Shock in Cats
There are not only several potential causes there are also several types

Shock in cats is not only one of most horrifying situations you will ever face as an owner, it is also a life threatening situation.

Any situation or condition that affects your cat’s heart, their blood vessels, or their blood volume can cause this potential killer in your cat.

It can affect perfectly healthy cats, weak cats, and cats of any age as it does not discriminate.

The actual causes of shock include blood loss, dehydration, heat stroke, blood infections, as well as some types of poisoning.

There are also several types of shock, but by far and away there are two forms that affect the vast majority of cats.

Both will have different types of symptoms and if do suspect that your cat has gone into shock, every minute that passes places them in greater danger.

The two most common type of shock in cats include Anaphylactic and Septic shock.


Shock in cats is technically defined as a lack of blood flow to your cat’s organs and tissues.

When this occurs, it deprives both oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and as a result allows waste products to build up in your cat’s body.

Once this occurs, it can cause serious damage to your cat and if it is not treated, it can rapidly take their life.

Each type of shock will have a different set of symptoms, but there are signs that will be common with either type.

The major warning signs that you can watch for that your cat is going into shock include a very sudden paling or muddy appearance in their gums, as well as a rapid change in their heat rate.

This change may be a very sudden weakening or just the opposite; a very rapid heart rate. If your cat suddenly starts breathing at over forty breaths a minute, they are going into shock.

However, there is one other very common sign; your cat cat’s temperature will suddenly drop.

When your cat starts to go into shock, their rectal temperature will drop below 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

However taking their temperature is probably the last thing you will think of in this emergency situation.

However, if you can, it will confirm it; it you cannot, quickly feel both their legs as well as their skin in several places.

If shock is occurring; they will feel very cool which as any owner knows is extremely uncommon in cats.


The first common cause of shock in cats is referred to as

Anaphylactic shock and is a very serious and generalized state that is usually caused by an exaggerated allergic reaction to something.

It is most often caused by a foreign protein that could include a drug, insect saliva, or something else that is toxic.

It is also referred to as anaphylaxis, and is characterized by a very sudden drop in your cat’s blood pressure.

It can also cause a very sudden development of hives which than causes a sudden difficulty in breathing. When this occurs in humans, we associate it with bee stings or fire ants.

Anaphylactic shock starts within minutes of this exposure, and the symptoms will progress very rapidly in your cat.

Your cat’s immune system will immediately release regulating compounds that will cause their blood vessels to swell which sets off a chain reaction so to speak.

Mean green eyes in catsIf you suspect Shock in cats quickly check their gums

This reaction causes your cats blood pressure to drop which than starts damaging other tissues as well as organs in your cat.

Once this occurs, your cat will become very excited and restless as they are developing a severe itching.

This itching will be on or around their face and head and they will experience severe facial swelling.

They will as a result of this become very weak, start to gag and cough, and their heart rate will sky rocket.

Their gums will also begin to turn pale; they may also vomit as well as suddenly start to salivate excessively.

However, the symptoms may become so bad that they cannot walk and will collapse. If they go into a seizure it may be too late to save them.

This form of shock in cats has so many potential causes that you may never find the exact cause unless it happens again.

However, one of the most common causes is a recent vaccination that your cat may have had.

Most of the reactions to vaccinations are quite mild, but if your cat is allergic, it can cause shock.

Prescription medications as well topical flea and tick treatments can also be the cause of anaphylactic shock, but it does not end there.

Bee stings, spider bites, local or general anesthetics, and drugs made from animal products may also be the cause.

It may also be mold, pollen, or even a new type of food you have given your cat.

The only way to prevent this type of shock from re-occurring is to find the actual cause and then eliminate it.


This form of shock in cats, also known as sepsis, is a very serious physical condition that is associated with a generalized bacterial infection.

It most always develops as a complication of some type that will over-power your cat’s immune system.

It causes your pets blood to flow very slowly which than causes low blood pressure.

This form of shock is more common in young cats that have not developed a strong immune system, or older cats that may have a compromised immune system.

Septic shock has two sets of symptoms; early and late. The early symptoms will be a very sudden rapid heart rate that generally will produce bounding pulses.

It also may cause reddened moist tissues in your cat’s body as well as a severe fever.

The late symptoms than start to set in and they can include a very weak pulse, pale gums, as well as your cat turning very cool as the result of a lack of proper blood circulation.

It will also lead to a difficulty in breathing, fluid buildup in your cat’s tissues, as well as small pinpoint areas of bleeding in their skin and moist tissues.

If it is severe enough, it may also cause gastrointestinal bleeding and extreme weakness.

The cause of septic shock is usually from bacterial infections in the lining of your cats abdomen or their heart.

Urinary tract infections, a previous surgery, pneumonia, or bite wounds may also be the cause.

Shock in cats can and does occur very rapidly and understanding the type and symptoms may ultimately save your cats life.

If you think you cat has gone into shock, seek immediate medical attention. But there are also some things you can do to help.


Quickly check your cats gums; if they are white, they are in shock, if they are pink, they are not. Place your cats head sideways, and try to pull their tongue if possible to clear their airway.

Elevate their hind legs and try to stop any bleeding if possible until you can get some help to take your cat into emergency.

But perhaps the most important thing you can do is to wrap your cat with a blanket or towel to reserve their body temperature.

Every minute is critical in saving your cats life at this point.

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