Return to site

When Your Cat Needs Emergency Treatment

Credit: Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University via

Cats are masters at hiding pain and illness, which can make it difficult for their owners to recognize that something is amiss. However, owners should become concerned when they observe persistent subtle changes in their cats behavior such as eating less, sleeping or hiding more than usual, or reduced interest in playing or socializing.

Here are some signs you can recognize that indicate your cat is seriously ill or injured and requires emergency veterinary attention:

1. Repeated trips to litter box or straining to urinate: This could indicate a bladder inflammation and/or the cat (if male) is blocked. This is an extremely painful condition and the cat should be seen by a vet as soon as possible.

2. Labored Breathing: This could be congestion caused by upper respiratory infections. Cats with stuffy noses and sinuses may have audible breathing noises such as snoring, especially while sleeping. These cats should be evaluated by a vet.

3. Persistent vomiting: Vomiting can be caused by problems in the gastrointestinal system or other parts of the body, including inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies, and kidney disease. Cats can get extremely dehydrated as a result of repeated vomiting and because there are so many potential causes for vomiting in cats, it can be complicated to arrive at a diagnosis. Nonetheless, no matter what the cause, the cat should be promptly evaluated and treated by the vet.

4. Seizures: There are both neurologic or non-neurologic types of seizures. Non-neurologic can be caused by diabetes, liver disease and low blood calcium. Neurologic seizures can be caused by epilepsy or brain tumors. If a cat has more than one seizure in a short period of time, or has persistent seizures, it should be seen right away by a vet.

Any symptoms that last longer than 48 hours should be taken seriously and should receive prompt veterinary care.