I need urgent advice! My 6-month old kitten, Ollie, decided to try diving headfirst into the litter box during one of his crazy play sessions. Now he has litter stuck in his eyes and nose. The poor guy is pawing at his face trying to get it out. What should I do? How can I safely remove litter from my cat's eyes or nose? Please help, Ollie is so uncomfortable!
Emily Davis, Austin, Texas
It's one of those moments every cat owner dreads: spotting litter lodged in your kitty's delicate eyes or nose.
You're not alone in this, and feeling a rush of concern is natural. But, with the right knowledge, navigating this situation becomes much smoother. Let's see what you can do to help poor Ollie.
Steps to Tackling Litter Mishaps on Eyes or Nose
Here are the six steps towards safely addressing these pesky situations.
1. Stay Calm And Approach With Care
Your cat is probably already uncomfortable. So, your first job? Stay calm.
Just like when they startle at sudden noises or movements, cats rely heavily on their environment's emotional temperature.
Cats are intuitive; they can pick up on your anxiety, which might worsen the situation. Approach your kitty gently, speaking in soft, reassuring tones.
2. Assess The Situation
Before you take any action, take a moment to assess the situation.
Is your cat in pain? Maybe it's blinking excessively, squinting, or pawing at its face. These are signs of discomfort.
Is the litter deeply embedded or merely resting on the surface? How your cat behaves can give you clues.
Observing its reactions will tell you about the severity and guide your next steps. This will determine the best course of action.
3. Simple Removal For Superficial Litter
If the litter is just on the surface of the eye or nose and not causing any distress, you can try and gently remove it.
Start by washing your hands to ensure you don't introduce any additional contaminants.
Then, take a soft, clean cloth, dampen it with lukewarm water, and gently wipe away the litter from the eye or nose, moving from the inside out.
You may want to get these store-bought wash pad exclusively for cats and have them at home for future incidents.
4. Dealing With More Stubborn Litter
In such cases, patience and gentle care are your best friends.
Start with the saline solution: Purchase a sterile saline solution (often sold for contact lenses) from a pharmacy.
Drip a few drops into your cat's eye to help flush out the litter. For the nose, moisten a cotton swab with the solution and gently swab around the nostril. Do not insert any part of the swab into the nostril.
However, and this is crucial, never use force. If your cat struggles, it's time to talk to the vet.
5. When To See A Vet
If you've tried the methods above and the litter remains stuck, or if your cat seems to be in pain, consult a vet.
If left untreated, embedded grains of litter could lead to infections or other complications. Trusting a vet's trained hands can make all the difference.
Your vet will also have the necessary tools and expertise to handle the situation without causing further harm. Remember, it's always better to be safe than sorry.
Preventing Future Incidents
Sometimes, cats get litter on their faces while playing around their litter boxes.
Cats are naturally curious and playful, leading them to dig or roll in their litter, increasing the chance of debris landing on their face.
Observing and managing their behavior around the litter box can help reduce such incidents.
If you have a kitten on your hands, ingesting clumping clay litter is even more of a concern, and it's best not to have that around them.