We love our cats and their irresistible charms. They make us laugh while making us appreciate simple living. It’s our first priority to keep them safe and healthy, but try as we might, the unthinkable can still happen. April is Pet First Aid Awareness month and we are joining millions of cat owners and advocates to help spread awareness of common cat first aid tips.
Dehydration is more common that most people think. It is one of the first problems cats face in emergency situations. In non-emergencies, dehydration often occurs as a symptom of an underlying problem or disease. The real danger is the lost of minerals and electrolytes.
Symptoms of dehydration can include dry gums, lack of energy, loss of appetite, panting, elevated heart rate, and decreased skin elasticity. This last one is a great way to test for dehydration. We can simply pinch and gently pull up on the skin between our cat’s shoulder blades and let go. If it tents and remains loose, rather than bouncing back to our cat’s back, we know dehydration has taken hold.
Of course, the first best step is to immediately get water to our furry felines. But that’s not the end. We also need to help return balance to our cat’s system. Offering the liquid from a can of tuna or salmon can help. We can also provide electrolyte supplements. In some cases, a trip to the vet may be necessary to quickly provide fluids subcutaneously. Be sure to seek out the original cause of this condition. We can start by cleaning our cat’s water bowl just in case they weren’t drinking because they detected harmful bacteria.
Cats are famously picky eaters, making them less likely to be poisoned than dogs. However, every year poisons and toxins are ingested by thousands of cats, causing serious illness and death. Most are accidental poisonings, such as human prescriptions and dietary supplements, insecticides and household cleaners. People food is actually the third highest reasons cats are put in harm’s way.
Vomiting and diarrhea are the most common symptoms, but we can also watch out for bloating, dilated pupils, drooling or foaming at the mouth, and any unusual behaviors, such as problems walking or balance. The first step is to figure out what the poison or toxin may be and call the vet immediately. We can also keep important tools at our fingertips, such as the American Red Cross Pet First Aid App.
Prevention is really the best first approach to poisons. We can stock our home with pet-friendly household cleaners and keep meds locked away. And it’s important to only feed our cats the best possible diet, which means no human foods. If we want to give them supplements and extra love when it comes to their diet, EcoBalance Digestive Support Formula for Cats is the perfect formula to help them absorb and digest nutrients, without putting them at risk.
Heat Stroke & Heat Exhaustion
Everyone can become overheated, but cats are often overlooked when it comes to heat stroke prevention. Maybe it’s their naturally independent ways that make us feel confident they can take care of themselves and find cool places to rest, but cats do suffer from the heat. This is one of the three biggest reasons our felines end up with organ damage and are at risk of death.
The early symptoms can look like restlessness because they are looking for a place to cool down. They may also be panting or drooling. Sometimes they’ll clean themselves excessively to try and cool off. It’s easy to dismiss these as mildly erratic behavior, but if it’s a hot day, consider the possibility that first aid may be needed. More advanced symptoms are vomiting, staggering, and a rapid pulse and breathing.
Cats need to be placed in a cool environment, immediately. Cool them down with ice packs or frozen veggies. If unconscious, give them a cool bath, being careful not to let water near the nose, ears, or mouth. Follow-up with a vet visit and we should always be sure to take preventative measures such as ensuring there is always a cool, dry place for our furry friends to retreat to when warm weather takes hold.
Our frisky felines are such a big part of our lives. They curl up on our faces while we try to sleep. They curl up on our computers while we’re trying to work. And they curl up in our hearts the moment we adopt them. It’s our job to prevent and protect against these three common emergencies. And with these three cat first aid tips, we now know what to be on the lookout for and how to treat our favorite feline friends.