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Buddy & Porky: Helping a Stray Cat

Dear Porky and Buddy,

I just rescued a tiny kitten who was dropped in my front yard, and it’s Saturday afternoon so my vet is not open. She seems fairly healthy except that her eyes are all runny and swollen looking. Is there any thing I can do to help her until I can call the vet on Monday morning?

Sam

P.S. I named her April!

April is a cool name. We’re glad you didn’t find her in February!

Kittens with eye infections are truly pathetic looking. But looks are the least of it. If April’s eye infection is not treated quickly, she could possibly lose her vision. So, having her examined by a veterinarian is key to ridding her of the infection.

But there are some steps you can take that will help before you can get her in to see the vet. First, carefully trim all hair away from her infected eyes. Stray hair can irritate a kitten’s eye and cause added distress to the eye.

Wipe away all discharge or mucus around the infected eyes. Dip a cotton ball in lukewarm water, squeeze out the excess water and carefully wipe away any discharge located around April’s eyes. Use a separate cotton ball for each eye.

Apply a warm compress to the infected eyes to reduce any swelling present. Gently hold the compress on her eyes for a few minutes at a time, multiple times per day. Again, use a separate compress for each eye. Don’t put any drops or ointments in her eyes that you may have around your house unless your veterinarian has told you that’s OK.

Take her to your veterinarian as soon as you can. The veterinarian will examine her eyes, run tests and prescribe the appropriate medication(s) needed to properly treat her eye infection. Antibiotics and eye ointments are the most common medications prescribed to treat eye infections in cats.

Give the prescribed medicine to April for as long as instructed by your vet. Her eyes may seem to clear up quickly, but the infection may linger on and flare up again if you stop too soon. If antibiotics were prescribed, you can give it to her orally or by hiding the medicine in its food. If eye drops were prescribed, squeeze the correct amount into each eye. Your vet will show you how to do it.

And you should develop a habit of examining April’s eyes on a regular basis. How can you tell if there is something wrong with one or both of your cat’s eyes? Look out for the following: discharge, watering, red or white eyelid linings, crusty gunk in the corners of the eye, tear-stained fur, a closed eye, cloudiness or change in eye color, or a visible third eyelid. All of these conditions mean that you should call your vet.

The best way to prevent eye conditions is to make sure April gets all her vaccinations and has thorough check-ups. Please examine her eyes regularly and consult a vet if you find any abnormalities. Eye conditions that are left untreated can lead to impaired sight or even blindness.

We hope that you have a long and happy time with April and thanks so much for taking her in.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County. Our office is located at 265 West First Street, Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 207-1070. Email: [email protected] Website: www.oswegohumane.org.