Silicate technology produces good results - search on JAVMA


Your Cart is Empty

Wound Care for Cats: Essential Guidance for Healing and Recovery

6 min read

Wound Care for Cats: Essential Guidance for Healing and Recovery

Cats often find themselves in situations that result in scratches, bites, and wounds due to their curious and adventurous nature. Despite their remarkable ability to recover, it's important to provide prompt and proper care for these injuries to avoid complications and ensure a quick healing process. As a cat owner, understanding the basics of wound management, recognizing when professional help is needed, and knowing what treatments are safe can significantly impact their well-being.

Understanding Cat Wounds

Classification of Wounds

Cat wounds can broadly be classified into two categories: superficial and deep. Superficial wounds, such as minor scratches or abrasions, affect only the top layers of the skin. Deep wounds, including punctures, bites, or lacerations, can penetrate through the skin to muscles, tendons, and even bones, and often carry a higher risk of infection and complications  (MacPhail and Fossum, 2013).

Wounds can also be categorized by their cause:

  • Scratches typically result from interactions with other animals or objects in their environment.
  • Bites may occur from fights with other cats or animals, often leading to puncture wounds that are prone to infection.
  • Abrasions can happen from scraping against rough surfaces, removing the top layer of skin.
  • Lacerations are deep cuts or tears in the skin, usually from sharp objects or accidents.

When to Call the Vet

Determining when to seek veterinary care is crucial. Any deep wound, signs of infection (such as swelling, redness, heat, or pus), or a wound that does not stop bleeding after a few minutes of pressure requires professional attention. Additionally, if your cat shows signs of pain, lethargy, or abnormal behavior, it's time to call the vet (Swaim, Henderson, and Pidgeon, 1990).

If you're confident that your cat's injuries don't require veterinary care and they don't exhibit any concerning symptoms, continue reading to learn how to safely care for your cat at home.

Initial Steps in Wound Care

Calm Your Cat

Before initiating any form of treatment, it's crucial to ensure your cat is calm. A stressed or frightened cat may react unpredictably, making it difficult to safely administer care. Speak softly, move slowly, and if possible, wrap your cat gently in a towel to reduce movement and provide a sense of security. Calming your cat not only makes the treatment process smoother but also prevents the risk of further injury to both you and your pet.

Stop the Bleeding

If the wound is bleeding, your immediate goal is to stop the blood flow. Apply gentle pressure to the wound with a clean, soft cloth or gauze for several minutes. Avoid checking if the bleeding has stopped too frequently, as this can disrupt the clotting process. If the bleeding is severe or doesn't stop with direct pressure, seek veterinary attention immediately.

Clean the Wound

Once the bleeding is under control, cleaning the wound is the next step. Use saline solution or lukewarm water to gently rinse away any dirt or debris. This can be done with a syringe or by pouring the solution over the wound. Avoid using hydrogen peroxide or alcohol for cleaning, as these substances can damage the tissue and delay healing. Instead, stick to solutions that are gentle and designed not to irritate the wound (Pavletic, 2018).

Apply an Antiseptic

After cleaning, applying a cat-safe antiseptic can help prevent infection. Chlorhexidine and povidone-iodine are effective options that are generally safe for cats when used appropriately. Dilute the antiseptic as recommended, since some concentrations need to be diluted before application on wounds. It's important to avoid using non-cat-specific products, including certain human antiseptics and ointments, as they can be toxic or cause adverse reactions in cats.

When applying any product, be it for cleaning or disinfecting, ensure it's intended for use on cats and follow the instructions carefully. If you're unsure about a product's safety, consult your veterinarian before application.

Healing Aids for Cat Wounds

Veterinary Recommended Ointments

For wound healing, veterinary-recommended ointments are often the safest and most effective option. One such product is Zarasyl Companion, a veterinarian-recommended ointment designed specifically for creating the optimal healing environment for a variety of wounds in animals. Zarasyl contains ingredients that create the optimal healing environment and reduce the risk of infection (Chevalier and Pearson, 2023). Its companion formulation is safe for cats and can be applied directly to the wound, following the cleaning and disinfection process.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is known for its soothing and healing properties, but it's important to use it safely on cats. Only pure, 100% aloe vera should be applied to your cat's wound, as products containing additives or alcohol can be harmful. Always monitor your cat after application to ensure there's no adverse reaction.


