Feline First Aid

Knowing some basic first-aid techniques can help you save your kitten's life.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM

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Do not try to manipulate the bones back into place, and do not wash out open fractures. If the kitten becomes too stressed during splint application, stop and take it to the veterinarian immediately.

6. Poisonings: The average household contains many items poisonous to 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 a potential problem as well. Kittens love to nibble on plants and dried flowers.

Some plants merely cause an upset stomach. Others can be fatal. Cacti, dieffenbachia, mistletoe, poinsettia, acorns, English holly, tulip flower bulbs, oleander, honeysuckle and most lilies are poisonous to some degree.

Always check with your veterinarian before administering medication to your kitten. Signs of poisoning vary depending on the type of poison and quantity ingested. You should be suspicious that your cat has been poisoned 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 kitten is showing. If you visit the vet, bring a sample of the suspected poison in its original container.

If your vet cannot be reached, call a local or national animal poison control center for instructions. Read the label to see if specific instructions for treatment are given. If not, induce vomiting using syrup of ipecac or hydrogen peroxide: one teaspoon per 5 pounds of body weight. Don't induce vomiting if a strong acid or alkali, or a petroleum distillate like kerosene was ingested.

First aid is not meant to replace veterinary care. However, knowledge of basic first aid allows kitten owners to effectively handle emergencies until a veterinarian can be reached. Knowing the basics may save your kitten's life.

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Reader Comments

Janet    Bethlehem, PA

8/2/2010 6:16:37 AM

good article thanks

LAUREN    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK

7/8/2010 4:00:01 PM

This is great information for fist time cat owners; especially first time kitten owners too!! I've had cats all my life and learned something new!

Kelly    Sun Prairie, WI

1/13/2008 7:39:13 PM

Thank you for the invaluable information. Although it may be basic knowledge for most of us, it is so important for families of little ones (and big ones, too!) to be able to handle emergency situations. May everyone continue to educate themselves so that our felines may enjoy long, healthy, and happy lives!

Carole    Marlton, NJ

9/16/2007 9:14:59 PM

This gives you a good idea of what to do if your kitten gets into any trouble around the house. It points out that kittens can get fractures from jumping, which, when you think about it should be obvious, but it never crossed my mind that this could happen and I;ve had cats for kittens for the last 40 years at least.

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