How to Clean and Treat Minor Injuries in Felines


Minor feline injuries can generally be treated at home. These include surface cuts and scratches and minor abrasions. Anything more than that--deep lacerations, rashes, sprains, fractures, broken bones, dental injuries or any damage to the face--must be treated by a veterinarian. Also, if a minor injury has been treated but shows signs of infection or is slow healing, take your cat to the veterinarian immediately.

  • Let the cat stay in his "safe" spot, if possible, while you treat his wound. After receiving an injury, cats often retreat to a safe space that offers them protection, such as a partially hidden shelf, the bathtub or beneath a table. If you cannot reach the wound, gently wrap the cat in a towel and move him to an area where you can easily reach his injury, but still maintain his relative comfort. Soothe him by petting him in a favored spot (scratching beneath the chin can be particularly effective) and speaking to him in a calming manner.

  • Wash your hands completely using warm water and soap. Wash, rinse and repeat for at least 1 minute to ensure that your hands are free of infection-causing bacteria and germs. Use a paper towel or a freshly washed and dried towel to dry your hands. Often kitchen or bathroom towels may be dry, but contain germs from previous uses.

  • Clean around the cat's wound with soap and warm water. Use a piece of sterile gauze to gently wipe around the wound. Do not wipe at the wound directly, as that slows clotting and produces more bleeding. Once the area around the wound is clean, gently dab at the wound with a dry bit of gauze. If the wound itself has debris inside it, wipe at it gently by taking a piece of facial tissue and swiping at it until it falls away. Do not press on the debris directly, as that pushes it deeper into the wound.

  • Apply antibacterial cream or gel around the wound. The goal of treating a minor feline injury is to prevent infection. The wound will heal on its own given time and a healthy immune system. Hydrogen peroxide can be used to "clean" a wound as well, but this causes more pain for the animal, as it stings while cleaning.

  • Continue adding antibacterial ointment twice a day and do not let your cat go outside or get exposed to other cats if possible. Only add antibacterial cream around the wound until it scabs. Too much antibacterial cream can hinder the healing process.

  • Watch your cat. If you notice your cat behaves sluggishly or has swelling, redness or another irritation near the injury, call your veterinarian and set up an appointment, because those can be signs of infection. When treated quickly with antibiotics, infections can clear up quickly without harming your cat. Lingering infection can lead to more serious injuries.

Tips & Warnings

  • This article is for informational purposes only. Please consult your veterinarian if you are unsure if your cat's injury is major or minor.

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