How to Help Treat a Stray Cat's Wound

Updated on August 22, 2019
alexadry profile image

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, former veterinary assistant, and the author of "Brain Training for Dogs."

First Aid for Stray Cats
First Aid for Stray Cats | Source

How to Help Injured Stray Cats

A stray cat may have seven lives, but because they tend to live on the wild side, it is not unusual for them to acquire injuries in their lifetime. A cat may have gotten into a fight, scratched its skin against barbwire, or worse—they may have gotten into a car accident. The protocol for tending to the wounds of a stray cat remains the same as that of a domestic cat, however, it requires an extra ounce of care.

Things to Consider Before Caring for a Stray Cat

1. Safety First

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 display aggressive behaviors, especially when they are hurt.

2. Assess the Injury

If the cat appears to have a good disposition and is friendly, you will 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 it to the closest veterinarian.

3. Wear Gloves

It is best to wear heavy-duty gloves when interacting with a feral cat because the cat may not be used to human touch and, therefore, may not understand that you are there to help. Cat bites can be serious because of the bacteria in their saliva and their needle-point teeth, significantly upping the chances for infection. Also, you never know the history of a cat. Though not as common, some cats could carry rabies (a deadly virus that is transmittable to humans).

4. Quarantine

If you own other cats, do not to take this cat into your home. Stray cats may transmit serious diseases and viruses such as distemper, feline leukemia, coronavirus, and so forth. So, keep your cats safe and far from harm's way.

First Aid: How to Care for a Wounded Cat

  1. If the wound is bleeding, apply firm pressure with sterile gauze for a few minutes to halt the bleeding. (A little bit of blood may help the body flush the bacteria out.)
  2. Some of the fur around the wound may be trimmed to help prevent infection and make the area easier to clean. This also increases airflow and may make recovery easier.
  3. Flush the wound with clean water or sterile saline, and if possible, wash it with some antibacterial soap to help clean the area and remove any bacteria or debris. It is sometimes okay to rinse the wound with diluted hydrogen peroxide and water if nothing else is available; however, undiluted hydrogen peroxide is actually cytotoxic and can damage tissue.
  4. Finally, a thin layer of cat-safe antibacterial ointment may be applied to prevent infection.

Wounds do best if left uncovered, but this often means that cats may abide by their natural instinct of licking the wound. An Elizabethan collar may be fit around the cat's neck if they will tolerate it and you can monitor them safely indoors.

Always Proceed With Caution
Always Proceed With Caution | Source

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.

Questions & Answers

  • My cat was bitten by a stray cat and now my cat is not eating anything. How can I help my cat regain her appetite in spite of this wound?

    Most bite wounds become infected due to saliva rich with bacteria being trapped deep in the skin and therefore antibiotics may be required. An abscess can be serious. Please see your vet.

© 2009 Adrienne Farricelli


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      2 months ago


    • profile image


      15 months ago

      This cat has a serious injury, but I don't know what happened. Upper skin/fur layer is gone about 2 1/2 inches wide.length and width....happened about 3rd Feb. I can't pick him up this way, but he comes a couple times a day...hangs around....cleans his injury. Eats kibble and turkey lunchmeat and yogurt. Not as much as usual but does have an appetite. He's not limping. The wound seeps watery and he cleans it when necessary. The upper layer of skin with fur is just staying there but not attached around the wound. Please help! Thank you!

    • profile image

      Lucy Hightree 

      21 months ago

      Hi! New here. Not new to cats though. I just brought in a very docile stray cat. Scabs all over. I've washed her once, and things seem a little better.

      I have her in a bathroom. Is that safe enough to prevent feline him or leukemia from my other cat? I'd like to keep her... I'm poor!!!! I don't know where to start...

    • profile image


      22 months ago

      An outside cat was dumped on me it left come back with a wound on neck hide is gone raw meat showing appears no infection?! How can I treat. He let's me and no one else pet and live him he had beautiful hair I only wish you knew how beautiful this cat once was. He's a msinecoon I believe I'm not a cat person just a lover of animals. Help me please

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      This stray cat is very friendly and is very attacthed to me. He didn't return the whole day and when he came back in the eveneing today, he hada wound on his back leg, with puss in it, i applied vaseline that he licked away but i don't know what to do, small portion of meat is missing from there. Guide me so i can treat him correctly. VET around my neighborhood don't treat strays -.- so do guide me what should i do. Should i put pyodine and wrap it in a cloth or should i leave it open?

    • profile image

      Helen C ain 

      9 years ago

      A stray cat has been hanging around and I am feeding him and putting out water. He has lost weight and has some discharge around his mouth. (Now dry) His eye may be infected and ozing inside. What can I give him to help him?

    • advisor4qb profile image


      10 years ago from On New Footing

      Yet another helpful and interesting hub! Thanks!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)