Why You Should Have A Plan In Case Your Cat Is Hit + How To Make One
Guest author Nicole McCray
Few things in life are more traumatic than seeing your beloved kitty get hit by a car. No doubt your emotions will take over and it will be hard to think or decide what to do. The thing is, if you’re in a panic, you can’t help your cat.
Of course, we hope you never have to go through something like this. But having a plan for if your cat gets hit will help you remain calm. It could save your cat’s life and keep you safe while you try to help him.
Here’s what you need to think about and how to make one.
1. Gather the essentials ahead of time and keep them in a convenient place.
Here’s a list of things to have on hand before an emergency happens.
-Two towels or blankets
-A cat carrier
-Contact information for your primary vet and an after-hours emergency vet, stored in your phone and written on a card inside your pet first aid kit
-Your pet health insurance information
2. Think about how you’ll protect yourself.
It will be incredibly hard, but the first thing you’ll need to think about if your cat gets hit is how you’re going to protect yourself from being injured.
First, make sure you and your pet are not going to be in the way of oncoming traffic. You might need to ask someone to help direct cars until you can get your pet out of the way.
Then, have a blanket or towel that you can use to wrap your pet in before you pick him or her up. Remember, any injured animal that’s in a lot of pain may bite when you try to help it.
3. Assemble a first aid kit ahead of time and keep it near the front door of your home.
Remember, an injured animal’s behavior is unpredictable. Approach your cat slowly and cautiously so you don’t scare him and cause him to flee out of fear. Stay calm and speak softly. Don’t try to hug him or hold him close.
Assess his condition. Is he conscious? Can you see visible wounds or injuries? A cat that’s been hit by a care will likely have injuries you can’t see. What you’re trying to do right now is stabilize him enough to transport him to the vet.
Have the phone number for your primary vet and an after-hours emergency veterinarian stored in your phone so you can call for advice. In most cases, the vet will recommend applying pressure to any open wounds to stop the bleeding.
Keep two blankets or towels with your first aid kit. Use one blanket or towel to keep your cat warm and prevent shock. The second one can be used as a makeshift stretcher.
4. Be prepared to do CPR if the cat is unconscious.
If your cat is unconscious, isn’t breathing, and doesn’t have a heartbeat, your only chance to save him may be to perform CPR. If possible, get someone to drive you to the vet while you perform CPR in the back seat. If your cat is still alive, this may buy enough time for you to get to the vet where they can treat his injuries. There are many animal first aid and CPR classes available, both online and in person.
5. Have a plan for transporting your cat to the vet.
As soon as your cat is stable, you’ll want to get him to the closest available vet. The safest way to transport him is in a carrier. The last thing you want is for him to escape and hide because he’s panicked. The carrier will also keep him from moving around and injuring himself further.
Cover the carrier with a blanket to keep your cat calm and warm. If you can, have a friend who is calm drive you to the vet so you can stay focused on your cat. Keep in mind that a bumpy road will cause further pain or fear in your animal, so plan ahead for the best route possible.
If you haven’t already spoken to the vet, call them when you’re on your way. This will give them a chance to get ready for your cat’s arrival and talk you through any additional first aid you might need to perform.
6. Have a plan in place to cover emergency expenses.
One of the most important things you can do ahead of time is know how you’re going to pay for medical expenses if an emergency happens. It’s very likely that your cat will need surgery to save his life. And, “if there’s an injury that can’t be repaired or if there’s severe nerve damage,” doctors at Bond Vet Animal Hospital in Brooklyn tell us that “amputation may be necessary.”
Investing in the best pet health insurance policy you can afford will give you peace of mind that you’ll be able to cover these expenses if the need arises. If that’s not in your budget, consider opening a special savings account and making regular deposits so you have funds available just for such an emergency.
Some Final Advice
Of course, the best way to prevent your cat from being hit is to keep him out of the road in the first place. Cats who are allowed to roam freely are much more at risk of being hit by a car, so always take measures to lower the risk or consider containment systems.
All that said, accidents can happen no matter how careful you are. If your kitty is hit by a car, don’t panic or beat yourself up. The best thing you can do for your baby is stay calm and follow the plan outlined above.