How to Easily Put Together a First-Aid Kit for Your Cat

Author: Jason Nicholas, BVetMed

Published: April 2, 2018

Updated: June 3, 2021

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put together pet first aid kitWhat to put in your cat first-aid kit and why

When your cat suffers an illness, injury, or poisoning, knowing what first aid to do (and not do) can have a big impact on their recovery, safety, and comfort.

It can also help your emotional stress, because you'll have a plan of action to follow whenever a problem arises.

For these, and many other reasons, I always recommend that cat owners take a pet first-aid class. But that's not the end of the story.

Regardless of whether you've taken (or are planning to take) a first-aid class, you still need to have the supplies and gear to be able to administer first aid to your cat. And that's where having a good pet first-aid kit (or two) comes in.

Make Your Own Cat First-Aid Kit

To make it easy for you to put together (or check) your pet first-aid kit, we have a shopping list (for mobile or printable) for you to take to your nearest pharmacy to grab your cat's first-aid supplies.

Each item on this list has been vetted to ensure that you're getting the right products and brands that will be most effective, practical, and safe for your cat's first-aid kit.

Have a dog? Check out this first-aid shopping list for dogs.

What to Put in Your Cat's First-Aid Kit: Shopping List

Pet First-Aid Kits:

  1. Important to have and easy to put together.
  2. Put together two and keep one in your home and one in your car.
  3. Talk with your veterinarian to ensure that your pet’s first-aid kit is as complete as possible. Their breed and medical history, and your lifestyle may dictate the need for specific items.

Depending on your particular cat's breed and medical history, you may need additional items than those on this list. Please check with your veterinarian to ensure that your cat's individual first-aid kit is as complete as possible. You may even be able to get some of these first-aid kit supplies from your vet!

Some of the items listed below are "multi-pack" or bulk packages, and most of the items are also useful for your own human first-aid kits. But if you want smaller quantities, we've made several alternative suggestions too.

Want to put your kit together? Click for access to an interactive mobile shopping list and downloadable PDF

Blood clotting powder (e.g., ClotIt)

  • Use: To quickly and effectively stop bleeding from gashes, bites, and even "quicked" or torn toenails. Not only will this help to keep your car from getting blood-stained on the way to the vet, but it'll also help keep your first-aid bandages from becoming blood soaked and, most importantly, can help prevent serious and dangerous blood loss in the event of major blood vessel damage. ClotIt is truly "magic" and important stuff to have in your cat's first-aid kit!

  • πŸš—  Travel First-Aid Kit: Include a bottle
ClotIt Veterinary Blood Stopping Powder recommended

A bottle of saline wound flush (like this wound wash)
  • Use: For cleaning (irrigating) wounds

  • Alternatives: A bottle of saline eye/contact lens flush or saline nasal spray can also be used for flushing a wound. See the Medications section below for a more detailed description and brand recommendation.

    You can also ask your vet to sell you a small bottle of either a chlorhexidine diacetate or povidone iodine solution to have on hand for cleaning and disinfecting your cat's wounds. You'll learn more about these items next on the list.

  • Caution: Do NOT use Hydrogen Peroxide to clean a wound, as it can actually slow healing.
Arm & Hammer Simply Saline Wound Wash
This product is also good for human-use.

Wound Disinfectant (e.g., Povidone iodine or Chlorhexidine diacetate)
  • Use: You should have a bottle of Chlorhexidine diacetate* and/or Povidone iodine** around your home with pets. You can get the Povidone iodine on Amazon, but should probably ask your vet for the bottle of Chlorhexidine diacetate solution (see * below for the reasons why).

    To use either of these antiseptic solutions, either use some soaked gauze sponges to gently blot the area, or if you've got a syringe in your pet's first-aid kit, you can also use that to spray the diluted solution onto the area under a bit of pressure (which can further help to dislodge any bacteria or debris that was missed in the previous "wound flushing" step).

  • Cautions: You don't want to use either of these at "full strength" though, they both need to be diluted*** for safest use. Chlorhexidine diacetate should be diluted to a 0.05% solution, while the povidine iodine should be diluted to a 1% solution for safe and effective cleaning and disinfecting.

    • *Caution about Chlorhexidine: Chlorhexidine is available as both a "scrub" and a "solution," when using it as an antiseptic for your pet's wounds you want to be sure to use the "solution," not the scrub. Chlorhexidine is also available as both the "diacetate" salt and the "gluconate" salt, again, when using it as an antiseptic for your pet's wound care, use the "diacetate" salt and be sure to dilute to no more than a 0.05% solution.

