If your cat has a little scrape or cut, head to the medicine chest and get out the Neosporin. This triple antibiotic ointment is an effective, basic first aid for minor wounds on people and pets. While natural home remedies can work, sometimes they are messy or not as quick acting, so Neosporin may be the way to go. If your cat is bleeding profusely, or if the injury is a puncture or bite wound, skip the medicine chest and take her to the vet.
What is Neosporin?
Neosporin earns its "triple antibiotic" moniker from its three active ingredients: bacitracin, neomycin and polymyxin. These three first aid antibiotics are effective treatment for mild skin infections and minor wounds such as cuts, scrapes and burns. Applied to the affected area, Neosporin provides wound protection and inhibits the growth of bacteria.
When to Use
If your cat played a little too vigorously with her favorite pal and got a little cut or scrape in the process, Neosporin may speed the healing process along. You should use Neosporin only on minor cuts and scrapes (however you should always consult with your vet).
When Not to Use
Although Neosporin is great for healing superficial wounds, it's not a cure-all. If your cat has puncture or bite wounds, or long or deep cuts, she should see a vet for proper treatment. Puncture wounds often have significant damage beneath the skin, requiring professional attention to keep them from becoming infected and abscessed. If your cat appears to be in pain or her wound is oozing, bleeding or inflamed, she should see a vet.
How to Use Neosporin
Clean your cat's wound before breaking out the ointment, taking care to remove any dirt or debris around the injury. Use water or an antiseptic solution to clean the wound, but avoid alcohol and hydrogen peroxide, which can damage her skin. Steer clear of cotton balls when you clean her wound, and stick to gauze or cloth. If she won't sit still for you to dab at her wound, you can try flushing it with a syringe of water or antiseptic solution.
After you've cleaned her injury, pat it dry and apply just enough Neosporin to cover the wound. If the wound is somewhere she can lick, use an Elizabethan collar to keep her from worrying over her injury. If you don't have a collar on hand, you can use some sterile gauze and bandages to keep her from licking her wound.
Home First Aid Kit
If you don't have a first aid kit for your pets, consider putting one together just for the furry members of your family. In addition to Neosporin, a cat first aid kit should contain styptic sicks or powder, tweezers, bandages and gauze, antiseptic solution and a rectal thermometer. A pet-friendly antiseptic solution can be mixed up by diluting store-bought concentrated antiseptics. Povidone iodine or chlorhexidine diacetate can be diluted with water to resemble weak tea or pale blue, respectively. Have dogs, too? Check out our fun video on putting together a dog-friendly First Aid Kit!