Educational Articles

Cats + Emergency Situations

  • If your cat limps, or licks at her pads, she may have a foot pad that is torn, punctured, or burned. Minor injuries may be treated at home, but deeper or complicated wounds require veterinary attention. Clean the wound and remove small debris if possible. If larger foreign or deeply seated objects are discovered, or if the wound is deep and does not stop bleeding after 10-15 minutes, seek immediate veterinary care. Control bleeding and apply gauze as a bandage, wrapping the affected paw including the ankle or wrist. Keep the wound clean and bandaged and if any changes are noticed, seek veterinary care. Try to avoid foot injuries in your cat by surveying the areas where your cat plays and walks.

  • Frostbite is the damage that is caused to the skin and other tissues due to extreme cold. The paws, ears and tail are the most common tissues to be affected. Diagnosis is usually based on the cat's medical history and physical examination. If you suspect your cat has frostbite, you should seek medical attention immediately. Mild cases of frostbite usually resolve with little permanent damage while more severe frostbite may result in permanent disfiguration or alteration of the affected tissues. In severe cases, some cats require surgical removal of the necrotic tissue or amputation.

  • Hepatic lipidosis, also known as fatty liver syndrome, is unique to cats and is one of the most common liver diseases seen in cats. Usually a cat with hepatic lipidosis has recently gone through a period of anorexia. When fat is broken down rapidly to supply energy and nutrients to the anorectic cat, it can overwhelm the ability of the liver to process and the fat becomes stored in and around the liver cells, further compromising liver function. Diagnosis of hepatic lipidosis is made from blood tests that demonstrate poor liver function and from a liver biopsy or aspirate. This disease is treatable with aggressive nutritional support until a normal appetite returns.

  • There are many potential hazards that pets face especially during the holidays. With commonsense and planning, exposure to these hazards can be avoided preventing injury or illness. Hazards include tinsel, electrical cords, string from meat, ribbons, Christmas tree water, holiday plants such as mistletoe, holly, and lilies, and food, such as chocolate. Some cats will do better if given a safe space to stay away from company and may require calming remedies to help minimize anxiety and stress during the holidays.

  • Many people think that because cats are finicky eaters they are poisoned less often than dogs. However, with their curiosity and fastidious grooming, intoxication is, unfortunately, not uncommon. Several factors predispose cats to becoming ill once they have been exposed to even a small amount of a poisonous substance.

  • If your pet had an emergency crisis, how would you manage it? Ask your veterinary hospital how they handle after-hour emergencies. Use this handout to help you plan ahead and be prepared in the event of a pet-health emergency.

  • Hypertension, or high blood pressure, in cats can be a debilitating condition if not treated promptly. Hypertension may be caused by kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Your veterinarian will recommend the best treatment options for your cat based on her specific needs. Prognosis is variable depending on how well these other conditions are controlled.

  • Ibuprofen is commonly used to treat fever, pain, and inflammation in humans. Ibuprofen poisoning occurs when a cat ingests a toxic dose of ibuprofen, either through misuse or by accident. Ibuprofen poisoning causes many different clinical signs because many different organ systems can be affected. Most commonly, cats show signs related to kidney problems.

  • Icterus is also known as jaundice is an excessive accumulation of a yellow pigment in the blood and tissues, most easily seen in the gingivae and sclerae. Icterus can be caused by hemolysis, liver disease, or obstruction of the bile duct. Your veterinarian will perform screening tests to determine the root cause of icterus. Based on the preliminary tests, your veterinarian may recommend fine needle aspiration, needle biopsy, or a surgical biopsy. Icterus will resolve once the underlying disease is identified and treated. The prognosis depends on the underlying cause.

  • Cats are curious by nature, which can lead them into trouble, especially when they ingest items not meant to be eaten, such as thread, wool, paper, rubber bands, plant materials, and small toys. While some will pass through the digestive tract, some foreign bodies can cause serious problems. This handout explains foreign bodies in the intestinal tracts of cats and reviews clinical signs, diagnostic tests, treatment, and the prognosis of these situations.