unconscious cat

Steps to Care for an Unconscious Cat

Emergencies in cats are common and when they happen, it is important to know basic skills of what to do. A cat that loses consciousness is a true emergency and needs to receive veterinary care as soon as possible.

Causes for an Unconscious Cat

There are dozens of causes for a cat to become unconscious and all of them are potentially serious and life-threatening. Consciousness is a state of being aware of one’s surroundings and awake. Therefore the state of unconsciousness means a cat is not aware of his surroundings and not awake.

Some cat owners may confuse the terms of consciousness with comatose. Coma is defined as the absence of alertness or consciousness. Comatose cats are unresponsive to noxious or painful stimuli. Decreased consciousness or stupor is diminished awareness or alertness. Coma and stupor are serious medical conditions that should be addressed immediately by a veterinarian. Persistent coma is also called a persistent vegetative state.

Reasons for cats to be unconscious may include:

What to Do If You Find an Unconscious Cat

A cat that loses consciousness is a true emergency and should receive veterinary care as soon as possible. Call your vet or closest emergency clinic immediately.

Be prepared to answer questions. Your veterinarian will likely ask you several questions including What happened? How long ago did it happen? Has this ever happened before? Is there any possible exposure to toxins, drugs, medications, trash, or foods? Has there been any history of trauma? Has your cat ever had a seizure? Any exposure to plants such as Easter Lilies? Are there any underlying medical problems such as heart problems, epilepsy, kidney failure, etc.

Your veterinary team will probably recommend some diagnostic testing. This may include a complete blood count, serum chemistry including blood glucose, urinalysis, x-rays, and/or electrocardiogram (EKG). Advanced testing may include a CT scan or MRI and/or a Spinal tap. This will all be depending on the clinical exam and history.

Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the loss of consciousness.

What Can You Do at Home for an Unconscious Cat

If your cat has a loss of consciousness, examine your cat to ensure they are breathing and have a heartbeat. You can often feel the pulse of the heart just over the chest by the below on the left side. You can observe breathing by looking at the chest wall for movement. While preparing to see a veterinarian, you may do the following:

We hope these tips help you know more about what to do if you have an unconscious cat.

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