If your cat has suffered a sudden trauma or is experiencing any life-threatening symptoms during our regular working hours, please come see us at Cat Care Center immediately or call us at: 225-228-1039.

If your cat is experiencing an emergency after our regular working hours, please visit Sherwood South Animal Emergency and Critical Care Center. They are available for after-hours emergencies 365 days a year.

Sherwood South Animal Emergency and Critical Care Center
3803 South Sherwood Forest Boulevard
Baton Rouge, LA 70816

Cat Emergencies That Require Immediate Veterinary Attention

Cats can be very subtle in showing signs of illness. Therefore, it is most important that you be on the lookout for subtle changes in your cat's behavior. If your cat normally greets you and wants to eat when you get home from work, and all of the sudden it neither greets you nor wants to eat, this may be a very serious sign of an immediate need for veterinary medical help.

Although many illnesses can become serious and some may even become fatal if left untreated, not every circumstance truly warrants emergency care. We have compiled a list of situations requiring emergency cat care in order to help you decide whether or not you should take your feline friend to an emergency cat clinic:

  • Difficulty Breathing: This is may be the most serious of all non-trauma-induced injuries, because hypoxia (low oxygen levels) and the events that follow can lead to respiratory arrest and possibly death if not treated quickly. In addition, when this is occurring, your cat is suffering and panicked. Difficulty breathing is an immediate emergency. It may arise slowly or acutely. Regardless, when you notice any of these symptoms, your cat is in trouble and needs veterinary care. Symptoms include labored breathing (this can be subtle, but it looks like your cat's chest is moving faster and more pronounced while breathing), making alarming noises, open-mouthed breathing, or puffing of the lips. If you see or suspect these symptoms, seek immediate emergency cat care.
  • Urethral Obstruction: This is a blockage in the urinary tube that leads from the bladder to the penis. When obstructed with small sand-like particles, your cat cannot urinate. This is both very painful and leads to metabolic changes which will cause death quickly if the obstruction in not relieved. This primarily affects male cats, and can lead to kidney damage, bladder rupture, and cardiac arrest. Symptoms include vomiting, urinating outside of a litter box, straining to produce very small amounts of urine, vocalizing due to pain or distress, and excessive genital grooming. Female cats can have urinary problems too, but those are generally related to inflammation and not blockage.
  • Hind-End Paralysis: If you find your cat unable to use its rear legs and is showing signs of stress and pain, it is an emergency. This condition is known as Feline Aortic Thromboembolism, or FATE. It is a complication of heart disease that causes a blood clot to lodge in one or both of the large vessels of the hind legs. Symptoms include panting, vocalizing due to pain or distress, and severe physical distress resulting from an inability to move the hindquarters of the body. This requires immediate emergency cat care.
  • Not Eating/Drinking: It should be a concern if your cat does not eat at their usual time or their usual amount. Cats do not go extended periods of time without eating or drinking and doing so may be a sign of serious illness including kidney failure, diabetes complications, or intestinal obstructions. If you notice your cat not eating or drinking for more than one day, seek emergency care.
  • Vomiting and/or Diarrhea: Almost all cats have soft stools occasionally, but if your cat vomits repeatedly or has repeated bouts or severe diarrhea, seek urgent care.
  • Ingestion of Toxins: If you witness your cat ingesting toxic substances, it is essential to seek emergency cat care. Recovery rates are exponentially higher when immediate emergency care is provided.
  • Seizures: Although a solitary seizure may not be life threatening, seizures often come in clusters and can become progressive. Seizures have many causes including ingestion of a toxic substance or medication. If your cat has never had a seizure and is not currently under the care of a veterinarian for a seizure disorder, we recommend seeking immediate medical attention. Seizures are generally a sign of serious illness in a cat.
  • Major Trauma: If your cat experiences major trauma, such as attack by a dog, falling from a height, or a fight with another cat, seek cat emergency care immediately. Remember, cats do not usually show immediate symptoms of injury even when they have internal trauma. Veterinarians will be able to assess and look for the less obvious signs of serious illness.

Of course, we cannot explore every possible emergency scenario here, however, if you are worried about the health of your cat, and especially if you are worried that they may be experiencing a life-threatening situation, please call or come see us immediately or, after hours, bring your cat to the emergency hospital located at:

Sherwood South Animal Emergency and Critical Care Center
3803 South Sherwood Forest Boulevard
Baton Rouge, LA 70816

It is always best to take a proactive approach to protecting the lives of loved ones, and our feline companions are no exception.

Tips for Getting Your Cat Safely to an Emergency Clinic

It is important to understand that although you might have an incredibly special bond with your feline friend, during a time of illness or injury, a cat's natural instinct can result in aggression toward anyone attempting to handle them. If your cat is suffering from a cat emergency and needs to be transported to an emergency cat hospital, you have a responsibility to make sure no subsequent injuries occur to any party. Follow these tips for safely transporting your cat to an emergency care facility:

  • First, gently place a towel over your cat's head to prevent biting, and then slowly place him or her into their carrier or an open-topped box.
  • Be sure to support the cat's body weight, which should also help with relaxation.
  • Take special care to support your cat's head, and avoid any twisting of the neck, especially in cases of possible spinal injury.
  • If possible, place the cat in the carrier on the floor board of the back seat, covered with a towel to prevent added stimulation and stress.

Once secured, immediately transport him or her to Cat Care Center or the emergency hospital. If possible, call ahead to alert us of your pending arrival so we can adequately prepare for you in the meantime.

What to Do If Your Cat Eats Something Poisonous

If you see your cat ingest a toxic substance, or even if you suspect that they have, it is important to seek emergency cat care immediately.

Come directly to Cat Care Center. Please bring the bottle or know the type of medication or poison ingested. Call on your way in and tell us what your cat ingested and how long ago it was ingested and the amount.

It may also be a good idea to call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. A consultation fee may apply.

ASPCA Poison Control Information

Some of the most common substances toxic to cats are:

  • Permethrins (found in dog flea preventions and common pesticide sprays)
  • Other insecticides (Ant and snail poisons)
  • Human medications (Tylenol, antidepressants, stimulants, and many more)
  • Glow sticks
  • The Lily Family (Easter, Stargazer, Tiger, Asiatic, Oriental, and Daylilies)
  • Liquid potpourri
  • Magic Erasers and other cleaning products
  • Rodenticides (Rat Poison)
  • Ethylene Glycol (Antifreeze)
  • And others