Home Medical Care: nursing at home


Although the average cat has few illnesses requiring prolonged hospitalization during his or her lifetime, many minor illnesses can become severe if proper home care is not provided. Most veterinarians are anxious to have your cat recuperate at home if you can provide adequate nursing. It also saves money and will draw you closer to your animal.

This section is designed to give you the information you need for basic home nursing. If you become familiar with its contents you should be able to treat at home most minor illnesses diagnosed by your veterinarian. In cases where there are no alternatives to hospitalization, familiarity with basic nursing techniques should allow the hospital stay to be shortened and more of the convalescence to occur at home.


If your cat has a serious illness, regular and accurate record keeping is invaluable for the veterinarian helping you treat your cat at home. Take your cat’s temperature at least once daily (preferably around the same time) and record the values. Record how much your cat eats and drinks, the frequency of urination and the type of bowel movements passed. This, of course, requires that your cat be kept indoors and a litter box be provided.

In some instances it is best to confine the recovering cat to one room or a small area; other times the cat can be allowed to wander freely around the house. Your veterinarian can help you decide on the best kind of confinement. In no instance, however, should a sick cat be allowed to roam unsupervised outdoors. Sick cats frequently disappear, only to be found later in much worse condition than when they left, or else never return at all. Additional helpful information to keep in your records includes an indication of the times and amounts of medication given and a record of any unusual signs (e.g., vomiting) that develop or any other change in condition.

Take these records with you whenever you visit the veterinarian.