How to Clean a Cat Wound: 14 Steps

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How to Clean a Cat Wound: 14 Steps
How to Clean a Cat Wound: 14 Steps

It is normal for cats to suffer minor injuries from time to time. They may fight or end up with scratches and wounds after exploring the neighborhood; if your pet comes back with a cut, a puncture wound, a graze or any more serious injury, it is important to disinfect the site to reduce the risk of contamination or abscess formation.


Part 1 of 4: Choosing a Cleaning Solution

Clean a Cat Wound Step 1

Step 1. Find a sterile saline solution

The solution that comes with first-aid kits is ideal for sanitizing a contaminated wound. The physical act of washing removes bacteria and dirt, and as the pH of the liquid is similar to that of body tissue, the damage done to them is minimal.

The trick is to use large volumes of the saline solution and continue washing until the area appears to be clean

Clean a Cat Wound Step 2

Step 2. Boil some water, use it when it cools down

For very dirty wounds, with mud or gravel, you can boil water and let it cool, using it to rinse the injured area well until it is very clean.

When using water, there is a small risk of damaging the exposed tissue layer, as it does not have the same composition as body fluids, drawing them out of the injured tissue. However, medical studies show that the use of tap water to irrigate a wound does not have a major influence on the possibility of contamination

Clean a Cat Wound Step 3

Step 3. Prepare a saline water solution

It offers natural disinfectant properties and is a good alternative to sanitize wounds in cats. Do it by boiling a kettle, taking 1 cup of water and ½ teaspoon of salt; mix and stir the solution, dissolving it, and letting it cool.

Saline water also has a composition similar to tears and body fluids, causing less damage to exposed tissues than just water or commercial disinfectants

Part 2 of 4: Choosing a disinfectant

Clean a Cat Wound Step 4

Step 1. Purchase a safe pet disinfectant

There are several that are sold for use on animal wounds; the most common are povidone-iodine and chlorhexidine, but only your veterinarian will be able to recommend the best option in case of possible scratches and bruises on the cat.

  • Remember that not all disinfectants can be applied to cats. Those with phenols, for example, are toxic to felines; read the package insert to see if the product is a phenolic disinfectant and avoid it if it is. Another sign that indicates the presence of phenol is if it takes on a cloudy consistency when water is added; if in doubt, use another product.
  • To use povidone-iodine, dilute it by mixing 1 ml of the chemical compound in 100 ml of water. Use this solution to remove contamination from the surface of the lesion.
  • Chlorhexidine, in turn, must be mixed (2.5 ml) with 100 ml of water so that it is strong enough to clean a wound. Chlorhexidine is the active constituent in surgical antiseptics, a pink, soapy solution that needs to be diluted in water, having good antibacterial properties and also a slight residual action, which means that it continues to have an effect and kill bacteria even after drying.
Clean a Cat Wound Step 5

Step 2. Dilute hydrogen peroxide, another known antiseptic

Be aware that if it is not properly diluted, there is a risk of serious tissue damage; the effervescence that occurs on contact with the chemical is said to be the bacteria dying, but unfortunately the tissue layer is also being damaged, and it needs to be healthy for proper healing.

The correct dilution is: use a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide, mixing three times as much water as the amount of the chemical compound (eg 25 ml of peroxide with 75 ml of water) to prepare a suitable disinfectant for cleaning injuries

Clean a Cat Wound Step 6

Step 3. Use the safest option you have at hand

The disinfectant that should be used varies according to the owner's preference and what is available; always follow the instructions to dilute the product, as using it too concentrated is harmful to tissues. Be aware that many household disinfectants and sprays contain benzalkonium chloride and should not be applied to living tissue.

If you are in doubt whether a product can be passed on to cats or not, it is better to opt for a saline solution or salt water, which are always safe

Part 3 of 4: Disinfecting the wound

Clean a Cat Wound Step 7

Step 1. Ask someone else to help hold the cat

The cat may be nervous or in pain after suffering an injury, attacking you by touching the sensitive area, even if it is docile. With this in mind, call a friend or relative to hold the cat, allowing you to focus only on the wound.

