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What is Head Trauma?

Head trauma can vary in severity depending on the location your cat was hit and the impact of the blow. But, every cat with head trauma needs to be closely watched by a veterinarian, so if you spot the symptoms of a head injury, get your cat medical attention as soon as possible.

Head trauma can occur when a cat sustains an injury to the head, such as running into a wall, fighting with another animal, or being hit with a blunt or penetrating object. The observable symptoms of head trauma will vary between cats. In some cases, you may only notice your cat is beginning to act strange, while in other situations, your cat may completely lose consciousness and start to have seizures. 

Head Trauma Average Cost

From 239 quotes ranging from $500 - $6,000

Average Cost

$3,500

Symptoms of Head Trauma in Cats

The symptoms you observe will vary depending on the location and severity of the head trauma. Sometimes, there will be physical signs of an injury, but other times, you won’t see any symptoms besides behavior that just seems unusual. Some of the most common head trauma symptoms include:

  • Different pupil sizes
  • Rapid or unusual eye movement
  • Stiff limbs
  • Bleeding from the ears or nose
  • Varying levels of consciousness
  • Tilted head
  • Seizures
  • Abnormal behavior
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Causes of Head Trauma in Cats

Head trauma occurs after a cat is hit in the head with a blunt or penetrating object. This is common when the cat is involved in a car accident or fight with another animal. It can also occur when the cat accidentally falls from a great height or down a flight of stairs. Head trauma can also occur if the cat is intentionally or accidentally stepped on or hit in the head with an object such as a baseball bat. 

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Diagnosis of Head Trauma in Cats

Talk to your vet about any symptoms you have observed, and when you first noticed them. If you know your cat was involved in some sort of altercation or accident, make sure you mention this as well.

The vet will need to begin testing right away if he suspects there is head trauma. First, the cat’s vital signs will be taken to determine if the condition of his heart and respiratory system. A light may be shined into your cat’s eyes to check the size of the pupils and his eyes’ response. X-rays and CT scans will most likely be performed so the vet can determine if there is any brain damage, and if so, to what extent. These tests can show skull fractures, tumors, brain swelling, and bleeding, so they are vital in the diagnosis of head trauma.

If the tests show there is swelling in the brain, the vet may collect a sample of cerebrospinal fluid, which is found in the brain. Brain infections can often cause swelling, so the fluid will need to be tested for the presence of bacteria so the vet can eliminate this as a cause of your cat’s symptoms.

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Treatment of Head Trauma in Cats

Treatment will depend on the severity of your cat’s head trauma. First, the vet will attempt to stabilize your cat by administering oxygen and IV fluids. His head should be kept at a slighter higher elevation than the rest of his body if there is brain swelling. The vet may provide pain killers or completely sedate the cat, depending on the level of suspected discomfort and the cat’s condition. 

If the skull is fractured, your cat may need to undergo surgery to have the cracked pieces removed or repaired. However, if none of the cracked pieces of the skull shifted out of place during the blow, surgery may not be required.

Medications to reduce the brain swelling will be administered to your cat as well. These medications are designed to pull fluid out of the brain tissue to reduce the overall swelling. If your cat has suffered from seizures as a result of the head trauma, medication can also be given to prevent these from occurring.

Throughout the treatment, your cat will need to be monitored closely by the vet. Head trauma is a serious injury, and your cat’s condition can rapidly change from one moment to the next. You will most likely need to leave your cat with the vet for at least 24 hours so he can monitor him until the swelling has gone down. 

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Recovery of Head Trauma in Cats

Every incident of head trauma is unique, so there’s no way to determine what the survival rate is for cats. However, if your cat’s head trauma is not severe and his condition does not worsen in the first 24 hours, this is a good sign your cat will recover. 

Once you have your cat back at home, it’s important to protect him from potential harm by keeping him inside and away from other pets or small children. You may need to keep him in a cage for a certain period of time to prevent movement. The vet will want you to bring your cat back in for follow-up visits to ensure he is healing.

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Head Trauma Average Cost

From 239 quotes ranging from $500 - $6,000

Average Cost

$3,500

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Head Trauma Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Cat

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6 months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Sleepiness

My kitten freaked out after I put her harness on her, she started jumping into the air and spinning and running into objects, hit the wall hard a couple times and then she finally calmed down and just layer on her side and froze for a checked taking big breathes, then I got the harness off of her, just later there for a little while. Got up then lated in her tower and has just been off and on sleep the last few hours since, but didn’t leave that spot. I made her get up and she drank some water and ate a little bit then went and later back down. Can she get a concussion from hitting the wall?

Sept. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. She would have to hit the wall fairly hard to head get a concussion, and I suspect she may just be tired or a little sore after all of that. If she continues to have problems over the next 24 hours, it would be best to have her looked at by a veterinarian. She may just need some sleep and some calm time until she returns to normal. I hope it all goes well for her.

