Nothing hurts a cat owner more than seeing their feline friend in pain. Whenever our cats get hurt we may feel that peroxide is the best choice for treating the wound because it doesn’t cause pain like rubbing alcohol, but is that really the best option when it comes to treating cat wounds? Let's find out.
Peroxide and Cat Wounds
The truth is that most chemicals we use to treat our wounds as humans and apply to our skin are actually toxic to cats and other pets. The reason hydrogen peroxide can’t be used on cats is that it is irritating to the cat's skin/fur, and if the cat licks the peroxide to get it off it can cause stomach and esophagus problems for the cat. Unlike dogs which can be given medicine to induce vomiting, there aren’t any medicines that are available for home use that can induce vomiting in cats. Here are some other common chemicals that you should keep away from your cat.:
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Bleach (This one isn’t used for treating human injuries and is also toxic when ingested but we use it to clean our clothes and other objects around the house so keep it away from your cats!)
- Many types of shampoo
- Many types of antiperspirants
Cats will often lick themselves or others, this is why you need to keep dangerous chemicals off their fur and out of their reach! Image courtesy of Unsplash.
What is the Best Method for Treating Cat Wounds?
So if you can’t use alcohol, peroxide, or other common medical chemicals what should you do if your cat gets wounded? First things first, you need to clean the wound. You’ll want to clean the wound with warm water. Do not use soap or any of the other products we listed in the section above. Most soaps have strong chemicals in them that give them a pleasant scent. These chemicals may also be harmful to your cat’s skin and cause irritation and discomfort. There is of course also the issue of your cat licking the soap or chemicals off the wound which can also cause health problems.
After you have cleaned the wound with warm water, bandage the wound. Make sure the bandage is secure but not so tight that it causes your cat discomfort. The bandage is to keep dirt and debris from getting into the wound and causing infection. In the case of a wound that is already infected, you’ll want to change the bandage once or twice a day and clean the wound with warm water each time.
Generally speaking, the best course of action to take when you notice a wound on your cat is to take it to see the vet. Image courtesy of Liveabout.com.
How to Deal with Different Types of Wounds
Not all cat wounds require the same types of treatment, Let's go over some common cat wounds and the best response for dealing with them.
Sometimes our cats can get a bit scrappy with other cats or even other animals, this may result in a bite wound. If you check your cat and find bite marks you need to take your cat to a vet as soon as possible. Not only will your vet be able to properly inspect, clean, and bandage the wound, but he or she will also be able to determine if your pet needs stitches or if the animal that bit your pet had any kind of disease like rabies.
These kinds of wounds are often caused by your cat stepping on something sharp like an exposed nail or if your cat is the outdoorsy type, an insect sting, broken glass, or sharp rock. If you find a puncture wound on your cat your best course of action is to take your cat to the vet and have the wound looked at especially if you don’t know what caused the wound or if the wound is bleeding, swollen, or draining pus. Your vet will be able to determine what caused the wound and will be able to clean and bandage it properly.
Your vet may need to give your cat medicine or shots depending on what the source of the puncture wound was. For example, your cat could be having an allergic reaction to an insect sting or animal bite. The glass or metal your cat stepped on may be causing an infection that requires antibiotics to treat. All of these things your vet will diagnose and explain to you.
Minor Scrapes and Cuts
Cats are actually pretty tough creatures. Oftentimes when a cat gets hurt it will keep to itself and try to treat its wounds naturally. This is fine when dealing with minor scrapes and bruises. Still be sure to check your cat often and make sure it isn’t bleeding anywhere or that it has any swelling, discoloration, or redness on its skin. Untreated injuries may lead to abscesses.
A common type of wound cats tend to suffer from is an abscess. Abscesses are infections found under the skin. These are often caused by untreated wounds like those we covered above. Abscesses often lead to pain, inflammation, and a fever so treating them as soon as they are identified is the best course of action for your cat's health. Take your cat to the vet and let them do their thing. Depending on how big or bad the abscess is, the vet may have to drain the abscess, explore it to ensure there aren't any other health threats hiding inside, and then clean it thoroughly to prevent further infection.
Here is a happy cat image to take your mind off injured cats. Image courtesy of Thesprucepets.com.
In conclusion, whenever your cat gets hurt it’s always best to take it to see a medical professional as soon as possible. There are plenty of products that exist out on the market that say they treat cat wounds and while they may even do a good job, it's always best to have your cat looked at by the vet first before applying medical chemicals to any wounds unless specifically instructed to do otherwise by your cat’s vet. You may clean that bite wound, but if the animal that bit your cat has rabies or any other disease you’ll want to have your cat treated and cared for before things get bad. If you want to know more about cat safety check out our guide to cat-safe Halloween costumes or if you're a dog owner check out our guide to the canine first aid kit.