By combining a cat’s natural curiosity with its innate hunting instinct, there is a high percentage chance of getting into trouble. With the limited wildlife in our homes and gardens, even the smallest insect can be a large white whale for a cat. Bees and wasps are large prey compared to other species of insects that we can find near the home. Unfortunately, they can cause damage: they have a stinger in their tail that can cause problems in our kittens. In the vast majority of cases, this will be no worse than a sharp pain that will go away soon. But in other cases, it can endanger the life of the animal.
We explain what happens when a bee stings your cat, and we reveal what treatment we will need to administer, as well as ways to prevent the same thing from happening again in the future.
Are bees deadly to cats?
Insects are most present during the warmer months of the year. Bees and wasps are no exception. They are known to be prolific pollinators, which is why they are particularly attracted to flower beds or anywhere with flowering plants. While they won’t go out of their way to threaten our cat, they do pose a risk due to their ability to bite. This risk is increased by the fact that our cat may try to ingest any of these insects.
We may not be able to see if a bee stings a cat when it happens. Since we don’t monitor their every move, we may not know what happened until we see that the cat is showing signs of pain. We can confirm the injury if we see the stinger still on its skin, as it is detached from a bee when it stings an animal. The same does not happen with wasps, since their stinger remains attached to their bodies.
The bite itself will cause pain, but it will not be fatal to a cat, usually. However, there are two exceptions. First, if the cat is allergic to bee stings, the reactions can be severe and lead to anaphylactic shock. Second, if the cat ingests the bee, he can sting it internally. This can cause localized swelling that can cause outer skin problems, or close the airways if it affects the respiratory tract.
Bee venom is called apitoxin and is secreted in greater quantities by females from glands near the base of the stinger. They use it when threatened. Once the bee releases this poison on its victim, the bee dies. Wasps have a similar song that combines formic acid with a neurotoxin. However, they do not die when they bite and can bite a cat several times.
Symptoms of a bee sting in cats
If you have seen that your cat has been stung by a bee, you should first look for any allergy symptoms. In particular, we must look for severe allergic reactions. When they are bitten on the skin, they will usually only leave some localized swelling and redness. However, if the cat develops a severe reaction, we can see the following symptoms:
- Pale mucous membranes.
- Bluish tongue.
- Fast or slow heart rate.
- Fast breathing or shortness of breath
- Swelling of the face or mouth
- Irritation, pain, and swelling around the bite.
- Airway blockage due to an allergic reaction.
- Anaphylactic shock.
Since the cat sees the bee as prey, it is likely that he will try to eat it or at least play with it. If your cat was stung by a bee in the mouth, this can inflame the area. For this reason, you may see the cat with a swollen cheek, tongue, or general area of the face. The more severe the reaction, the more swelling will appear around the cat’s mouth.
What to do if your cat has been stung by a bee?
If a cat ingests a bee, two things can happen: its mouth and throat can become inflamed by the sting, which prevents the correct passage of air to the lower respiratory system, or anaphylactic shock occurs.
The latter case would be more serious and would make breathing difficult by acting on the respiratory system and producing facial edema, an exaggerated inflammation of the throat area. These put the life of the animal in great danger. In both cases, it is advisable to go to the veterinary center to start treatment urgently.
Tips to prevent a bee from stinging your cat
To prevent your cat from being stung by a bee or wasp, you can try limiting her time outdoors during the warmer months. Especially if your cat is allergic to bee stings. In other cases, it may be better for the cat’s overall health to let it sit outside. However, since bees and wasps can enter the home, we can also use insect nests or insect repellants and diffusers.