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How to Treat a Burn on a Cat

Updated on October 14, 2012

Just like any one of us, cats can get burned too! They might be burned through chemicals or heat. Whatever, it might be difficult to diagnose because cats have a high pain threshold and tend to hide signs of pain - sometimes they might even hide themselves!

The fur can hide a burn quite well, especially if the fur has dried out from the incident. However, encrustation from the weeping wound would suggest that the cat's body has already started the healing process. Damage limitation is the key phrase here because the wound would need to be kept clean and the cat will need to refrain from licking the wound.

A cat's neck brace may help, provided it doesn't rub on the wound itself, it will certainly stop the cat from getting to the wound and will avoid poisoning the cat should the burn be chemical based.


  • A cat brace will come in very handy when dealing with healing a wound, especially that of a burn.

Cats can be fickle and non-compliant, especially when you are trying to care for the cat.

Cat care, therefore, can be difficult to administer because the cat doesn't understand what you are about to do.

This is especially the case when cats have been burned and are in need of treatment.

Your cat will be frightened and when cornered may try to fight you in order to get away.

This fear may be exasperated by the pain of a burn.

  • Tip: Wrap a cat in a large towel to restrain him from struggling, scratching and biting.

The categorisation of burns come in three degrees:

  1. First degree burns
  2. Second degree burns
  3. Third degree burns
  4. Chemical burns (we will talk about this under a separate heading)

These have been categorized in severity where first degree burns are not as severe as second or third degree burns.

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Treatment For First and Second Degree Burns In Cats

  • Restrain cat if necessary
  • Apply cold water, ice packs (frozen peas are good!) and keep contact with skin for 15 minutes
  • Do Not Apply Ointment Or Fat Based Products!!
  • Cover with a sterile dressing - do not use cotton!
  • Wrap cat up with a towel and transport to veterinary surgery.

First Degree Burns - What To Look Out For

The fur might still be intact and/or singed. Gently pull back the fur, if possible.

With a first degree burn the skin might be red, blistery and/or have painful lesions.

Second Degree Burns - What To Look Out For

The fur will be singed with a second degree burn, followed with painful lesions with a light brown colour.

This is accompanied with blistering and swelling.

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  • Restrain cat if necessary
  • Do Not Apply Ointment Or Fat Based Products!!
  • Cover with a sterile dressing - do not use cotton!
  • Wrap cat up with a towel and transport to veterinary surgery.

Third Degree Burns - What To Look Out For

With third degree burns a cat is likely to suffer shock, but how do you know?
Cats might suffer with the following symptoms:

  • The gums of the cat look pale or white
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing

Shock is a very serious effect of third degree burns.

With third degree burns, the skin will be destroyed the whole entire area. The lesions will have a black or white appearance and the fur will easily be pulled out.

Third degree burns are serious and will need to be seen by a veterinary surgeon as soon as possible.

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  • Restrain the cat if necessary
  • Gently wash the area with a mild soap or shampoo with water. Repeat, rinse and apply as many times as necessary to diminish the chemical.
  • Do not use solvents but DO apply an antibiotic ointment to the affected area.
  • Seek further advice from veterinary surgery.

Chemical Burns - What To Look Out For

If a cat is exposed to chemicals and has subsequently been burned as a result, one of the things to look out for is an odor.

Refrain the cat from licking the area as it might poison him.

Substances that can cause chemical burns include:

  • Turpentine
  • Gasoline/Petrol
  • Insecticide

The skin will be reddened and accompanied with pain.

© Shazwellyn 2012 - This work is covered under Creative Commons License

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    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      A great hub and so beneficial to so many cat owners.

      Have a great day.


    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 5 years ago from Great Britain

      34th... thank you for that... hope Percy behaves himself now!

    • 34th Bomb Group profile image

      34th Bomb Group 5 years ago from Western New York State

      Great advice! I wrap my Percy in a blanket when I trim her nails. It works brilliantly. I wish I'd thought of it years ago - it would have spared me a lot of scratches.