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Cat sprayed by a skunk? Stop everything and do this immediately

It’s basically every pet owner’s worst nightmare. You might hear a rustle or a yowl, and then, suddenly, there’s the smell, possibly the most terrible one you’ve ever encountered. Worst of all, your cat will take in an even bigger whiff than you do as the target of the attack (with a very strong nose to boot). Unfortunately, getting sprayed by skunk can do more than just stink up the house, and you may even need to seek vet care for your pet. To minimize the damage to your animal, home, and olfactory system, you want to take care of this immediately. But don’t worry! There’s a lot you can do just from your home to solve the whole problem quickly and easy.

Skunk sits in the yard

Why do skunks spray?

Just as your cat scratches in self-defense, so too does the skunk spray to ward off his enemies—and your cat (or dog) certainly ranks near the top of that list. In fact, skunks don’t have a lot of other repelling mechanisms, being small and not terribly fast. So they stick to the heinous smell, which is supposed to teach a potential predator never to approach the little black and white stink-bomb again. The spray itself is a liquid, called mercaptan, that he can control through a couple of anal glands. Unfortunately for you and your pets, that means his aim is pretty good and that he will likely nail your curious little pet head on.

Bob cat and skunk meet in the yard

How do I take care of my cat and myself?

As long as you follow a few simple steps, you should succeed in ridding everything of the offending stink, though getting there won’t be the most pleasant process. 

Sequester your animal

As soon as you can get your kitty away from the stinky little detonator, take him to a room away from other people and pets. You don’t want the fresh spritz to wind up covering the dog or your favorite blanket. Find a good spot without carpet, such as the bathroom, preferably where you keep his litter (since that’s a safe space to him).

Wipe his face

Check his eyes carefully. The spray can really irritate his face and might even require a vet visit if he’s constantly messing with his nose or has red and watery eyes. You can wash them out with eye wash and take him to his veterinarian if the irritation doesn’t go away.

Make your cleanser

There are professional products available for you to buy, and if skunk-spraying becomes a regular occurrence, we do recommend that you keep some on hand. But feel free to just whip up this recipe if you ever need it. Mix hydrogen peroxide with baking soda, and throw in a little dish soap if you need the extra oomph. That should do the trick.

Wash your stuff

If you are in the bathroom, turn on the fan and open a window to ventilate the space. Then wipe down floors and counters that your pet may have rubbed on. Lastly, put your own clothes alone in the machine with a little baking soda thrown in. Use an air freshener or your own spray if the smell lingers in the house.

Get a checkup

Usually, your little guy will completely recover without complications, and you might not even need to take him to the vet. However, make sure he’s not rubbing his face too much in the following days. Also, check for bites as you wash him down. While skunks rely on their powerful musk to ward off carnivores, they aren’t against sinking their teeth in to protect themselves. Skunks can carry diseases such as rabies or cause a serious infection with their bite, so if you see any signs of puncture wounds or any broken skin, be sure to take your kitty to the veterinarian as soon as you can.

While no one wants their tiny creature to end up in an altercation with a skunk, it does happen from time to time—but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. With the right products on hand and a little elbow grease, you’ll have the both of you back to top shape in no time. If this happens often, you can look into some skunk repellent—though use it sparingly, as skunks need a safe place too. Hopefully, your cat will take the lesson to heart and learn to leave skunks alone.

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