Signs Your Cat Needs Immediate Veterinary Attention

By Gina Spadafori, Paul D. Pion

Part of Cats For Dummies Cheat Sheet

If your cat gets injured or becomes ill, you may need to make a quick trip to the vet or to the emergency care facility. Following is a list of some symptoms that require your cat to see a veterinarian now:

  • Seizure, fainting, or collapse.

  • Eye injury, no matter how mild.

  • Vomiting or diarrhea — anything more than two or three times within an hour or so.

  • Allergic reactions, such as swelling around the face, or hives, most easily seen on the belly.

  • Any suspected poisoning, including antifreeze, rodent or snail bait, or human medication. Cats are also especially sensitive to insecticides (such as flea-control medication for dogs) and petroleum-based products.

  • Snake or venomous spider bite.

  • Thermal stress — from being either too cold or too hot — even if the cat seems to have recovered. (The internal story could be quite different.)

  • Any wound or laceration that’s open and bleeding, or any animal bite.

  • Trauma, such as being hit by a car, even if the cat seems fine.

  • Any respiratory problem: chronic coughing, trouble breathing, or near drowning.

  • Straining to urinate or defecate.

When in doubt, day or night, don’t wait: Call a veterinarian!