Chances are, your family knows exactly which cabinet to turn to at the sight of a runny nose, a splinter, blood, or tummy ache. But when your cat is in need of more than a scratch behind the ears, are you ready? Proper preparation is the best tool to arm yourself with in case of a pet emergency. A pet first aid kit is a smart, personalized, easily created resource that will prepare you to think quickly and logically.
Below, the Animal Medical Center in New York shares what should be readily available now to aid in quick thinking for the future.
It's all in the bag
It's a good idea to put everything related to your pet's health issues in one, easily accessible bag. A clear, plastic tote is a smart option; you can place emergency numbers on the inside facing out for quick retrieval, and the flexible bag makes storage easier than a rigid box.
The most vital emergencies are the ones where you'll need outside assistance. Make sure that essential emergency numbers are the easiest to find. If you don't already have an emergency card number, write the following on an index card: Animal Poison Control Contact Info Your pet's regular veterinarian Local Veterinary Emergency Animal Hospital Info Emergency Pet Taxis (for urban areas... many taxis don't allow animals- although a cat in a carrier should not be a problem) Pet's health records in case your vet is not available
The Prep Work
You may be able to lessen the impact of an emergency by simply being well prepared. Start by buying a book on cats... the knowledge you'll gain from this information may help when you really need it.
Pay special attention to the list of substances commonly found in your home which are toxic to your pet (such as strings, ribbons, yard, threat, Easter lilies, etc). Keeping a "thumbs down" list handy will allow swift action in case of accidental ingestion.
Secondly, travelers should make a copy of their pet's medical records that stay with the animal at all times, in case the vet or sitter isn't as familiar with your pet as your family.
Many minor injuries can be self-treated with proper knowledge and equipment. Tweezers: For splinter or foreign object removal Nail trimmer: Ask your local pet supply store for the style of trimmer right for your pet. Scissors: Handy for hair clumps and foreign object tangles – but be extra careful because it can be easy to cut the skin. Betadine Sponges: For cleaning of cuts and wounds, to be used with an antibacterial cleanser Sterile Vaseline for eyes: If you're bathing your pet, this will prevent soap and water from getting in their eyes Saline Solution: Regular human contact lens saline solution can be used to flush out dirt, sand, or other irritant - just gently squeeze the contents directly into the eye. Peroxide: To only be used to induce vomiting when Animal Poison Control says to do so. You should call Animal Poison Control when your dog or cat has consumed something from the "no" list. Not to be used for cleaning wounds. Triple antibiotic ointment: To place directly on a cut Sterile telpha pads (no stick): Sticky bandages and fur don't mix. Wrap the wound with the pads before placing on the bandage Bandages
Remember, proper, immediate first-aid is only the first step in the treatment of a cat injury or emergency. While your intervention may prevent serious harm, you must always seek veterinary care as soon as possible to assure the best outcome for your companion.