In the first part of our guide to cat first aid we covered what to do if your cat has a bleeding wound, a broken bone, heat stoke, or has been burnt or scalded. In part two we intend to cover more common cat injuries and ailments, so that if anything unfortunate should befall your cat you'll know exactly what to do.
Whether they are forcefully pulled on or trapped in a closing door, any injury that befalls a cat's tail should be taken seriously. If your cat's tail ever seems limp, or you witness it being damaged, pay your vet a visit so that it can be looked at. Injuries to a cat's tail can result in a number of conditions, including serious bladder issues.
If your cat ever eats something man-made - that it is not supposed to - the best thing you can do is find the packaging for the ingested item and get your vet on the phone immediately. If your cat has eaten any vegetation and is acting out of sorts, you should take a sample of the plant (a leaf cutting at least) and bring it and your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
As you are only administering cat first aid, you should never force your cat to vomit unless told to explicitly by a professional, and even then take care to make sure that you are not at any risk of being bitten.
Fits & Seizures:
When a cat is having convulsions there is very little you can do for it in the moment. Fits and seizures can be caused and prolonged by numerous stimuli, so the best thing you can do as a first-aider is make the area they are in as dark as possible (turn off the lights, close the curtains) and reduce the noise as much as you can.
To prevent a fitting cat from hurting themselves on furniture and the like you should line any hard surfaces or sharp edges with cushions or pillows, so that if your cat hits them they will do less harm to themselves. Once you have done these things call your vet and do as they instruct.
Just to reiterate, do not grab or hold them in order to stop your cat from convulsing. Doing so may stimulate them and cause their seizure to worsen, which is the opposite of what cat first aid is supposed to achive. If you are able to, make note of the time the fit began and when it ended, and inform your vet of its length. If it lasts more than 3 minutes you should consider it to be very serious.
One of the most essential cat first aid skills, the first thing you have to do is make sure that there is no risk of you drowning or injuring yourself, only then should you proceed to remove the cat from the body of water. Wipe away and remove anything that could be obstructing its nose or mouth and drain the water out by holding it upside-down by its back legs.
If it does not start breathing again begin to resuscitate your cat by administering CPR. Cat CPR is relatively straight forward, simply remove its collar, place it on it's side and tilt its head slightly upwards. Again, make sure that the airways are clear of debris, blood or vomit and pull its tongue forward to open its throat (this alone may actually bring it round). Press down on its chest extremely gently and allow its lungs to fill with air, then release. Repeat every 4-6 seconds.
If after 6 rounds of this your cat has still not stirred you will need to perform mouth-to-nose resuscitation. Close your cats mouth and hold it shut as you blow gently into its nose in short bursts lasting no longer than 3 seconds, exceeding this may cause the cat's lungs to over-inflate. Take a two second break and then repeat over and over again until your cat begins breathing again or a vet arrives. If your cat is not breathing independently again within ten minutes, roll it on its other side and continue; rolling it over again if another ten minutes passes.
Even if your cat does start breathing again, visit your vet as soon as possible so that it can be examined. Not all effects of drowning are immediately apparent and there is always a risk of secondary drowning (or dry-drowning), pneumonia, breathing difficulties, heart problems, and so on.
Though it is unlikely, if your cat tries to eat something that then gets stuck in its throat you have to act very quickly. If your cat is conscious and is able to breathe partially do your best to keep it calm and take it to the vet as fast as you can. If it is unable to breathe then you may be able to dislodge the blockage with your fingers or with a set of tweezers, but this will be an understandably stressful time for your cat and it may bite you.
If your cat is choking and falls into unconsciousness you need to run your finger along the outside of their throat to see if you can feel the foreign object. If you can feel it do your best to push it up and out of your cat's throat from the outside. If you cannot then you will need to perform what a 'Cat Heimlich'. To perform the Heimlich manoeuvre for cats you need to place your hands on either side of its rib cage and firmly squeeze three to four times. Do this until the foreign object becomes dislodged.
If your cat does not begin to breathe again at this point, carry out the cat CPR technique detailed above under 'drowning'. Remember, even if your cat begins to breathe on its own again you still ought to take it to see a vet.
If you walk in to a room and find your cat is unconscious check for its heart beat immediately. If you do not know how to take a cat's pulse, simply roll it over so that it is lying on its left side and place two of your fingers just behind its front leg and shoulder. If its heart is beating call a vet and ask them for their advice. If their pulse is especially weak place your cat gently into a box or carrier, cover it in a blanket and take it to see a vet at once.
If having checked your cat's pulse you find it is not breathing, use the cat first aid technique mentioned above and feel down the outside of its throat for foreign objects. If you find something try to work it out of the cat's throat from the outside. If you cannot find anything, or if after dislodging the object fro its throat it is still not breathing, carry out the cat CPR technique described in the above point on drowning. Don't forget, even if it starts to breathe again and seems fine, it is still better to consult a professional vet.