Antibiotic Cream for Cats

Updated April 17, 2017

Following a minor cut, scratch or infection, your cat may be susceptible to more serious medical problems. Antibiotics fight potential bacterial infections and can restore the cat to health. Antibiotic preparations come in multiple forms, including pills and creams. Some are available over the counter, while others require a prescription. If you have questions about the appropriate uses of antibiotic creams, speak to a veterinarian for expert advice.


The purpose of an antibiotic is to disrupt the growth harmful bacteria. When a cat receives an injury, such as a scratch or cut, antibiotic creams prevent bacteria from entering the wound and causing a serious infection. Cat owners also use antibiotic preparations to reduce inflammation caused by skin irritation.


Not all antibiotic creams are composed of the same chemical compounds. According to Pet Education, different pharmaceutical companies market different types of antibiotic creams. Some common antibiotics in creams used for pets include thiostrepton, penicillin, bacitracin, gentamicin sulphate, neomycin sultfate and polymyxin B. Some creams include two or more of these types of antibiotics, while others only contain one type.

Typical Use

In general, antibiotic creams are used to treat minor surface wounds in cats. Carefully apply the cream to the affected area, and give it time to soak in. Prevent the cat from licking the area for at least 15 minutes to allow the antibiotic cream to penetrate the skin.

In general, antibiotic cream should be applied two or three times daily. Continue using the cream for a week, even if the wound looks as if it has healed. If antibiotic use is stopped too early, harmful bacteria may develop a resistance to the antibiotic and cause later problems.

Side Effects

In general, there are few side effects associated with antibiotic creams for cats. Some cats may develop a rash or irritated skin following application of an antibiotic cream. Other cats are allergic to one or more types of antibiotics, which should be avoided in future use. If your cat develops redness, irritation or swelling in response to an antibiotic cream, discontinue its use, and consult your veterinarian for advice.


Antibiotics kill bacteria but are unable to combat fungal infections or viruses. Therefore, it is important to use antibiotics only for minor cuts and abrasions or as prescribed by a veterinarian. Never use antibiotic creams for deep, serious wounds as further medical attention may be warranted.

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About the Author

Aurora Harklute has been writing since 2009. She works with people with depression and other mental illnesses and specializes in physical and mental health issues in aging. Harklute holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and physiology from Marquette University and a Master of Arts in cognitive psychology from the University of Chicago.