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How Can I Assist My Cat with a Wound They Can’t Stop Licking?


Dear VetBabble: How do I help my cat with a wound she won’t stop licking?

As pet owners, one of our main concerns is ensuring the health and wellbeing of our beloved pets. When our cat develops a wound, the natural response is to want to help it heal as quickly and painlessly as possible. Many pet owners come across the issue of their cat incessantly licking its wound, which can cause irritation and delay the healing process. So, what can you do when faced with this situation? Below, we’ve outlined several friendly and informative steps you can take to help your cat recover more efficiently.

1. Understanding the Importance of Preventing Licking

First and foremost, it’s important to understand why preventing your cat from licking its wound is crucial. While it may seem like your feline friend is trying to clean its wound, excessive licking can lead to further irritation, infection, and delayed healing. Additionally, the cat may unintentionally cause the wound to reopen, which could be very painful and require additional medical attention.

2. Options for Discouraging Licking

There are several methods pet owners can employ to deter their cats from licking their wounds. It’s crucial to find the most suitable option for your cat to ensure not only their physical comfort but also their emotional wellbeing.

  • Head Collar: Utilizing a head collar, commonly referred to as an “E-collar” or “cone”, is one way to stop your cat from accessing the wounded area. These are available at pet stores and come in different sizes to accommodate your cat’s specific needs. When fitted correctly, a head collar prevents your cat from reaching its wound with its tongue while still allowing it to eat and drink comfortably.
  • Bandage: For some wounds, using a bandage may be a more suitable alternative. This method can be a bit challenging, as cats are notorious for dislodging bandages or causing them to slip. If you opt for this method, be sure to check the wound and reapply the bandage frequently to ensure it remains clean and secure.
  • Topical treatments: In some instances, you might consider using a topical treatment or bitter-tasting ointment specifically designed to discourage licking. It’s always best to consult with your veterinarian before applying any new products to your cat’s wound.

3. Ensuring Proper Wound Care and Monitoring

Preventing your cat from licking its wound is only part of the healing process. It’s also essential to provide appropriate wound care to promote faster and more effective healing. Cleaning the wound properly, assessing for infection, and applying any necessary medications are key steps in this process. For more guidance on wound care, VetBabble has a helpful resource on How to Treat your Dog’s Wounds at Home.

It’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian if you’re unsure about how to care for a specific wound. They can provide guidance on best practices and inform you of any appropriate treatments or procedures. Additionally, some wounds may require professional attention. For example, puncture wounds, particularly those resulting from a cat bite, may need specialized care. VetBabble discusses this further in their article on Cat Bite Abscesses: What They Are and What to Do!

Finally, keep an eye out for any signs of complications like increased redness, swelling, or discharge, as these may necessitate a trip to the veterinarian. Skin problems in cats can sometimes be more complicated than they first appear so it’s essential to stay vigilant. VetBabble covers this topic in depth in their informative article, Skin Problems in Cats: Common Causes and Treatment.

By taking these steps to prevent your cat from licking its wound and ensuring proper wound care, you’ll be helping your furry friend heal quickly and efficiently. Don’t forget to consult with your veterinarian if you’re uncertain about appropriate care or if any concerns arise.

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