Treating bee stings in cats
As flowers begin to bloom this month, bees and wasps will start to emerge from their long winter hibernation. Your cat might mistake them for a playmate, so you need to be alert to the risk of bee stings.
Five actions to take after a bee sting
- Find and remove the sting
A bee’s sting breaks off when used and remains in the skin – often injecting venom for up to 10 minutes after the incident. To limit the damage, you should try to find the sting and carefully remove it as soon as possible.
- Keep your cat away from danger
Remove your cat from the area it was stung, to avoid further injury. And, it sounds obvious, but if you notice your cat near bees or wasps – particularly a nest site – find ways to discourage them or remove whatever is attracting the insects.
- Contact us
To be as safe as possible, bring your cat in for a check-up.
Using antihistamines as soon as possible after the sting can help to control your pet’s reaction. As there are only a few human prescription-only antihistamines that are effective and safe for cats, you should contact our team immediately for advice.
- Don’t attempt any home remedies
Some people think that adding vinegar to wasp stings or bicarbonate of soda to bee stings can help. It doesn’t, and may well increase discomfort.
Spotting a bee sting
If you know it’s a bee sting, the advice above should help a great deal. But sometimes the cause of your pet’s distress may not be clear.
You may notice:
- A squeal or yelp – a sting is painful, so it’s common for the animal to react with shock
- Excessive scratching of the face and generally restless, anxious behaviour
- Excessive salivation, meaning the cat has been stung in or near the mouth (this can be distressing to watch)
- Swelling, especially in the face
- Lameness or swelling in a paw – usually the front legs, which can sometimes appear to be a broken limb
- Difficulty breathing – this is unusual, but if you notice it you should check your cat’s tongue; if it’s pale or blue, your cat needs urgent attention from a vet and you should call us immediately on 01527 889810
Please don’t hesitate to contact us about a bee sting, or any other pet concern. We’re always happy to book an appointment for you.
If it’s an emergency, please state this clearly when you call.