Discovering that your pet is injured is very frightening. I remember the night that my outdoor cat came home injured when I was a teenager. I’d returned home alone from dinner at my grandparent’s house, while my mom stayed to talk. I got home and let our tabby inside. I could immediately tell that something was wrong, but I could not tell that he was hurt. Our usually friendly and perky cat was sulking through the house and had a mean look on his face. He also smelled of urine, which caused me to get a wet washcloth to wipe him off. I ran the washcloth down his back and when I saw the streak of blood on that cloth, I was shocked. His dark fur had hidden the blood and injuries. I immediately called my mom and we took our cat to the vet shortly after. Our cat had multiple deep bites, including one at the base of his tail. The vet initially thought his tail would have to be amputated, but fortunately it healed and our tabby kept his tail. This is a scary story and it happened because our outdoor cat fought with another animal. There are obviously pros and cons of having an outdoor cat, and this is one of the cons, but that is a debate for another time.
Both indoor and outdoor cats suffer from severe injuries sometimes. Knowing how to determine your pet is injured and how to act can save your pet’s life in an emergency.
Signs Your Cat May be Injured (even if you can’t see the injury)
Aggression (especially if aggression is unusual in your pet)
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heart rate and a weak pulse
- Pale gums, lips and inner eyelids
- Ears and legs/feet that are cold
Basic First Aid Steps
Assess the situation. Has the danger passed? If there is danger to yourself or your pet from an animal or another source, get to a safe place first.
Keep your pet warm, quiet, and as still as possible. Your initial reaction to a seriously injured pet may be to panic, but remember that your pet will take emotional cues from you. If you remain calm, your pet is more likely to remain calm. You don’t want to increase your pet’s stress.
Call your veterinarian or an emergency veterinarian immediately. Ask your veterinarian if you should take any special precautions with your pet due to the type of injuries.
Arrange to have your pet evaluated by the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Jennifer Kean is a writer and pet-lover who owns two rescue kittens (lifetime cat owner too!) and has a 40 gallon fish tank!