Basic know-how in a medical emergency can save your kitten's life.  First aid is the first defense in an emergency until you can reach veterinary care.

Most cats and kittens endure life relatively unscathed.  A few, however, deplete several of their nine lives in the course of growing up.  Knowing the principles of feline first aid can help your Persian kitten survive the turbulent first year of life. As an interim measure until veterinary care is available, the objective to feline first aid is to prevent a condition from worsening, alleviating pain and suffering and help the recovery process.  Getting veterinary help still remains the highest priority.

Despite our best precautions and kitten proofing our homes, we may find ourselves faced with a kitten health emergency. The most common disasters that strike kittens are burns, electric cord injury, choking, bee stings, fractures and poisoning.

Burns:  Most kitten burns occur from thermal objects such as heating pads, heat lamps or scalding hot liquids. Kittens may jump onto stove tops and burn their feet or tails.  The other source of burns are candles.

Electric shock: Kittens chew or bite on dangling electric cords because they are seen as the perfect plaything. Many accidents happen around the holidays with the combination of Christmas lights.

Choking:  If you kitten gets something stuck in its mouth or throat, it will cough or gasp suddenly. A kitten becomes frantic when scared, so it is best to wrap it in a towel and have someone else hold it while you are trying to look in the back of its throat. A flashlight may help you spot an object, once the object is found then remove it with a pair of tweezers or a spoon handle.  Be very careful when sticking your hand and fingers in a cat’s or kittens mouth as they will be frantic and may bite you during their frantic state of mind.

Bee stings:  Kittens love chasing moving objects including stinging bees or spiders.  Bee stings or spider bites are often suspected but a definitive diagnosis is uncommon unless the event is witnessed.  If a bees stings your kitten, immediately put ice on the bite to reduce the pain and swelling. Use a magnifying glass to find the stinger.  Pull the stinger out with a pair of tweezers if possible. Clean the area and apply an antibiotic ointment. After treating your kitten for the bee sting, monitor it very closely for an allergic reaction. Although an allergic reaction is uncommon, it can occur and the kitten can go into shock. When a kitten goes into allergic shock the throat may swell and obstruct breathing and their blood pressure may plunge. This is a life-threatening complication that requires immediate medical attention.

Fractured limbs: Orthopedic injuries can be common in kittens because they love to jump. When a kitten fractures a bone, the initial clinical sign is limping, holding the injured leg up, or walking on only three legs. Simple fractures in which both ends of the bone remain under the skin are not as bad as an open fracture where the bone breaks through the skin.  Open fractures are a huge risk of becoming infected. Do not try to manipulate the bones back into place, and do not wash the open fractures.  Take the kitten to the vet immediately in this situation.

Poisoning:  The average household contains many items that can be poisonous to cats and kittens.  Common toxic substances include ammonia, antifreeze, aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, bleach, gasoline, lye, paint thinner, rat poison, turpentine and rubbing alcohol. Indoor and garden plants are potential problems as well. If you suspect that your cat has ingested poison if you see signs such as excessive salivation, vomiting, loss of consciousness or seizures. If you see your cat ingest a toxic substance, call your veterinarian and be ready to describe what the poison is, the active ingredients, how much and when it was ingested and what signs your cat or kitten is showing.  If you visit your vet, bring a sample of the suspected poison in its original container.  If you cannot reach your vet, call the animal poison control center for instructions.  As the premier animal poison control center in North America, the APCC is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think that your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, make the call that can make all the difference: (888) 426-4435. A consultation fee may apply.


Back to Feline Information