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When To Take Your Cat To The ER

Cats are so good at hiding their pain or discomfort that many times, they are seriously ill by the time we notice that something is wrong. As a good member of your cat’s staff ( aka fur parent), you know your cat petty well and like us, some days you feel better than others. Sleeping a little more or eating a little less is all OK but any drastic changes in behavior or if there is a traumatic event, rushing your cat the nearest Emergency Veterinary Hospital might be the only thing that will save their life. That being said, the expense of a trip to the emergency room is enough to give pause to any pet owner because for even the most minor of emergencies, you will want to be ready to pay close to $1000. An emergency fund for your pets is obviously a great idea. Any serious condition or injury is likely to cost up to $5000. There is help with credit if you need it- is a site that will loan you money for emergency healthcare and veterinary care if you have decent credit already. The emergency veterinary hospitals all require payment up front before they will even start to treat your cat so be prepared with your credit card.

We had an emergency with our 12 year old cat, Danny, last year. He was fine all day. We let our fur kids play on our screened lanai during the day and they go in and out through a cat door to enjoy fresh air, chase lizards and nap in the sun. As dusk arrives, we usher them in for safety because we have coyotes in the area. Our 4 cats usually trot in obediently but this evening (of course, it was a Friday night), Danny just laid out there with his paws tucked under him. He would not get up or move. Something was terribly wrong. We rushed him to the nearest emergency clinic and they were able to stabilize his newly diagnosed congestive heart failure after several days. Danny is on prescription medications for the rest of his life and he is feeling fine now thanks to such great care. All fur parents should prepare for an emergency and know what you can afford to pay for emergency care.

Here’s a short list of when to take your cat to emergency in a secured carrier (never carry them loose under any circumstances)

  1. Trauma from a fall or being hit or tail slammed in a door

  2. Bleeding that won’t stop, especially from the mouth, nose or rectum

  3. Loss of consciousness, seizures or staggering

  4. Difficulty breathing

  5. Sudden collapse or weakness

  6. Inability to walk or stand; limping

  7. Loose poop that is black

  8. Severe vomiting, especially if it contains what looks like coffee grounds (dried blood)

  9. Gums that are blue, white or yellow

  10. Known ingestion of anything toxic. Common culprits are onions, garlic, freshly sprayed insecticide, any poison or antifreeze

Most of this list seems like common sense but sometimes, you just don’t know what your cat did that put him in danger. We adopted a kitten several years ago and after 3 months, we had a phone call from them. The kitten had stopped eating and was weak and lethargic and this all seem to happen rather suddenly. Our advise was to get him to emergency immediately. Turns out that the pest spray service had been there that day and sprayed the lanai perimeter just after a small rain shower so there were puddles of pesticide infused water. We all know kittens have to eat or taste everything just like little children and sure enough, he must have lapped up some of the poisoned water. The inside of his ears and gums had turned yellow which indicates liver failure. He was in intensive care for almost a week but he was able to recover. If the family had not noticed his change in behavior and acted quickly, he might not have made it.

Our advice is to be tuned into your cat and have an emergency fund or credit card ready for an event that we hope will never happen.



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