Cats are susceptible to painful burns caused by exposure to chemicals, electricity, or heat from liquids or hot objects. Burns range in severity from first-degree burns that are painful but leave the skin intact, to second and third-degree burns that damage the skin fully or partially.
To ensure proper treatment, it is important to identify the source of the burn and to treat the injury accordingly. Check for signs of shock if the burn is a second or third-degree burn involving skin damage. Next, apply a dry, clean dressing to the affected area, being careful to ensure loose fibers don’t stick to the wound. Wrap the dressed area with a clean rag or sheet and take your cat to the vet immediately.
If the skin remains intact then the burn is considered first degree and is less serious. For burns involving a hot liquid or object it is recommended you restrain your cat and minimize damage by cooling the affected area immediately. The same treatment is recommended for electrical burns, but only after all equipment and power cords are turned off.
When dealing with chemical burns, it is important to wear gloves. Once protected, gently remove contaminated articles from your cat including collars, clothing, and harnesses. Flush the affected area for 20 minutes, being careful not to spread the chemicals to other area. Use mild shampoo or detergent to clean the area or use a mix of water and baking soda if the burn is from acid.
For mouth burns, place your cat on its side and pour cool water in their mouth using a cup or garden hose to provide a constant flow. Cover superficial burns with a non-stick bandage and contact your vet.
- potential shock
- burned skin
After treatment and a possible trip to the vet, it's important to make your cat as comfortable as possible and change their dressing regularly. To prevent future burns, keep your cat out of the kitchen when cooking and away from the barbeque when outside. It's also important to avoid passing hot food and beverages over your cat's head. Be especially careful with young cats who may enjoy chomping on power cords or drinking toilet water laced with bleach or other cleaners.