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10 Signs Your Cat Needs to Go to An Emergency Vet

Cats can get sick or injured at any time. While some of these situations resolve themselves, there are times when only an urgent appointment with your veterinarian will ensure that your feline friend makes a safe, swift recovery.

Here are 10 signs that your cat is having a medical emergency and needs to see a veterinarian without delay.


1. Straining to urinate

Not being able to urinate is a life-threatening situation for any animal or human being. In cats, if your feline is straining to pee but unable to empty their bladder, it could indicate a blockage in their urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body). If this blockage ruptures, it could cause permanent damage to your cat or be fatal so it’s essential that you get help for them right away.


2. Struggling to breathe

Unsurprisingly, being unable to breathe is also a veterinary emergency. However, you may have to watch your cat closely to notice it as they don’t tend to make much fuss when their breathing gets impaired and tend to hide away. Signs to look for include:


  • Laying on their front with their elbows out

  • Increased chest movement

  • Panting (open-mouth breathing)

  • An elongated neck

  • Gums appear blueish in color

Don’t delay and seek help immediately.


3. Dragging their back legs

 If your cat suddenly starts dragging their back legs behind them, it is a very serious situation that suggests that they may have a blood clot blocking the blood supply to their legs. Blood clots can move around the body and be fatal, so it’s essential to get your feline friend to your emergency veterinarian – now!


4. Repeated vomiting

Cats can pass hairballs on a semi-regular basis, and this is nothing to worry about. Similarly, occasional vomiting of food is quite normal. However, repeated vomiting isn’t usual behavior for a feline and can indicate that there is something wrong, particularly when it is accompanied by a loss of appetite, stopping drinking and urinating, or any other symptoms. Urgent veterinary attention is strongly recommended.


5. Discharge from the eyes and/or nose

As humans, we’re used to getting a runny nose or watery eyes when we get a respiratory infection or virus-like a common cold. However, respiratory infections can be serious in cats and should be treated right away, so if your feline friend has discharge from the eyes or nose, book them a veterinary appointment right away.  


6. Bleeding

Severe blood loss is always an emergency, no matter where the blood is coming from. When you call your emergency veterinarian, it can be helpful to be able to describe both the source of the blood and how much your cat has lost. Try and remain calm and be as accurate as you can with your answers, as this will help your veterinarian understand what steps need to be taken next.


7. Traumatic injury

The thing with traumatic injuries is that they are usually quite visible. Your cat may be walking on three legs rather than four, have a crush injury, or have obvious lacerations. If you notice any traumatic injuries, or if you suspect that your cat may have been hit by a car and have internal injuries, it’s important to get them checked out by your veterinarian as soon as you can.


8. Overwhelming fatigue/collapse

Many cats are naturally lazy creatures and spend a lot of time sleeping and wallowing around. However, if your furbaby suddenly seems very fatigued or has even less energy than normal, it could be a sign that there is something seriously wrong. Your veterinarian can run tests to make sure that there’s nothing life-threatening causing the change in their behavior.


9. Unusual behaviors

Speaking of behaviors, you know your cat better than anyone else. If they start acting unusually and this lasts for more than 24 hours, you should speak to your veterinarian for an emergency appointment.


10. Straining during labor

If your cat is having kittens and labor has started, but they are straining continually without birthing, it is an emergency scenario. The kitten could have become stuck, forming a life-threatening obstruction. It’s important to remember that there can be long gaps between kittens being born, so unless your cat is straining, it’s not an emergency.

If you have concerns about the health of your cat and you aren’t sure whether or not you need them to see a vet, please call us at (915) 545-1148 to reach El Paso Animal Emergency.

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