How To Clean A Cat Wound

Whenever the skin is broken, bacteria and other debris can contaminate the area. Therefore treatment of the wound is essential to reduce the chances of an infection taking hold.

Cats can be challenging to handle when they are injured. If your cat is displaying signs of fear or aggression, it is safer to take him to the vet for treatment.

Only treat minor wounds which are less than 1 inch long.

  • Before you handle any injuries, wash your hands with warm soapy water. Wear disposable gloves if you have some.
  • Stop the bleeding. Fresh wounds will bleed, often quite profusely. Grab some clean, sterile gauze and place it over the wound. Bandage snugly. If you don’t have gauze, place a sanitary pad on the wound.
  • Clip away the hair surrounding the wound being careful not to drop hair into the wound. If you have any, a water-soluble lubricant such as KY jelly can be applied to the fur around the wound to keep it away from the area.
  • Using a syringe without the needle, irrigate the wound with clean tap water or saline solution.
  • After flushing out the wound, apply an antiseptic solution such as Betadine. It should be diluted 1 in 10. Use a spray bottle to apply, if you don’t have a spray bottle, apply to cotton wool balls and dab onto the wound.
  • Once you have disinfected the wound, dab it dry with gauze pads.

When to see the veterinarian

  • If the wound is a puncture wound
  • Profuse bleeding
  • Inflammation, pus or oozing
  • Difficult to handle cat
  • A wound longer than 1 inch (2.5 cm)
  • If your cat stops eating

What not to do

Don’t use bleach, Dettol or hydrogen peroxide on wounds. Please read our article on antiseptics safe for cats.


  • Julia Wilson, 'Cat World' Founder

    Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio