As a cat owner there are few things more terrifying than seeing your cat bleed. I know this first hand. Years ago I had a cat named Obi-Wan. Obi was an EXTREMELY curious cat.
One evening as I was taking care of a few things around my home I heard Obi crying out in pain. When I found him, his paw was stuck in the mechanics of my recliner. I reached my hand inside and tried to free him with no success. Then I saw the drops of blood falling to the floor.
My heart was beating a mile a minute my husband and I worked frantically to free our poor baby. My husband was ready to take a hack saw to the recliner before we finally released Obi’s bleeding foot.
At the emergency vet Obi was treated for a claw that had been pulled out. Thankfully there was no permanent damage done.
The Moral of Obi Wan’s Story
It would have been really nice to know some basic First Aid for cats in my situation with Obi-Wan. That knowledge probably would have given me a little more peace in the moments between getting Obi out of the recliner and placing him in the vet’s hands. For that very reason I would like to share what I’ve learned about First Aid for cats with the other cat owners out there.
How to Care for a Cat’s Bleeding Wound
First things First
- Keep calm! It is hard to see your pet wounded, but you need to be able to stay in control.
- Call your veterinarian. If you need to take your cat into the emergency vet it is good to call before you head out.
- Take precautions. Even though this is your pet, do note that wounded animals might be scared and might lash out at you. It does you no good to get hurt.
- When you can hold the cat still, find the wound.
Note: Do not remove broken nails or objects penetrating the cat’s skin. Allow your veterinarian to handle these.
- Cut hair away from the wound so it doesn’t stick in it.
- Clean the wound with water. Do not put any ointments or medications on the wound.
- If the cut is on the nose, place an ice pack on the nose between the eyes.
- Use Direct pressure to stop the bleeding:
- Place a clean gauze pad on the wound and press gently but firmly.
- Do not remove the gauze pad if it becomes soaked in blood. Add a new gauze pad on top as necessary. Keep the pressure on.
Note: Cuts on ears will likely bleed A LOT.
- Wrap the bandage with rags to hold it in place. Always wrap from the end of the extremity toward the body. Make sure not to wrap so tightly that it cuts off circulation.
If using direct pressure doesn’t work elevate the wound and keep the direct pressure on the wound.
If elevating the wound doesn’t work place pressure on the pressure on the corresponding artery. Cats have arteries in their arm pits, “leg pits”, and at the base of their tails.
If all else fails try a turniquet. This needs to be a last effort because it CAN CAUSE DAMAGE and lead to the need to amputate the limb.
- Wrap a cloth around the limb twice and knot it.
- Tie a small stick into the knot.
- Turn the stick until the bleeding stops.
- Loosen the tourniquet for 15 -20 seconds every 20 minutes.