Try wrapping the cat in a large bath towel, leaving only the wound exposed. It's a good way to keep you calm and lessen the risk of your owner getting scratched or bitten

Clean a Cat Wound Step 8

Step 2. Using a syringe, rinse the wound

Take the chosen solution to disinfect the area and place it in a bowl; collect it with a syringe and apply to the wound, washing it. Keep doing this until the lesion is clean.

  • Wounds caused by recent bites should be quickly disinfected and cleaned to lessen the risk of infection.
  • Scrapes that appear after an animal falls out of a tree or is hit by a car can end up contaminated with bacteria, debris and gravel. Careful cleaning to remove contamination reduces the risk of complications such as poor scarring or infections.
Clean a Cat Wound Step 9

Step 3. Use a cotton ball dipped in a solution to sanitize the wound if you don't have a syringe

Squeeze the ball so that the liquid travels over the injured region; if it is heavily contaminated and the debris does not disappear, wipe the cotton in a downward motion, cleaning the wound.

  • Use a clean piece of cotton each time you apply it to the wound, preventing the dirty cotton from contaminating the area again. Continue cleaning until nothing comes out on the cotton and finish by rinsing the area.
  • If there is a ruptured abscess, a lot of pus will come out of the lesion. Use cotton, gauze, or absorbent paper to remove the pus, applying light pressure around the abscess and moving toward the bite, where the pus is coming out. It is important to remove as much pus as possible as it acts as a “source of infection”.
Clean a Cat Wound Step 10

Step 4. Apply a disinfectant

After cleaning the contaminated site, apply a disinfectant following the instructions on the box to do this correctly.

The goal is to clear the infection until healthy, uncontaminated tissue is exposed; this is when the disinfectant must be applied

Clean a Cat Wound Step 11

Step 5. Decide whether or not to bandage the wound

Most wounds should be uncovered, so don't cover minor bruises or scrapes; however, if the cat is trying to bite or lick the wound, it is necessary to dress it, even if it compromises healing.

There is a myth that it is healthy for cats to lick wounds, but in fact, the animal's abrasive tongue can end up enlarging the wound instead and promoting healing

Part 4 of 4: Identifying an Injury

Clean a Cat Wound Step 12

Step 1. Check for any signs that the cat is injured

Cat owners need to know the normal behavior of these animals so they can assess when something is wrong. Look for changes in behavior, such as eating, moving, and interest in socializing.

  • These manifestations can also signal various illnesses as well as physical trauma.
  • When you notice drastic changes in the feline's personality or behavior and don't find out why, take it to the vet. They can happen due to a medical problem.
Clean a Cat Wound Step 13

Step 2. Look for signs of injury if the cat is limping after a fight

One of the most accurate indications is the tufts of hair that are all accumulated; look at his fur and see if any part looks messy or is at an awkward angle. Carefully part the animal's fur and analyze the skin underneath.

Hairless regions also indicate a fight, as the other cat may have pulled it. A wound will be present, in certain cases, with small areas of blood or all of it swollen. This is easier to see in cats with white or light fur; on blacks, carefully run your hands over the coat and see if it reacts to any sensitivity at the same time as you feel for any bruises, swelling, or scabs

Clean a Cat Wound Step 14

Step 3. From time to time, check if the cat is injured

The owner will not always be around when he fights and injuries do not appear in all cases. Because of this, it is important to check if he is injured, especially when the feline spends a lot of time outside the house and is a "brain".

  • A good time to do this is when you're stroking him. Keep him calm and slowly run your hand over his body as you look at the skin under the fur.
  • Older wounds may be infected, with a purulent discharge, bloody, swelling, crusting, and lack of hair.
  • Old and ruptured abscesses will have a lot of pus, curling the hairs.
  • In addition, the skin over the abscess dies and leaves a large hole where exposed muscle and tissue can be seen.


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