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Cats are notoriously tough animals, but even felines may need help with an injury or illness.

Now There's First Aid For When Nine Lives Not Enough

Cats have become the most popular pet in the United States, in part because of their unique combination of self-sufficiency and affection.

But sometimes even a cat's mythical nine lives are not enough and these loving animals need help. Vocational Services, Inc., manufacturer of first aid kits for pets and horses, has announced its new Feline First Aid Kit™ to help cat lovers treat minor wounds or stabilize serious injuries before visiting a veterinarian.

Based on the same solid philosophy as VSI's Pet Kit™, Bird Kit™ and equine kits such as the Vet Kit™, Feline Kit™ includes "serious" first aid equipment such as metal scissors and gauze bandages. It also includes cat-specific items like the oral feeding syringe that helps with a nightmare most cat owners share: trying to get medicine down a sick, but uncooperative feline.

Feline First Aid Kits™ share another important philosophy with other VSI kits: they are manufactured as a way of expanding employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. A 33-year-old organization, VSI began Show-Me Animal Products in 1993 in order to expand and ensure opportunities, as traditional jobs were increasingly lost to international competition. A major "by-product" has been the enjoyment that workers receive when their handiwork is on display at pet stores and other locations.

Like all VSI's Show-Me Animal Products, Feline First Aid Kit™ is not intended to replace professional veterinary care. It was designed with input from both professional veterinarians and cat lovers with the goal of caring for minor injuries or stabilizing more serious injuries so the cat can be transported to professional care.

Feline First Aid Kit™ shares another feature with VSI kits. It includes the unique Care Card and CPR Card with easy-to-read, laminated instructions.

Randy Hylton, VSI's Executive Director, said the company's philosophy requires this quality. "We worked very hard to design a quality product that would meet the needs of cat owners," Hylton said. "But it's also gratifying that the work of our employees have been so well received. That's very exciting." VSI's first kit was the Vet Kit™, a first aid kit for horses that evolved when a trail accident proved that being prepared is important. Although the horse survived without lasting harm, the incident led Hylton to look for a comprehensive yet affordable kit that could provide emergency care until professional help was contacted. When none could be found, Vet Kit™ was developed. It quickly achieved wide appeal and has been featured in several national magazines and on television. Vet Kit™ was followed with specialized horse products such as the Trail, Foal and Barn kits. More recently, the Pet Kit™ and popular Bird Kit™ were developed.

Hylton said the development of these products is exciting but their real purpose must be kept in mind. "It's important that we constantly look for new and expanded opportunities for our employees," he said. "Products such as Feline First Aid Kit™ are an excellent way to create jobs for workers with a disability. The more opportunity we create through our own efforts, the more opportunity we can offer, regardless of global economics or other factors. In today's economy, that's the best way for us to serve the community."