What To Do If Your Cat May Be Having A Veterinary Emergency

Cat Emergency CareIf your cat has suffered a sudden trauma or is experiencing any life-threatening symptoms, please call us immediately at 410-657-8024. Our experienced veterinary team can help increase the odds of recovery for your beloved feline friend, even in the face of the most severe cat emergency care situations.

After Hour Emergency Veterinary Services

If your pet has an emergency after hours, please contact the Emergency Animal Hospital located at 10270 Baltimore National Pike (Route 40) at (410) 750-1177.

Cat Emergencies That Require Immediate Veterinary Attention

Cats can be very subtle in showing signs of illness. Therefore, it is crucial that you be on the lookout for subtle changes in your cat's behavior. If your cat normally greets you and wants to eat when you get home from work, and all of the sudden neither he or she neither greets you nor wants to eat, this may be a very serious sign of an immediate need for veterinary medical help.

Although many illnesses can become serious and some may even become fatal if left untreated, not every circumstance truly warrants emergency care. We have compiled a partial list of situations requiring emergency cat care in order to help you decide whether or not you should take your feline friend to an emergency cat clinic:

  • Difficulty Breathing: This may be the most serious of all non-trauma-induced injuries, as hypoxia (low oxygen levels) and the events that follow can lead to respiratory arrest and even death if not treated quickly. In addition, when this is occurring, your cat is suffering and panicked. Difficulty breathing is an immediate emergency. It may arise slowly or acutely. Regardless, when you notice any of these symptoms, your cat is in trouble and needs veterinary care. Symptoms include labored breathing (this can be subtle, but it looks like your cat's chest is moving faster and more pronounced while breathing), making alarming noises, or a puffing of the lips. If you see or suspect these symptoms, seek immediate emergency cat care.
  • Urethral Obstruction: This is a blockage in the urinary tube that leads from the bladder to the outside. When obstructed with small sand-like particles, your cat cannot urinate. This is both very painful and leads to metabolic changes, which will cause death quickly if the obstruction is not relieved. This primarily affects male cats and can lead to kidney damage, bladder rupture, and death. Symptoms include urinating outside of a litter box, straining to produce very small amounts of urine, vocalizing pain or distress, and excessive genital grooming. Female cats can have urinary problems too, but they are generally related to infections.
  • Hind-End Paralysis: If your cat is unable to use his or her rear legs and is showing signs of stress and pain, it is an emergency. This condition is known as aortic thromboembolism or ATE. It is a complication of heart disease that causes a blood clot to lodge in a large vessel of the hind legs. Symptoms include panting, vocalizing pain or distress, and severe physical distress resulting from an inability to move the hindquarters of the body. This requires immediate emergency cat care.
  • Not Eating/Drinking: It should be a concern if your cat does not eat at his or her usual time or eat the usual amount. Cats do not go extended periods of time without eating or drinking, and doing so may be a sign of a serious illness, including kidney failure, diabetes complications, fever, upper respiratory infections, pneumonia, intestinal obstructions, etc. 
  • Vomiting and/or Diarrhea: Almost all cats have soft stools occasionally, but if your cat vomits repeatedly or has violent diarrhea, seek urgent care.
  • Ingestion of Toxins: If you witness your cat ingesting toxic substances, it is essential to seek emergency cat care. Recovery rates are exponentially better when immediate emergency care is provided.
  • Seizures: Although a solitary seizure may not be life-threatening, seizures often come in clusters and can become progressive. Seizures have many causes, including the ingestion of a toxic substance or medication. If your cat has never had a seizure and is not currently under the care of a veterinarian for a seizure disorder, we recommend seeking immediate medical attention. Seizures are generally a sign of serious illness in a cat.
  • Major Trauma: If your cat experiences major traumas, such as an attack by a dog, falling from a height, or a fight with another cat, seek cat emergency care immediately. Remember, cats do not usually show immediate symptoms of injury, even when they have internal trauma. Veterinarians will be able to assess and look for less obvious signs of serious illness.

Of course, we cannot explore every possible emergency scenario here, but, if you are worried about the health of your cat, and especially if you are worried that your cat may be experiencing a life-threatening situation, please call us immediately or simply bring your cat to our emergency clinic located at:

4866 Montgomery Road
Ellicott City MD, 21043

It is always best to take a proactive approach to protect the lives of loved ones, and our feline companions are no exception.

We Provide Emergency Cat Care During Business Hours

For any feline requiring emergency cat care in the Ellicott City area, Countryside Veterinary Clinic is proud to offer emergency care at our hospital during regular business hours. Please all an emergency clinic after hours weekends and holidays.

Tips For Getting Your Cat Safely To An Emergency Clinic

It is important to understand that although you might have an incredibly special bond with your feline friend, during a time of illness or injury a cat's natural instinct can result in aggression toward anyone attempting to handle him or her. If your cat is suffering from a cat emergency and needs to be transported to an emergency cat hospital, you have a responsibility to make sure no subsequent injuries occur to any party. Follow these tips for safely transporting your cat to an emergency care clinic:

  • First, gently place a towel over your cat's head to prevent biting, and then slowly lift him or her into an open-topped carrier or box.
  • Be sure to support the cat's body weight, which should also help with relaxation.
  • Take special care to support your cat's head, and avoid any twisting of the neck, especially in cases of possible spinal injury.
  • Once secured, immediately transport your cat to an emergency cat clinic. If possible, call ahead to alert the staff of your pending arrival so they can adequately prepare for you in the meantime.

What To Do If Your Cat Eats Something Poisonous

If you see your cat ingest a toxic substance, or even if you suspect that this has occurred, it is important to seek emergency cat care immediately.

Go directly to the veterinarian. Bring the bottle or know the type of medication or poison ingested. Call on your way and tell them what the cat ingested, how long ago it was ingested, and the amount.