Emergencies happen when you least expect it.

If your cat has been injured or is experiencing a medical emergency, call your veterinarian before you attempt any type of first aid. Always make sure to speak with your veterinarian and/or with a poison control specialist before starting any therapies at home. Never administer any over-the-counter human medications to cats without speaking to a veterinary professional first.

Here are some basic things you should have prepared in case of an emergency with your cat.

cat with a bandage

Emergency Contact Information

Create a notebook or index card with important phone numbers and addresses. Store it in sealable sandwich bag to keep dry.

Make sure to include the following information:

  • Primary veterinary clinic
  • Closest emergency-veterinary clinic (include directions)
  • Pet Poison Helpline: petpoisonhelpline.com (1-800-213-6680)
  • Microchip ID number and company phone number
  • First aid book
  • Current vaccination records, especially proof of rabies vaccination
  • Current list of medications; include name, dosage, and frequency
  • Current medical records including any conditions or diseases, as well as treatment plans
  • List of temporary evacuation centers/shelters that are pet friendly

First Aid Kit

Use a sealable waterproof container like a toolbox or hard covered lunch box to contain all of your first aid supplies.

The First Aid Kit Should Contain:

First Aid Infographic
  • Non-latex gloves
  • Gauze or other absorbent material and an outer protective bandage layer
  • Artificial tears or other sterile ophthalmic drops
  • Non-adherent pads such as Telfa pads
  • Adhesive tape for the bandages
  • Bandage scissors
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Water-based lubricant, such as K-Y jelly, to protect open wounds
  • Eyedropper or syringe without a needle to clean wounds
  • Cotton balls or cotton swabs
  • Tweezers
  • Magnifying glass
  • Flashlight
  • Cold pack/chemical hot pack
  • Liquid dishwashing detergent for oil or another contaminant exposure
  • Muzzle or other method of protecting caregivers from bite risk when a cat is in pain or frightened by accident

Basic Transportation Supplies

Items You Should Have So You Can Safely Transport Your Cat in An Emergency Situation:

  • Secure carrier (we recommend you choose a hard-sided carrier that opens from the top and front)
  • Collar with tags
  • Leash (if your cat has been trained and is comfortable with it)
  • Large towel/blanket to assist in moving an injured or sick pet, or to cover a frightened or anxious animal
  • Bedding for carrier

For more suggestions about how to create a pet first aid kit, visit the Pet Poison Helpline resources.