How to Treat a Stray Cat's Wound
A stray cat may have seven lives, but because they tend to live on the wild side it is not unusual for them to have some sort of injuries going on. The cat may have gotten into a fight, scratched its skin against barb wire, or worse, a stray cat may have gotten into a car accident. The protocol for treating the wounds of a stray cat remains the same as treating the wounds of any domestic cat, however, it requires an extra ounce of care.
Things to Consider Before Caring for a Stray Cat
- If the cat is feral many times it is best to simply call animal control or your local shelter. They are equipped with special cages and other equipment to restrain the cat and then provide it with the care it needs. Some stray cats can be hard to capture and may as well display aggressive behaviors, especially when they are hurt.
- If the cat appears to have a good disposition and is friendly you want to assess the cat's injury first. If the injury appears to be bleeding extensively, if the cat is unable to walk, if there are signs of infection such as pus or odor or if there is a large gap suggesting the need for sutures, try to place the cat in a carrier and take him to the closest veterinarian.
- It is best to wear heavy-duty gloves, because the cat may not be used to human touch and therefore, may not understand that you are there to help him. Cat bites can be serious because cats have a lot of bacteria in their saliva, significantly upping the chances for infection. Also, you never know the history of this cat, it could even have rabies, a very serious disease you may not want to take chances.
- If you own other cats it is advisable not to take this cat into your home. Stray cats may transmit serious diseases such as Distemper, Feline Leukemia, Feline Peritonitis, and so forth. So keep your cats safe and far from harm's way.
How to Care for the Cat's Wounds
- If the wound is bleeding, apply firm pressure with sterile gauze for a few minutes should help halt the bleeding. A little bit of blood is helpful to help the body flush the bacteria out.
- Trimming some of the fur around the wound may help prevent infection and make the area easier to treat. This also increases airflow making recovery easier.
- Flushing the wound with fresh flowing water and some antibacterial soap such as Dial will help clean the area and remove any bacteria or debris.
- The cat's wound can be disinfected with some diluted hydrogen peroxide with water. Kept at its natural state, hydrogen peroxide may actually damage tissue. Betadine often is a better solution.
- Finally, a thin layer of Neosporin should be safely applied to prevent infection.
Wounds do best if left uncovered, however, this often means that cats may abide by their natural instinct of licking the wound. Some bitter apple spray may be applied on the fur surrounding the wound or an Elizabethan collar may be fit around the cat's neck.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.