      Concentrations of Chlorhexidine diacetate over 0.05% will, like hydrogen peroxide, damage skin cells. So it's best to get the Chlorhexidine diacetate solution from your vet to avoid confusion or getting the wrong product.

    • **Caution about Povidone iodine: Dilute to a 1% solution. Also note that some people can be allergic to povidone-iodine.

    • ***Not sure how to do dilutions? Here's an easy-to-use dilution calculator to help you get it right. And, for safety sake when diluting, always add the chlorhexidine or iodine to the water, and not the other way around. Just in case of splash back, which can injure your eyes!

    • πŸš—  Travel First-Aid Kit: Include a bottle
    Pvp Povidone Iodine Disinfecting Solution
    4 FL OZ bottle

    Cotton balls and cotton-tipped swabs
    (e.g., Q-tips, or these sturdier and conveniently packaged swabs from Dynarex
    • Use: For cleaning wounds, as well as for gently and more precisely cleaning in and around your cat's eyes, ears, and other sensitive areas.

    • Caution: Never stick Q-tips or other cotton-tipped swabs into your cat's eyes or ears without first being shown how to do it safely by your veterinarian. If done incorrectly, you can cause serious damage to your cat's eyes or eardrums!

    • πŸš—  Travel First-Aid Kit: Include a handful
    Cotton Tip Applicator

    Gauze pads ("sponges") (like these 4x4" non-woven gauze sponges)

    • Use: Gauze sponges are useful both for cleaning wounds and also as the primary layer in a bandage where you don't need to worry about (or might actually want, like in a "wet-to-dry" bandage) the first covering sticking to the skin and wound below. These are not non-stick (unlike the "non-stick" pads next on the list).

    • πŸš—  Travel First-Aid Kit: Include 5–10 pads
    Non Sterile Gauze Sponges

    Non-stick bandage pads (like these Curad ones)

    • Use: Non-stick bandage pads are good to put as your first layer when covering and bandaging burns, cuts, and other wounds.

      While their gauze nature allows them to absorb blood and inflammatory fluid, their non-stick covering prevents them from sticking to and disrupting any clot or scab that has formed during the beginning of the healing process.

    • πŸš—  Travel First-Aid Kit: Include 3 pads
    Curad Non-Stick Pads

    Cotton "undercast" padding roll (like this cotton padding roll, for cat bandages you'll want to get the 3" width size)

    • Use: This forms the "bulking" layer in bandages where bulking is necessary or desired.

    • πŸš—  Travel First-Aid Kit: Put 1–2 rolls in your kit depending on your cat's size.
    Cotton Undercast Padding
    3" Width
    Includes 12 rolls

    Gauze roll
    (individually packaged) 2" wide gauze rolls work best for cats.

    • Use: Gauze roll is used either as a stand-alone dressing, when bulking or a more specific primary layer are not necessary, or to cover and secure a specific primary or bulking layer (like "cotton roll" above).

    • πŸš—  Travel First-Aid Kit: Put 1–2 rolls in your kit depending on your cat's size.
    first aid only gauze roll bandages
    2" width
    Includes 24 rolls

    Bandage tape (such as this 3M Medipore bandage tape)

    • Use: To hold the different layers of a bandage in place while applying the subsequent bandage layers. Also used for "stirrups" when applying bandages to paws, tails, and other difficult-to-bandage places.

    • πŸš—  Travel First-Aid Kit: Include a roll
    H Soft Cloth Tape
    Includes 2 rolls

    Blunt-tip bandage scissors (like these bandage scissors or these, heavier duty trauma shears)

    • Use: To cut and remove bandages safely. The extended, "leading blade" makes it easier to get the scissor under the bandage, while the blunted nature of the tip decreases the chances of cutting your cat's skin while you're doing so.

    • πŸš—  Travel First-Aid Kit: Include a pair of scissors

    Bandage Scissors
    Medical Bandage Scissors

    Heavier-duty shears. Needed to cut splint rolls (next on list)
    EMT and Trauma Shears

    Splint(s) (these foam-covered, moldable, aluminum splint rolls are perfect for cat first-aid kits!)

    • Use: Splints are great to have if you need to minimize movement in your cat's injured leg (like if they've broken a bone in their lower leg, or torn their cruciate ligament) while you transport them to the vet.
      (Note: You'll need to have a pair of sturdy scissors, like these trauma shears, to easily cut and tailor these rolled splints.)

    • Alternatives: In a pinch, you can use a sturdy stick, branch, or a wooden dowel.

