How to heal open wounds on cats

Written by sam jones
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How to heal open wounds on cats
(Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Cats get wounded quickly and often (usually through fighting, by getting caught in bushes or being attacked by other animals), particularly when out of sight or left outdoors. Seeking professional attention, although preferable, requires precious travel time and money. Therefore, knowing some basic cat wound treatment might just save the animal’s life.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Medical gloves
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Betadine solution
  • Antibacterial cleaner such as habitine solution or antibiotic ointment
  • Gauze
  • Cleaning pads
  • Vet wrap
  • Pressure bandages
  • Other bandages
  • Small scissors
  • Small syringes without the needles
  • Liquid bandage for animals

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  1. 1

    Sterilise your hands and equipment. Keep a towel and a friend nearby to restrain the animal if necessary. Put on medical gloves. If the cat rebels, wrap it in the towel completely, including the head, exposing only the injury.

  2. 2

    Check the size and depth of the injury. For large or deep wounds, apply pressure if there is profuse bleeding or spurting blood (arterial bleeding.) If it’s an extremity, apply a tourniquet. Take your pet to an emergency veterinarian’s office immediately for help. For smaller wounds, trim the hair away from the edges, using electric trimmers or small cuticle scissors. Start next to the wound and proceed outward. Gently flush the area with warm, clean tap water, or a water-habitine solution. If there is a scab, squirt up under it with a small syringe full of warm water. Let it soak for a few minutes then remove the scab and any dead tissue, pus or other foreign matter with a sterile pad or cloth. Finish by applying an antibiotic ointment. Wait a few minutes, then apply a liquid bandage made for animals to the wound.

  3. 3

    Continue caring for the cat. Inspect the wound area and remove any scabs. Clean using tap water or Betadine solution (one part solution to 10 parts water) every 12 hours, replacing the old bandage with a new one. Do this for two or three days.

Tips and warnings

  • You can buy supplies at drugstores and veterinary clinics.
  • You can leave all wounds open after a day or two.
  • Keep the patient indoors for the recovery duration.
  • Do not wipe flowing or gushing blood from the wound because it helps keep infection out.
  • Do not apply peroxide to a fresh wound as it may damage tissue. You may apply hydrogen peroxide (using one part peroxide to five parts water) to older wounds, but only once.
  • Be sure all products used are nontoxic to cats.
  • If you don’t have a liquid bandage for animals, either run to a pet store to get some or go without. Do not use bandages made for humans because they will make your cat sick when it licks or chews on it.

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