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Cat Stung By A Bee Or Wasp? Here’s What You Need To Do

Do you know what to do if your cat gets stung by a bee? Unfortunately, cats can sometimes get stung by bees. Owners need to know what to do in this scary situation. Are bee stings serious for cats? When is it time to go to the vet? We discuss these questions and more.

Danielle DeGroot

Last Updated: May 8, 2023 | 7 min read

cat looking at a bee on the ground

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Cats are notorious for chasing after bugs and little critters. They are natural-born hunters, so this is no surprise, and for many cats chasing after a flying insect is a grand adventure. However, while chasing after flying things is common behavior, not all insects are the same or safe. Sometimes kitties can cross paths with a bee, leading to stings. A cat stung by a bee can be a somewhat chaotic situation. What should you do if a bee stings your cat? When is it time to call the vet?

It is common for owners to have questions and even become worried or upset if their pet cats are stung by, step on, or eat a bee. One thing owners can do to prepare is to learn a little more about what to do if a cat is stung.

A pet getting stung is scary and is a very tense situation. Owners must stay calm and not panic. The good news is that stings are a fairly common occurrence for felines, and with the correct information and prompt treatment, your sweet purr baby will recover and be back to her catty self soon in a short time.

Are Bee Stings Dangerous For Cats?

The venom is not usually strong enough to cause a severe reaction in most felines. There are some cats that are allergic to venom, and for these kitties, there is a much more significant danger. They can experience anaphylactic shock or become very sick.

Unfortunately, there is no way for owners to know if their kitty is allergic or not, so if a bee stings your pet, it is always best to call your veterinarian. She must be seen in the office immediately if you notice a severe reaction. Most of the time, your vet will guide you through home treatment and can advise you on what your next steps should be.

An extreme reaction may not immediately be apparent, but owners will quickly realize something is wrong. Cats experiencing an allergic reaction or anaphylactic shock can experience the following symptoms:

  1. Hives
  2. Pale gums
  3. Low body temperature
  4. Cold limbs and paws
  5. Shallow breathing
  6. Drooling
  7. Irregular heart rate – too fast or too slow
  8. Vomiting
  9. Diarrhea
  10. Disorientation and confusion
  11. Clumsiness and unsteadiness when walking
  12. Mood changes, loss of mental function

Most allergic or severe reactions will happen within 20 minutes of the event. In some cases, they may be delayed a few hours. Make sure to observe your pet closely for 24 hours

What Does A Bee Sting Look Like?

Most of the time, a feline with a sting will experience swelling, tenderness, and redness at the site. Stings are mostly localized reactions, affecting one area rather than the entire body. Cats often get stung on the face, mouth, paws, and arms. This is because they investigate face-first and often play with things they find.

Cats with insect stings may start to limp, whimper, cry, or lick excessively at the sting site. They may swat at their faces or start rubbing on things forcefully. The sting site will likely be swollen and itchy. This can last for about 24 hours before beginning to wane.

What To Do If A Cat Gets Stung By A Bee

A cat getting stung requires prompt attention. This is important for several reasons. First, owners want to ensure their pet is not stung again or still has a stinger stuck in their mouth, face, or paw.

Once you have located the stinger, it must be removed. This is a delicate process so as not to cause further injury. Stingers can continue to release venom into the skin if left in place.

Steps To Remove A Stinger

  1. To remove the stinger, first make sure to secure your pet and protect yourself from any bites, scratches, or accidental stings. A stinger has a venom sac that continues to release venom for two to three minutes after the puncture. Because of this risk, owners need to be cautious and remove it as soon as possible.
  2. Once you have located the stinger, remove it without breaking it and leaving a piece in your cat’s flesh. Use a flat edge like a piece of cardboard or a credit card to scrape the singer out. Tweezers can also be used to pull it out.
  3. Once the stinger is out, owners can apply a cold cloth or compress to the injury site.
  4. A baking soda and water paste can be applied to reduce some itching and neutralize the venom.
  5. Do not administer any medications without first consulting your veterinarian.
  6. Prevent your kitty from licking the sting site. This may require a wrap or e-collar.
  7. Observe your purr baby for the next 24 hours. If you notice any signs of a severe reaction or your kitty does not improve, take her in to be seen as soon as possible.

If you see a puncture site, but you cannot find the stinger, she may have eaten it. When a kitty is stung in the mouth, this will likely be made clear very quickly. If she manages to swallow the stinger without a puncture, she will pass it and digest it with her food.