    • πŸš—  Travel First-Aid Kit: Include 1 roll
    SAM Medical Splint Roll
    Includes 2 rolls

    Self-adhesive bandage cover (such as this Vet Tape Wrap or, if you need a latex-free option, try latex-free Coban)

    • Use: This is the outer layer for bandages to help keep your bandage in place and prevent it from unravelling. Because it sticks to itself, no tape is needed. You must be very careful not to put this layer on too tight, or else you'll interfere with the blood flow to the area under and around the bandage.

      To prevent applying it too tight, unwrap the amount you need from the roll and then loosely wrap it back around the roll before applying it.

    • Alternatives: Duct tape, electrical tape, or Saran Wrap (or another plastic "cling film") can serve the same purpose in a bind. Again, don't apply too tightly.

    Vet Wrap Self Adhesive Bandages 2"
    product WePet Vet Wrap Self Adherent Gauze

    15' of 3" latex-free self-adhesive wrap
    3M Latex Free Self-Adherent Wrap

    Duct tape (like a colorful β€” i.e., easily found β€” option from Duck brand)

    • Use: To secure a temporary bandage if you don't have a self-adhesive bandage cover, as discussed above.

    • Caution: Never apply duct tape directly to your pet's fur or skin, as it will be difficult to get off and is likely to hurt them tremendously in the process!
    Duct Tape


    3% Hydrogen Peroxide (like this 3% Hydrogen Peroxide)

    • Use: Can be used to induce vomiting in certain situations β€” never induce vomiting without first speaking with a veterinarian or animal poison control. It's also used for de-skunking: If you ever need to deskunk your pet (hydrogen peroxide is an ingredient in this great pet deskunking recipe).

    • Cautions: (1) Make sure your hydrogen peroxide is 3% and NOT 35% or even 6%. Even "food grade" does NOT necessarily = safe! See Illinois Poison Center's important article/warning about the dangers of the "food grade" peroxide craze. (2) Do not use Hydrogen Peroxide to clean or disinfect wounds, as it can actually slow healing. Use a saline wound flush as recommended in the Wound Care & Bandages section above.

    Swan Hydrogen Peroxide Topical
    Includes 2
    32 FL OZ (946 mL) bottles

    Activated charcoal (such as Toxiban or Universal Animal Antidote (UAA) gel)

    • Use: Can help in certain poisonings and toxicities, and in certain situations. Not all poisons are adsorbed by activated charcoal, so it is not always necessary or appropriate to use.

    • Caution: Never administer activated charcoal without first checking with a veterinarian or animal poison control. Dogs or cats, with pre-exiting Hypernatremia, should never receive this as treatment. And never, never attempt to administer activated charcoal to a pet that is vomiting, having seizures, is unconscious, or otherwise mentally altered (due to the risk of the charcoal getting in their lungs). Do not administer if the poison was ingested more than 2 hours prior β€” it is meant for acute poisoning. Once administered, it is important your cat gets plenty of fluids as it can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

    Universal Antidote Gel

    Toxiban Suspension

    Antibiotic ointment (best to get them in individual use packs, like these triple antibiotic ointment packs)

    • Use: For protection against bacterial infections on minor cuts, scrapes, and other injuries on your cat's skin. Apply to such wounds prior to placement of any bandages.

    • πŸš—  Travel First-Aid Kit: Include a few packs
    Triple Antibiotic Ointment
    25 individually-wrapped ointment packs

    Eye flush (saline) (like this Akorn, Inc Opthamlic 98.3% Pure Eye Wash)

    • Use: To flush your pet's eye(s) in the event of pollen, grass seed, or other object getting stuck in their eye ("ocular foreign body").

      See note below re: treating with artificial tears after flushing. Can also play "double duty" for cleaning wounds if you don't have a bottle of wound flush handy.

    • πŸš—  Travel First-Aid Kit: Include as both an eye flush and wound wash
    product Akorn Eye Wash
    4 FL OZ (118 mL) bottle

    Artificial Tears (like these Systane Ultra lubricating eye drops)

    • Use: To restore lubrication to your pet's eye(s) and prevent discomfort or irritation after you've flushed their eye(s) out with a saline eye flush (see above).
    Includes 2
    0.14 FL OZ (4 mL) bottles 

    Benadryl (generic = diphenhydramine) (like these generic 25mg diphenhydramine tablets)

    • Use: Diphenhydramine can be useful in bee and wasp stings and other allergic reactions. While diphenhydramine is safe for most pets in these situations, you should check with your veterinarian to ensure that your pet can be given diphenhydramine. See this article for more about using Benadry/diphenhydramine, including a handy calculator to help you determine your pet's dose.

