Last week, we talked about what to include in an emergency kit for cats. Having all the supplies you need to ride out at least three days in your own home without normal services or at an evacuation site in could save your cat’s life in the event of a disaster. Today, let’s look at what a cat first aid kit should look like.
Contrary to what I found with the emergency kits, some of the commercially available first aid kits for cats are quite good, if a little expensive. Look for ones that contain most of what I describe below. If you have your own first aid kit that you will have access to in the event of an emergency, you can simply add a few feline necessities to it and be good to go.
- A water resistant box to hold everything
- A bottle of sterile saline solution to rinse out wounds, the eyes, etc.
- Small tube of triple antibiotic ointment for skin wounds
- Non-adherent, sterile pads to cover wounds
- One roll of white (“first aid”) tape. One inch wide is ideal.
- Nonsterile gauze pads for cleaning, and absorbent layer within a bandage, etc.
- One roll stretchy, water resistant, 2-3 inch wide bandage material (e.g., Vetrap)
- One roll 2-3 inch wide cast padding
- A few tongue depressors (good to use for an emergency splint)
- A few pairs of latex gloves (or grab the ones from your emergency kit)
- A feline first aid book including the basics of wound care, bandaging, etc.
These are the basics. I’ve purposely not listed anything here that should require the use of scissors, but if your kit does include roll gauze or other materials that need to be cut, make sure you include bandage scissors. Some feline first aid kits include a thermometer, lubricant, tweezers, styptic pencils, and more, but I don’t really see these as being strictly necessary. For instance, while it might be nice to know if your cat has a fever, there’s not much you can do about it on your own other than make your way to a veterinarian as soon as it is safe to do so.
Add anything else to your cat’s first aid or emergency kit that might be helpful based on his or her individual needs. A favorite toy or blanket that smells like home, a leash and harness (assuming your cat has already been trained), and feline facial hormone spray are all possibilities to consider. Put your emergency cat supplies and first aid kit in an easy to locate “grab bag” near or in your cat’s carrier. Check it once a year to replace any medications, food, etc. that will be expiring in the next 12 months.
What did I forget? If you can think of anything, please let us know so we can all be prepared to keep our cats safe in the event of an emergency.