What To Do If Your Cat Is Stung By A Bee On Their Paw

If your purr baby is stung on their paw, you should take a few additional steps to ensure that the sting is appropriately treated. First, remove any loose fur or debris from the area around the injury. Next, soak the affected paw in a mixture of warm water and Epsom salt for 10-15 minutes to help reduce swelling and pain. You will want to keep the swelling to a minimum. An oatmeal bath can be very soothing for cats with a large wound or more than one welt.

After soaking, dry the paw and apply a topical ointment or antihistamine as directed by your veterinarian. It is also a good idea to monitor your purr baby closely for any signs of infection, such as redness or discharge from the injury site. You can also apply an ice pack for about 10 minutes at a time to bring down swelling.

Expect kitties to show signs of improvement about 24 hours after the event.

When To Seek Veterinary Care For Cat With Bee Sting

If your kitty shows any signs of an allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing or swelling of the face, tongue, or mouth, you should seek veterinary care immediately. Some cats may have a severe allergic reaction, which can be life-threatening.

In addition, if your kitty has been stung multiple times or the site becomes infected, you should seek veterinary care. Your veterinarian can provide treatment to help reduce swelling and pain and prescribe antibiotics to treat any infection.

In most cases, an encounter with a stinger will only cause mild to moderate symptoms that can be treated at home. However, there are some situations in which you should seek veterinary care for your pet. These include:

  • Your kitty has been attacked multiple times
  • Pet is having difficulty breathing or seems to be in distress
  • If symptoms are not improving after a few hours
  • A history of severe allergic reactions to insect bites.
  • In these situations, your veterinarian may recommend additional treatment options, such as medication or intravenous fluids.

What About Wasps?

Wasps and bees both have stingers and poisonous venom. Most felines are not allergic to wasps and will experience a mild reaction. However, bees and wasps do have some differences. One is their stingers. When bees sting, their stingers detach and can only sting once. Wasps, on the other hand, do not shed the stinger meaning they can attack again. Since wasps can sting more than once, they are more dangerous.

Bees are typically less aggressive than wasps and will only attack when they feel threatened. Wasps, on the other hand, are more aggressive and may puncture multiple times without provocation. The venom from a wasp is also typically more potent, which can lead to more severe symptoms. If you suspect a wasp has stung your pet rather, monitoring their symptoms closely and seeking veterinary care if necessary is imperative.

If your purr baby is stung by a wasp, the treatment is similar to that of a bee injury. You should remove the stinger (if present), clean the site, and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling and pain. Anytime a pet shows any signs of an allergic reaction, seek veterinary care immediately.

Tips For Preventing Bee Stings In Cats

The best way to prevent these injuries is to keep your kitty indoors as much as possible. If you do let your cat outside, consider the following tips to minimize the risk of stings:

  • Avoid areas with high insect activity, such as picnic tables, flower beds, fruit trees, and trash cans.
  • Keep your pet indoors during peak activity times, such as midday and early afternoon.
  • Stay away from hives or wasp nests.
  • Use insect repellent or citronella candles to deter insects
  • Consider having your pet wear a protective collar or harness when outside.
  • Keep food and water dishes indoors to avoid attracting insects.
  • Keep your cat’s fur clean and well-groomed to reduce the chances of bees getting trapped in their fur.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cat was stung by a bee. Is this an emergency?

A cat being stung is not necessarily an emergency, but it will need prompt attention. If your cat has a severe reaction, this is an emergency. If unsure, call your vet or go to the nearest emergency vet clinic.

Is a bee sting on a cat serious?

Most stings in felines are not serious but will be uncomfortable and painful for a few days. A small number of felines are allergic to the venom, which can result in a more severe reaction.

How long will a bee sting affect my cat?

Cats can experience symptoms for at least 24 hours. Some may last longer. An allergic reaction will usually appear within 20 minutes of being stung.

Can Benadryl help a cat with a bee or wasp sting?

Diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in Benadryl, can be helpful for felines and insect issues. Always consult your vet before giving your kitty any antihistamine or over-the-counter medication. Usually, the recommended dose for Benadryl is one milligram per pound of body weight.

Final Thoughts

Cats are curious and active creatures, often encountering insects and other bugs. Some of these have stingers. If something stings or bites your cat, this can be a stressful and sometimes serious situation. Owners need to act quickly to make sure their pet is okay. Owners must remove the bee stinger and provide proper treatment. See veterinary attention immediately if your pet shows signs of a severe allergic reaction. Knowing the symptoms and treatment options, you can help keep your furry friend safe and comfortable.

Bee stings are painful and can be frightening for pets and owners. Owners must remember that they are responsible for staying calm and level-headed and taking quick steps to care for their pets. owners may want to look into pet insurance, which can help cover care costs in emergencies.

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