Cat First Aid
Home medical care for your cat’s minor illnesses and injuries may require medication sometimes. Sometimes, because many of your pet’s medical problems, such as a minor abrasion, a sprain, or occasional vomiting or diarrhea, resolve themselves without medication. Feline bodies have a remarkable capability for healing themselves, but we are a drug-oriented society: we feel that an injection of this or a tablet of that will do the job. In reality, a little time and knowledge are often all that is needed, and they may well be the most effective (and the cheapest!) treatment. This fact should not be abused, however.
Veterinarians are occasionally confronted with an injury or minor illness that has healed itself even when the owner did not use the medication or follow the instructions. The owner calls a week later to say that the ear infection is completely healed or diarrhea has disappeared. This does not mean that you should not follow your doctor’s instructions.
The following is a list of medications that are good to have on hand, as well as the ailments they treat. Keep all medicines out of the reach of children.
Laxatives should not be used regularly unless recommended by your veterinarian. Safe laxatives are made from psyllium (see below). Alternative laxatives are milk of magnesia or mineral oil. If an Enema is needed use warm water (best) or a Fleet enema.
1. Bulk Laxatives
Products such as Metamucil and Mucilose are refined from the psyllium seed. The substance from this seed is not absorbed by the digestive tract; it only passes through. Thus, it is a natural product and one with essentially no contraindications and no side effects. It provides bulk by drawing water into the stool. If you think your cat has an intestinal obstruction or impacted feces, do not use a laxative.
1 teaspoon mixed in the food once or twice daily. Be sure to mix water82 into the food and supply drinking water at all times.
2. Milk of Magnesia
The active ingredient, magnesium, causes fluid to be retained within the bowel and in the feces. It is also helpful in speeding the passage of any poisons through the digestive tract.
1 teaspoon per five pounds of body weight. (One dose should do the job.)
Be sure to mix the water
Milk of magnesia is nonabsorbable, but it does contain magnesium and some salt and should not be used if your pet has kidney or heart disease.
3. Mineral Oil
This is the cheapest and most effective laxative, but it can be dangerous if administered improperly or given for a long period. Mineral oil should never be given directly in the mouth because it is bland and may enter the breathing tubes and lungs before your pet can cough. Mineral oil in the lungs will cause severe pneumonia. Instead, mix it in the food. If mineral oil is given for a long period, it can cause deficiencies of the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E, and K.
1 teaspoon per ten pounds of body weight, mixed in the food once daily, for two days at the maximum.
Pneumonia or vitamin deficiency if administered improperly.
If your pet has constipation (impacted or hard feces in the lower intestine and rectum), you should see your doctor. If you must give the enema, use the Fleet pediatric enema. This may lubricate and soften the hard feces. Use only the mineral oil enema, not the phosphate type.
The lubricated nozzle is inserted into the rectum, and one ounce of the solution is gently administered. Another enema can be given half an hour later, if necessary.
Severe complications can result if used when fever, nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain is present. Do not use in cats that are dehydrated or have known kidney disease.
The only safe cough medicine I recommend for use without veterinary consultation is an expectorant. The expectorant liquefy the secretions and allows the body’s defenses to get rid of the bad material. Cough suppressants should not be used without your doctor’s advice, because they contain such narcotics as codeine Over-the-counter cough suppressants may contain dextromethorphan. a close chemical relative.
1. Glyceryl Guaiacolate (guaifenesin)
If your cat has a dry, hacking cough, a lubricant soothes the inflamed area. If your pet has a cough with mucus, glyceryl guaiacolate liquefies the mucus secretions so that they may be coughed-free. It does not suppress the cough reflex but rather encourages the natural defense mechanisms of the body.
Read the label: Do not use Robitussin or 2-G with the additives PE (for the decongestant phenylephrine), CF or DM (for the cough suppressant dextromethorphan), or AC (for codeine). Use Robitussin or 2-G with only glyceryl guaiacolate (guaifenesin) in 3.5 percent alcohol.
I/4 teaspoon every four hours.
No serious side effects, but check with your doctor if the cough persists.
Kaopectate is a very safe medication for cats. Do not use paregoric – it may be toxic to your cat. See your veterinarian if the diarrhea persists.
Kaopectate contains kaolin and pectin, which coat the intestinal tract and help to form a solid stool.
2 teaspoons per ten pounds of body weight every four hours.
For short-term use, apply an ophthalmic ointment such as Neosporin or Neo-policy to your cat’s eye three or four times daily. These ointments contain three antibiotics: polymyxin, bacitracin, and neomycin.
If your pet has only one ringworm lesion, you can use this cream. It is available over the counter in drugstores.
Apply the cream to the skin lesion with a Q-tip twice daily. Do not touch the lesion with your finger.
If the skin becomes more irritated, stop the medication and see your veterinarian. Do not get the medication in the eye.
