Felines are curious animals: if the cat has been shocked during its explorations at home or outdoors, it is essential to know what to do and what are the risks for its health.
Electric shocks are infrequent among adult cats, but much more likely and numerous among puppies and young kittens: kittens often chew electric cables, or find themselves playing with faulty or broken cables. Without forgetting the dangers deriving from lightning, for cats who find themselves outside the home and are surprised by a sudden storm.
Electric shock is therefore a real danger especially for kittens: here are the concrete risks and what to do if your cat has an electric shock.
Electric shock in cats: related effects and risks
The effects of an electric shock in cats are variable and depend mainly on three factors: the strength of the current, the voltage of the electricity and the duration of contact.
If the cat is subjected to a very mild shock, it will feel discomfort similar to what we ourselves experience with a static build-up. However, even relatively low electrical currents can cause severe burns in your cat if electricity spreads through the tissues causing the skin to overheat.
Sometimes, the effects of an electric shock are not immediately visible, but they can only be noticed a few days after the cat took the shock: the ulcers on the damaged tissue, in fact, only appear later and are dangerous because they can easily become infected.
Serious consequences of electric shock in cats
A severe electric shock can be significantly more dangerous to a cat’s health. Sometimes, electricity can damage the lungs by causing them to fill with fluid, resulting in a cat having difficulty breathing due to a very dangerous condition called pulmonary edema. Edema can develop from a few minutes after the shock, up to two days after the cat takes the electric shock.
But the lungs aren’t the only organs that could suffer severe damage from an electric shock – cats can suffer brain, heart, or gastrointestinal tract injuries as an electric current passes through their body.
- If the damage is of a cardiac nature, a dangerous arrhythmia can occur, causing the cat to collapse or even cardiac arrest.
- If the damage affects the brain, the cat loses consciousness but an instant death of the animal is also possible: fortunately this case is very rare and is usually linked to the shocks resulting from lightning.
Shock signs from electric shock in cats
If a cat chews an electrical wire or comes in contact with a source of static electricity, it is likely to see it jump suddenly. Another immediate sign is the smell of burning in the event that the fur has charred or there are burns on the animal’s skin.
Other signs that are commonly seen when the cat has gotten a mild shake are:
– pain in the affected area
– difficulty eating
– increased salivation
– bad breath in the cat
If the electric shock suffered is severe, however, the symptoms manifested by the cat may include:
– obvious burns
– signs of pain in the cat
– increased salivation
– difficulty breathing
– collapse or unconsciousness
If the cat that has been shocked has one or more of the symptoms described, it is important to contact your vet right away. In particular, if the cat is unconscious or not breathing following the shock, specific CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation) maneuvers for cats should be immediately carried out.
My cat has an electric shock: what should I do?
The first rule when dealing with electric current is to protect yourself from risks: the cat certainly needs your help to be able to be examined by the vet, so you must pay attention to your safety or you will also put your beloved at risk kitty.
If the cat has muscular contractions, it means that the electric current is still passing through: do not touch the cat therefore, but immediately think about cutting off the electricity supply before any contact. If the shock has occurred outside and you are unable to turn off the electricity supply, immediately alert the emergency services.
When you can finally touch the cat safely, pick it up, wrap it in a blanket or towel and take it to the vet immediately: the doctor will give your cat a complete examination, listening to the heart and lungs and looking for any signs of burns, injuries or trauma on the animal’s body. It is likely that the vet will then proceed to carry out more detailed clinical tests to understand if the shock has caused damage to vital organs.