How to Clean a Cat Wound

Cats are naturally curious and adventurous creatures, which can sometimes get them into trouble. Their curiosity can result in animal bites/scratches or objects puncturing their skin like sticks, thorns or glass objects puncturing through to cause wounds – both of which could result in wounds for them and those around them.

Minor cuts and scrapes can be cleaned and disinfected at home to help reduce infection risk and speed healing processes. This will also aid the healing process itself.

Salt Water

Pet owners have access to various wound cleaning products that may prove useful, with saline solutions often being the go-to choice. It can easily be made at home using an oral syringe and plain water; just add 1 tablespoon of salt per syringeful of boiled water before applying this solution directly over the wound as necessary. While this solution won’t kill bacteria directly, it will clean away foreign bodies lodged there while simultaneously irrigating and flushing out debris that may have entered.

Check for dirt or grit in the wound that needs to be cleaned off, taking care not to disturb its edges as this could increase risk of infection. Furthermore, look out for signs of healing, pain or discomfort for any discomfort the cat might be feeling; minor wounds should be left alone but large wounds that come into contact with food and liquid should be dressed with gauze pads taped securely onto skin that has been groomed of hair before healing occurs.

Avoiding cat licking of wounds is of utmost importance as this will introduce additional bacteria that could worsen any injuries sustained. Furthermore, make sure the wound does not swell or ooze; such indications require medical intervention immediately and should be seen by a vet right away.

Dressings and bandages used on your pet must be changed daily as directed by your vet, with any crusted discharge being carefully rubbed away with a soft cloth or gauze swab after each washing session in order to reduce bacteria growth and infection risk.

In certain circumstances, topical antiseptics such as chlorhexidine diacetate or iodine may be suitable to apply directly onto a wound site. If a wound appears infected or begins to become swollen or ooze, particularly if located on an arm bearing weight, professional vet advice should always be sought immediately.


Minor wounds should be left alone to heal on their own; larger ones may require dressings (e.g. a gauze pad taped onto skin clipped of fur), which should be changed daily. A saline rinse may also help wash away contaminants; you can purchase or make this solution from your veterinarian, though it won’t be as powerful. It should still do its job while being gentler for your cat.

When using this method to clean a cat wound, it is crucial not to rub the area with your fingers or any other implement as this could drive contaminants deeper into the wound and cause secondary issues like infection. Instead, flushing is best by holding saline solution in a syringe and repeatedly spraying over the area using lavage process – this removes embedded debris while sterilizing wound.

Once you’ve cleansed and flushed a wound, it is advisable to gently blot it dry with gauze or paper towel to remove any antibacterial wash or saline solution, and prevent your cat from licking it, which would introduce more bacteria into the wound and prevent healing.

Creams, ointments or disinfectants should not be applied directly to a cat’s wound as these products can be both irritating and toxic if consumed directly by your cat. They may dislodge blood clots that have formed, restarting bleeding. As an alternative approach, topical solutions like povidone-iodine or chlorhexidine diluted should be used instead – see source.

Once your wound has been cleaned, it is advisable to use an Elizabethan collar (commonly referred to as the “cone of shame”) on your cat to prevent him or her from licking it and spreading more bacteria. This type of collar can be found at most pet stores and designed specifically to keep cats away from touching wounds. There may also be sprays available which may discourage felines from licking wounds; but always consult with a veterinarian first before trying such measures on felines.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Care should be taken when cleaning cat wounds at home. Your goal should be to carefully extract infections and uncover healthy tissues to allow you to apply disinfectants effectively – particularly those contaminated by outdoor elements such as dust, gravel or bacteria – as this helps ensure healing can take place as intended without complications such as an abscess arising. Furthermore, frequent wound cleaning will help avoid fly larvae (maggots) entering into the wound area which could reduce healing times while simultaneously increasing risk factors like an abscess formation.

Hydrogen peroxide should only ever be applied to an open wound of a cat under instruction from their vet, because hydrogen peroxide kills cells necessary for healing the wound, known as fibroblasts and part of their healing process. Furthermore, using hydrogen peroxide on open wounds inhibits your pet’s immune system’s ability to combat infections from these injuries.

As well as peroxide, other products to use on an open wound include rubbing alcohol, soaps, herbal preparations, tea tree oil or any other products unless specifically directed by your veterinarian. If your cat has an injury it would be wise to keep them indoors in a cage to prevent chewing or licking as this will further exacerbate its condition.

If your cat’s wound is extremely dirty, you may need to use a solution like saline for bathing it. As its properties mimic those found in tears and body fluids, saline baths may be less damaging to exposed tissue than commercial disinfectant solutions or water alone. You can find such solutions in first aid kits or make one yourself by boiling water, allowing it to cool, then pouring it onto their wound.

Consider purchasing pet-safe commercial disinfectants such as povidone-iodine or chlorhexidine from any pet store for more serious wounds, and follow label directions for proper application – in most cases bathing the wound twice daily will suffice.

Cotton Wool

No sight can cause greater panic than seeing your cat with any kind of wound, no matter how minor. A deep or bleeding profusely wound should be addressed by visiting the veterinarian; for smaller cuts and scratches at home it should be managed as follows. First step should be ensuring there is no bleeding; damp a cloth and press against it until bleeding ceases; this process could help speed healing.

Rinse the wound with clean water to remove dirt or debris and to reduce bacteria build-up. Next, use saline solution to clean it; using either a syringe, inject directly into the wound or soak cotton wool balls in cleaning solution and use downward strokes on cotton wool balls to clean. After each cleaning session has passed, discard cotton balls and change out for fresh ones before rinsing again.

Once the wound has been cleansed, an antiseptic like Betadine should be used. Although safe for cats, please take caution not to overuse. Once applied, let it dry before rinsing again with clean water.

At last, apply a thin coating of antibiotic ointment to your wound – this will speed up its healing time while protecting it from further infections.

Daily wound checks should include an inspection for signs of infection. If you experience pain or tenderness at the wound, pus or discharge from it or redness around it should notify your vet immediately.

If a wound becomes infected it could develop an abscess – which is an accumulation of infected pus that forms under the skin – usually as the result of fighting with another cat but other animals could also contribute. Wild cats’ sharp teeth carry colonies of bacteria which spread via bites; when wounds close up they trap this bacteria underneath the new layer.

An abscess on a cat typically presents itself in the form of a hard lump under their skin that causes pain. They may lick at it, which will only aggravate matters further as more bacteria enter their system via breaking open attempts by their owner or themselves.

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