What Antibiotic Ointment Is Safe for Cats?

If your cat was brave or crazy enough to go outside and get into a fight with another cat or even a dog, she might have been badly bruised, scratched, or even bitten. 

For bites, you’ll have to do more than look for an antibiotic ointment for cats as they can become severely infected. Cats that get deeply bitten by other cats can have muscular abscesses due to the presence of pyogenic (puss-creating) bacteria in their mouths.

But if you’re looking for a product that you can use to treat a superficial scratch, you can use a topical antibiotic ointment for cats or even one for humans. Here’s what you should know.

What antibiotic ointment is safe for cats?

First of all, the ideal situation would be for you to take your feline friend to the vet rather than have to treat the scratch at home. Cats can be particularly sensitive to a variety of medications, unlike dogs, and they can suffer severe intoxications from them.

However, most antibiotic ointments for humans are safe for pets, too, including cats. 

Just to be on the safe side of things, you can ask your veterinarian when you go in for a checkup to prescribe you something specific for cats, just so you have it in your home. 

I’m sure the vet isn’t going to have any second thoughts about doing this if you have an outdoor cat that can get into fights. 

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Neosporin + Pain Relief Dual Action Cream, 1 Oz

  • Neosporin

Neosporin is an antibiotic ointment produced by Johnson & Johnson. It contains a combination of three antibiotics — bacitracin, polymyxin B, and neomycin. 

Neosporin can successfully be used for treating cuts and scratches in humans, and it has an antibacterial effect. It’s safe to use topically, but in some individuals (and in some cats), it’s known to cause allergic reactions, which usually consist of skin irritations.

Neosporin Original Ointment First Aid Antibiotic Treatment 3 Pack Value Pack … (Value Pack)

If you make sure that your cat does not ingest Neosporin AT ALL, you can use it on his/her wound. The reason for this is that polymyxin B can cause severe allergic reactions when ingested, and even anaphylactic shock (which can lead to death). 

  • Triple Antibiotic Eye Ointment for cats

This is an FDA-approved product for pets, so it’s not going to cause any bad reactions. It can be used to treat conjunctivitis caused by a variety of bacteria, and it also reduces pain, as well as inflammation. 

Zoetis Animal Health Terramycin Antibiotic Ophthalmic Ointment 1/8 oz

It contains the same active substances that can be found in Neosporin for humans, meaning neomycin, polymyxin B, and bacitracin. However, it is perfectly dosed for animals. 

We recommend avoiding using Neosporin for treating an eye infection in your cat. Only ophthalmic products should be used for this purpose.  

  • Always use a cone of shame

You’ll need to fit your cat with a so-called ‘cone of shame’ or ‘Elizabethan collar,’ especially if you plan on using a human-grade antibiotic ointment on a cut or a scratch that your feline friend has sustained. 

It is extremely important to prevent the cat from ingesting the product as you don’t know what reactions it is going to cause. 

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Bolbove Pet Plastic Clear Cone Recovery E-Collar with Dots Design Soft Edge for Small Dogs & Cats (Small, Rose Red)

I have personally gone through an awful experience with a moisturizer, where I accidentally dropped a small amount on my cat’s fur, she of course, groomed herself right away and started foaming at the mouth. And that happened with moisturizer, not with a medical product made for humans! (she’s okay, thank God!)

Amakunft Adjustable Cat E-Collar, Cute Toast Neck Cone After Surgery, Wound Healing Protective Cone Bread Surgery Recovery Elizabethan Collars, Soft Edge for Kitten and Cats

You might say that you can also use a band-aid, and you can, but the likelihood of your cat ripping it off while grooming herself is extremely high. A well-fitted Elizabethan collar is better. 

  • Get a first aid box for pets

If you know that your cat has a history of getting in trouble, you should invest in a first-aid kit for pets. Most of them contain anything from bandages to antiseptic, gauze, gloves, and everything else you might need. 

Pet First Aid Kit for Dogs & Cats | 45 Piece First Aid Bag for Pets, Animals | Perfect for Travel Emergencies with Pet First Aid Guide Book and Instructions | Certified Pet Friendly

  • Antibacterial powder

Antibacterial powder can be another option if you are looking to treat a cut or a scratch. It’s also very effective, and in some situations, the dryness caused by it is even better. Bacteria don’t really thrive in dry environments, so the scarring process can begin a lot faster if you use an antibacterial powder. 

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Ear Therapy, 4 oz. – Medicated Formula Treats Bacterial, Fungal and Yeast Infections in Dogs and Cats – Cleans, Disinfects and Deodorizes

Naturally, all of the things that I have mentioned here shouldn’t be used if the cut is deep or large. You have to go to the vet to get it cleaned and disinfected, and your cat might have to get stitches, in this case. 


So, can you use antibiotic ointment on cats? Yes, but you should be careful when using human-grade products. You should prevent your cat from ingesting antibiotic ointment, whether it’s for human or veterinary use. If your cat has conjunctivitis, get a specific antibiotic eye ointment for cats. 

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Cristina is a licensed veterinarian who has been a cat owner since she was 12. She is passionate about giving useful advice to pet owners across the world. Her favorite topics range from pathology and novel therapies to infectious diseases and animal welfare. Her work has been featured in many online publications from The Pet Friendly House to Alpha Paw, Animal Wellness Magazine, and

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