First Aid for Cats

Cats who are allowed outdoors can often engage in fights with other cats.  This is especially true during the spring of the year when mating season commences.  Even spayed and neutered cats are susceptible to these conflicts.  So, what should you do if your cat friend gets beat up?  Pam D. writes:

My cat just came in the house with a lot of tufts of hair pulled out. He was in a cat fight. His left eye lid has a scratch that is draining. I’m sure there are more scratches on his body that I can’t see. He’s pretty well beat up. I’m most concerned about the scratch on his eyelid turning into an abcess. I used antibiotic creme but I have ceflix antiobiotics. The internet doesn’t have info on cats with ceflix. I can’t reach my vet until Tuesday and don’t have money for the e.r. Do you have any suggestions?

Pam, you definitely want to get him to a veterinarian as soon as you can.  If he's bleeding, you want to treat that first with sterile gauze and gentle pressure.  If Milo has trouble sitting still for this, you can wrap him in a towel with the bleeding area exposed.  

Once the bleeding has stopped, thoroughly clean the surface of the wounds with plain water and sterile gauze.  An antiseptic solution can be made by watering down povidone iodine to the color of very weak tea.  Do not use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol.  You don't want to use any human medications on him.  Not even Neosporin, which includes polymyxin B which has been linked to life-threatening allergic reactions in cats.  Human medications almost always have additional ingredients that can be harmful to a cat, so they're off limits unless your vet says it's okay.

We expect Milo will weather the next day or so just fine, Pam, but he may become standoffish after you clean his wounds.  Just explain it to him matter-of-factly as you would a child and the tone of your voice should help to ease his concerns.  Under no circumstances should you let him see you become distraught.  Cats are emotional sponges and he'll become more upset if he senses your worry.  Keep a close eye on him and try to discourage him from licking the wounds if you can.  A favorite toy or a handful of treats can be a good distraction.

We hope Milo is better soon and kindly urge you to keep him indoors from this point forward.  We're happy that he didn't sustain any serious injuries this time.