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, oral cavity, 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.
What are the symptoms of insect bites in cats?
Symptoms can range from a small, raised bump to anaphylactic shock.
- Localised swelling.
- Hives (urticaria).
In some cases, scratching the affected area can lead to infection.
Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
- Breathing difficulty.
- Facial swelling.
- Pale mucous membranes.
- Weak pulse.
- Rapid heartbeat.
Removing bee stings:
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.
Treating insect bites and stings:
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. Dosage below:
|3 kilos||6 mg||6 pounds||6 mg|
|3.5 kilos||7 mg||7 pounds||7 mg|
|4 kilos||8 mg||8 pounds||8 mg|
|4.5 kilos||9 mg||9 pounds||9 mg|
|5 kilos||10 mg||10 pounds||10 mg|
|5.5 kilos||11 mg||11 pounds||11 mg|
|6 kilos||12 mg||12 pounds||12 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, immediate veterinary attention is required. If possible, phone have somebody 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.