Neosporin On Cats – Is It Safe?

Neosporin is a popular antibiotic ointment that is present in most home first aid kits.

With this ointment being used to treat an array of minor skin injuries in humans, some pet owners wonder if this topical ointment can be used on their cats as well.

Though this is a wonderful option for us, it’s not as safe for our feline friends.

In this article we will dive into the details of Neosporin use on cats, and help you better understand why this antibiotic ointment is not the best way to treat your cat’s minor skin injuries.

Neosporin On Cats - Is It Bad For Them

What Is Neosporin?

Neosporin is an antibiotic ointment that can be purchased over the counter in most stores around the world.

Neosporin is a triple antibiotic ointment, as it contains the antibacterial ingredients known as polymyxin B, neomycin, and bacitracin.

This combination of antibacterial ingredients can tend to minor wounds of the skin, helping to prevent bacterial growth as the wound heals.

Though most versions of Neosporin simply fight bacteria, some have ingredients to minimize pain as well.

Is Neosporin Safe For Cats?

Unfortunately, Neosporin is not as safe for cats as it is for humans.

Part of the reason any forms of antibiotic cream can be dangerous to cats is the fact that they are avid groomers, increasing the risk of these ointments being ingested.

Neosporin is not meant to be consumed by anyone that uses it, but especially our feline friends.

Cats are known to have severe allergic reactions when consuming neomycin and polymyxin B.

These ingredients can not only lead to significant GI upset, but they can also cause an anaphylactic reaction.

Anaphylactic reactions can be deadly if they are not addressed immediately, leading to our opinion that the use of Neosporin in cats is just not worth the risk.

Can You Put Neosporin On Your Cat’s Skin?

Though the most significant risk of Neosporin use in cats is the danger of ingestion, using Neosporin on a cat’s skin can be risky as well.

Cats can experience skin irritation when using antibiotic cream for humans, as these products can be a bit too harsh for their skin.

Some cats will experience skin redness, itching, burning, and even swelling in severe cases.

Though many cats will tolerate Neosporin without issue, there is a high likelihood of topical reaction.

If you would still like to use Neosporin on your cat’s minor wound, we always suggest reaching out to your vet for direction.

They can either offer you advice on how to apply it to your cat’s skin safely, or potentially suggest an alternative that is safer for your feline friend.

Signs Of Neosporin Toxicity In Cats

If you do choose to use Neosporin on your feline companion, there are a few potential signs of toxicity that you should be aware of.

Allergic reactions and skin irritation is on the table when using this product on your cat’s skin, so it’s important to educate yourself on the potential signs of Neosporin toxicity.

Some of the most common signs of Neosporin toxicity in cats include:

  • Skin redness
  • Itchy skin
  • Swelling of the skin
  • Hives
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anorexia
  • Weakness
  • Respiratory changes

If you notice any of the above symptoms in your cat after using Neosporin, we suggest contacting your veterinarian immediately.

These symptoms can be a sign of a severe allergic reaction, so it’s important to seek guidance as soon as possible.

Can I Use Neosporin On My Cat’s Eye?

Whether you are using Neosporin skin ointment or Neosporin ophthalmic ointment, you should never put Neosporin in your cat’s eye.

These products can not only be extremely irritating when applied to a cat’s eye, but they can further complicate any eye conditions that your cat is experiencing.

Using Neosporin on your cat’s eye can cause significant irritation, corneal ulcers, swelling of the tissue, and even blindness if they have a severe enough reaction.

Though this guidance can apply to any topical or ophthalmic ointment used in cats without veterinary guidance, you should never use any form of Neosporin on your cat’s eyes.

Are There Alternatives To Neosporin For Cats?

Unfortunately, there are no over the counter alternatives to Neosporin in cats.

Using topical ointments in our feline friends can be tricky, as there is always a risk of potential ingestion.

Most store-bought ointments only have humans in mind, so they are not often created with cat-safe ingredients. Because of this, we do not suggest relying on any over the counter ointments without guidance from your veterinarian.

The best way to find a safe antibiotic ointment for your cat is by reaching out to your veterinarian.

They may either prescribe a topical ointment that is safe for your cat’s skin, or they may even offer you specific guidance on the use of a store-bought product.

You never want to further complicate the current wound your cat is experiencing, so it’s always best to just seek advice from your trusted vet.

Can I Treat My Cat’s Wound At Home?

If your cat receives a minor injury at home, there are a few ways that you can care for the wound on your own.

First, you can attend to any bleeding that happens in the moments after the injury. If it is a superficial wound that stops bleeding with mild pressure, it is typically safe to address the bleeding at home without an immediate trip to the vet.

Once the bleeding stops, we suggest contacting your vet for further guidance.

Once you give your vet a call, we suggest describing the wound and the way it was received.

You can then ask if this is a situation that allows for at home care, and whether or not it’s safe to perform a simple first aid protocol.

If they say yes, you can typically clean the minor wound with sterile saline and iodine. You will need to keep a close eye on the wound as it heals, and make sure to contact your vet if you notice any sign of developing infection.

It’s important to note that there are certain situations that warrant a trip to the vet no matter how minor the wound may seem to you.

You should always plan a trip to your vet if the following occurs:

  • The wound does not stop bleeding with pressure
  • The wound was sustained when fighting with another animal
  • The wound is a puncture wound from another animal
  • Your cat is in distress after the injury
  • The wound was exposed to dirt, plant material, dust, or any other germ filled surface
  • The wound is more severe than a simple scratch, burn, abrasion, or bug bite

No matter how minor a wound may seem, we always suggest giving your vet a call.

They may offer you guidance in caring for their injury at home, but it is always best to rule out the need for urgent veterinary care.

Final Thoughts

Neosporin may be a wonderful tool in caring for our minor wounds, but it is not a safe option for cats.

If your cat ever requires an antibiotic ointment for their injury, it’s best to reach out to your veterinarian for further guidance.

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