    • Cautions: (1) Make sure that the medication you buy only has diphenhydramine as the active ingredient (i.e., don't use a combo cold + flu, or other combination medication). (2) Make sure that you pay attention to the concentration of diphenhydramine in the pills or liquid when calculating the dose you are giving your cat.

    • Tip: Pre-calculate your cat's dose (use our Benadryl dosing calculator for pets) and then write it on the side of the box or bottle. It'll help you remember their dosage and save you a step in a "pinch."
    • πŸš—  Travel First-Aid Kit: Include a small bottle or box
    Various Diphenhydramine 25mg

    Supply of your pet’s chronic medications (if any)

    • Note: Make sure to keep them up-to-date and check the expiration date before use.

    • πŸš—  Travel First-Aid Kit: Bring enough to cover the length of your trip, plus one extra week.


    Battery-powered beard trimmer (like this AA battery-powered Wahl trimmer)

    • Use: For trimming mats and "sticky stuff" (e.g., gum, glue, sap, etc.) from fur and for trimming fur around wounds.

    • Note: Using a beard trimmer for these purposes, rather than a pair of scissors, greatly decreases the chances that you'll inadvertently cut your pet's skin (which can be painful and very bloody). Since this is for a first-aid kit and you won't always be near an electrical outlet when it's needed, we suggest going with a battery-powered trimmer (rather than a corded, or even cordless rechargable option).

      The Whal trimmer we recommend is perfect for pet first-aid kits. It's battery powered, trims even dense fur, and is made by a reputable company with experience making professional trimmers for groomers and veterinary practices.
    This battery-powered trimmer works great on pet fur

    Digital thermometer (like this 10 second digital thermometer)

    • Use: To check your pet's temperature whenever you're concerned they might have a fever or low body temperature. Note that the normal temperature range for cats is higher than for people.

      Normal body temperature for cats is between 100 β€”102.50F (37.8β€”39.20C). The most reliable way to get your pet's temperature is rectally; see how to do it for a cat.

    • πŸš—  Travel First-Aid Kit: Include
    product boncare digital thermometer
    Quick-read, large screen, mercury-free
    Ideal for pet use

    Lube (best to get a water-based* lube in individual packets, but you can also get it in a multi-use tube)

    • Use: To facilitate taking your pet's rectal temperature. Lubrication is important both for your pet's comfort and to minimize the risks of creating a tear in the lining of the rectum.

    • Note: You can use a petroleum-based lube, like Vaseline, to lubricate the thermometer, too. The advantage of getting these individual, sterile, latex-free, water-based lube packs is that you can also then use the lube to keep your cat's fur out of their wounds when clipping the fur from around the wound (you put the sterile lube in the wound, use your beard trimmers to clip the fur from around the wound, and then use your saline wound flush to clear away all of the clipped fur and lube).

    • πŸš—  Travel First-Aid Kit: Include a few packets

    Dynarex DynaLube Lubricating Jelly

    Surgilube Surgical Lubricant

    Emergency warming blanket (like these emergency thermal blankets from Swiss Safe)

    • Use: For keeping your pet warm when they've sustained an injury outside in the cold and/or rain.

    • πŸš—  Travel First-Aid Kit: Include

    Swiss Safe Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets

    Instant-cold packs (like these SuperBand Instant Cold Packs)

    • Use: For applying a cold compress to decrease swelling and inflammation after a bee or wasp sting, sprain and strain, bruising, or other minor injury.

    • Cautions: (1) Don't let your cat chew on or eat these packs, as toxicity may occur.
      (2) Don't apply the cold pack directly to your cat's skin, make sure there's fur or a towel between the pack and your cat's skin to avoid cold-induced skin damage.
      (3) Don't use cold packs to cool down an over-heated cat, as this can constrict skin blood vessels and actually slow core cooling.

      See this article to learn how to safely cool and treat a cat suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

    • πŸš—  Travel First-Aid Kit: Include 1 pack
    SuperBand-Instant Cold Pack

    Muzzle A nylon cat muzzle, like the one linked below, is the easiest to apply and least distressful for a cat in pain.

    • Use: To prevent a cat in pain and distress from biting you or anyone else helping you while administering first aid. Cats in distress and pain are more likely to bite β€” even their owner, and even if they normally wouldn't.

    Guardian Gear Nylon Cat Muzzle

    nylon cat muzzle

    Tick remover
    (like the Tick Twister or the Ticked Off tool)

    • Use: For removing an embedded tick from your cat's skin. Take care not to crush the tick body when removing the tick and put the tick in a jar or other container after removal to bring to your vet for ID and see if any additional monitoring or treatment might be necessary.

