First Aid for Cats - Cat Info Detective

First Aid for Cats

Skye Blake looking left through magnifying glass

Hey, Skye Blake here, reminding you to be prepared for kitty mishaps so you can help your buddy in time of crisis. Ow, just caught my tail in the door! Gotta grab my trusty first aid kit for cats.

Ok, catching my tail in the door isn’t a crisis, but it still deserves a hug!

Cartoon tough injured cat

Nothing replaces getting your kitty to the vet in an emergency, but planning ahead, learning what to do, and having a kit, will get you prepared to handle situations without panicking.

It’s especially important to think about first aid if you plan to travel with your cat. Prepare a first-aid kit and, if possible, take a pet first-aid class

paw prints coming in from a distance

First Aid Prep – Meds & Traveling Papers

first aid kit-scissors, bandages, etc

When traveling with a kitty who needs medications , have enough to last the entire trip (and a little extra for emergencies).

Be sure they’re kept in a waterproof container.

Always check with your vet to be sure you have what your cat might need according to his age and health.

Make sure your cat is up-to-date on flea and tick prevention treatments.

Use what your vet recommends.

Some products aren’t reliable and can even be dangerous, especially if your cat has medical problems.

veterinarian listening to a cat's heart

Take all current medical records, the latest vet visit summary, extra prescriptions, and vaccination records, especially proof of rabies vaccination.

Keep them with your other important documents (driver’s license, credit cards, etc.) so they’re easily available to show when required.

Have a current photo of your cat (and who doesn’t? We’re so adorable!)… both on your phone and in print.

Keep the print one with the vaccination records in case you don’t have your phone in an emergency.

Pet First-Aid Courses

first aid on a teddy bear

Here are some first-aid courses for pets. They include information about cat CPR, how to check vital signs, dealing with wounds, seizures, bleeding, etc.

(For your information only. I make no money from them.)

What to Include in Your First Aid Kit

first aid kit

Ready-Made First Aid Kits

You can buy kits ready-made online for home and travel. Review the list below and add anything your kit doesn’t have already.

(For your information only. I make no money from them.)

Travelin’ Kitty Kit

Pack a small kitty first aid kit in a waterproof box that you can tuck in your bag or backpack to grab easily.

Tape on the inside cover and program into your phone…

Pack Inside the Box…

first aid kit items

(For your information only. I make no money from them.)

  • A cat first-aid book (such as “Cat First Aid” by the American Red Cross – Kindle version is free on Amazon) – check with your vet for recommendations
  • CLOTIT Pet Clotting Powder, 1-oz bottle
  • A muzzle (injured cats can bite when in pain or afraid)
  • A small blanket and towels (use to “burrito” him when he’s scared or to cover a wound)
  • Non-stick bandages or strips of clean cloth (for cleaning wounds and to control bleeding). Don’t use Band-Aids® or other human bandages
  • Gauze pads
  • Self-adhering wrap for pets (like Vet Worthy®) -these don’t stick to fur or skin
  • Elastic bandages (for wrapping wounds, stabilizing hurt legs, controlling bleeding)
  • Adhesive tape (for taping bandages… don’t use on your cat’s fur or skin!)
  • Cotton balls and swabs (Don’t use swabs in eyes or ears unless you’ve been shown how by your vet)
  • A fresh bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide (don’t use on wounds, just to sterilize tweezers, etc.)
  • A medicine syringe
  • Lubricating jelly (like K-Y, not petroleum jelly)
  • Sterile saline eye solution or wound wash (for flushing eyes or washing wounds)
  • A topical broad spectrum antibiotic (like Neosporin®)
  • A small bottle of mild liquid dishwashing detergent (Dawn® is one that’s often used to remove oils, etc., from animal fur and skin)
  • Disposable gloves to protect your hands (non-latex if you’re allergic)
  • Antiseptic wipes, spray or lotion
  • Tweezers and/or tick remover
  • Blunt-end scissors (one for bandages and one for foam splints is a good idea)
  • Foam splint (like Sam Splint for Dogs & Cats)
  • Plastic bags
  • An ice pack

Use Only Under the Direction of a Veterinarian

veterinarian listening to a cat's heart

If you believe your cat has been poisoned, call the Poison Control hotline: (888) 426-4435

These items are good to have available but should not be used unless you’re instructed to do so by a vet or the poison control center.

In most cases you’re both better off going to the nearest animal emergency clinic or your vet, where experts can properly care for your buddy.

poison warning sign

Thermometers are only used rectally to check your cat’s temperature.

Never put a thermometer in a cat’s mouth. Use it only if they let you and you’re comfortable doing it.

  • Milk of magnesia or activated charcoal to absorb poison (call the poison control center first)
  • Digital fever thermometer (ask your vet how to take your pet’s temperature)
  • Diphenhydramine (for some allergic reactions)

First Aid Cat Care Videos

Cameras for videos

Note: While videos can be helpful, the reliability of many is questionable.

You’re much better off taking a certified class in first aid to be sure you’re trained well enough to handle most emergencies, especially if you take your cat on wilderness adventures.

If you have even the slightest question about a situation, call your vet’s office (or emergency clinic) immediately.

Here are a few decent videos on first aid…

ASPCA Poison Control Center videos

Cat First Aid You Should Know | Cat Care, HowCast.com, Jan 14, 2014

Cat Wound Care, PetMD, June 19, 2017

How To Help My Cat When Vets Are Closed – BASIC FIRST AID, Relax My Cat, May 13, 2020


You & Your Traveling CatPreparing For a Trip
Moving With a Cat…An Adventure!What Mode of Transportation Are You Using?
Air Travel With a CatWhat Is Your Travel Destination?
Biking With Your CatCamping With a Cat
Symptoms of Illness In Your CatHistory of Veterinary Medicine

Sources

Sources used on this website are either primary or secondary. Primary are always preferable and have the most reliable information because primary sources are original and directly referenced. Scientific abstracts and data are good examples of primary sources.

Secondary sources are weaker because they usually consist of opinions or articles that give no sources of their own. However, sometimes they refer to primary sources. Thus, when I use secondary sources most are those with some authority, such as veterinarian or cat behaviorist books and articles.

List of Sources

(Links given here are for your information only… I make no money from them.)

“77 Things to Know Before Getting a Cat”, by Susan M. Ewing, Companion House Books, Fox Chapel Publishers International, Ltd., 2018, pp. 178-181

Cat and Dog First Aid Online, American Red Cross

“The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting & Owning a Cat”, by Sheila Webster Boneham, Ph.D., Alpha Books, Penguin Group (USA), Inc., New York, NY, 2005, pp. 170-1, 201-214

“First Aid Kits for Pets”, Banfield Animal Hospital®, an affiliate of Mars, Incorporated, 2021

First Aid for Dogs and Cats“, My CPR Now™, 2020

“How to Easily Put Together a First-Aid Kit for Your Cat”, by Jason Nicholas, BVetMed, Preventative Vet, Published: April 2, 2018, Updated: January 28, 2020

“Think Like a Cat, How to Raise a Well-Adjusted Cat – Not a Sour Puss”, by Pam Johnson-Bennett, Certified Animal Behavior Consultant, Penguin Books, Penguin Group (USA) Inc, New York, NY, 2000, 2011, pp. 306-309

What to include in your cat’s first-aid kit”, by Laura Moss, Adventure Cats™, April 3, 2016