The method of treating cat wounds depends on the nature and severity of the wound. Most minor cat wounds can be treated at home, while more severe wounds need to be evaluated and treated by a veterinarian. Sometimes, cat wounds can be accompanied by broken or injured bones. To evaluate this, the cat owner needs to inspect the area for deformity or exposed bones. If the wound is not easily visible because of the cat's fur, the fur should be gently trimmed away.
If cat wounds are accompanied by structural injuries, the cat should be immediately transported to the local animal hospital or veterinarian's office. In addition, if the wound is deep or profusely bleeding, the cat will also require emergency medical attention. For less serious, superficial cat wounds, the cat owner can cleanse the wound with warm water and mild soap. Hydrogen peroxide is not routinely recommended because it can be damaging to healthy tissue. The wound should be thoroughly cleansed, making sure that all visible traces of dirt and debris have been removed.
Following the cleansing of the cat's wound, an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment can be applied to the wound to facilitate healing and to reduce the risk of infection. The wound can either be covered with a sterile bandage or left uncovered. If the cat begins licking the wound, it should be covered to avoid contamination. In addition, the wound should be monitored for signs of infection, including inflammation, increased redness, and drainage. If these symptoms occur, the cat needs to be treated with antibiotics to avoid complications.
Sometimes cat wounds are caused by animal bites, and in these cases the wound will need to be treated by the veterinarian, regardless of the severity of the bite. Animal bites can quickly become infected and may even harbor rabies. This is why it is important that cats and dogs be kept current on their vaccinations, including rabies shots. If rabies shots are not up to date, the risk of rabies climbs, although the risk still remains moderately low.
In certain instances, the cat may require hospitalization. This is especially true if the wound is extensive or if heavy bleeding accompanied it. Sometimes, the cat will only be required to stay over night for observation, and other times, aggressive treatment may be needed. In these cases, intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and perhaps even blood transfusions may be necessary to treat the cat, however, most incidences of cat wounds can be treated without hospitalization.