Aloe vera for cat with wound from excessive licking?

by Lisa

I hope that someone out there could give me some advice. I took in a brother and sister. And the sister kitty is an excessive licker.


She now has a wound the size of a quarter. I want to know if I can use aloe vera on the wound. I don't have a lot of money.

Editor's note: Thank you for taking in these cats. I'm sorry to hear that your little girl cat is having troubles.

I can't give you medical advice, Lisa, so I have to say... see the vet. I will, however, tell you what I would/would not do if it were my cat and what my experience has been.

Whenever my cats have had a wound (post-surgery, insect/spider bites, etc.) and were licking it, my veterinarians have always said to not put anything on it at all.

That, of course, is assuming the wound is not infected, which only your vet can confirm for sure.

I have no way of knowing whether or not your cat's skin was intact, and it was the excessive licking that caused the skin to break, or if there was a break in the skin from something else already (a bite, a puncture, etc.). But, I would think that's something a vet would want to know for proper diagnosis.

You can use an Elizabethan collar (the cone of shame!) to keep her from getting at the area, although with some cats this may increase stress levels even more.

I would NOT use aloe vera products, or any product made for humans containing aloe vera on my cats unless directed to do so by my vet.

Some people have reported allergic reactions to raw aloe vera. Whether or not this was due to a failure to keep some of the "latex" of the plant from contacting flesh, I don't know. But you can't tell if your cat is allergic to aloe vera by using it on a wound, so I would not try.

In addition, products made for humans may contain ingredients that are harmful to your cat or at best, burn or sting. Also, some of these ingredients should not be ingested, which is surely what will happen without a collar (or in some cases with a collar).

My bottom line is that I do not use products made for humans on my cats unless directed to do so by my veterinarian.

There are many reasons for excessive licking, including various illnesses, skin conditions, neurological disorders, fleas, allergies and stress. Obviously a diagnosis is required, and treatment (e.g. steroids for allergies) may be needed.

If the cause of the licking is allergy related, you'll have to figure out the source. It could be a food allergy, or it could be something she's been exposed to in the house.

If it's a flea allergy, you need to address the fleas and the eggs and larva on your cat, on/in your furniture/house, and outside the house/in the yard as well.

If it's purely stress related, you need to do what you can to make sure that you reduce your cat's stress as much as possible. Rescue Remedy or Feliway may help.

Frankie and Teddie both went through periods where they would lick their bellies raw. The solution for that was to reduce stress by increasing attention and play time / exercise levels. It's amazing how much fun it is to have 2 or 3 cats chasing you around the house as you drag an old beat up belt on the floor!

I'm assuming you recently took these cats into your home. Are the cats confined to a safe room so they can adjust slowly to their new environment?

This helps to reduce stress when transitioning to a new home. Keep them in a room together with everything they need and lots of attention. Exploring the rest of the house and introductions to other pets come later.

About the effectiveness and safety of aloe vera:

Aloe vera: "Toxicity: Toxic to Dogs, Toxic to Cats"

Now, that's the plant, which includes not only the gel or juice, but the latex and skin. Still, I wouldn't want to find out the hard way.

But I also found this that says that the "liquid portion" of the plant has toxic potential.

"Due to the high probability of ingestion, we generally do not recommend using the plant as a salve on pets."

Note: I can't find aloe vera on the Humane Society's list of poisonous plants. So... check all sources. :)

This next one relates to humans, but Medline says...

Aloe

"There is conflicting information about whether aloe works to improve wound healing."

There are other credible references that suggest that ingesting aloe is bad for cats, but I'll stop there. I just don't think it's worth the risk.

I hope it's just stress and your little kitty recovers quickly.

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