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Frostbite on a Cat

Frostbite literally means the freezing of skin and tissues. It is the destruction of tissue by freezing and is characterized by tingling, blistering and possibly gangrene. In humans it usually occurs on the nose, ears, fingers, or toes, but it can occur on any part of the body which is exposed to freezing temperatures.

Cat laying on blanket with a frostbitten chunk of flesh on its neck

This cat had somehow gotten a scrape on the back of his neck. It almost looked like he was grabbed by another animal, possibly a fox. The hair was pulled out and there were a few scratches on his bald neck. This normally would have healed up fine, however, it was winter and temperatures dropped into the teens. From the wetness of the scrapes, in combination with the cat licking (what little he could reach), scratching the wound with his claws and the other cats and dogs licking the wound for the cat, the cat's neck became wet during a frigid night. This cat developed frostbite.

Cat laying on blanket with frostbite on its neck

The skin was black and rubbery. From the cat scratching his own neck with his claws, he cut himself even more; with the cuts came more moisture, and more to freeze. The skin under the frostbite became infected and the patch of frostbite began to peel upward.

Close Up - Cat skin that is coming off because of frost bite

When the frostbite was discovered, the cat was brought inside a warm house, his wound soaked with Epsom salts to remove the black, rubbery skin and to treat the infection under it. This is the rubbery, frostbitten skin after it had been soaked for a good 15 minutes in very warm Epsom salts.

Close Up - Frost bitten cat skin coming off

The frostbitten skin peeling off

Cat wrapped in blanket with frost bitten skin coming off even more

It has to be removed very carefully by soaking it and letting it peel off on its own.

Close Up - Rubbery frostbitten skin

Rubbery, frostbitten skin being removed

Close up - Frost bitten skin
Close Up - Frost bitten Skin almost off
Close Up - Frost Bitten Skin after it has been removed

Dripping very warm Epsom salts into the wound and the frostbitten skin finally comes off.

Close Up - Frost Bitten Skin in the hand of a person

Look at the darkness of it. It was even darker before it was soaked in the Epsom salts.

Close Up - Of Cat with frost bitten skin taken off

Now the skin underneath can be treated. Hopefully the hair will grow back. This cat will have to be kept out of the cold until it does.

Cat with removed skin eating food
Close Up - Frost Bitten Cat Healing Day 2

Day 2—You can see yellowish infection on the skin.

Close Up - Frost Bitten Cat Healing Day 3

Day 3—Looking much better

Epsom Salt package and Epsom Salt in a bowl

This cat was soaked in Epsom salts twice daily to suck out any infection that may have started and to promote healing. He was also given 62.5mg of Clavamox (antibiotic) twice daily as a precaution.

Cat standing on blanket with a person holding epsom salt to the exposed skin area

A paper towel was dipped in the warm salt water and placed on the cat’s back. After a minute or two, the paper towel was exchanged with a fresh, warm one, which was already in the water ready to go. When dealing with a cat, you do not have much time before the cat gets upset, so a speedy switch is beneficial.

Bruno the Boxer licking the Cats wounded area

The dog was also encouraged to lick the cat's wound to promote a speedy recovery. Dog saliva has a natural healing agent in it. The built-in germicide found in the saliva of a dog amazingly heals wounds in record time. The cat rather enjoyed being licked by the dog.

Close Up - Frost Bitten Cat Healing Day 4

Day 4—At this point the cat was on antibiotics and there were no signs of infection, so no need to soak in Epsom salts.

Close Up - Frost Bitten Cat Healing Day 5

Day 5

Close Up - Frost Bitten Cat Healing Day 6

Day 6

Close Up - Frost Bitten Cat Healing Day 7

Day 7

Close Up - Frost Bitten Cat Healing Day 8

Day 8

Close Up - Frost Bitten Cat Healing Day 9

Day 9

Close Up - Frost Bitten Cat Healing Day 10

Day 10

Close Up - Frost Bitten Cat Healing Day 11

Day 11

Close Up - Frost Bitten Cat Healing Day 12

Day 12

Close Up - Frost Bitten Cat Healing Day 13

Day 13

Close Up - Frost Bitten Cat Healing Day 14

Day 14—the cat has been scratching at it. It is most likely itching. He cannot reach it to lick it, and we cannot stick a cone on this head, because the wound is right at the base of the neck where the cone would rest. Overall it is healing up and there is no infection.

Close Up - Frost Bitten Cat Healing Day 15

Day 15

Close Up - Frost Bitten Cat Healing Day 16

Day 16

Close Up - Frost Bitten Cat Healing Day 17

Day 17

Close Up - Frost Bitten Cat Healing Day 18

Day 18—Notice the hair

Close Up - Frost Bitten Cat Healing Day 19

Day 19

Close Up - Frost Bitten Cat Healing Day 20

Day 20

Written by Sharon Maguire© Dog Breed Info Center® All Rights Reserved