Both indoor and outdoor cats are susceptible to wounds, often a result of their natural curiosity. Unfortunately, although this curiosity is a reason to love cats, it also means they get into sticky and sometimes hazardous situations. With some basic knowledge and a pet first aid kit handy, you can easily care for superficial wounds at home to keep your furry friend happy and healthy. Follow these steps to help you care for wounds in cats.
Cat Wound Treatment
Before you can treat the injury, first begin by inspecting your cat's wound. If your cat's wound appears very deep such as a puncture wound (caused by a bite), schedule an appointment with a BetterVet veterinary doctor. If the wound has visible pieces of debris or glass, this is also a sign that the wound is too severe to treat at home. Next, follow these cat wound treatment steps:
- First, aim to stop the wound's bleeding as quickly as possible.
- Apply firm pressure to the wound using a gauze or cloth pad. Most minor cat wounds should stop bleeding within ten minutes of applying pressure. Severe wounds in cats that do not stop clotting after several minutes of applying pressure may indicate a problem.
- Seek veterinary care immediately if your cat's wound does not stop bleeding. If you're having trouble getting your cat's wound to stop bleeding, raising the limb to heart level may help.
Cat wound treatment at home may not always go according to plan. Cats in pain from a wound or injury may change their behavior. If your cat's wound is not healing within a week or they are experiencing agitation, it may be time to seek veterinary care. BetterVet offers both in-home and veterinary video consultations to make seeking treatment for wounds in cats easy.
How to Heal a Wound on a Cat
Wounds in cats must first stop bleeding before they can be bandaged. Most pet first aid kits contain gauze, vet wrap, or adhesive tape that is safe to use on your cat's wound. However, once you dress your cat's wound, it's crucial to replace the bandage regularly to prevent infection (as directed by your veterinary doctor).
All bandages must remain clean and dry. If your cat's wound bandage becomes dirty or wet, replace it promptly. Care must be taken to avoid applying a bandage too tightly, which can manifest as swelling on either side of the bandage and can compromise circulation. In addition, check on your cat's wound often to ensure it shows signs of normal healing and inspect the area for signs of infection.
Infected Wounds in Cats
A cat with an open and/or deep wound may develop an infection if the wound is not treated correctly. Treatment for cats with infected wounds can involve antibiotics and sometimes surgical debridement as well as special bandaging techniques depending on infection severity and wound location. During your visit with your cat's veterinarian, they will provide detailed instructions for proper care for your cat with an open wound. They may also prescribe specific wound medicine for cats to help support your cat's healing. In addition, if your cat is experiencing other symptoms resulting from their infection, such as discomfort, your veterinarian may also provide other medications designed to help make them more comfortable.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I put on my cat's wound?
Disinfecting your cat's wound and keeping it clean will help reduce the risk of infection. It is not recommended to use an antibiotic ointment, such as Neosporin, intended for humans. Instead, use a pet-friendly product, such as Bacitracin, to keep the area clean. Should you have questions about cleaning your cat's wound, schedule a virtual veterinarian visit to consult with a professional veterinarian.
How can I prevent my cat from getting wounds?
Even cats in the safest environments are still at risk for minor injuries. However, you can do your part as a pet parent to keep your cat's home safe. Explore these common hazards for cats to help keep your furry friend as safe as possible. In addition, keeping a pet first aid kit in your home is a great way to be prepared in the event of an injury.
When should I bring my cat to the vet for a wound?
Cat wounds can quickly become infected if dirt, debris, or bacteria enter the wound. Seek veterinary care if you notice any signs of an infected wound. Common symptoms of an infected wound in cats include:
- Changing colors
What happens if my cat's wound becomes infected?
If your cat's wound becomes infected, the infection must be treated with a round of antibiotics. A veterinary professional must prescribe these medications if an infection is suspected.
How do I keep my cat from licking its wound?
Although it's natural for cats to try to lick their wounds, licking the wound can interfere with the healing process. In addition, excessive licking of a wound or injury can cause inflammation of the area and may lead to an increased risk of infection. To help keep your cat from licking its wound, spray the region with an antiseptic agent or cover it with a pet-friendly bandage.
Keep Your Cat Safe With Help From a BetterVet Veterinary Doctor
Keeping your pet safe starts with knowing how to address minor wounds that can happen at home. In addition to wound care, preventative health is another critical factor in your cat's long-term health and happiness. Annual pet wellness check-ups with BetterVet include a complete and thorough exam from a licensed veterinary professional.
Feeding your cat a high-quality and well-rounded diet is another critical component of excellent health. BetterVet offers nutritional consultations to help create a personalized nutrition plan for your furry friend. Schedule an appointment for an in-home or virtual video visit with BetterVet today!