Friday 20 February 2009

Cat Wounds

Cat wounds are best taken care of by first (a) stopping the bleeding (if the wound is bleeding) and (b) preventing infection. Care should be exercised in treating a wounded cat for obvious reasons. Careful and proper restraint may be needed.

Note: once immediate care has taken place a trip to the vet is recommended as wounds if treated correctly and promptly may not become infected.

cat wound
Cat wound - cat fight - photo by natmeister


There are two types. When an artery bleeds the blood is red and if a major artery it might spurt. When a vein bleeds the blood is dark red and the bleeding oozes. There are two methods to control (stop) bleeding (a) tourniquet (b) pressure dressing.


This is used for heavy bleeding from an artery, for example. It can be applied to the legs or tail above the wound. It should be released every 30 minutes for 3 minutes to let blood into the limb.

Pressure Dressing

If a gauze is to hand this should be placed over the wound and bandaged firmly but not such that circulation is restricted. If there is no gauze a suitable alternative is the only way forward and it should be held against the wound.

Treating the Wound

Cat wounds are contaminated with dirt and bacteria. Our hands should be clean when treating the wound. The hair should be trimmed back to expose the wound. The wound should be "irrigated" (flushed) with water and the area cleaned. Antibiotic ointment should be applied and a bandage fixed over the wound. Bandaging cats is problematic for the cat keeper as cats don't like bandages. They tend to try, and sometimes succeed, in getting them off. Personally, I would leave bandaging to a vet. Wounds around the head that are infected are best left open in any event, after treatment. Timmy our stray cat scratched his wound (see cat abscess below). He stopped after I applied antibiotics (by pill). A helpful tip is to clip the cat's nails (carefully) to help prevent scratching causing damage to the treated wound.

Older cat wounds that are covered with a scab and perhaps where there is some oozing of puss should be cleaned with hydrogen peroxide diluted 5 parts water to one of the peroxide (use once only). Then apply Betadine solution (one part Betadine to ten parts water). Dry the area and apply an antibiotic ointment. The wound should be left open or bandaged.

Old wounds could will probably be infected requiring veterinary treatment. All cat wounds require a trip to the vet, in fact unless the damage is slight, for safety's sake. Bites from other cats will be heavily contaminated and likely to become infected - see cat abscess.

It would seem sensible to keep a cat first aid kit available, which would no doubt include, bandage, gauze, plaster, hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment such as Triple Antibiotic Oitment or Neomycin and Betadine (these particular drugs are USA based, as I understand it).

  1. Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook
  2. Personal Experience
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