Vet-Approved Tips: How to Help Your Cat After a Bee or Wasp Sting


Cats often get stung by insects. Bugs are a favorite prey for cats who like to play. Your cat may be playful and curious and stick its paws too close to the wasp or bee. Most cats heal themselves from bee stings and only need minor first aid. Some cats can have life-threatening reactions after being stung. Consider contacting your vet if you notice any signs of an allergic reaction in your cat.

Let’s look at how you would handle this situation.

There are many different types of insect stings

Both wasps and bees sting cats often. Although they may look alike, their stings differ greatly. Wasps sting with straight stingers, which do not detach. One wasp can sting repeatedly.

A bee’s stinger will detach during a sting. The stinger is left on your cat because each bee only stings once. The venom may continue to flow for several minutes. Removing the stinger immediately will reduce swelling and pain.


Bee Stings: Signs and Symptoms

Cats may try to hide their pain and it is not always obvious that they have been stung by a bee. Bee stings tend to be more common among younger cats or cats who have access to the outside, but can occur inside or outdoors and on older or younger cat.

Cats usually get stung on their faces and paws. The cat may limp, paw or scratch the sting. You can look for a small, swollen lump where the sting occurred.

Bee Sting First Aid

Image Credit: Ivonne Wierink, Shutterstock

You should remove your cat from the stinging area as soon as you notice it. Find a safe place to treat and evaluate your cat. Even though one sting will not cause severe reactions, there may be other wasps or bees nearby. The most serious reactions to insect bites are caused by being stung repeatedly.

It is vital to remove the bee stinger as soon as possible if your cat has been stung. Use the edge of the driver’s licence or credit card to scrape out the stinger. Do not use tweezers to remove the stinger. They can damage the venom sac and worsen the sting.

Examine your cat’s injuries after the stinger has been removed. Check your cat’s coat to ensure there aren’t any other insect stings. Watch your cat’s reactions to see if there is a more serious allergic reaction. Most insect bites do not require veterinary attention. Visit a vet as soon as possible if you cat was stung multiple times or the insect sting happened inside the mouth. No matter where your cat has been stung or how many times, it’s worth calling your vet.

A cold compress can help to reduce swelling in cats who only have minor symptoms. Applying frozen vegetables, an icepack, or a cool towel to the area will reduce swelling and ease the pain.

Diphenhydramine/Benadryl can reduce swelling and minimize allergic reactions in cats, but you should always be cautious in giving your cat over-the-counter medicines. Be sure to read the label and make sure that there aren’t any pain medicines mixed in. Cats are poisoned by many pain medications. The dosage also varies between cats. PetMD recommends giving your cat Benadryl for every pound of weight of your cat in case of insect bites. Contact your veterinarian for advice if you are unsure about whether or not to give your cat an over-the counter medicine.

Monitor your cat’s behavior for any signs of a severe reaction, even if it seems like a minor sting. Contact a veterinarian immediately if you notice symptoms of an allergic reaction.

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