6 common kitten health emergencies

A vet with gloves on holding a kitten in their arms

When you bring your new kitten home with its big eyes and hilarious antics, you probably can’t imagine them ever being ill or injured. However, kittens can get themselves in some scrapes and seeing your little ball of fluff suffering can be frightening for all the family.

Having insurance for your cat is the first way to go about covering yourself if ever the worst should happen. But what else can you do?

Being aware of six of the most common kitten emergencies will leave you well prepared to spot any warning signs and get your pet the care it deserves.

  1. Traumatic injury

Being small and cute is not much help if something or someone bigger falls on you and it’s all too easy for a kitten to get injured.

However, one of the biggest causes of traumatic injuries among young cats is being hit by a car or other vehicle on the road.

Accidents like this will often cause severe injuries such as bleeding, broken bones, damage to internal organs, head injury and even death. If your pet is involved in a road traffic accident, then do the following:

  1. Call your vet and warn them that you’ll be bringing in an injured pet.

  2. Assess how severe the injuries are.

  3. Consider if CPR is necessary. Performing CPR soon may give the vet more time to fix the injuries and save your pet.

  4. Stop any bleeding by applying pressure over the wound.

  5. Avoid any further injury by moving the animal carefully in a blanket being careful not to get bitten or scratched yourself.

  6. Get them to the vet as soon as you can.

Kittens are easily hurt and even if they seem fine it’s important to have them checked out by a vet as soon as possible.

Having adequate cat insurance in place means you can get professional attention immediately rather than leaving it until it’s too late.

A kitten wrapped up in a towel

  1. Bite wounds

Another form of injury common in kittens and cats is bite wounds from other pets or wildlife. Territorial disputes between cats can get vicious and cause serious damage.

Bite wounds in particular are common and can easily cause further problems if they become infected and don’t receive prompt treatment with antibiotics.

  1. Gastrointestinal problems

Kittens can be very prone to gastrointestinal problems, any one of which can cause a kitty emergency.


Parasitic worms can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and weight loss. Regular worming is essential.


A very painful condition where a portion of the intestines gets stuck inside an adjacent section. If this is suspected it needs to be treated as an emergency. Cat insurance can help cover the cost of emergency treatment.

Vomiting and diarrhoea

There's a whole host of causes for this common kitten condition from changes in diet and parasites to disease and stress.

While this can often be treated at home, a kitten’s condition can get worse quickly. Watch out if:

  • They become lethargic
  • Their abdomen seems bloated or painful
  • They’re losing a lot of fluid or there is blood present in the vomit or diarrhoea
  • The vomiting or diarrhoea doesn’t get better with a bland diet

Toxin and foreign body ingestion

Kittens love exploring the world with their mouths and sometimes this can lead to serious repercussions. In terms of toxins, certain plants, cleaning chemicals, medications and a whole host of other materials can poison your curious kitty.

Objects are another popular plaything for kittens and if they’re swallowed they can cause intestinal obstructions or perforations, get stuck in the throat or trachea and cause choking and even suffocation.

Linear objects such as string, rope and ribbon are a particular problem in felines.

An owner carrying a kitten over to a vet in uniform holding a clipboard

  1. Respiratory problems

Respiratory infections in kittens are common so it's worth keeping an eye out for sneezing, coughing, a runny nose, mouth ulcers and conjunctivitis. These are all common symptoms of ‘cat flu’ and need to be assessed by a vet.

Your kitten may stop eating due to painful ulcers or because they can no longer smell their food. A kitten at rest should not be struggling to breathe.

Act quickly by calling your vet or, if you have cat insurance through Purely Pets, call our 24-Hour Vet Helpline for advice.

  1. Eye problems

Conjunctivitis due to a respiratory infection or a scratched eye from playing or fighting are  common causes of eye problems.

This condition causes the kitten's eyes to become red and swollen. Their eyes might water or produce some discharge.

It’s unpleasant for your kitten and for you so make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.

Treatment usually involves eye drops to fight off an infection or to soothe the eyes and help them heal faster.

  1. Allergic reactions

Just as with their human carers, kittens can develop reactions to a range of allergens including insect stings and medications or vaccines.

These can be minor but sometimes they can develop into anaphylaxis, the most serious form of allergic reaction. Swelling around the head or neck or itching will need to be treated by a vet.

Anaphylaxis can also produce vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, difficulty breathing and collapse so prompt treatment is essential.

A kitten sitting on some grass in a garden about to eat a daisy

Safeguarding your kitten

A new fluffy addition can bring endless enjoyment to any family, but it requires a lot of love and attention to keep them healthy and happy.

Kitten insurance from the specialist team at Purely Pets is the perfect way to begin your life together. Having cover in place from day one is vital to ensure a long and fulfilling life for your feline companion.

We have designed 15 levels of award-winning cover to protect you and your cat. Depending on your pets’ needs and your budget, there will be a lifetime cover option just right for you both.

Policies arranged through us can cover vets’ fees ranging from £1,000 to £15,000 per year, with excess starting from as little as £60.

Our 24-Hour Vet Helpline can give advice, reassurance, or answers to your kitten-related questions at any time of the day or night.

Our online portal ‘Manage My Policy’ also gives you 24-hour access to your policy documents so you can manage your policy at a time that works for you.

Get a quote today to get your kitty covered.

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

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