Cat Emergencies: That Require Immediate Vet Attention

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Paula Anderson

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July 14, 202149 minutes ago3 minutes read Join the conversation Hanna SPCA wants you to meet Rascal, born in March 2020 male / neuteredCrazy lovey, this boy is a hugger. He loves to cuddle and needs to be where the people are. He’s playful but can play a little rough with people so best to give a home with no young children. He doesn’t like other cats either; He really has to be the only pet. If you are looking for a constant companion then this is definitely your boy. Hanna SPCA photo jpg, HA

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Some cat emergencies are sudden and obvious, but others start imperceptibly. Here’s how to recognize an emergency situation and when to get your cat to the vet as soon as possible.


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Cats are not given warning labels, and a person who is ignorant of the symptoms cannot be expected to recognize them (and subtle symptoms are, by definition, difficult to spot).

Cats often withdraw and hide when they are not doing well, which makes knowing when to see your veterinarian a challenge. They have unique signs of emergency situations that are often not recognized by their owners.

Here are a few (of many) signs that your cat may be in an emergency and should see the vet right away:

Gum health …

A useful indicator of your cat’s health is the color of the gums. Now lift your cat’s lip and look at her gums. They should be pink and moist. Check them out regularly and you will get a feel for what they usually look like. Some diseases and disorders can affect the color of the gums, and during a physical exam, your veterinarian will check the color of the gums for signs of illness. For example:

  • Bluish gums – cyanosis (lack of oxygen).
  • Chocolate brown gums – methemoglobinemia.
  • Pale gums – anemia, blood loss, shock.
  • Yellow gums – jaundice.
  • Bright pink / red gums – heat stroke, carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you suspect that your cat is sick and the gums are pale, gray, blue, or bright red, then your cat is most likely in trouble (although you should be aware that even if the gums are normal, your cat will still have problems pink is color). Gum disease can lead to serious health problems such as infection and tooth loss.


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Abnormal urination in male cats

Some irritating new habits can be a cry for help. For example, your cat who used to go to the litter box but suddenly went to other places. While this can be frustrating, it can also be a sign that your cat needs to be seen. Urinary tract problems can be responsible for this new behavior. And while this new behavior can be angry, it can also be a sign of something much more serious. This has the potential to be a symptom of one of the most serious cat emergencies cats face: urinary obstruction. This condition, fatal without treatment, occurs when cats cannot urinate. For anatomical reasons, it occurs almost exclusively in men.

Stop eating and / or drinking

Loss of appetite can be a concern for all pet parents. After all, cats seem to live to eat. A cat that suddenly stops eating often means serious problems.

It is not normal for a person to go without food for a full day when food is available, and not eating can be a symptom (kidney failure, complications of diabetes, and intestinal obstruction) and a cause of serious health problems (fatty liver).

Prolonged vomiting and / or diarrhea

This is one of the cat emergencies that requires immediate veterinary attention, especially if there is blood. Almost all cats occasionally lift furballs (usually in the middle of the night) or have loose stools, and such incidents are usually not emergencies. But cats who vomit repeatedly or have persistent diarrhea should see a veterinarian immediately.


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The combination of their curious nature and their unique metabolism make cats very susceptible to toxins. Most pet owners are often unaware that their home contains several products that are toxic to their feline companions. The most common cat poisons include antifreeze, Tylenol, and rat or mouse poison. Also watch out for homeopathic fragrances! For more information, see the SPCA article in the Hanna Herald: “A SCENT-sitive Subject”

Bottom line: Remember that when in doubt, it is always safest to have your cat examined by a veterinarian. A physical exam that does not reveal anything wrong does no harm; Doing nothing in a critical situation can lead to a fatal outcome.

Visit our website at to check out our “Cats For Adoption” and see the amazing cats we have looking for their fur at home forever!

Cat owners should keep in mind that the above list is not exhaustive; It is not possible to list (or even imagine) all cat emergencies. When in doubt, you should call a vet or just go to the vet. Please note that this article is for informational purposes only. It should not be used as veterinary, medical, or professional advice.

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