Has your cat been stung by a wasp on their paw and is now limping? Being on the receiving end of a stinger causes pain and swelling, but are there additional concerns when a cat is stung by a wasp or bee?
Stings to the face or mouth can cause dangerous swelling and blockage of air passageways. Aside from the dangers of swelling, some cats may experience an allergic reaction after a wasp sting. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that occurs when a body goes into shock after experiencing a trigger. If your cat shows signs of shock (shivering, weak pulse, rapid breathing, weakness, etc.), they require immediate medical intervention.
Wasp Sting On A Cat
It’s not uncommon during the warmer months for buzzing insects to ignite a cat’s predatory instincts. A buzzing bee or wasp seems like the perfect prey to swat and bite until it’s too late.
Discovering that a wasp stung your cat may be the trickiest step in treating a wasp sting. Cats hid their pain very well. Unless you see the sting take place, you’ll first need to spot any signals that your cat was stung. If you notice your cat pawing at their face or chewing their skin, they may have been stung. Signs that a wasp or bee stung your feline include:
- Nibbling or biting the area where stung
- Pawing at their face, mouth, or throat
- Localized swelling in the stung area
- Vocalizing or yowling more than usual
If you notice any abnormal behavior, inspect your cat for signs of a wasp sting. If you didn’t see the attack take place, you’ll need to attempt to identify what’s causing your cat pain. Search your area for flying or crawling insects that might be the perpetrator. Wasps are long, thin, and relatively hairless, with bright yellow and black coloring. Bees are typically fuzzy and look plump in comparison, with light brown-yellow coloring. Check for signs of a sting on your cat. Bees leave behind their stinger and can only sting once. Wasps keep their stinger and can sting more than once during a fight.
Cat Wasp Sting Symptoms
A sting from a wasp, hornet, yellowjacket, or bee can be painful; otherwise, symptoms are typically mild. If a wasp stings your cat on their body, legs, or paws, the sting will usually cause mild swelling and tenderness. Stings on the face can cause dangerous swelling. Swelling around the throat may result in suffocation. If your cat shows respiratory distress, seek emergency medical care. Signs of respiratory distress include:
- Labored breathing
- Open-mouth breathing
- Pale or blue mucous membranes (check your cat’s gums)
- Shallow breathing
- Short, rapid breaths
Signs Of An Allergic Reaction
Aside from the dangers of swelling, some cats may experience an allergic reaction after a wasp sting. In extreme reactions, your cat may experience anaphylactic shock. If swelling continues or your feline shows signs of breathing difficulty, drooling, or seizures, seek emergency medical care. Other symptoms of an allergic reaction in cats include:
- Disorientation or stumbling
- Heart rate changes (fast or slow)
- Low body temperature (feel your cat’s paws)
- Pale gums
Your vet will likely administer epinephrine or antihistamines and may administer oxygen and IV fluids. Your vet may perform urine and blood tests to determine if organ damage occurred. Sometimes, your vet may prescribe an Epi-Pen for future insect stings.
Wasp Sting Treatment For Cats
Typically, you can treat a wasp sting on a cat at home. Follow the following steps:
- Wasps don’t leave their stingers, but in the case of bees, you will see a stinger that needs to be removed from the skin. Use a credit card or the back of a butter knife to scrape away the stinger in the direction that it came in. Never use your fingers or tweezers to remove a stinger; this technique can squeeze the venom sack and worsen the reaction.
- Wash the injection site with soap and water.
- Apply an ice pack or a cold compress to reduce swelling and pain. When using an ice pack, wrap a towel around it before putting it on your feline’s skin.
- If you notice your cat itching, ask your vet about using cortisone cream for itch relief. You may also use a cone or cat booties to prevent further irritation to the skin. A cat head cone or booties will limit your cat’s ability to bite, scratch, or lick the wound site. VCA Animal Hospitals recommends a soothing oatmeal bath for a cat with multiple stings.
- Monitor your cat’s behavior and health for 24 hours. Make sure they are eating and drinking. Watch your cat for signs of shock: a drop in body temp so that your cat feels cold to the touch, shivering, pale mucous membranes, weak and often rapid pulse, rapid breathing, and weakness.
- For a sting inside the mouth, seek medical attention immediately. Your vet will observe your cat for difficulty breathing. You should also contact your vet for stings near the eye, mouth, or throat.
- If your cat is prone to insect stings, have a first aid kit (antihistamines, ice pack, etc). Keep your vet’s phone number handy, as well as the number to the nearest emergency clinic.
Neutralize The Venom
You may also try to neutralize the sting using a home remedy. You may have heard something to the effect of “bee stings are acidic, so treat them with baking soda (an alkali); however, wasp stings are alkali, so treat them with vinegar (an acid).” While some say a baking soda paste or a splash of vinegar will neutralize venom, this doesn’t appear to be scientifically supported. Still, many people report that vinegar helps relieve the pain of a wasp sting and could be a tool for pain relief.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Harmful Is A Wasp Sting To Cats?
While painful, a wasp sting on a cat will usually cause only a mild reaction and seldom causes serious problems. Contact your vet for stings on the face or neck. Your vet should monitor your cat’s breathing to ensure no dangerous swelling. Too much swelling could lead to suffocation.
Are Cats Allergic To Wasps?
Yes, cats can be allergic to wasps. See emergency medical support if your cat shows signs of a severe allergic reaction (difficulty breathing, drooling, seizures).
Will My Cat Be Okay If They Ate A Wasp Or Bee?
Your cat might eat an insect without getting punctured, but if your cat ate a bee or wasp and got stung, they will likely experience mild symptoms like pain and swelling. Contact your vet if you think your cat was stung in the mouth.
Can You Give A Cat Benadryl For A Wasp Sting?
According to VCA Animal Hospitals, you can give your cat diphenhydramine (Benadryl, Vetadryl) to prevent an allergic reaction. Talk to your veterinarian first for dosing.
How Long Does A Wasp Sting Last?
Symptoms of a wasp sting could last a few hours to a few days. In cases of an allergic reaction, your cat may experience symptoms for longer.
Feeling overwhelmed and scared when your cat gets hurt is natural. To keep your cool in any situation, familiarize yourself with emergency procedures and create a first aid kit for your furry friend. Not sure what you need? Read our article on colloidal silver and other medicinal herbs for your cat.