Cats are known for their curious nature, but that curiosity can sometimes lead to wounds and injuries. Below, our Seattle vets explain how to treat a cat wound and when a trip to the vet is called for.
With such a curious and adventurous nature it's not surprising that most cats will sustain some type of wound during their lifetime, whether they stay indoors or spend their time exploring the great outdoors.
Wounds are injuries that cause damage to the skin and/or underlying tissues. They may be open wounds such as cuts or closed wounds such as bruises.
Reasons for these injuries abound, including stepping on a sharp object, getting an item stuck in their paw or fighting with another cat. While some minor wounds can be treated at home, more severe injuries will need to be addressed by a vet.
If you do notice that your cat has an injury, it's important to remain calm and treat the wound as soon as possible, since even minor wounds can become infected with bacteria and viruses. Any wound that's left untreated can cause more severe health issues.
In this post, our vets in Seattle share signs of cat wounds to watch for and steps you can take to help care for your kitty.
Signs of Cat Wounds
By nature, cats are stoic creatures that instinctively hide their pain. As a cat parent, it's important to monitor your cat's overall health and wellbeing and watch for any signs of injury such as:
- Torn Skin
- Missing Fur
If a wound isn't spotted right away it can become worse or infected potentially causing these symptoms:
Common Wounds in Cats
If you see any of the above signs in your kitty, they may have one of these common wounds or injuries:
- Skin Rashes
- Insect Bites
How to Care for Cat Wounds
The minute a cat is injured their immune system will automatically start working to heal itself and try to fight off any infections. However, this isn't enough. You need to take action immediately to keep the wound from becoming worse and to prevent the development of any infection.
The first thing you will want to do is call your veterinarian. Every type of wound requires different first aid steps. Your vet will be able to provide you with the exact actions you need to take and provide you with specific tips for how to take care of a cat wound using first aid techniques.
Here are the first steps you should take if your cat is wounded:
Contact Your Veterinarian
If you notice your cat is injured don't hesitate to call your veterinarian. They will tell you the steps you need to take based on the type of wound your cat has received and the level of bleeding that's occurring. It's very important that you follow these instructions carefully.
Assess the Wound For Signs of Infection
If your cat's wound is older it could already be developing an infection. Some signs of infection are abscess, fever, noticeable discomfort or pain, behavioral changes, or/and a discharge of pus. If you find signs of infection it's essential to bring your cat to the vet as quickly as possible for treatment which could consist of antibiotics.
Determine the Severity of the Wound
If you didn't spot any signs of an infection, your kitty's wound is most likely fresh. It should be easy to determine the severity of the wound just by looking at it. If a cast, stitches, or surgery is required you need to call your vet or bring your cat to the nearest emergency vet immediately.
Manage the Bleeding
When it comes to treating a cat's minor open wound, administering successful first aid care and managing any bleeding is key. You may be able to staunch the bleeding by applying pressure directly to the wound with a sterile gauze or a clean cloth. Depending on the depth and location of the wound it could take approximately 10-15 minutes for a blood clot to form. If a blood clot isn't forming properly you need to take your cat to see an emergency vet straight away.
If possible you can also try to help slow down the bleeding by raising the limb to the level of the heart.
When to Take Your Cat to the Vet
If there are signs of infection, severe bleeding, broken, limbs, fever, or other severe damage like the examples listed above you should take your cat to the vet as quickly as possible.
If you are uncertain if a veterinary visit is necessary, call your veterinarian who will inform you if your cat's injury needs to be addressed by a veterinarian.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.