Caring For A Wounded Cat
How to care for cat wound: If your cat is wounded, the type of care and precautions you’ll take will depend on the type of wound. If it is an open wound, to an area of their body that is exposed to the elements around them, you’ll need to spring to immediate care and take preventive steps to ensure the wound doesn’t open or get worst. Let’s cover a few immediate steps you’ll want to take when you are treating a wound, and when you need to go into the vet if the wound isn’t healing.
Immediate Care after your Cat is Wounded
If your cat is wounded, you’ll first want to assess the wound. If it is a small abrasion, bruise, or contusion, these wounds typically aren’t life-threatening and will go away on their own. If, however, the wound is open and there is bleeding, you’ll want to take a few immediate steps.
First off, if the wound is bleeding, you’ll want to apply pressure to it immediately to stop the blood. You’ll first cover it with sterile gauze or a clean cloth and apply pressure until the blood stops flowing. Once the blood has stopped, you’ll want to keep that gauze in place and tape it there. Remember, this piece of gauze has clotted the blood/wound, if you remove it, the wound might open and begin bleeding again.
Check the Wound and look for others
If the wound is minor, check to see the depth. Also check your cat’s body for other wounds, lacerations, cuts, or nicks. If they appear minor, you’ll clean the wound with an antiseptic. Avoid using alcohol on the wound as this can cause damage to the tissue around the wound. If the wound is larger/deep, don’t try to clean it yourself or flush it out. Simply cover it with gauze until you can take your cat to the vet, and allow your vet to properly clean it.
What if you don’t see the cat wound immediately?
If your cat is wounded and you don’t see it because there’s no blood or discharge, these wounds can become infected. Sooner or later an abscess may form develop, you might notice puss or discharge, or your cat might become feverish. When you notice these signs, it’s too late for immediate care. In these cases, you’ll go to your vet as soon as possible to have them assess and properly treat the wound.
The sooner you can jump into action, stop the blood, and clot the cut, the easier it will be for your vet to take care of the healing process. Furthermore, this might reduce the recovery period, the pain your cat will experience, and also, the financial burden (by eliminating the need for surgery, injections, or other treatments at your vet). So, act as soon as you notice your cat has an open wound to minimize the level of care they’re going to require once you can take them into the vet.
When to Seek out Veterinary Care/Attention
Even if a wound seems minor, if it doesn’t heal on its own after a few days, you might choose to take your cat to the vet. If the wound is open, doesn’t stop bleeding, or if you notice your cat is limping, feverish, or is in any discomfort/pain, visit the vet immediately. Your vet will then diagnose the wound to determine the best treatment plan. Depending on the depth, size, and type of wound your vet might
- Apply a small amount of skin glue to help bond/close it quickly. Be very careful with things like super-glue. It can help to close a wound but can also do a lot of damage if accidents occur while trying to help.
- Remove any lingering infections. You’ll want to keep the wound as clean as possible until it is fully healed.
If a puncture wound is older than 12 hours (or one day), your vet might need to perform emergency surgery, or inject your cat, depending on what caused the wound/puncture, and whether or not it has become infected. Large or contaminated wounds need to be flushed out and cleaned, your vet will also bandage or suture it shut depending on the size.
Most cats are released and allowed to go back home within 24 hours of being treated by the vet. If they need pain medication, your vet will send these home with you and include dosage/use instructions.
Dos & Dont’s in Wound Healing/Treatment
There are some things you’ll want to avoid doing immediately after your cat is injured including
- Do: visit your vet immediately if the bleeding cannot be stopped. A responsible pet owner should already have a vet they use or have an emergency contact for.
- Do: keep your cat inside for a while to protect the wound. Carefully monitor your cat to avoid infecting it from outside sources.
- Don’t: use medication such as Tylenol or Advil, these are toxic for your cat. Medicine meant for people can be much too strong for a small animal and sometimes extremely toxic to a cat.
What should you do immediately once you realize your cat is wounded?
- Try to apply pressure if there’s blood to clot the bleeding.
- Apply a fresh/clean bandage or towel over the wounded area.
- Call your vet to determine if they need to come into the office.
- Check for swelling, pus, discharge, or other liquids, and visit your vet immediately if you notice any of these issues
How to Keep Your Cat Safe While Healing
Once you’ve visited the vet and your cat’s wound has been treated, how do you help them along in the recovery process? Some things you’ll want to do as a pet owner include
- Keep pets in the home and comfortable.
- Let the cat rest and have their sleeping quarters and enjoy peace and quiet.
- Watch to see if the wound has healed and shut, while kept clean.
- Change bandages regularly, especially if you see blood.
- Use medication for pain as prescribed by your vet. You may be able to get cheaper medicine if you ask your veterinarian.
- If the wound re-opens call your vet immediately if you are unable to stop any bleeding.
Otherwise just make sure they’re eating a healthy diet, sleeping, and stay hydrated. Try to keep them as inactive/secluded from other pets in the home, at least until the wound sutures and closes. This will help prevent it from reopening, infection and also ensure your cat doesn’t experience pain during the healing process.
Most wounds should heal within 5 to 7 days. However, deeper wounds or punctures might take a while longer. Consider a few of these basic tips, seek out immediate attention for serious/deep wounds, and call your vet if you are unsure of the course of action immediately. You don’t want your cat to experience pain or discomfort, so, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to wound care and visit your vet if you aren’t sure.
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