No one likes to see an injured animal, and your first instinct might be to rush over and help the poor critter. Unfortunately, that instinct could wind up with you being hurt too. Any cat, no matter if it's your beloved pet Fluffy or the stray you have fed for years that comes running out to greet you when it is dinnertime, can attack a person when it is in pain. If you come across an injured cat, do not let instinct push you to react or you may end up regretting it in the form of a personal injury.
Signs of Aggression
Cats have distinctive signs of aggression. As you approach, the cat might warn you to stay away by hissing, spitting or growling. More aggressive reactions to look for are flattened ears or the animal swatting its claws at you. A cat projecting these signs means business, and if you don't proceed cautiously then you could find yourself bitten, scratched and bleeding.
When an animal shows these signs, but you still wish to help, stop your approach, avoid eye contact and use a non-aggressive tone to calm the animal. After this, if the cat is still telling you that it will attack if you come any closer, it is time to bring in a professional from an animal shelter or an animal control officer to handle the situation instead of risking injury yourself.
There are different methods you can use to restrain an injured cat. Which one you use will depend on if the animal has shown any signs of aggression. If the animal has shown no aggression toward you, then you can pick it up like you normally would, just make sure to keep the cat tucked under your arm and close to your side. To keep the cat from panicking and possibly injuring you in its attempts to be set free, hold its front legs crossed with one of your hands and use your other hand to cover its eyes and ears.
If the animal is only hissing and showing no signs of attack, you can grab it by the scruff of the neck and lift it up so the animal will go limp. If there is no way to handle the animal, again, it would be best to call a professional. However, if the situation is dire and you can't wait for help, toss a towel on top of and after a few minutes the cat should relax. When it does, place a box or some other breathable container over it then slip the cover underneath so the animal will be detained. Do not use any kind of container that is airtight. You could accidentally suffocate the cat.
Always approach any injured cat with caution. While your heart is in the right place, the cat doesn't know that. Getting hurt yourself will not help the situation. If you find yourself with a bite from an animal, be sure that you seek medical attention to make sure you do not have as serious injury or rabies and know your legal rights if you were attacked. If you are attacked by someone's cat, or another pet for that matter, you should consider contacting a personal injury attorney.