Caring for a Cat After a Traumatic Injury

Caring for a Cat After a Traumatic Injury

Pet owners want to give their kitty a safe home full of love. But sometimes, cats get into all sorts of mischief while you’re not looking. You can’t account for every little accident that might happen. They’re bound to take a tumble at some point.

So, you’ve come home to an injured cat. What can you do? The sooner you take action, the better! Even if it’s a minor wound, you should contact your vet and schedule an appointment right away. After treatment, there’s plenty you can do at home to help your cat make a speedy recovery.

Is your cat hiding an injury?

The first important thing is detecting your cat’s injury to begin with. A cat injury might be hard to detect, and this is due to a fascinating survival instinct. In the wild, if cats show weakness, they’re easy picking for predators. But for a domestic cat, that survival instinct can do more harm than good. Pet owners need to recognize when their cat is hurt so they can help.

Look out for unusual behavior or aggression. Cats are aloof creatures who enjoy nap time, but if they’re constantly hiding or seem sluggish all the time, something might be wrong.

A cozy cat hides in a fuzzy white blanket

Always consult a licensed vet first

If you detect an injury in your cat, it’s understandable that you’d want to address it on your own right away. While there are a few simple remedies you could do at home, it’s important to consult a vet first. First aid takes practice and, if not done properly, can worsen your cat’s injury.

Take your cat to the vet or animal hospital as soon as you can. If an injury is left alone, something minor could develop complications and get worse, and your cat may be in pain for longer than necessary. The best thing you can do for your feline friend is get them into the hands of a professional.

Follow your vet’s instructions exactly

Once your cat arrives back home after the vet, you’ll have discharge papers to follow. It’s important to follow your vet’s instructions exactly as they’re written. That way, your cat will recover as fast as possible and avoid further injury. Here are some important aspects of at-home injury care:

  • Wound care: You must prevent your cat from biting or scratching at their wound. An Elizabethan collar usually takes care of this. If the cone is bothering your cat, consult the vet before you loosen or remove it. The number-one thing that can make an injury worse is if your cat fusses with it. Also, check your cat’s bandages regularly. Bandages get soiled from drinking water or when your cat uses the litter box. When this happens, the vet might instruct you to replace the bandage or ask that you pay them another visit. If the skin around the bandage is red, swollen or oozing, ask your vet what to do—the wound might be infected.
  • Medication: Your cat might be prescribed medications to fight off infections during the recovery process. Administer medication exactly how the instructions say to do it. Never change the dosage or stop giving it altogether without your vet’s approval. Also, never feed your cat medication that’s meant for humans.
  • Diet: Your vet might prescribe a specific diet for your cat. It’s important that your cat is eating nutritious meals while recovering, especially since their appetite is likely to go down. Depending on what’s best for the cat, the vet might recommend increased caloric intake or food that supports the immune system.
  • Sleep and activity: Your kitty needs rest in order to make a good recovery. However, the vet might ask you to make sure they get some light exercise. This will help prevent excessive weight gain while your cat is physically unable to do everything they used to. Approach play time with caution so your cat doesn’t become more injured.

A cat recovers from surgery in an Elizabethan collar

Keep an eye out for continued symptoms

Sometimes, cats have a lapse in recovery, even if the owners are doing everything within their power to ensure no health complications arise. Your cat should pay the vet another visit if they experience any of these symptoms:

  • Irregular bathroom habits
  • Hiding
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Disorientation and daze

Let your cat know you’re there to help

Vets know best, so reach out with questions if you have them while your pet is recovering. Also, check in with your vet during the recovery process so they can make sure everything is going smoothly. Although cats need their space, yours will appreciate an intervention if their health is at risk.