If you think about how a cat's ancestors lived in the wild, their behavior when they are sick or injured starts to make a lot of sense. As animals that live in groups, cats that are injured tend to exhibit certain behaviors. They don't want the other animals in their pack to know that they are hurt, so they often lash out with aggression or hide their injury in silence. For humans living with cats, that's the part that makes a cat injury dangerous, because they could be successfully hiding an injury for a long time before you even know they are hurt.
Cats are prone to abscesses
Abscesses are a common problem in cats, so it is helpful to know how to treat them at home. The problem is often caused by puncture wounds, perhaps from getting into fights with other cats, or with other animals that have long, sharp teeth and claws. According to Vet West, a cat's surface skin heals quickly, which leaves the deep puncture unhealed underneath. The healed surface skin traps bacteria under the skin, which will gradually fester and cause a painful swollen area and potentially a mass of pus.
Home remedies for cats
VCA Animal Hospitals says that typically abscess treatment begins with removing the pocket of pus, by draining and flushing at home. Continuing to keep the surface of the skin open so the abscess can drain is essential. The Old Farmer's Almanac recommends a mixture of 1-pint water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon tincture of the herb calendula to apply to cuts, scrapes, or abrasions on pets. It is OK to apply an antibiotic such as Neosporin to a cat's wounds.
Know the signs of cat injuries
Cats do their best to conceal their injury so your cat may hide under the bed more than she usually does. She may be hurt and scared and craves the quiet and darkness under the bed. If you observe her under the bed more, this may also mean that she's not eating or drinking as much as she usually does, so this could be a clear sign that she has an injury that needs attention.
Clean wounds with salt water
A veterinarian named Dr. Pippa Elliott told Petful that a salt solution works well for cleaning fresh wounds. Salt has mild antibacterial properties and is gentle enough to use on open wounds. Her recipe is 1 cup of boiling water with 1/2 teaspoon of salt stirred in until it dissolves. Make a fresh solution each time you use it. Squirt the salt water onto the wound to gently clean and flush away any dirt.
Dilute hydrogen peroxide if using
While hydrogen peroxide is something that humans often reach for in their medicine cabinet, it's not a good choice for using on a cat. The bubbling of the peroxide does disinfect the wounds, but Dr. Elliott notes that the bubbling also kills healthy living cells. She does say, though, that it is safe to use if it is appropriately diluted to 1 part of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide in three parts water. She says this proportion is a useful and safe disinfectant for minor wounds.
Home treatments for paw scrapes
Your cat lives on his paws, and even if he's not an outside cat, he's bound to get some problem with his paws at some point. An outside cat may be exposed to things like salt from de-icing roads that can irritate the tender skin of his paws. Or he may step on a sharp pebble or piece of glass. Even an inside cat may step on something sharp. According to Healthy Paws, a pet insurance site, you can wash the affected area with warm, clean water and consider using a cat bootie to protect his tender feet. Use your homemade disinfectant if there's a cut on his paw, and before you know it, he'll be back to normal.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.