Heal Bee Stings Quickly with First Aid

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What to Do If Your Cat Is Stung by a Bee

a cat in a field of flowers

No one likes getting stung by a bee, but it’s hard to advise your cat against swatting at one buzzing around. Instead of worrying too much about trying to prevent a bee sting, you can be ready to take care of your cat in case it does get stung. To prepare you for treating a cat with a bee sting we’re going to cover:

  • Recognizing a Bee Sting 
  • How to Tell If Your Cat Is Allergic to Bee Stings
  • Bee Sting First Aid 
A cat who has recovered from a bee sting climbing a tree.
Properly treating your cat’s bee sting will get it back to its normal self quickly. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Recognizing a Bee Sting

Identifying a Bee Sting on Your Cat

Since your cat is unlikely to walk up and tell you it was stung by a bee, you need to know what to look for to identify a bee sting. The most common places for bee stings on cats are face, nose, and paw. If your cat has decided a bee is prey it might swat at and bat the bee around, inadvertently getting itself stung.

At first, your cat will probably react to a sting in a similar way you would--it might jump, cry out, or run away from wherever they were when it happened. A sting hurts and can be very surprising, so if your cat has a sudden reaction you might suspect a bee sting even if you didn’t notice a bee beforehand. 

If your cat is pawing at its face, licking its paw more than usual, or acting particularly careful with a paw, it might be experiencing discomfort as a result of a sting. You may be able to identify mild swelling or tenderness at the location of the sting. These are totally normal reactions to a bee sting for a cat. 

A cat covering its face with its paws.
If your cat is pawing at or licking an area, they may be experiencing discomfort as a result of a bee sting. 

How to Tell If Your Cat Is Allergic to Bee Stings

Bee Sting Reactions

Your cat will react differently if it is allergic to bees. Bee allergies are not common in cats, but you can’t know ahead of time what your cat’s reaction to a bee sting will be, but the minutes after the sting will make it easy for you to tell if your cat is allergic to bees. Reacting quickly can save your cat’s life.

Although each allergy can present differently, here are some things to look for that indicate an allergic response

  • Extreme swelling, redness, or pain - Although any cat will most likely experience these things after a bee sting, excessive or prolonged irritation can be an early sign of an allergic reaction.
  • Hives - A rash on your cat’s skin is a sign that your cat is reacting to an allergen, in this case a bee sting.
  • Disorientation - Pay attention to if your cat seems unfocused, panicked, confused, or stumbling. You know your cat and will quickly recognize if it is acting out of the ordinary.
  • Vomiting or diarrhea - Vomiting and diarrhea are not normal reactions to a bee sting and are clear indicators that your cat is having an extreme reaction. 
  • Pale gums and low body temperature - Checking your cat’s gums and body temperature is a good way to monitor its health.
  • Shallow breathing and drooling - If your cat is breathing too quickly and shallowly it is probably having a bad allergic reaction to the bee sting.

A cat who is allergic to bees, just like a person with the same allergy, can go into anaphylactic shock, which means it will have a great deal of difficulty breathing and eventually stop. If your cat is demonstrating these extreme symptoms, you should take them to your emergency vet as quickly as possible.

A cat and a person enjoying time outside.
Your cat’s behavior will show you how serious the reaction to the bee sting is. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Bee Sting First Aid

What To Do If Your Cat Is Allergic

If your cat has an allergic reaction, your vet may use corticosteroids or epinephrine to stop anaphylactic shock and decide from there what your cat needs to get back to happy and healthy. Your vet may also prescribe you an EpiPen to have at your home in case of a future bee sting.

What To Do for a Regular Bee Sting

If your cat has a normal reaction to a bee sting, there are some things you can do to help them:

  • Stay calm - Your cat will probably be upset and a little panicked about the sting and will pick up on your stress if you also panic in expectation of an extreme reaction. You know what to look for and what to do if your cat turns out to be allergic, so stay calm and calm your cat down in the process.
  • Locate the sting - Use your cat’s cues to figure out where the sting is. Once you find a raised red bump, examine the sting to see if the stinger is still attached. Only bees leave stingers, wasps and hornets do not. 
  • Remove the stinger - Scrape the stinger off gently with the side of a credit card. Do not squeeze the sting or use tweezers to take out the stinger because that can release more venom into the sting. 
  • Soothe the irritation - You can use ice to reduce swelling in the sting and a paste of baking soda and water to help with pain. 
  • Monitor healing - If your cat is experiencing irritation it may lick or paw at the sting, which delays healing and could cause infection. A first aid spray can help heal the wound and if needed you can put a cone on your cat to stop it from bothering the sting. 
A cat outside looking at a bee.
Preparing yourself for a potential bee sting lets you and your cat enjoy the outdoors without worrying. 

Although a bee sting can be frightening if you don’t know how your cat will react, paying close attention to their behavior and symptoms makes it easy for you to provide your cat with the proper care following a sting. Use this guide to make sure your cat is back to its normal self in no time. 

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