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How to look after a sick cat

Taking care of their needs in recovery

Caring for ill and injured cats 

Is your cat feline a bit pawly? Not to worry – we cover all sorts of cat health issues and treatments, so you can get your furry friend on the road to recovery. 

Once you’ve claimed for treatment, taking care of your cat at home is next on the list, and there’s actually a lot you can do to help your cat recover from illness or injury. Here are a few tips on cat care:

How to tell if your cat is sick

Cats can show signs of illness in many different ways, so the important thing to look for is any changes in their usual behaviour. If they’re less active, less social, eating less, drinking more or grooming more, these can all be signs that something's wrong. Changes in weight and vomiting or diarrhoea for more than a day are also common symptoms.

If you're concerned about these or any other symptoms, see your vet.

If your cat needs treatment, you'll need to inform your insurance provider as soon as possible. But your cat's health and comfort comes first, so you can begin the treatment first if you need to.

What to feed a sick cat

The easiest foods for a sick cat to digest are skinless boiled chicken or white fish. Offer them very small amounts – around a teaspoon – every 2 hours or so. After a couple of days, if your cat is recovering well, you can gradually start to mix in their regular diet.

If your cat is vomiting, wait at least 12 hours after the vomiting has stopped before feeding them.

If your cat isn't eating at all, the smell of tuna or pilchards might encourage them 1.

Keeping a sick cat comfortable

Cats should be kept inside during illness in case they're unable to get home once outside. 

They might choose a spot where they can rest comfortably, and some cats prefer confined spaces. Use thick, warm bedding to make them comfortable. Place their water and a litter tray nearby (but not too close together) and try not to leave food out, as the smell can bother poorly cats.

For extra warmth, use a heater pad or hot water bottle, but make sure it's well covered and check regularly that your cat isn't overheating.

And as always, grooming  and stroking your cat regularly will comfort them 1.

How to stop your cat from licking their wounds

Wounds and skin conditions need to be protected to avoid your cat licking or scratching them. Use a special collar if your vet provides one. You can also put socks on your cat's back legs.

Bathe sore wounds in cool salt water or chill them with an ice pack. If they become infected your vet will probably prescribe antibiotics.

How to give a cat a pill

Cats are known for resisting tablets when they’re ill, so be prepared, and follow these tips:

●  Keep your cat in one room with the door closed

●  If possible, have someone else hold your cat still

●  Make sure your cat's hungry (if the medicine can be given with food)

●  Choose a food with a strong taste, like fish or cheese

●  Tilt your cat's head back so that their mouth opens

●  Once the tablet is in their mouth, hold it closed until they swallow

●  Stroke their throat while you do this

●  Give your cat a small amount of water afterwards

How to stop your cat from getting sick in future

Make sure your cat receives an annual check up from the vet, to help you to identify potential health issues and take action before they become serious. If your pet hasn't had an annual check-up, your insurance cover could be affected.

Many serious illnesses, including cat flu and rabies, can be prevented with vaccinations, so keep these up to date annually.

While you’re taking care of your cat, expensive vet bills are an added pressure you'll want to avoid. Our Pet Insurance can help you handle the bills, so you can focus on your furry friend.

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