less than 15 percent of the body surface there´s a favorable prognosis, but if the extension is greater, the case is serious.

What to do

Your only mission is to wash the damaged area with water.

What to avoid

  • Using toothpaste, milk or ointments.
  • Removing hair from him.