Oct. 1, 2020

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Main coon

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Twelve Years

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Bump On His Forehead And Runn Nose

He has a Big bump on his forehead, his eyes are 1/2 closed and a runny nose

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I'm sorry for the delay in answering, this platform is not set up for urgent responses. I think that it is possible that the bump is causing the signs that you are seeing, and it may be an infection, inflammation, or a growth. It would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine him and see what might be going on. Once they can see him, they will be able to let you know what treatment might be needed.

Oct. 7, 2020

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American short hair

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Head Trauma

my cat jumped head first into the glass door to my shower, she shook her head and walked away. I'm worried she may be having eyesight issues due to a spot on her right eye that she's had since I adopted her. She has bonked her head at least 2 other times since August and she has moments where she goes from calm to spastic in a split second. She's calm and resting now but should I be thinking about taking her to the vet?

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. From your description, I'm not sure hat you need to have her seen for this recent trauma, but it might be a good idea to have a veterinarian examine her to assess her eyesight, if you are concerned.

Oct. 18, 2020

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Calico

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Slit On Nose And Mouth

My older cat beat her up pretty bad. She cries and has blood from her nose from the slit. Not sure if nose is broke. Breathing out of nose but scratches her nose and mouth. Scared. This happened 2 nights ago and didn't scratch the face until today.

Sept. 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that your pet is feeling better. If they are still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 23, 2020

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Domestic Shorthair

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3 1/2 years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Bloody Nose

My cat ran into the glass door of our sunroom and had a bloody nose but otherwise seems fine.

Sept. 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that your pet is feeling better. If they are still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 23, 2020

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Larry

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tabby

dog-age-icon

4 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Confusion

I'm wondering if our rescued cat could have had some kind of brain trauma at some point. We found him abandoned, posted pictures, tried the local vet and shelter, not chipped, so we ended up keeping him. They estimated he was 2 years old. He was extremely underweight. He is a very large cat, bone-structure wise, but only weighed about 8 pounds after a week with us, and now weighs about 15 pounds. We have had him now almost 2 years and love him, but he has strange behaviors. He will be held, but not sitting down. He runs in and out. He will chat and ask for treats. He is very sweet. He has unfortunately taught our other cats to scratch furniture, which they didn't used to do. He meows and meows for food or treats or going in and out every time you walk by, as if he hasn't been fed or literally just come in or out. We once saw him run to jump up on a table, and instead jump into the table edge. A few seconds later, like it never happened. He jumps up on the fireplace mantle, so he's athletic. He purrs and purrs when you hold him, but don't sit down with him, he jumps away. I swear his head feels differently than our other cats', the vet said she can't find anything physically wrong with him. He acts differently than any other cat we've ever had. We love him and wouldn't ever get rid of him, but he seems to have maybe short term memory or something. We wondered if he could have been hurt or something when abandoned. We call him Crazy Larry. Our other 2 year old isn't like that either. We just worry about him.

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Kitty

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Siamés

dog-age-icon

2 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Convulsions
Convulsions & Excessive Salivation

My cat fell from a 3rd floor about 3 days ago. She presents no injures whatsoever, walks perfectly fine and doesnt seem to have any pain. Has been purring and kneeling as usual every night when we're in bed. Tonight, however, while she was comfortably sleeping in my bed, she seems to jump out of nowhere and clawed my legs until I noticed she was having seasures, I panicked and she jumped, scared and convulsing to the floor, convulsing even more and salivatin/foaming a bit through mouth. It lasted about a minute. Then she seems to have shily waken up stayed down breathing slowly for another minute. I felt so impotent. Such a horrible experience to witness. Will bring her to vet tomorrow. Needed to vent 😩

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Achilles

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Norweigian mountain cat:

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4 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Stunted Growth

We had a litter of cats. At about 3 weeks old one of the babies was behind me and a stepped on its head: Almost put my whole weight on it. It had a bloody nose for a day and was sluggish was a week. Had trouble walking for a week, but recovered fully. But now it wont grow. Its 3 months old and looks like an 8 week old. Healthy, active but half the size of his 3 siblings. Suppose the blood supply was pinched hindering its rapid development?

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Cookie

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Domestic shorthair

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2 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Nose Bleed
Walking Tenderly
Lethargy
Head Tilt
Difficulty Walking

I accidentally kicked my 2 month old kitten about 1-2 hours ago and immediately brought her to the vet. The vet gave her some analgesic and said she'll be fine, but her head is still tilted and

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dotter

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tabby

dog-age-icon

3 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Nose Bleed
Seizures
Yelping In Pain
Isn'T Eating
In And Out Of Consciousness

so my dad mistakenly stepped on my cat's head and she was bleeding from her nose and having seisures and went in and out of consciousness. her pupils are fine but she not eating. we dont have the sort of money to go to the vet right now so i dont know what to do.

Head Trauma Average Cost

From 239 quotes ranging from $500 - $6,000

Average Cost

$3,500

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