Even indoor cats can have their moments when they run around like crazy playing, so it should come as no surprise that on occasion, accidents do happen.
What’s more, cats can often be super quiet, so it can be pretty easy to accidentally hurt them, whether by stepping on them or opening a door on them.
And if your cat is particularly accident-prone, it can make owners like us quite anxious about what to do if they accidentally get a bad head injury.
So in order to ease your worries, it makes sense to want to find out what can happen if your cat has a head injury, and more specifically, whether they can get a concussion, and if so, what’s the best way to handle the situation.
And that’s exactly what this article is going to cover. Please feel free to scroll ahead to any section that jumps out at you.
What Exactly Is A Concussion?
A concussion is basically a mild, yet traumatic brain injury.
It is commonly assumed that a concussion is a loss of consciousness following shaking or a blow to the head. But the truth is, a concussion can occur without a loss of consciousness.
Despite being described as a mild brain injury, a concussion can lead to temporary cognitive symptoms, and several other symptoms besides.
This includes headache, confusion, memory loss, sleepiness, excessive fatigue, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, lack of coordination, and ringing in the ears.
How Serious Is A Concussion?
Thankfully, however, because a concussion is defined as a mild brain injury, it is not usually life-threatening.
Sadly, however, symptoms can last for several weeks. And worse yet, about 20% of sufferers could get post-concussion syndrome, which lasts for over 6 weeks.
Can Cats Get Concussions?
Unfortunately, yes, cats can get concussions. Even something as simple and “minor” as being stepped on can be all it takes to cause a severe head injury and bring about a concussion.
How Do You Tell If A Cat Has A Concussion?
The truth is, it can be really hard to spot when your cat has a concussion. Even if they could, they probably wouldn’t tell you anything was wrong.
Their instinct following injury is simply to hide away to recover on their own.
Thankfully, however, there are a handful of more obvious symptoms to look for. These include unresponsiveness, trouble walking, seizures or vomiting.
A frequent symptom of concussion is a loss of consciousness, but that can frequently be mistaken for simple napping, which is very problematic for assessing whether your cat has a concussion.
If you’re not entirely sure of whether or not your cat has a concussion, we would recommend a “belt and braces” approach, where you take all the measures you can, just to be on the safe side. As the saying goes, better safe than sorry.
What To Do If Your Cat Has A Concussion?
If, in the worst case scenario, you suspect that your cat has in fact suffered a concussion, you need to take action immediately.
You must contact your veterinarian’s office right away for the cat’s condition to be first assessed over the phone through a series of questions.
There is a good chance that the veterinarian will ask you to bring your cat to their office, so that they can keep a close eye on your cat to monitor their condition and recovery.
How Do I Know If My Cat Hit His Head Too Hard?
Here follows a quick run down of some of the most common symptoms of head trauma in cats:
What Should I Do If My Cat Hits His Head?
Whenever your cat gets hit on the head, by anything, you should keep a close eye on them for at least the next 24 hours, because their condition can change rapidly from one moment to the next.
Keep an eye out for the symptoms of conditions laid out earlier in the article.
And if you have any suspicion whatsoever that your cat may have sustained a concussion following an injury to the head, you should seek assistance from a veterinarian with immediate effect, for close monitoring and pain relief at the minimum.
If your veterinarian is unavailable, for whatever reason, then it is down to you to keep an eye on the cat, and monitor their condition,
On return from the veterinarian, it is strongly recommended that you keep the cat indoors, so that you can keep an eye on them and make sure that they don’t do anything that may make their condition worse, such as hitting their head on something again.
How Does A Veterinarian Diagnose A Concussion?
If you bring your cat to the veterinarian with suspected concussion, they will typically check your cat’s blood pressure, occasionally give oxygen, and if deemed necessary, order an MRI brain scan.
How Is A Concussion In A Cat Treated?
Thankfully, there are several things that a veterinarian can do to help a cat with concussion. The nature of the treatment applied will vary according to the type and severity of the head injury.
There will be pain relief provided in the form of IV fluids, and anti-inflammatory medication to bring down any swelling.
So, unfortunately, cats can get concussions, and they are more common than you might think, not to mention very easy to accidentally cause.
There are some obvious signs to look for, as mentioned earlier. And it is not always accompanied by loss of consciousness.
But it can be tricky to diagnose because cats often like to hide when they are in pain.
If you suspect that your cat may have incurred a concussion, it is imperative that you seek the help of a veterinarian as soon as possible. And you must monitor their condition.
Although concussions aren’t usually fatal, they can be very serious and cause a great deal of pain.
At Love4Cats, our practice involves consistent collaboration with licensed veterinarians and reputable industry experts. However, it's important to note that the content provided on Excited Cats is not intended as veterinary advice. While we strive to enhance your understanding of feline care, the information presented on this blog should not replace professional veterinary guidance.