Accidents happen. Cats can suddenly get sick. Never second-guess yourself. If you think there is a chance something is wrong with kitty keep calm and take it to the vet immediately. Cats can deteriorate rapidly and are very adept at masking symptoms. It is better to have an unnecessary journey than no kitty.
Be prepared and ready to take action should the need arise. Keep a top-loading cat carrier in an easily accessible place. Store a thick towel or blanket inside and a copy of your cat’s records. Have your vet’s phone number and a 24-hour emergency clinic’s phone number where it can be easily found. Ask your vet if they have an after-hour’s emergency service or if they are part of a local 24-hour on-call service. If not, ask for recommendations or locate your nearest 24-hour emergency clinic. If emergency clinics are in unfamiliar territory print a map of the location and keep it with the address and phone number. Emergency Animal Clinic (EAC) has five hospitals located throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area. Sonora Veterinary Specialists “Always Open - 24 Hours a Day, 365 Days a Year!” is based in Litchfield Park and Paradise Valley.
When is it an emergency? Sometimes it is blatantly obvious something is seriously wrong with a cat. Severe pain and obvious distress should immediately set off alarm bells as would a gaping wound, heavy bleeding, loss of consciousness, difficulty in breathing, urination or delivering kittens, protracted vomiting and/or diarrhea, choking or seizure. A cat that suddenly develops problems standing or walking, is lethargic or confused are also indicators. Other signs showing kitty needs help may not be so obvious: pale or yellow gums and ear flaps, unusually hot or cold to the touch, and dehydration. This is not an exhaustive list of signs; always have your cat checked immediately you feel something might be wrong
Some signs are not easy to spot at all. Something doesn’t seem quite right with kitty but you are not sure what. A cat does not always show outward signs of trauma and can have major internal injuries while still appearing unharmed. If you suspect your cat has had an accident or been attacked by a dog or other animal, get kitty checked out straight away.
If you think your cat has eaten something toxic or been bitten by an insect or venomous animal call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435. They can recommend what action to take based on your cat’s health, age, size and the toxin involved.
Putting a cat into a carrier can be challenging at the best of times. Now you have a sick or injured cat that might, but probably won’t, be compliant. Even the calmest, most gentle of cats can become aggressive when injured, in pain or frightened. Should you feel kitty is too aggressive to be safely handled, don’t be a hero. You may find yourself going to the emergency room and kitty’s injuries could be made worse. All Animals Rescue & Transportation, LLC has a 24-hour ambulance service for just this situation. They are also available to transport your cat or dog to an emergency clinic, veterinarian or groomer at any time.
If, and only if, you feel kitty can be safely moved without injury to either of you, calmly and carefully crate kitty. Protect yourself. If necessary gently place a blanket or towel over the cat’s head to prevent being bitten. Slowly and carefully pick up the cat and place it into its carrier through the open top. If kitty is too weak to escape, a deep-sided box with plenty of ventilation will suffice. Don’t try to shove kitty through a carrier door. If the cat has been in an accident, take care to support its head. Try to avoid twisting its neck and spine; it may have suffered a spinal injury. Be extra careful if a limb, rib or pelvic fracture is suspected.
With luck an emergency situation will never arise for your kitty; but it is best to be prepared.