First Aid for Cat Wound Infections

Cat infections from bite wounds, cuts or other injuries should be treated quickly and monitored carefully.

Before an accident or injury occurs, you should have a basic cat first-aid kit available. It should include:

  • Scissors, tweezers and needle-nose pliers
  • Sterile saline solution
  • Gauze, non-stick pads and vetwrap
  • Chlorhexidine solution
  • Flashlight
  • Cotton swabs
  • Ice pack

If your cat is bitten or injured, the wound must be assessed and cleaned. Gently remove any obvious contamination such as gravel or dirt.

If the cut is bleeding profusely or the area involved is very large, you may feel you are facing a cat emergency and require veterinary assistance. Gently apply pressure with a clean cloth and keep your cat as still as possible while you await veterinary advice.

Cleaning Fresh Wounds

If the wound appears to be manageable, carefully clip the hair away from the wound to better clean the area. Do not attempt to shave the fur.

Lavage the area with a sterile saline solution by forcefully expelling the saline through a spray bottle or Water Pik. Products sold as nasal irrigation or saline sprays are excellent for this purpose and often come in squirt bottles.

Do not use hydrogen peroxide. It has little antimicrobial effect and can damage surrounding tissue and impede healing. Its use should be limited to cleaning undamaged tissue around the wound.

Dealing With Scabbed-Over, Uncleaned Wounds

If a cut begins to heal before you have had the opportunity to clean it, soften the scab with warm compresses and clean the area with a Chlorhexidine solution.

Infected Wounds

An infected cat wound or abscess needs to drain in order to begin to heal. Gently soak the scabbed area to allow the wound to open. If needed, carefully remove the scab to allow the area to open. Use very light pressure on the wound to express any liquid or pus. Rinse the area with a Chlorhexidine solution. Repeat every 12 hours for 3 to 4 days. If any scabs form, soak them off with warm water.

Do not bandage abscesses; instead, allow the area to breath and drain openly.

Abscesses are infectious and treatment should include veterinary attention. Antibiotics may be needed to treat systemic infection and drains may be required to adequately drain a deep abscess.

Keep your cat indoors during this time and monitor her condition. Any obvious signs of distress including panting, crying, lethargy or confusion should be reported to your veterinarian at once.

A well-stocked cat first aid kit and a smart injury treatment strategy will allow you to treat minor wounds at home.