Insect bites and stings

Insect Bites and Stings in Cats

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Insect bites and stings occur frequently in cats due to their curious nature. Wasps, bees, and ants are the most common causes of bites and stings in cats.

The face, ears, mouth and front paws are the most common areas to be bitten or stung.

In most cases, the reaction to a bite is reasonably mild, with only localised irritation. Bites and stings are more common in the summer months when insects are most active, but can happen at any time, especially in warmer climates.

Most bites and stings cause localised inflammation, however, stings can become a problem if they are around the face or throat, resulting in swelling that can impede breathing. Anaphylaxis occurs when the cat’s own immune system mounts a severe reaction to the bite. This is life-threatening and needs to be treated by a veterinarian.

Symptoms

  • localised swelling
  • itching
  • hives (urticaria)
  • pain
  • redness
  • infection.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

  • breathing difficulty
  • facial swelling
  • pale mucous membranes
  • vomiting
  • weak pulse
  • rapid heartbeat
  • diarrhea
  • collapse

How to remove bee stings from your cat

The bee sting contains a venomous sac at the end which continues to pump poison into your cat. So prompt removal is important, to do this, carefully scrape the sting with your fingernail or a credit card, do not pull it out with your fingers or tweezers as this can pump more venom into your cat.

A paste of water and baking soda applied to the area can help to reduce itching.

Treatment

In most cases, no treatment is necessary and swelling, the itching will resolve on their own. Wash the area well with soap and water. Applying a cold pack or cortisone cream to the area can help reduce swelling.

However, if itching and swelling are a problem, you can give your cat an antihistamine such as Benadryl to relieve symptoms.

KilosDosagePoundsDosage
3 kilos6 mg6 pounds6 mg
3.5 kilos7 mg7 pounds7 mg
4 kilos8 mg8 pounds8 mg
4.5 kilos9 mg9 pounds9 mg
5 kilos10 mg10 pounds10 mg
5.5 kilos11 mg11 pounds11 mg
6 kilos12 mg12 pounds12 mg

When to see a veterinarian:

  • If your cat is in pain, do not self-administer painkillers to your cat, human painkillers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and paracetamol are toxic to cats and can lead to death.
  • If your cat has been stung by a bee in the mouth, as the area can quickly become swollen, causing difficulty breathing.
  • If your cat has gone into anaphylactic shock. Phone ahead to the surgery so your veterinarian can be on standby to treat. Anaphylaxis requires administration of epinephrine, which can reverse symptoms of a severe allergic reaction. Supportive care will also be necessary, this may include oxygen and IV fluids.
  • If your cat has received multiple bites or stings, even if he appears well, he should be checked over.




Julia Wilson 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. She enjoys photography, gardening and running in her spare time.Full author bio Contact Julia