Honey creates a moist healing environment and helps prevent bacterial growth. However, due to its stickiness, it's important to cover the area with a bandage to keep the wound clean and prevent your cat from licking it off. Consult your veterinarian before starting treatment with honey to ensure it's appropriate for your cat's specific wound.

CBD Oils and Creams

CBD products can offer pain relief and reduce inflammation in wound healing (Deabold, Schwark, Wolf, and Wakshlag, 2019). When selecting CBD oils or creams for your cat, it's advisable to discuss the use of the products with your veterinarian to ensure they are safe for your cat, especially if your pet is on other medications.

When choosing healing aids for your cat's wounds, it's crucial to select products that are safe and appropriate for feline use. Always consult with your veterinarian before introducing any new treatment to your cat's wound care regimen. They can provide guidance and recommendations based on the specific needs of your pet's injury, ensuring the best possible outcome for healing.

Additional Wound Care Tips

Monitor for Infection

After administering initial wound care, it's crucial to keep a close eye on the wound for any signs of infection. Indicators of an infection can include increased redness, swelling, warmth around the wound, discharge (which may be pus-like or have a foul odor), and the wound not healing as expected. Additionally, if your cat seems lethargic, has a fever, or is less interested in food, these could also be signs that the wound is infected and that your cat needs to see a veterinarian as soon as possible (Swaim, Henderson, and Pidgeon, 1990).

Keep Your Cat Indoors

While your cat's wound is healing, it's wise to limit their outdoor access. Keeping your cat indoors helps prevent the wound from getting dirty, which could increase the risk of infection. It also reduces the likelihood of the wound being aggravated by activities like running, jumping, or encounters with other animals. Staying indoors in a controlled environment allows the wound the best chance to heal quickly and cleanly.

Consider a Cone

An Elizabethan collar, often referred to as a "cone," might be necessary to prevent your cat from licking or biting at their wound. While it might seem uncomfortable or distressing to your cat at first, the cone is crucial for ensuring the wound heals properly. Cats often lick their wounds, but this can introduce bacteria to the area and disrupt the healing process. If your vet recommends a cone, it's important to use it as directed until the wound has sufficiently healed.

Follow Up

Adhering to your veterinarian's advice and completing any prescribed treatments are essential steps in your cat's recovery. This might include administering antibiotics, applying topical medications, or returning for follow-up visits to monitor the wound's healing progress. Even if the wound appears to be healing well, it's important to complete the full course of any treatments to prevent a recurrence or worsening of the condition.

By monitoring for infection, keeping your cat indoors, using a cone when necessary, and following up with your vet, you can help ensure your cat's wound heals properly and minimize the risk of complications. Remember, prompt and appropriate care can make a significant difference in your cat's recovery and overall health.


In summary, effective wound care for cats hinges on a combination of prompt home treatment and professional veterinary care when necessary. Recognizing the severity of the wound, initiating proper first aid, and selecting appropriate, cat-safe healing aids are crucial steps in facilitating a smooth recovery. It's equally important to avoid harmful substances, monitor the wound for signs of infection, and limit your cat's outdoor activities to prevent further injury. Adherence to these guidelines, along with following your veterinarian's advice, ensures the best possible outcome for your cat's health and well-being.

To find out how Zarasyl can be part of your cat's recovery toolkit, click here.


MacPhail, C. and Fossum, T.W., 2013.Small animal surgery.

Swaim, S.F., Henderson, R.A. and Pidgeon, R.S., 1990.Small animal wound management.

Pavletic, M.M. ed., 2018.Atlas of small animal wound management and reconstructive surgery. John Wiley & Sons.

Deabold, K.A., Schwark, W.S., Wolf, L. and Wakshlag, J.J., 2019. Single-dose pharmacokinetics and preliminary safety assessment with use of CBD-rich hemp nutraceutical in healthy dogs and cats.Animals,9(10), p.832.

Chevalier, J.M. and Pearson, G.B., 2023. Amorphous silicate technology produces good results in equine distal limb wound healing.Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association,261(6), pp.1-5.