How to care for a stray wounded cat

What do you do if you encounter an injured kitty? Most of us do not find out until it is too late and we see one who needs our help. While every situation will be different, this is a good guide to give you some idea of what to do if you should find an injured stray cat.

The very first thing to do is to get the cat some place safe, and try to find the owner. This is because in most areas you cannot legally take a found pet into your care. If the cat was hit on a road in front of a home, ask at the home if they own the cat, or know who does. If you cannot determine ownership, then call your local shelter and report finding the cat. They may have a “Lost Cat” report on the kitty, and can contact the owner to recover the cat.

If there is no known owner, file a “Found Cat” report with the shelter and ask them for instructions. Depending on where you live, and the injuries to the cat, they may come get it, ask you to take it to a veterinarian (typically they pay the bills), may ask you to bring it to the shelter, or may allow you to care for it. In most areas the shelter, and veterinarian, cannot legally preform any medical services on the pet except, to provide regular care, for 72 hours, while they wait for an owner to come forward.

Let us assume you are certain the cat does not have an owner, and are willing to undertake its care. You need to examine the kitty to determine the problem. If it was hit by a car you should gently scoop up the cat and rush it to a veterinarian for care. Ideally use a box or carrier for transport. If you are lucky you will have a helper in your car that can hold the cat for you, or call the vet ahead of time to alert them. Never have a young child hold an injured pet.

Finding an injured cat when you do not know the cause is a bit more concerning. Do not let your children touch the pet. The injury might not be an injury at all, but an indication of poor health. Additionally an injured pet might react negatively because of pain or fear. If you are not familiar with cats, but know somebody who is, call them for assistance.

You will have to determine if the cat needs medical attention from a veterinarian, or just needs rest. Usually with an injury situation, and a stray cat, a trip to the vet is best, because they can give the cat any vaccinations it will require and check it properly for any other health issues. This is particularly important if you are considering keeping the cat. Remember, we are talking about a cat where you KNOW there is not an owner, not just a stray cat you happened to find for the first time.

Home rest should always be done in a small quiet room, where the cat can have a litter box, food, and water. The kitty may require medication, if this is a pill, have the veterinarian show you how to give the pills. Proper nutrition is important to the recovery of the kitty. It should have plenty of water and dry food, plus the addition of a small amount of canned food to give it extra protein and energy.

COMMON INJURIES TO CATS

* Being hit by a vehicle

* Being injured by another animal

* Being injured by a fan-belt (in the winter cats often curl up in or under vehicle engines for warmth)

* Intentionally hurt by a human

If you have injured an animal it is your duty to tend to it. While you may not be financially responsible (after all its owner let it out) you have a moral duty to make sure it does not suffer needlessly while waiting to be helped. If you are not comfortable helping an injured cat, call somebody who is, or your local shelter as mentioned above. Remember, there are no such thing as “Stray” cats, these are pets who are either lost, or were abandoned, they need our help too.

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