As a pet owner, there may come a time when your knowledge of cat wound care will come in handy. Fortunately, cats do well at taking care of themselves and avoiding unnecessary conflict. However, the curious cat or the outdoor pet may sometimes encounter trouble.
Priorities for Treatment
Your first priority for treating a wound is to make sure bleeding is controlled while taking measures to avoid infection. Your own personal safety is a backdrop to helping your pet. A wounded cat is a pet under stress. Since cat physiology harkens back to survival situations, your pet may be reluctant to appear vulnerable and may resist treatment.
Stop the Bleeding
Bleeding may occur from arteries or veins, depending which was damaged. Arterial bleeding is bright red in color because the blood is oxygenated. It is under high pressure and will spurt out from the wound. Venous bleeding, on the other hand, is darker in color. The flow is more even from these types of wounds.
No matter what the source, pressure on the wound will slow the bleeding and help the natural clotting process. You will need to restrain your pet during this time in order to treat the wound and prevent activity that can accelerate blood flow.
If you cannot control the bleeding, you may need to apply a tourniquet between the wound site and your cat's armpit or groin. You can keep it in place for 30 minutes, and then loosen the tourniquet for two to three minutes to allow some blood flow. This will help the body heal the wound by allowing white blood cells to reach the injury site and begin the first line of defense.
Types of Wounds
Identifying the type of wound can help you decide on a course of action. Most times, you can treat minor injuries at home while putting to use your knowledge of cat wound care.
- Simple abrasions and scratches - Your cat may get an abrasion from rubbing against something rough, resulting in some hair loss.Your cat can easily scratch herself on any sharp object in the home or outside. Both abrasions and scratches are superficial, but they can be painful for your cat.
- Puncture wounds - If your pet has gotten into a fight, there may be puncture wounds present. Due to the pressure from biting, there may also be bruising at the injury site.
Cat Wound Care
It is best to err on the side of caution when it comes to treating your pet. Treat any wound as a possible source of infection. Any contamination can potentially cause an infection and increase the severity of the wound.
If the wounds are extensive or there are obvious signs of infection such as swelling, redness, or pus, take your cat to your veterinarian or emergency care immediately. Your cat is likely to be in a great deal of pain and need sedation in order to receive proper treatment.
Your first task will be to clean the immediate area around the wound to give you better access. You can clip the hair gently around the wound and follow up with an antiseptic soap to clean it. Clean the wound and the surrounding area with sterile gauze, and then pat the area dry.
Treatment afterward will help prevent infection. You can apply an antibiotic ointment to the wound. Contact your veterinarian for an appropriate medication. In addition, your vet may prescribe oral antibiotics to speed healing.
Part of the difficulty in treating wounds will be keeping your pet from licking the wound site. You can apply a bandage or purchase an Elizabethan collar from your pet store to prevent her from reaching the wound.
If your cat has received puncture wounds from a fight, you should take her to your veterinarian immediately. The uncertainty about which type of animal she fought with adds other concerns to cat wound care. You may not know if the other cat or dog was properly vaccinated or if she encountered a potentially rabid animal while outdoors.
Having a pet is a responsibility which requires that you know basic care and treatment for injuries such as wounds. Approach care cautiously with the knowledge that your pet is under stress and possibly in pain. Your job as a pet owner is to provide care when you can and seek veterinary help when there is a possibility for complications.