Brushing and combing your cat frequently will help prevent hairballs (swallowed hair from self-grooming). If your cat still vomits hairballs, a lubricant such as white petroleum jelly may help. A commercial hairball medicine (Ka t-a-I., Lax atone) from your veterinarian or pet store can also be used.
1. White Petroleum Jelly
1/2 teaspoon per ten pounds of body weight. Apply it to the cat’s nose and it will be licked off. This can be given once weekly. The jelly melts in the stomach to an oil that lubricates the hairball for easier passage in your cat’s bowels.
Keep in mind that white petroleum jelly has the potential to decrease the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E., and K) if given in large doses or for a prolonged time.
2. Bo nine
If you are unsuccessful, an antihistamine called Bo nine (medicine hydrochloride) can be used. It is effective against the apprehension, salivation, and vomiting or diarrhea that some pets experience when traveling. If Bo nine is not successful in eliminating the motion sickness, your veterinarian can provide you with tranquilizers or antihistamines that are effective.
12.5 milligrams given on an empty stomach one hour before traveling. The dose can be repeated in twenty-four hours.
Your pet may experience drowsiness. Do not give Bonnie to a pregnant cat – it may cause birth defects.
Pain and Fever
Do not give aspirin or Tylenol to cats without your veterinarian’s recommendation. Cats have problems detoxifying and excreting these substances.
1. To Induce Vomiting: Hydrogen Peroxide
If your cat swallows a poison that can be expelled by vomiting, a 3 percent solution of hydrogen peroxide works very well. Do not induce vomiting if the poison swallowed is a petroleum-based compound or a strong acid or strong alkali. Be sure that the hydrogen peroxide purchased is not a higher strength (such as for bleaching hair).
1 teaspoon every ten minutes until your cat vomits. You can repeat these two or three times, if necessary. If this treatment is unsuccessful, 1 or 2 teaspoons of salt or a mustard-and-warm-water solution put on the back of the tongue should induce vomiting.
2. To Absorb Poison: Activated Charcoal
After vomiting, a few teaspoons of activated charcoal mixed in milk or water can be given to absorb the poison if the specific antidote is not known. Activated charcoal can be purchased in drugstores.
To Speed Passage through the Digestive Tract: Milk of Magnesia
1 teaspoon per five pounds of body weight once daily.
1. Sterilizing Agents and Antiseptics
Soap and water is the best way to clean a wound. Hydrogen peroxide (3 percent strength) foams and cleanses wounds very well, and is inexpensive. Beta dines a non stinging iodine preparation, kills germs, and is a good agent to use on the skin, but it is expensive. To soothe the skin temporarily, calamine lotion can be applied, but it loses its effectiveness when it dries out. It must be washed off and reapplied frequently. Do not get it in the eyes.
Cleanse the wounds three times daily. Trim the hair around the wound, if necessary.
2. Domeboro Solution
This is a soothing wet dressing for the relief of skin inflammation. It has antiseptic properties and reduces itching.
Dissolve one teaspoon or tablet in a pint of warm water. Bathe or apply wet dressings of the solution to the affected skin for fifteen minutes. You can repeat these three or four times daily.
Vitamin A & D Ointment soothes irritated skin and can be applied three or four times daily to affected areas. The ointments containing antibiotics (Newsprint, Nonpaying, and Maintain) can be applied to the affected skin three times daily.
Acidifiers help control bacterial infections of the lower urinary tract and help prevent a recurrence of crystal or stone formation in the tract.
1. Vitamin C and Juices
Tomato juice and cranberry juice are excellent urinary acidifiers – if your pet will drink them. You can measure their effectiveness by testing urine with litmus paper. If blue litmus paper turns red, the urine is acidic.
1/4 to 1 cup of cranberry juice or tomato juice per day should be adequate.100 milligrams of vitamin C three times daily.
Vomiting and Stomach Upsets
Apostate, Maalox, Mylanta, Poeticism
All of these products soothe the stomach lining.
2 teaspoons of Apostate per ten pounds of body weight every four hours. 1 teaspoon of Maalox or Mylanta per ten pounds of body weight every eight hours. Take 1 teaspoon of Poeticism per ten pounds of body weight every four hours.
Maalox and Mylanta may loosen the stools a little. If your pet has a history of heart or kidney disease, consult your veterinarian before using either of these.
The First Aid Kit
This is a must for pet owners. Keep the kit in a convenient location but out of the reach of small children. A fishing-tackle box works very well, by the way.
Adhesive tape, 1 inch wide
Gauze bandages, 1-inch rolls of Absorbent cotton
Sterile gauze pads, 3 x 3 inches Cotton-tipped swabs (Q-tips)Rubbing alcohol
Sharp scissors with rounded ends
See more: Cat Fever