Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Feline first aid FAQs

Want to brush up on your feline first aid? Have a read of this blog post, summarising some of Cats Protection vet Vanessa Howie’s answers to our recent live first aid Q&A on Facebook.

Question: With winter coming, what are the key symptoms of antifreeze poisoning to watch out for and can we do anything to stop the damage before the animal has to be put to sleep?

Answer: Antifreeze poisoning usually leads to kidney failure. The signs to look out for include increased urination, increased drinking, vomiting, depression, lethargy (being abnormally sleepy), appearing drunk and uncoordinated, seizures (fitting), abnormally fast heartbeat and very fast, shallow breathing. If antifreeze poisoning is suspected, the sooner that you can get your cat to the vet to be put on intravenous fluids to try and help the kidneys, the better the chances of survival. Unfortunately if left untreated cats will suffer and die.

Please take a look at our poster on common poisonings:

To enlarge, click on the image
There’s more information in our blog post: How to recognise the symptoms of cat poisoning.

Question: My cat has a small cut on his head, should I leave it uncovered or cover it with something?

Answer: I would recommend that you get your cat checked out by the vet if you are worried about the cut. Usually in cats we tend to leave small wounds such as those seen from fighting or cat bite abscesses open. This allows them to drain and makes it easier for you to keep the wound clean. Cats don't tend to tolerate having a dressing on their head all that well either!

Question: My cat has recently developed a very snotty nose and a watery eye. Can you suggest what may be the cause? She seems fine in herself.

Answer: I would recommend that you get your cat checked over by the vet if you have not already done so. A snotty nose indicates that there is an infection of some sort and your cat may require antibiotics. Your cat may have cat flu or if your cat has had cat flu in the past, it may be that that this has caused some damage in the nose and has allowed an infection to set up. Discharge from the eyes and nose are commonly seen in cats that have or have had cat flu. Please have a look at our leaflet on cat flu too. There may be other less common causes such as polyps or tumours in the nose which will cause similar signs.


Please note that we are unable to give specific advice on your cat's health or any change in behaviour observed. For medical problems consult your vet who will have access to your cat’s medical history and will be able to examine them.

Would you like to ask one of Cats Protection’s feline experts a question about your cat? Don’t miss the next live Facebook Q&A sessions: Neutering Manager Jane Clements will answer questions on 3 December; and behaviourist Nicky Trevorrow will be offering advice on 17 December. All our Q&As are held on Cats Protection's national Facebook page from 2-3pm. See you there!

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