Your cat is probably like a child to you and–like any loving pet parent–you want to do everything you can to keep them healthy and safe.
Cats can be very independent. They tend to take pretty good care of themselves. However, they can’t do everything on their own, so it’s up to us to be responsible. We all need to educate ourselves on the dangers cats face and how to help them if something goes wrong.
That’s why you should learn these seven important tips that could save your cat’s life.
1. Know How To Perform Cat CPR
If your cat isn’t breathing or their heart isn’t beating, you may have to do CPR until you can get them to a vet.
When performing CPR on a cat, alternate between breaths and compressions. First, check their mouth for foreign objects, then hold their mouth shut, put your mouth around their mouth, and give two breaths into the cat’s nose.
PetMD recommends one breath every four to five seconds. Breathe just enough to get the chest to rise and fall–don’t overdo it.
Checking the pulse on a cat can be tough. Cats have a carotid artery in their necks that you can check. Some vets also recommend checking for a pulse under their bottom leg.
To do chest compressions, use only one hand. Lay your cat on their right side because their heart is closer to the left side. Find their heart area beneath the left elbow using the method in the video above.
Take two fingers and press about one half to one full inch and do 15 compressions. Every 10 to 15 compressions, give your cat another breath. Then repeat the compression and breathing cycle.
Follow the instructions in the videos above for more detail.
2. Learn How To Save A Choking Cat
Cats can choke on a number of things, including hairballs, string, or small household items.
If your cat starts choking and you can see the object, like a string, hanging out of their mouth, try to grab it and gently pull it out.
If you can’t gently pull the object out, don’t force it, but take your cat to the vet immediately. Never just reach into a distressed cat’s mouth, as you’ll likely get bitten.
When it comes to hairballs, remember that hairball choking often looks worse than it is. Your cat may hack and hack to get rid of a hairball, but they aren’t actually choking or in danger.
Sometimes, though, the choking is real and serious, and you’ll need to perform the Heimlich Maneuver on your cat.
Follow the instructions in the video above. You’ll need to hold your cat down between your knees on their back. Hold your hands under their upper legs and press your hands, palms down, under the ribcage.
Compress on the ribcage by making your hands roll from your pinky upward, pushing the air up. Compress until the object is expelled. If the cat passes out, you may need to do CPR.
3. Keep Toxic Plants Away
Yes, plants are fun to have in the house and your kitty may absolutely love the greenery. But remember, a surprising number of household plants are actually toxic and life-threatening to your kitty.
These include lilies, holly, mistletoe, and azalea. A complete list of toxic plants is here.
4. Avoid Milk
Sure, you may have heard that cats absolutely love milk. But their stomachs aren’t well-adjusted to it.
Many cats are lactose intolerant and can get severe diarrhea if they drink milk.
Give your cat fresh water instead or lactose-free milk as a treat. To learn more about why milk isn’t the best option for your cat, see our story here.
5. Don’t Go For A Vegetarian Diet
Even if you decide to be a vegan, it’s not a good diet for your cat.
Cats are obligate carnivores, so their bodies need meat to survive. They also didn’t evolve to digest vegetable enzymes and proteins sufficiently. They need meat to get their proper nutrients.
Make sure you’re not feeding your cat a grain-based diet, because over time the lack of nutrients can make cats sick. Watch food labels to ensure the first ingredient is a meat product.
To learn more about why cats can’t go vegan, check out our article here.
6. Watch For Life-Threatening Bladder Problems
Cats–especially male kitties–can get sick very fast if they develop a bladder problem.
An untreated urinary tract infection can even be fatal.
If your cat stops using the litter box, is peeing in strange places they normally don’t, or has what looks like blood in their urine, take your cat to the vet immediately. In these situations, it’s important not to delay.
7. Make Sure Your Cat Drinks Enough Water
Cats are notorious for not drinking enough. But dehydration can cause a whole bunch of problems in your cat, including urinary crystals that can lead to life-threatening bladder infections.
You can encourage your cat to drink more water by feeding them wet food, mixing some water with dry food, giving them a fountain with moving water, or keeping the water dish in a different location from their food.
Find out more about cats’ weird relationship with water here.
From emergency situations that need immediate attention to chronic problems that become life-threatening over time, there are a lot of situations that can put your cat’s life in danger. By keeping a close eye on their health and knowing how to do CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver on your cat, you can be a lifesaver to your kitty if any of these unexpected scenarios occur.
What other life-saving tips should cat owners be aware of? Have you ever had to save your cat’s life before? Let us know in the comments below!