One of the more stressful aspects of being a cat owner is when we see our precious pets hurt. However, it is sometimes difficult to know when an injured cat is more seriously injured. Injured cats, especially those with open wounds, often hide as a natural response to conceal their vulnerability to predators. Cats are also experts at hiding signs of pain, which can lead to injuries appearing to be less severe than they really are.
Some small cuts and abrasions on cats are amenable to home treatment, but large open wounds, lacerations, and bites usually require veterinary attention. In this guide, we’ll discuss what to look for when determining the severity of a cat’s wound, when it’s appropriate to perform basic first aid at home, and when a trip to the veterinarian may be necessary.
1. Small scratches
Minor injuries such as skin abrasions, superficial cuts, and abrasions are usually amenable to home treatment. If your cat allows it, keep the area clean by bathing it twice a day. Use warm water or a saline solution and a clean cloth. If the wound is dirty, consult a veterinarian rather than using any type of disinfectant or antiseptic.
Keep the wound clean, dry and exposed to the air. Avoid using creams or ointments unless directed by your veterinarian. Watch the injured cat carefully for any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, discharge or odor.
Also read: How to Clean a Cat’s Wounds
Deeper cuts are harder to see because the wound edges often cover the underlying tissue. Bleeding, painful and possibly deep feline wounds require evaluation by a veterinarian. Cover the wound with sterile gauze to protect it, and hold it down if it is bleeding. Your veterinarian will be able to clean and evaluate the wound and decide on the best way to facilitate the healing process.
Some wounds may require stitches, while others are best left to allow the granulation to heal. Deep tears are more prone to wound infection, and your veterinarian may prescribe medications such as antibiotics and pain relievers. Surgically closed wounds must be kept clean and dry, and your cat may need to be kept in an enclosed area to prevent them from moving around.
Also read: Do Cats Get Headaches?
Fights between cats are not uncommon, especially in densely populated areas. A sting from a bite (or even a cat scratch) is often deeper than it looks, and will almost always become infected if left unchecked.
Abscesses are common in bite wounds and may require more intensive antimicrobial therapy such as irrigation, surgical debridement, and antibiotics. Any bite should be evaluated by a veterinarian, and snakebites should be treated as an emergency.
Also read: Cat Bite Infection: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
4. Big wound
More serious wounds require more time and management to heal. There are often secondary complications such as blood loss and infection that may require treatment before the wound can be repaired.
Larger wounds can be painful, and your cat may need to stay at the veterinarian for sedation or anesthesia to treat the wound. Sutures, dressings, and bandages are all used to control the damage, and it can take a considerable amount of time to heal. Large, deep lacerations can leave scars.
Also read: What Pain Relief Medication Can You Give Your Cat? 6 Veterinarian-Recommended Options
when the wound is urgent
The vast majority of wounds on cats will require evaluation by a veterinarian and some form of treatment. But how desperately do they need to be seen? In some cases, immediate veterinary attention should be sought.
- eye injury
- foreign body in the wound, such as shards of glass. These are usually sharp objects and should not be removed but left to the veterinarian.
- bleeding – A small amount of oozing can be controlled with a sterile pad and some pressure, but if the wound continues to drip or even gush blood, you should seek emergency veterinary help.
- big wound – Wounds larger than the size of a coin should be examined by a veterinarian. The prognosis for good healing and freedom from infection is highest if the wound can be seen quickly.
Minor lacerations, dirty wounds, bites, and infected wounds also require veterinary attention, but are not an absolute emergency.
Also read: Why do cats lick and clean themselves?
How to Help an Injured Cat
If you have an injured cat, try to stay calm. Your pet will most likely experience distress and distress, which may cause them to hide or even exhibit aggressive and other defensive behaviors. Try to evaluate the wound as best you can, and call your veterinarian if you need to go to the clinic. Wrap your cat in a towel and hold them lightly but firmly so they don’t move around so you can safely restrain them.
Here are some basic first aid procedures you can use to help your cat while you wait for a veterinary evaluation.
- if the wound is bleeding, cover it with something clean and apply pressure to it. Ideally, a sterile dressing should be used, but a clean dish towel is also a good option. Keep the pressure firm and don’t change the cloth, but keep pressing on the wound even if you think the bleeding has stopped.
- If there is a foreign body in the wound, do not move it. Do not attempt to clean the wound with any substance, including chlorhexidine, if it is contaminated with dirt. If the wound is shallow, it can be washed with water and a clean cloth. A vet should see anything more important.
- If safe to do so, flush the burn with cool water Doing so is well tolerated by cats. This should not delay veterinary treatment.
If you’re not sure whether an injury requires veterinary attention, it’s usually best to take your cat to the veterinarian just in case. You can also call your veterinarian for advice.
Also read: Why Do Kittens Bite?How to Properly Deal with Aggressive Behavior in Kittens
Cat Wounds: Conclusion
Injuries in pets can be difficult to assess because cats can be uncooperative in pain or distress, and their thick fur can block good vision. Small cuts and scrapes on injured cats can be treated at home by keeping them clean and open, but dirty, soiled, infected and more serious wounds must be treated by a veterinarian.
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Can open wounds in cats heal themselves?
Small (less than the size of a coin) and superficial wounds can heal on their own if kept clean and open. Large, dirty, bleeding, or infected wounds should be professionally managed by a veterinarian, including cleaning, surgery, stitches, and antibiotics.
How can I treat a cat’s wound at home?
Superficial scrapes and scrapes can be treated at home by bathing them with warm water and a clean cloth twice a day. Wounds should be monitored for signs of infection such as discharge, odor, redness, and swelling. Disinfectants, creams and other products should not be used without the advice of a veterinarian.
How long does it take for an open wound in a cat to heal?
It depends on the size of the wound. Minor wounds should heal within a week. Large wounds can take weeks to fully heal and require veterinary management to heal well and avoid infection.
Should I cover my cat’s wound?
Minor injuries and cuts should be kept clean, uncovered and carefully monitored at home. Large wounds may require dressing, but this should be done under veterinary supervision.
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