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Common Emergencies Suffered By Kittens

Watch for these signs of emergency in your kitten.

There are lots of things to learn and keep track of when you adopt a new kitten. You need to kitten-proof the house, decide what type of food to use, get new scratching posts and toys, and prepare for veterinary expenses.

Another thing you can do to ensure your kitten gets the best care is to make yourself aware of the most common emergencies that befall baby cats. That way, you'll not only know what to look for and how to identify a real emergency, but you'll also be able to take some steps to avoid these serious issues.

Breathing Problems

Kittens can suffer from several emergency conditions that negatively affect their breathing. These include:

  • A foreign body in the throat, interfering with the ability to breathe.
  • Ingestion of a toxic substance that damages the windpipe or lungs.
  • Serious upper respiratory infection or heart condition that leads to trouble breathing and low oxygen levels.

If your kitten is coughing, appears to be choking, is panting, or seems to have labored breathing, consider it an emergency and get her to a veterinary clinic as soon as possible to be evaluated, placed on oxygen, or have other emergency measures taken.


It's extremely common for kittens to experience traumatic injuries. From falling to getting tangled up in something to being stepped on to having something falling on them, kittens are small and curious, and they can easily and quickly be hurt.

Acute injuries can result in any number of emergency conditions in cats, including broken limbs, ruptured internal organs, pain, bleeding internally or externally, and head trauma.

Toxic Ingestions

Kittens are much more likely than adult cats to get into and ingest something toxic. This is due to their curiosity and high energy levels. Home products like cleaners, laundry pods, antifreeze, and some human foods can all result in serious poisonings in cats.

Additionally, kittens can ingest things that aren't specifically toxic but which can result in dangerous obstructions of the esophagus, stomach, or small intestine. These result in emergency situations when surgery is usually required to remove the object. One widespread case of this is yarn, string, or ribbon, which kittens love to play with and often ingest.

Allergic Reactions

Kittens can have allergies that we aren't aware of, and sometimes they can develop life-threatening signs as a result, including severe swelling of the face and nasal passageways, hives, and difficulty breathing.

Allergic reactions in kittens are most commonly caused by vaccinations, medications, or insect stings or bites.

What to Do in a Kitten Emergency

The best thing to do if you think your kitten is suffering an emergency situation is contact your veterinarian or a local emergency vet immediately. If possible, begin traveling to the veterinary clinic while you call them. Keep these phone numbers programmed into your cellular phone or written near your home phone.

In some cases, you might need to perform emergency first aid while you are trying to get to a vet. If your kitten isn't conscious, check for breathing and a heartbeat. Perform rescue breathing or CPR as needed. If something is bleeding, cover it with a clean towel and apply firm pressure while you travel.

You can learn more in this article and those it links to: "First Aid in Cats: An Overview."

Be Prepared for Kitten Emergencies

Along with having your veterinarians' numbers on hand, you can prepare for potential kitten emergencies by making a first aid kit to have nearby. Learn how here: "First Aid Essentials for Cats."

Kitten-hood is also a great time for you to explore and procure pet insurance. When you wait, more conditions can pop up which then are considered pre-existing, and you never know when you might need the insurance for an emergency.

You May Also Like These Articles:

CPR in Cats

First Aid for Cats: An Overview

Baseline Vitals in Cats and How to Measure Them

Pet Insurance: Peace of Mind for Your Cat's Health

Foods Toxic to Cats - Slideshow

Essentials for Your Feline First Aid Kit

The Dangers of Strings, Ribbons, and Yarn for Cats

First Aid for a Cat That Isn't Breathing

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