No matter what we do, pets always seem to find ways to put things in their mouths, even when they should not. Though it is typically harmless, there is always the chance that they will eat something that could be potentially dangerous. A bee buzzing and flying around will surely tempt a cat to swat at it, or worse, eat it.
Good news: bees are not poisonous to cats! The bee will simply be digested, just like any other protein. However, it is possible for a cat to be stung in the process, which can cause a reaction.
It is important to keep an eye out for any signs of a reaction, as well as symptoms that your cat is allergic to bees. In this article, I will be going over symptoms to look for, what to do if the bee sting takes a turn for the worst, and how care for your cat’s bee sting.
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If Your Cat Wasn’t Stung
When your cat has eaten a bee, the first step is to assess the situation, as your cat’s reactions will help inform you if a sting occurred. If you actually witnessed them eating the bee, try to determine if they were stung during the process of eating and swallowing the bee. Even if you did not actually see your cat eating the bee, if your cat was not stung, then they will simply digest the bee as if it were a protein snack and they will not show any signs of a reaction. The sting itself is the only part of the bee that can actually be dangerous for the cat and cause any reactions, but luckily most cats are not sensitive to bee venom and the chances of your cat being allergic to bee stings is quite low.
How To Tell if Your Cat Has Been Stung
If you saw your cat get stung by a bee or eventually discover a bee sting has occurred, it is important to remove the stinger as soon as possible before you do anything else. After that, be sure to monitor them in the following hours, as some symptoms may not show immediately or could worsen over time. Even if you did not actually see the sting occur, you will notice some reactions that will confirm your cat has been stung. Fortunately, unless your cat is allergic, bee stings are not typically life threatening for cats and most reactions will subside in the course of a few hours to a couple of days.
Here’s a list of symptoms and reactions to look out for:
- Swelling in the face, cheek, and tongue areas
- Yowling in pain or vocalizing more
- Pawing or nibbling at the place they have been stung
- Sudden odd behavior during or after they were in an area with bees around
Unless your cat is having an allergic reaction, you can treat the bee sting at home. Soothe all of the stung areas with ice packs or cool towels and keep your cat hydrated to help restore the balance of electrolytes. Avoid giving your cat larger portions of food and do not provide any human antihistamines or painkillers without checking with your vet first. If the symptoms worsen or if your cat begins to show signs of an allergic reaction, take them to the vet.
All cats will have some kind of reaction to a bee sting, but there are certain symptoms that will inform you that your cat could be experiencing an allergic reaction. Though it is rare for cats to be allergic to bees, the symptoms of an allergic reaction are severe and can be fatal. Allergic reactions usually happen within minutes of the sting, but they can be delayed over the course of a few hours, so it is crucial to closely monitor your cat after they have been stung. If you are not entirely sure that your cat is having an allergic reaction, you can always call your vet, who will be able to give you confirmation, as well as life saving treatment for your cat.
If you notice these additional symptoms, your cat is having an allergic reaction to a bee sting:
- Anaphylactic shock
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Rapid breathing or difficulty breathing
- Weakness or collapsing
- High heart rate
- Weak Pulse
- Hives on any part of your cat’s body
- Excessive drooling, caused by swelling in the throat
- Dizziness or disorientation
- Pale or brick-red gums
Though most bee stings for cats can be handled at home, if your cat shows an allergic reaction, they need to be taken to the vet as soon as possible, as these symptoms can be life threatening and your cat is highly unlikely to recover without medical help. A vet will be able to assess the severity of the situation, as well as provide optimal care and medications for a better chance at recovery. Once care and medications have been administered by the vet, your cat may be kept overnight for observation purposes, or if they are well enough, the vet may send them home with an EpiPen for future use during allergic reactions. When your cat has recovered enough to return home, you can provide the same care for them as mentioned in the previous section.
Though the situation may be frightening at first, if your cat eats a bee, there is nothing to worry about unless they get stung. Even then, most cats are not allergic to bee stings and can be cared for at home – infact many of them won’t require any care at all. Most cat owners, like myself, have learned there is little we can do if our cat’s mind is set on chasing after something, even if that something happens to be a bee. All we can do if our furry friends get stung is be diligent, understand the symptoms and proper care, and recognize when it is time to call a vet.