Where Will You Take Your Cat In an Off-Hours Emergency?

When every minute counts, having a plan in place could save your pet’s life.


It’s 10 PM on a Sunday evening, and your cat starts having difficulty breathing. Or he begins having what seems like a series of seizures. Or you realize that he’s not able to urinate, which could prove deadly if not handled right away.

You’ve essentially got to “scoop and run” — the term veterinarians use for taking action immediately. But where do you go? Does your veterinary service have someone on call 24/7? Is there a clinic nearby with weekend and holiday hours? Do you know?

Many people don’t. They don’t think about after-hours veterinary services until they have to. But that means precious time is lost tending to an emergency and potentially making the difference between life and death. Here are a couple of things to find out — and affix to your refrigerator or save on your mobile phone. The last thing you want is not to take action fast enough when help could have been available.

Ask your veterinary practice if they have an on-call service after hours or whether they work with an emergency provider in the area. Be sure to write down applicable phone numbers and addresses.

See how far you live from the closest veterinary school. There are 32 of them around the country, and most, if not all, of them have emergency medical services for pets. If there’s one near you that does, keep the address and phone number handy. It’s all too easy to spend a lot of time getting rerouted or waiting for prompts when calling into a large academic institution, and if you have the right number at the ready, it’s easy to call from the car on the way over.

The point is to know where you’re going and the number of the facility before an emergency ever occurs — not in the throes of your cat’s critical situation.


  1. I’m lucky that my vet has provided two emergency vets that they recommend. And the one time I needed them, they had sent a full report to my vet by the next morning. I’m in Houston; it might not be as easy in a smaller town.

  2. I live in a small town with no emergency vets. Some of the vets will, however, arrange an off-hours emergency visit. One vet didn’t deem my cat’s issue urgent enough but left some meds outside the vet clinic door for me to pick up (on a Sunday). I appreciated that, and the cat was seen first thing on Monday.


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