Important Tips for Treating Cat Wounds

Cat with scar.

If your cat has been in a fight with another cat or animal or injured in some other way, it's important to understand the basic process for treating cat wounds. From identifying the site of the wound to properly and safely cleaning and treating it, you need to keep your kitty's comfort and safety in mind. Some serious wounds will require the care of a veterinarian.

The Emotional Trauma of Cat Wounds

Remember that your cat has been through a trauma, not only to the body, but also the mind. This means that the cat you snuggled in bed with last night may want to have nothing to do with you today. You need to use caution when approaching your, so as not to alarm him.

Steps to Take

Find the Wounds

First, examine your cat carefully to find the wounds. Punctures may be found around the mouth, ears or neck, and on the legs or fanny. Look for any signs of blood throughout his coat. Blood may indicate an area where a bite may have occurred. Even though you may only find a few bites or punctures, more trauma may have been caused to muscles or other tissues. If the bites are deep, they may require stitches. If this is the case, you should take your cat to the vet as soon as possible so they can be stitched. Your vet may also want to put your cat on antibiotics, to ward off infection. If the wound is not too serious, you can usually take care of it at home before you have to take your cat to the vet. Be extremely careful when trying to treat any bites to your cat.

Gather Your Supplies

Gather all your first aid supplies before you tackle the cat. The bathroom is usually a good place for this because you can lock the cat in with you in a small area with no escape route. You should have the following:

  • Your cat's favorite treats
  • Scissors
  • Soap
  • Several large towels
  • Gauze

A radio playing calming music in the room may also help your cat relax a bit more while you attend to his wounds.

Confining the Cat

Next, you need to take the cat into the bathroom. Call your cat with a treat in your hand, and praise him if he comes to you. Wrap him in a towel, bundle him into the bathroom, and close the door. If your cat will not willingly come to you, you will have to cautiously approach him. If he won't let you get close, have that towel handy. You may need your spouse or a friend to help you because the cat will be very upset if this is the case. Wrap the cat carefully but firmly in the towel, and take him into the bathroom behind a closed door before you do your examination.

The Examination

Try to clip any hair around the puncture or wound, so you can see what kind of damage was done. If the wound is bleeding lightly and freely, not sluggishly, this is a good sign. It means that the blood is flushing out the wound to some extent. Wash the wound with soap and warm water, and rinse thoroughly. Do not use an antiseptic like antibiotic ointments; this only seals in anything nasty that your flushing may not have reached.

Look closely at the bite or wound. If the muscle under the skin seems to move in a different direction than the skin, the bite may need stitches. Do not use a bandage on the wound because you want it to drain as much as possible. If the bite is still bleeding profusely, cover it with a sterile gauze dressing, or a clean piece of cloth. Put your hand over the gauze and press down firmly and gently, but not hard. Keep pressure on the dressing, and this should help stop the bleeding. If it does not stop, do not remove the gauze; just keep adding more sterile dressings until the bleeding does stop. If the wound is bad enough to need stitches, don't hesitate to take your cat to the vet immediately.

If the animal that bit your cat was killed, you need to take it to the vet so it can be examined for rabies. Do not pick it up with your bare hands; use gloves and wrap it in a cloth or a bag. Your vet can take care of the rabies exam. If your cat has not been vaccinated for rabies, it will probably have to be quarantined, so it's best to contact your vet immediately.

Important Tips for Treating Cat Wounds