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If your cat sustains a wound or other injury, chances are that there are helpful items in your own first-aid kit that could help her. But there are also items in your kit such as Neosporin or pain relievers that can be toxic or even lethal to cats. Don't risk grabbing the wrong item in an emergency and accidentally causing more harm and suffering to your kitty. Make your pet a first-aid kit that's all her own.
Preparing for common cat injuries
The best way to be prepared when your cat gets injured is to know pet first aid. VCA Hospitals' Pet Emergency Care Handbook is filled with pet-specific information and can be downloaded in PDF format on your smartphone. Learn how to check your pet's vital signs and know what's normal for your pet when they're not injured. This makes your cat familiar with what you're doing in an emergency, and you'll be able to tell a lot about his stress level and general condition when he's injured.
Keep a hard copy of a first-aid manual in your first aid kit for easy reference. Cat First Aid by the American Red Cross is spiral-bound and lays open easily to the relevant pages, allowing you to keep both hands on your pet where they're needed most. Large illustrations and easy step-by-step instructions are easy to read, and you won't have to worry about scrolling or the information disappearing unexpectedly when a screen saver kicks in.
Protection is key
Not only are cats masters of wriggling away, but they're also proficient in biting and scratching if wriggles don't work. Cat bites on the hand carry the highest risk of infection with about 30 to 50%.) of bites becoming infected. Deep puncture wounds inoculate bacteria deeply into the flesh where various layers of skin and muscle can slide back over the wound, trapping infectious matter despite cleansing efforts.
Tuck a Zoopolr Breathable Mesh Cat Muzzle and some KCHEX Anti-Scratch Cat Shoes into your pet's kit to prevent getting nasty injuries yourself when your cat is in pain. The breathable full-face muzzle will help calm your cat and the fold-on booties can double as protection for a paw injury until you can get to the vet.
A Pupteck Escape Proof Cat Harness with Leash Set can help keep your cat close and prevent it from running off. Pack all your supplies in a red or brightly colored bag clearly labeled "cat first aid." This will help your pet sitter should your cat need care while you're away. Be sure to include the number of your veterinarian and any other important contact info inside the kit.
Include other essentials
Make sure to tuck a towel or blanket into your kit so your cat stays warm and comfortable. Warmth is crucial when your kitty shows signs of shock such as cold temperature or low heart rate.
Shield your hands with nitrile exam gloves to provide a barrier between your skin and your cat's wound. This will keep any infectious material off of your hands and prevent any bacteria on your hands from getting into your cat's injury.
Keep scissors, tweezers, and other tools from getting lost by getting a Leatherman Style PS Multitool. The tool has a carabiner that snaps onto loops or handles of your first aid kit, keeping it from getting lost and everything ready-at-hand. Needle nose pliers included on the tool are also handy for pulling larger stickers from your pet's paw.
Talk to your veterinarian before putting medicinal remedies in your cat's bag. Human pain relievers and some topical antibiotics can be particularly toxic to felines. Include a few doses of any of your cat's medications that your veterinarian has prescribed in a waterproof pill case or leak-proof container and label them with the expiration date and dosing instructions.
Include cat-safe wound care items. McKesson Saline Wound Flush comes in a spray container that makes it easy to flush debris away. Vetericyn Plus Feline Antimicrobial Hydrogel or other ointment formulated especially for cats can help minor wounds heal. Be sure to include cotton balls or cotton swabs if needed to apply the solutions.
Gauze pads are essential for applying pressure to wounds or absorbing blood. Leave them in place and place additional pads on top to avoid the wound from reopening. Rolled gauze wrapped with medium snugness will help hold them in place and a self-adhering bandage wrap over the top offers even more protection and stability while transporting your cat to the vet. The bandage wrap won't stick to fur, making it optimal should you need to splint a broken tail or immobilize a limb.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.