Burns and scalds to cats can easily happen to an unsuspecting feline. Particularly in the kitchen, there are many potential dangers for a cat. As a result, although it is often recommended to feed a kitten in the kitchen, it may well be better to choose another part of the home for this purpose, such as the bathroom. Otherwise, you may well find that your cat gets under your feet, which is potentially very dangerous for both of you when you are cooking.
The danger with burns is that the slow-healing wound will become infected. Bathing in salt water twice a day will help to prevent this, but serious burn cases should be taken to the vet.
Are there other dangers which can result in cats being burnt?
Scalds are more common in cats than burns, usually occurring as a result of having a kettle of water or boiling fat spilt on them. Cats can burn themselves easily by jumping on to a work surface and coming into contact with the hot rings of a hob. You will need to seek veterinary help without delay in such cases, particularly if the affected area is large.
Emergency First Aid for a Burnt or Scalded Cat
As an emergency first aid measure however, plunge your cat into the bath, and hose the affected area with cold water using a shower head for at least five minutes. If this is to be effective, it will need to be carried out as soon as possible after the accident, in order to reduce the inflammation. Wear a thick pair of gloves when carrying out this task. Not only will your cat be scared because of the pain and shock of the injury, but it will also dislike being submerged in water, and so it is likely to struggle, lashing out with its claws and teeth. You may well need to hold it by the scruff of is neck under these circumstances.
Burns sometimes occur simply because a cat falls asleep too close to a fire, singeing its coat, which will create an unpleasant smell. The extent of injuries of this type is usually minor however, as the cat wakes up quickly and moves away from the fire. Always check the guards in front of fires however, to ensure that your cat is protected from the flames.
- You should never try to pick up a cat which has a live flex in its mouth. Instead, turn off the power and disconnect the plug first. Otherwise you may both end up being electrocuted.
- Not all burns show up at once. The effects of chemical burns can take several days to become apparent.
- Cats are able to stand slightly higher temperatures than people, up to 52°C (126°F), without signs of discomfort.
- Kittens are at particular risk from electrical burns, if they tend to chew live flexes. Their sharp canine teeth have little difficulty in piercing the outer covering, so they receive what can be a fatal shock. At the very least, a cat injured in this way will receive a badly burnt mouth, which is a serious injury, as it will then be reluctant to eat because of the pain.
What are the most common problems associated with burns and scalds to cats?
The cat will be in a severe state of shock at first, and the affected area is likely to be slow to heal, increasing the risk of infection. Skin grafts may be required in the worst cases. These are usually taken from the underside of the body, where there are loose folds of skin.