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Cat with wounded front leg licking it and won’t stop

Hello —

My cat has a wound on his front left leg, and won’t stop licking it. The wound has been there for quite some time now, and he isn’t letting it heal. His behavior has not changed at all — he still runs around the house, leaps, uses the scratching post, etc, as he has always done, but the wound is getting worse.

He is semi-feral so putting him in a carrier to take him to the vet would be a major undertaking.

Do you have any suggestions? Please help.

Thank you.



8 Responses to “Cat with wounded front leg licking it and won’t stop”

  1. Beth says:

    Without seeing the wound, it is difficult to identify what is going on with the cat. Some wounds are minor, but without identification, there is no way to know how severe the wound is and what caused it. When a pet constantly licks at a wound it keeps the wound moist and for most wounds, this inhibits healing. Wounds that persist can lead to very serious infections that can spread to the rest of the leg if not addressed. Trying to treat at home may cause more complications if the treatment is not appropriate for the specific type of wound. A trip to the vet is the best solution for your cat.

    The easiest way to keep the cat from licking the wound is to place an Elizabethan collar on the cat (the ones that look like lamp shades). It is important to use a stiff plastic collar that extends beyond the cat’s nose and is tight enough around the neck that the cat cannot pull it off. Cats are usually too flexible for soft e-collars to work effectively. Unfortunately, these types of collars can cause considerable stress to the cat which may create a number of problems on it’s own. If you are successful with the e-collar, the wound may heal on its own. If not, a trip to the vet is in order.

    Aside from the wound, placing the cat in the carrier is much easier if the carrier is out and accessible to the cat at all times. Place treats in the carrier from time to time so your cat knows that this is a good and pleasant place to be. Your cat will begin to associate the carrier as a positive thing rather than just a stressful box that only leads to the vet. Occasionally place the cat in the carrier and move it around the house or take short trips to pet friendly places and let the cat out with a treat when done. This also solves the problem of the cat hiding when the carrier is pulled out. You may also try a harness and a lead (with a safety harness that connects to the seat belt in the car). Some cats prefer to be able to see their surroundings as opposed to being in a concealed box where they can hear but see little that is going on. This of course, depends on the personality of the individual cat.

  2. paula says:

    A feral cat with an open wound can heal itself without an infection or will the wound heal with an infection underneath the skin casuing sepsis & death?

  3. admin says:

    Hi Paularo,

    I’m not sure I understand your question.

    Are you asking if a feral can CAN heal itself by licking or if a feral cat with a wound licks the wound the wound will go septic and will it die?

  4. Barbara L says:

    Go online to SentrX Wound Care and see their feline dose called FelitrX. Look at the pictures. Meanwhile, clean the wound with saline (salt) water, buy regular gauze bandage as a roll (about 2″ wide), and some regular gauze pads. Cut the gauze pads small to fit, and cut a piece of the roll about 6″ long. then cut down the center of one end about 2″. tie those two pieces together like tying a ribbon. Put neosporin on the wound (after washing it with salt water and drying), then cover it with the piece of pad, then wrap it as tightly as you can around the leg, finishing by tying the split end together, bring one piece around & tie a knot. then cut the loose ends. this works great on my cat, without using messy tapes that dont stick, etc. Though cats do have enzymes in their saliva to help heal, it is best to cover it this way, change bandage daily & wash with saline. check out that website for the FelitrX at SentrX Wound Care for Vets. Meanwhile, the neosporin is safe for cats and will curb any infection, as will the saline wash. Those E collars are a joke, and make for very unhappy pussycats. barbara

  5. Judy says:

    My cat has a cut on his chest that he wouldn’t leave alone. I cleaned it with warm water and peroxide. I cut out a circle of cardboard with a circle in the middle to fit over his head. He is not blinded by it in any way. It is only about 3 inches wide. He can still eat and drink with it on, it bends when he sleeps on it and his cut is almost better after 4 days of doing this. He doesn’t mind it at all. It just looks like he stuck his head in a pizza box. The good thing is if he wants it off bad enough he could just rip it and get out of it. He did that to the first one I made.

  6. Shelbey says:

    My cat, Kevin, is a tom cat. He goes in and out. One night he came home with what looked like a bigger animal had bit him. It’s been a week and now it is oozing puss. His leg is swollen but I don’t gave money to take my baby to the vet. Any help? He is extremely independent and bipolar, I can’t get him to stay still to clean it.

  7. Farm Girl says:

    I live on a 2000 acre farm with three barns that have cats in them to control our rodent and other critter population. These cats don’t interact with people. With great difficulty I was able to finally see wound in one of them. It’s a 1 inch by 1/8 inch wound on back leg right above “knee.” No sutures needed. Fur is gone at site. Called vet and she told me to give cat 125 mg of anthroxicillin daily — have it on hand here. Found a way to get it in her (quite a task). Vet also said it’s best to not use bandaid — keep the wound air exposed. I have antibiotic on hand but trying to administer it, well, that’s been impossible so far. I don’t see pus, infection; there’s no bleeding. She is perky and behaving normally but I am concerned about the periodic licks I’m noticing. Doesn’t seem to be obsessive licking but troubled that will infect it. There’s no way this cat will be able to do the Eliz collar.

    I’m concerned about not being able to administer gel antibiotic and about the periodic licks. Wondering if the amoxicillin will do the job and I should stop worrying? Keep in mind these are rural working barn cats not fit to live in a house.

  8. Linnea says:

    Shelbey, this is what happened to my cat. We took him to the vet and it turned out to be an abscess. They lanced it (made 2 small incisions that were about 2 inches apart), and then flushed it by inserting a syringe full of iodine and water solution in one hole and then flushing it out the other. This cleaned out the wound, and then they sent us home to continue flushing it for 5 days. It healed perfectly, but then another one in a different spot developed, so I bought a scalpel, and did the procedure myself. You can do this if you want, but it’s not guaranteed success. The iodine and water solution should be tea colored, not too light and not too dark. That’s what the vet told us. The incisions MUST be small though if you were to do this, but not small enough so that you can’t fit your syringe in the hole. My cat did squirm and cry a lot, but I had someone to hold him down. It’s easier and cheaper to do it yourself rather than take him to the vet, but it is a very disgusting and bloody procedure, definitely not for squeamish. Hope your cat gets better!!

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