Shock, combined with injury, is often complicated and contradictory. It’s best to take your cat to the vet as soon as possible for professional medical treatment.
How to treat shock
People often think shock is a feeling of distress or alarm. In medical terms, the definition is much more serious. Going into shock means a lack of blood circulating around the body and can be fatal. If you suspect your cat is going into shock, contact your vet immediately.
Recognising the warning signs
- Weakness, convulsions or collapse, caused by the brain being starved of oxygen
- Cold ears and paws, and very pale gums
- Rapid, but weak pulse
- Rapid breathing
- Fixated stare with dilated, enlarged pupils
What to do
- Call your vet immediately. Time is vital and intravenous fluids could be required.
- Wrap your cat in a blanket or towel to conserve body heat. Don’t apply any direct heat such as a hot-water bottle as this diverts blood away from the brain and the internal organs to the skin.
- If your cat is unconscious, keep the head as low as, or lower than, the rest of the body.
- Gently massage legs and muscles to maintain circulation, unless you suspect there may be a fracture or break.
- If necessary, give artificial resuscitation and cover any extensive wounds with a damp, clean cloth.
If you can’t get to a vet
- If you can’t get your cat to a vet immediately, contact the practice by phone for advice before you provide any treatment yourself.
- Explain your cat’s symptoms very carefully, in case specific action is required.
- Never give your cat anything by mouth if she is unconscious, convulsing or vomiting.
- Take your cat’s pulse and breathing rate every 30 minutes, by placing two fingers inside the groin, where the hind leg joins the body. Keep a record for when the vet arrives.
- Note any blood in urine, or other danger signals, and report these details to the vet.
- Remember that shock can be fatal and veterinary attention is vital, so keep trying to contact your veterinary practice.
Responding to shock and associated injuries is a key part of responding to cat emergencies and taking immediate action can make all the difference.
About the Purina PetCare Advice Centre
The Purina PetCare Advice Centre brings together a team with in-depth knowledge, experience and special interests with the skills to advise about health and nutrition, behaviour, training, socialisation, as well as basic first aid for your cat or dog. Our team of dedicated pet lovers can also provide information about Purina products and services to help you give your pet the best possible care. If you've got a question about any aspect of pet care, then ask the Purina PetCare Advice team.