Bee Sting on a Cat's Paw

The other day, I took a glance at our afternoon appointment schedule, and I saw that a cat was coming in for a “bee sting”. This is not a common presenting complaint at our hospital, so I was intrigued, but skeptical. When the cat came in, however, the story the owner related sounded pretty plausible.

The owner noticed a bee in the apartment, and he tried to shoo it out, but to no avail. Finally, he managed to swat it with a magazine, and the bee fell to the ground. Apparently, it wasn’t dead, though, and his curious cat ran over to check it out before he could get rid of it. The cat didn’t show any sign that she had gotten stung, though. He dispatched the kitty and disposed of the bee, and that appeared to be the end of it. However, the next day, her foot was markedly swollen. This is what made him bring her in.

I checked out the cat. Yes, indeed, her foot was pretty swollen. We had our hospital iPad handy, so we took these striking photos.

The foot wasn’t painful at all. She was able to walk on it just fine. On the top of the forearm, the skin was a little firmer than the rest of the leg, like a small “knot”. I suspect that this was the spot where she was stung. Everything did fit with a bee sting.

All I had to do was give an injection of Benadryl. Fortunately, at the time she was stung, she did not have any reaction at all. Some cats, like people, can exhibit anaphylaxis as a result of a bee sting, and it can be potentially life-threatening. This kitty, however, will be fine. Pretty neat case.


  1. 20 years ago I had a cat get stung by a wasp.. the exact same thing happened. and oddly enough my story is very similar to this one.

  2. Last night I noticed my cat "Chloe's" front left paw was pretty swollen. I tried showing it to my husband, but he it off. My son came out & said that she had been out on the screened in porch "digging in the corner" again, so we came to the conclusion that it was either a bug sting or spider bite. She was still kinda walking/limping around on it & it she didn't seem to be in a lot of pain so I went to bed in hopes of it seeing it look ok in the morning.
    Morning came & her paw was still swollen, but not any larger. She was still acting the same too. I tried calling our vet, but they weren't answering their phones....really. So I came online to try & find something to back up my fears. I found your article & saw the pictures. They are 'a match' to my Chloe's paw so I'm feeling somewhat relieved.
    Thank You for posting those pics...they helped tremendously!!


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