If your cat has hit its head, it can be frightening. However, it is not an emergency in every case.
The decisive factor is the force with which the cat bumped its head and its subsequent behavior. In addition, you should get to the bottom of the cause in case of frequent bumping.
In case of doubt, you should consult a veterinarian after a major impact on the cat’s head. But when is it an emergency?
In this article you will learn about the dangers of your cat hitting its head. In addition, we will show you how to behave properly afterwards and what to look out for. If the bump occurs more frequently, we provide you with the basis for researching the cause.
Cat hit his head – risks
Everybody bumps his head from time to time due to carelessness, because he is under stress, overlooks something or makes an uncontrolled movement.
Normally, this causes pain and possibly swelling, but is forgotten in a short time.
It is the same with cats. Young animals in particular can bump into an obstacle while playing and running because they do not swerve or stop in time.
Even with them, this is usually harmless.
The situation is different if the impact or blow occurred with great force. For example, if your cat is running down the hallway at high speed and you swing the door closed so that he runs head first into it, it can become an emergency.
An unfortunate fall from a (scratching) tree, where the cat hits its head on a branch or floor, should also not be underestimated in its impact.
The risks include:
- Concussion or craniocerebral trauma.
- Cerebral hemorrhage
- Bone fractures
- Movement disorders
After a blow, a heavy fall or a violent bump, you should observe your cat closely. If you notice any discomfort, it is an emergency and you need to get to a veterinary clinic immediately.
Concussion and traumatic brain injury
The terms are often used separately, although a concussion is just as much a traumatic brain injury. However, this describes the mildest form of it.
A concussion causes discomfort and temporarily restricts the cat, but a more severe traumatic brain injury can result in death.
Typical signs of such a serious injury are:
- Dizziness and staggering
- Nausea and vomiting
- conspicuous vocalizations
- bleeding in the eyes
- possibly nosebleeds
- lethargy up to unconsciousness
- breathing problems
Your cat may shake its head, causing it to sway, make mournful sounds, and seem unable to focus.
In such severe cases, you need to go to a veterinary clinic immediately. This is because depending on the formation of the trauma, it can lead to unconsciousness and brain death within minutes.
With a brain hemorrhage, your cat may have a curved back and convulse, be paralyzed, or move in an uncoordinated manner. Pupils are unevenly sized and eyes move uncontrollably.
Without immediate veterinary care, cerebral hemorrhage will result in the death of the animal. Even with intervention, this condition is enormously dangerous. This makes it all the more important that you respond immediately.
Bone fractures can occur from a bump or blow to the head. The skull, nose and jaw are at risk.
Depending on the location and severity of the fracture, this can result in difficulty breathing, drinking and eating. Thus, the effects can be acute or chronically distressing and dangerous.
Fractures are usually accompanied by swelling, which is most noticeable around a broken or injured cat’s nose.
Cat hit its head: Diagnosis
The extent and nature of injuries following a blow or fall can only be determined with comprehensive examinations.
This involves checking the heartbeat and breathing, taking an x-ray, checking the reaction of the eyes and diagnosing the intracranial pressure.
Only then can specific treatment be given.
If it is only a simple broken nose, painkillers, medication to calm down and rest are sufficient.
In other cases, a stay in the hospital or surgical intervention may be necessary.
Cat bumped its head – first aid
If your cat bumped his head and immediately continues to play or run, this is not a cause for concern at first. However, if there was a very loud bang and she shook afterwards, you should keep an eye on your velvet paw for the next few hours.
Even in significant pain, cats rarely let on. What they can’t hide, however, are the other signs.
Is your cat suddenly noticeably quiet? Does she stare into space? Is she not drinking or eating? Does she seem confused? Is her gait unsteady? All of these are signs that you need to calm your pet down, put her in a carrier immediately, and take her to the vet.
Even if it is “only” a mild concussion, any other injuries need to be assessed.
In addition, you must be careful in the aftermath that your cat does not put itself in danger again. Falls and knocks can occur even more frequently if the animal is uncoordinated.
Therefore, limit it to a room that is designed to be cat-safe and has no opportunities for jumping.
Preventing bumps and knocks in the cat
Especially with young, playful and very active cats, it can be difficult to create a safe environment in the home.
Make sure that especially the play areas – like the scratching post – are free of obstacles that the cat can bump into when jumping up.
Does your velvet paw keep running into obstacles even though they haven’t been moved? Does she have an unsteady gait or constantly miss jumps and fall? Does she seem unable to focus properly on her surroundings?
This may be due to eye or brain issues that need treatment.
Even without this, you should avoid playing with or luring your cat in awkward situations.
For example, if she is currently sitting under the coffee table, she probably won’t pay close enough attention at the prospect of a ball, feathers or treats to avoid hitting her head on the tabletop from below.
Does she occasionally react in panic to certain stimuli, like dogs or children? If so, provide her with a safe hiding place and a protected place to escape.
Otherwise, it could well happen that she literally bangs her head out of fear or falls heavily while trying to save herself.
Acting correctly when the cat hits its head
Whether you noticed directly that your cat hit his head or you notice the effects of it, it is important not to panic.
Act calmly but immediately to prevent consequential damage, and it is best to inform the veterinarian or animal hospital already on your way there, as it is an emergency and immediate treatment can mean the difference between life and death.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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