Cats and Car Accidents – Pet tip 169
One of the leading causes of injury and death in domestic and feral outdoor cats is getting hit by cars. This common scenario is absolutely devastating for cat lovers and one of the reasons that many cat professionals advocate limiting a cat’s access to the outdoors. Most domestic cats that are adopted or purchased as kittens and have never seen the outdoors will tolerate being exclusively indoor cats quite easily. If this is not the case for you and/or you want your cat to experience some of the outdoors, then compromises might be the way to go. You could allow your leashed cat outdoors under your direct supervision in an enclosed area. You could also purchase or construct a cage which will let your cat experience some of the outdoors. Leaving a leashed, unsupervised cat outdoors is not recommended as cats can easily get all tangled up in leashes and the risk of accidental strangulation is high.
If tragedy does strike your cat and it accidentally does get hit by a car, it goes without saying that your cat must be seen by a veterinarian immediately. Even if you witnessed the accident and you feel the cat was only ‘tapped’ by the car, you must STILL bring your pet to the vet immediately. Cats involved in accidents that look fine are often not fine. They could easily be suffering from internal bleeding, shock or other bodily traumas that are not immediately apparent. Get your cat out of the middle of the road and get to a veterinarian immediately. If you aren’t familiar with any first aid and it is obvious that your cat needs first aid then call your vet or emergency veterinary hospital immediately and ask what you should do. Whatever you do, time is crucial so try to remain as composed as possible and get to a vet or get veterinary advice immediately.
If the accident was severe and your cat is not moving at all and seems unconscious then the cat may be unconscious, or it may have died. Sometimes it’s not easy to distinguish between unconsciousness and death. If the cat is no longer breathing then it has likely died. Take a piece of tissue and put it close to the cat’s nostrils. If there is no movement of the tissue then the cat has stopped breathing. If there is no movement of the cat’s chest then it has stopped breathing and is likely dead. If the cat’s pupils are completely dilated and unresponsive to light and if you touch the pupil and there is no blink response then the cat has likely died. If you are in any doubt whatsoever, then don’t take a chance and bring your cat to the vet anyway.