Understanding Causes of Cat Wounds & How to Prevent Them
Injuries to cats are common and in fact they are one of the most common reasons cats present to veterinary emergency rooms across the country. Many of the causes can be prevented.
Here is a list of the most common pet wounds and how you can prevent them:
10 Most Common Wounds to Cats
1. Lacerations/Bite Wounds - According to pet insurance company claims, thousands are received for lacerations and bite wounds each year, making them the most common cause of pet wounds for the year. Most bite wounds are the results of dog or cat fights however the occasional wildlife fight also occurs. You can prevent bite wounds by keeping cats indoors. Lacerations are more common in dogs but can also occur in cats. Most lacerations occur from bites or outdoor traumas such as getting caught on sharp objects such as fencing or nails. You can prevent most lacerations by keeping your cat indoors or train your cat to go out on a leash. Some lacerations result from owners grooming their cat with scissors, which should never be done. Always groom with grooming brushes, combs or grooming clippers. If this is difficult, seek help from a professional groomer.
2. Torn Nail - The second most common wound is a torn nail. This is more common in dogs than cats. Long nails can become caught on something such as carpeting or bedding causing them to tear or bleed. To prevent it being a problem in your cat, trim your cat's nails and ensure your cat has scratching posts.
3. Insect Bites and Stings - Allergic reactions due to insect bites and stings are common. Again, this problem is more common in dogs but can also occur in cats. Insect bites can be difficult to prevent but can be aided by keeping close tabs on your cat and eliminating any bee or wasp nests around your home and yard. Also, keeping your dog on a leash can minimize their exploration and curiosity, which can lead to some bites. For severe problems, periodic straying can minimize insect nests.
4. Abrasion - The most common cause of abrasions are cats that are traumatized - and most common hit by a car. Keeping your cat indoors can prevent this best.
5. Eye Trauma - Trauma can be caused by bumping in to things such as downed tree limbs, low-lying branches, results of bite wounds or other trauma such as being hit by a car. Again, the best way to prevent most causes of eye trauma is to keep cat inside.
6. Puncture - Punctures can be caused by bites and/or foreign objects. Sharp objects such as such as fencing, lawn edging, lose nails, tree branches, and garage items are common culprits. Keep your yard and garage picked up and safe.
7. Foreign Object in Skin - Objects in the fur can be anything from foxtails, burrs, seed pods, sticks, metal objects, etc. The best way to prevent this problem is to keep your cat indoors. Groom your pet often with a brush and comb and remove any foreign materials from the fur.
8. Foreign Object in Ear - Objects in the ear can be anything from plant awn or water. Secondary ear infections are common. This is more common in dogs. Routinely inspect your cat's ears during routine grooming to look for abnormalities.
9. Foreign Objects in Paws - Objects can become lodged in paws, such as metal, glass, sticks and other sharp objects. Even leashes or traps can become wrapped around feet causing injuries. Prevent this problem by keeping your cat indoors.
10. Snakebite - Venomous snakebites can occur in some parts of the country. The best way to prevent snakebites is to keep your cat inside. For outdoor cats, you can minimize snakes living hear your home by keeping vegetative growth around your home and yard to a minimum, and minimize exposure of your cat to woodpiles and brush.
More Tips on Prevent Cat Wounds
There is no perfect way to prevent wounds and trauma to cats however these general precautions will help eliminate the most common cause.
- Control your cat - The best way to protect cats from all of these injuries is to keep them inside. If you wish your cat to experience some of the outdoors - consider safe outdoor enclosure or train your cat to walk on a harness.
- Monitor the yard - Carefully monitor your yard for sharp landscape edging, sharp fencing edges or wires, loose nails around gates or doors and/or other objects that could puncture or lacerate your cat if your cat goes out.
- Clean up landscaping - Eliminate low-lying branches and pick up dead braches that may have fallen in the yard that could injure eyes. Trim thick brush that may attract snakes.
- Insect control - If insects are a problem in your area, consider ways to minimize their growth by eliminating standing water, keep gutters clean and flowing and consider periodic spraying of the yard and house foundation.
- Grooming - Routinely groom your cat by brushing with a good quality brush or comb and keeping the nails trimmed.