Nov 10
cat licking wound

How To Manage Cats Minor Wounds And Skin Irritations

So your cat has come home with a wound. What can you do? Firstly do a tip to tail check to see what you’re dealing with.

Deep cuts (through the skin exposing underlying tissue) and puncture wounds (such as from a tooth or nail) require veterinary attention. If the wound is bleeding apply sterile gauze and pressure for about 5 minutes, this should stop it but don’t remove the gauze as that may start the wound to bleed again. If possible apply a light bandage over the top, then safely hightail your cat to the Veterinarian.

Minor cuts or abrasions are a different matter. They are not usually life threatening and can often be treated from home. These kinds of wounds are small (think grazed knee!) and may have superficial bleeding.

Now, ultimately your cat is in control and they are going to decide what you can and can’t do at home. Wounds are sore and if your cat doesn’t want you near them there is every chance they will try to bite or scratch. If you cant safely examine them you are better off scooping them up and into a carrier and heading to the Veterinarian where they can do a thorough assessment.

If your kitty is docile enough and you’re dealing with a minor cut or abrasion, steps are as follows:

  1. Stop any bleeding. Use sterile gauze and keep pressure on the area for 5 minutes.
  2. Apply a water-based lubricant- i.e. KY jelly- directly to the wound. This stops further dirt or hair getting in.
  3. Use clippers on the hair around the wound – this allows air to reach the wound and you can clean and monitor it more easily. (Again- safety first- if this freaks your cat out don’t do it! Leave it to the professionals)
  4. Bathe the wound with saline (buy from the pharmacy or make at home: 1/2 teaspoon salt dissolved in 1 cup boiling water then cooled before use)
  5. Dab with dilute betadine (povidone-iodine). Betadine needs to be diluted n water to make it the colour of weak tea – this is a more effective concentration.

Do steps 4 & 5 twice daily and monitor the wound very closely.  If the area is becoming swollen, red or smelly, or your cat is not well, it’s no longer suitable to manage at home.

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Dr. Claire Jenkins

Claire is a QLD graduate with over 15 years experience as a neighbourhood Veterinarian in Australia and the UK. Animal lover and the founder of Vetchat, born from a passion to help pet carers everywhere access trusted advice earlier, for healthier, happier pets. Grateful to be carer to her beautiful Red-dog.