    • Alternatives: You can also use tweezers (these Uncle Bill's tweezers are perfect for a first-aid kit), or a locking, curved-tip hemostat.

    • πŸš—  Travel First-Aid Kit: Include

    Tick Twister
    Tick Twister Tick Remover Set

    Ticked Off Tick Remover
    Ticked Off Tick Remover-Three-Pack

    Uncle Bill's Sliver Gripper Keychain Tweezers
    Uncle Bill's Sliver Gripper Keychain Tweezers

    Stainless Steel Self-Locking Curved Forceps
    Stainless Steel Self-Locking Curved Forceps

    Syringes (like these Ezy-Dose syringes)

    • Use: Syringes are used both for administering oral medications and also for cleaning and flushing wounds.
    Ezy Dose Oral Syringe

    Old credit card

    • Use: To remove bee and wasp stingers! Tweezers are actually not the best way to remove a bee/wasp stinger, as they can squeeze the venom sack in the process and worsen the reaction and resulting pain.

      To see how to use an old credit card (or driver's license) check out this video. (And check out this article to see what to do for a bee or wasp sting after you've removed the stinger!)

    • πŸš—  Travel First-Aid Kit: Include

    DE-SKUNKING HOW-TO: Speaking of wildlife run-ins, "skunking" can be a pretty unpleasant thing for both your cat and anybody else around. Check out this article to learn how to safely and effectively get the skunk smell off. (Hint: tomato juice is NOT the answer!)

    Miscellaneous (but important!)

    First-aid manual β€” always good to have close at hand when needing to administer first aid for your pup.
    Recommended pet first-aid manuals:

    the first aid companion for dogs and cats

    Emergency numbers

    Pillow Case A pillow case makes for a great and quick "makeshift cat carrier" in a pinch

    Exam gloves (like these nitrile (latex-free) gloves)

    • Use: Exam gloves don't just keep your hands from getting blood and other "stuff" on them, they also protect your cat's wound from becoming contaminated by bacteria from your hands.

      (Hey, we all have bacteria on our hands and it's not always possible or practical to wash our hands before administering first aid. And some of us even have nasty, antibiotic-resistent bacteria on our hands without even knowing it! Gloves help prevent infections.)

    • πŸš—  Travel First-Aid Kit: Include 1–2 pairs
    Nitrile Exam Gloves

    Flashlight or other light source (like these great "Mini" Maglites, or these (even more convenient) camping headlamps from Vont)

    • Use: A reliable light source is imperative for when injuries happen at night, as well as for looking closely in between toes and paw pads, or into your cat's mouth, ears, or nostrils.

    • Caution: If you need to look into your cat's eye(s), don't use a bright light such as the Maglites or headlamps. Rather, use a less-bright medical "penlight," such as these LED nurse's penlights from Opoway.

    Maglite Mini PRO LED 2-Cell AA Flashlight with Holster
    Maglite Compact

    Vont LED Headlight
    Allows you to see and be hands-free
    product vont spark headlamps

    Opoway Nurse Penlight
    Use this light (but not the others) for looking directly into a cat's eyes

    Towels & rags

    Collapsible water bowl (like this BPA-Free option from Silipet)

    • Use: Not just for providing your cat with water when they are thirsty, but these collapsible bowls can also be used to mix a disinfectant (like chlorhexidine or povidone iodine, see above in Wound Care & Bandages section) and water to clean a wound.

      If you use the bowl for diluting a disinfectant solution, just make sure not to use the bowl for drinking water afterwards, until its been cleaned properly.

    • πŸš—  Travel First-Aid Kit: Include

    100% BPA free, FDA approved, Dishwasher safe

    Tool or tackle box (like this great toolbox set you can prepare for at home and for the car)

    • Use: You need somewhere to store all of your cat's first-aid supplies! A large tool or fishing tackle box is great for this purpose. Of course, you should also have a cat first-aid kit for any hiking, field work, or any travel you do with your at.

      A large tool box isn't practical for that, and you don't need all of the gear listed here for your cat's travel first-aid kit. You can put together a pared-down, travel first-aid kit for your cat by including just the items listed above indicated by this icon πŸš—, or you can purchase a pre-made travel first-aid kit for cats like this one.

    Toolbox Set
    oemtools tool box set

    100 Piece Travel Pet First-Aid Kit
    100 piece pet travel first aid kit

    I hope that this article and list has helped you prepare, or double-check, your pet first-aid kit. Hopefully you’ll never need to use your first-aid kit, but it truly is better to be over-prepared than under. Stay safe out there.

    Looking to keep your cat happy, healthy, and safe?

    cat health and safety tips book

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