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How Do I Know When My Cat Needs to See an Emergency Vet?

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Not all emergencies are obvious. The signs that your cat needs to see an emergency vet can be subtle and possibly go unnoticed. Cats are prone to hiding illness and injury until they can’t anymore and by that time, the progression of the problem can be dramatically worse. The best way to give your cat the best chance at a quick recovery from an urgent situation is to home in on the signs that something is wrong. At The Cat Doctor in Montrose, we want to give you the best information for handling an emergency situation.

Animal Emergency Care in Houston: Cat Lays on Rug

Signs Your Cat May Need an Emergency Vet

To help you better understand when your cat is in an emergency situation, we’ve listed some common signs to watch for:

  • Difficulty breathing. Watch for breathing with the mouth open, coughing, wheezing, or heaving sides.
  • Abnormal urination. This refers specifically to male cats and is an indication of urinary obstruction which is fatal if not treated. Your cat may strain, but produce very little urine, vocalize, or groom their genitals excessively.
  • Excessive vomiting/diarrhea. While some soft stools or an occasional throw-up is normal, prolonged vomiting and diarrhea, especially with blood in it, means your cat needs to see an emergency vet pronto.
  • Seizures. While most seizures last for less than two minutes, any seizure that lasts longer or occurs in rapid succession requires immediate veterinary care to determine the cause.
  • Any traumatic injury. Even if visible wounds aren’t present, if your cat has suffered a traumatic blow such as a fall from a great height, hit by a car, or even a fight with another cat or a dog, injuries could be mostly internal.
  • Signs of extreme pain. This could include excessive vocalizing, hindered movement, or not moving at all, lethargy, and even loss of appetite.
  • Exposure to lilies. Lilies are very dangerous to cats, and even a tiny amount of pollen or flower ingested can cause kidney failure and even death. Check out noliliesforkitties.org for more information.
  • Ingestion of a toxin. If your cat has ingested a known toxin, they need an emergency vet. Common cat toxins include many human medicines, alcohol, chocolate, garlic, onions, raisins, xylitol (found in sugarless gums and candies), insecticides, detergents, antifreeze, and more. If your pet ingests any toxin, call the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661.
Vet carrying a cat: Animal Emergency Care in Houston

What to Do & Where to Go in an Emergency

If ever you think your cat is having an emergency, please call us so that we can assess your cat’s situation. While we can see some cases of emergencies at our hospital in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston, we will refer you to specialized emergency hospitals in the city if we are unable to see your pet.

The hospitals we recommend are:

Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists 
(713) 693- 1111
8042 Katy Fwy
Houston, TX 77024

Westbury Animal Hospital 
(713) 723-3666
4917 S Willow Dr.
Houston, TX 77035

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