Symptoms of a Yellow Jacket Sting in Cats

A yellow jacket sting can have severe side effects on cats.
A yellow jacket sting can have severe side effects on cats. (Image: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

As warmer weather approaches, pet owners who let their cats outside must be aware of where their animals are at all times. Taking preventative steps while allowing your cats to play outside is required in order to avoid unpleasant mishaps such as yellow jacket stings. Reactions to yellow jacket stings vary from cat to cat. Many cats experience minimal side effects while other cats be near death.


Swelling is a common side effect of yellow jacket stings. When the body is injected with venom, swelling or inflammation occurs due to increased blood flow to the affected area. Swelling is often the first symptom of a yellow jacket sting. Always check the area surrounding the affected area to ensure that swelling is not happening throughout the rest of the body. Redness is also associated with swelling.


After being stung by a yellow jacket, the affected area on your cat will be sore. The cat may worry the area by constantly licking or scratching at it in an attempt to ease the discomfort. For stings that occur near the joints or on the paw, you may notice your cat is limping when she walks.

Shortness of Breath and Weakness

Cats that are allergic to yellow jacket stings will exhibit more severe symptoms. Like humans that are allergic to bee and wasp stings, cats that suffer from an allergic reaction to stings often have shortness of breath and appear weak. These are symptoms of anaphylactic shock and your cat must be taken to the hospital immediately.

Confusion, Collapsing and Death

In severe cases, cats may appear confused well after the sting. Watch for unusual behavior. Any signs that are not typical of a yellow jacket sting must be checked out immediately. Collapsing, vomiting and diarrhea are two signs that your cat is reacting badly to the sting and must be taken to the hospital. Severe symptoms that go untreated often result in death. Keep an eye on your cat for several days after the sting occurs.

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