Cat Emergency Information

What Are Some Signs That My Cat Needs Emergency Care?


  • Pale Gums
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Weak or Rapid Pulse
  • Change in Body Temperature
  • Difficulty Standing
  • Apparent Paralysis
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Excessive Bleeding

What Should I Do if My Cat Needs Emergency Care?

Cats who are severely injured may act aggressively toward their pet parents, so it's important to protect yourself first from injury. Gently place a blanket or towel over the cat's head to prevent biting; then slowly lift the cat and place him/her in an open-topped carrier or box. Take care to support the cat's head and avoid twisting his/her neck in case s/he suffered spinal injury.

Once you feel confident and safe transporting your cat, immediately bring him/her to an emergency care facility. It's also a smart idea to ask someone - a friend or family member - to call the clinic, so the staff expects you and your cat.

What Are Some First Aid Treatments I Can Perform on My Cat?

Most emergencies require immediate veterinary care, but first aid methods may help you stabilize your pet for transport.

  • If your cat is suffering from external bleeding due to trauma, try elevating and applying pressure to the wound.
  • If your cat is choking, place your fingers in his mouth to see if you can remove the blockage.
  • If you're unable to remove the foreign object, perform a modified Heimlich maneuver by giving a sharp rap, which should dislodge the object, to his/her chest.

Should I Perform CPR on my Cat?

CPR may be necessary if you successfully remove the choking source, but your cat is still unconscious. First check to see if s/he is breathing. If not, place him/her on his/her side and perform artificial respiration by extending his/her head and neck, holding his/her mouth closed and blowing gently into his/her nostrils once every 3 seconds. If you don't feel a heartbeat, incorporate cardiac massage while administering artificial respiration - five (5) chest compressions for every respirration - until your cat resumes breathing on hjs/her own.

What Should I Do If My Cat Eats Something Poisonous?

If you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic substance, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center's 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435. Trained toxicologists will consider the age and health of your pet, what and how much s/he ate, and make a recommendation - such as whether to induce vomiting - based on the assessment.

If your cat shows any of these symptoms, seek veterinary advice:

  • Changes in chewing, eating and drinking habits
  • Drastic weight gain or loss
  • Withdrawal from social interaction or touching
  • Changes in activity level, including more sleeping or hyperactivity
  • Increased urination and "accidents"
  • Struggling to urinate - this is an emergency
  • Grooms less or grooms certain areas excessively
  • Increases or changes in vocalizations