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First Aid for Electrocution Injury in Cats

A choking cat needs immediate aid.

Curious cats, and especially kittens, may chew on electrical cords and be electrocuted. Keep electrical cords out of reach of your cat as much as possible.

Chewing on an electrical cord can result in severe burns to your cat's tongue and the inside of the mouth as well as cause seizures, an irregular or stopped heartbeat, and fluid accumulation in the lungs that can cause difficulty breathing.

First aid for a cat that has been electrocuted requires safely removing him from the cord if necessary, possibly performing rescue breathing or CPR, and getting him to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

What to Do If Your Cat Is Electrocuted

When a cat bites an electrical cord, their muscles may begin to spasm, and their jaw may clench onto the cord, keeping them from releasing it. If you enter a room and see your cat in this state, do the following:

  • It is crucial that you shut off the electricity to the outlet that the cord is connected to before you touch your cat. If you do not do so, you will most likely also be shocked. Turn off the main power breaker if you know where it is and can get to it quickly. If not, you will need to unplug the cord. Use rubber gloves if you can, and don't touch your cat.
  • If your cat is conscious, immediately take him to the veterinarian.
  • If your cat is unconscious, check for breathing and a heartbeat. If your cat is not breathing, administer rescue breathing. If there is no heartbeat, perform CPR.

Delayed Signs of Electrocution

Sometimes it's not obvious that your pet has bitten into and been electrocuted by a cord. If the cat was able to let go of the cord and didn't become unconscious, you may not be aware that it happened. Here are some of the signs that occur in the days following an incident like this. If you see any of these things, take your cat to the veterinarian right away:

  • Decreased appetite or difficulty eating. A sore mouth may cause your cat to stop eating or move the food around her mouth gingerly.
  • Foul odor from the mouth. Electrocution of the mouth causes damage to the tissues there, and infection can set in easily, resulting in a bad odor.
  • Drooling. Pain and sores in the mouth from the electrical burn can cause drooling.
  • Coughing. A build-up of fluid in the lungs secondary to the electrical shock can cause coughing and difficulty breathing in the following hours and days.
  • Visible sores in the mouth. You may be able to see ulcers in your cat's mouth, but this painful condition could cause your cat to attempt to bite you if you try to see inside her mouth, so be careful.

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