Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

My Cat Was Stung By a Bee, What Do I Do? Vet-Approved Advice

Brooke Bundy

By Brooke Bundy

gray and white cat with pink nose sniffs flying bee

Vet approved

Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Cats are curious creatures, so if they find a bee, they’ll probably try to see what all of the buzz is about. Unfortunately, prying paws or nosy faces can easily get stung by these insects, who are communicating to your cat that their business is none of their beeswax. Bee stings can hurt your cat and cause mild swelling, but are unlikely to cause a serious reaction. You should closely observe your cat for several minutes though to watch for potentially life-threatening reactions that may occur if they’re in the small number of felines who are allergic to bees.

What to Do When Your Cat Is Stung By a Bee

Whether you have an inside or outside cat, at some point in their life they’ll probably encounter a bee. If you suddenly see them limping or notice any swelling on their body, you’ll want to act quickly to see if they’ve been stung. For the safety of both you and your cat, immediately look for the offending insect, and check for hives. If you find one, scoop up your cat and run. One bee sting is unlikely to cause serious harm to your cat, but the chance increases with each additional bite, and you don’t want to be stung, either.

Once you’re safely away from the bees, inspect your cat for stingers. If you find one, scrape it off with a thin flat surface. A credit card works best. Avoid using tweezers or anything that’ll pinch the stinger and release more venom into your cat. Thoroughly search your cat’s body to make sure there are no more stingers. When you’re done, you can make a thick paste of baking soda and water to apply to the affected areas or give them an oatmeal bath to soothe their skin. If your cat will allow it, you can also use a cold compress on the site for 10 minutes to minimize the swelling.

For the next hour, you’ll want to keep your cat close to observe them for signs of distress. Mild pain, swelling, and vocalization are typical responses. However, respiratory distress, weakness, or an irregular heartbeat signify a medical emergency that requires immediate care.

It’s still a good idea to call your vet even if your cat seems to be doing fine. Your vet may advise you to come in to have your cat checked and give them a small dose of an antihistamine that’s safe for cats.

Cat stung by a bee or wasp on cheek
Image Credit: Gurkan Ergun, Shutterstock

Can Cats Be Allergic to Bees?

Although it’s considered rare, cats can be allergic to bees. While you’ll most often see signs within 20 minutes, some reactions can take hours.

Some first signs to watch out for include:
  • Itchiness
  • Excessive swelling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hives

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should call your vet immediately before the reaction has a chance to progress.

If left untreated, your cat may experience these signs leading up to anaphylactic shock:
  • Change in heart rate
  • Lethargy
  • Pale gums
  • Drooling
  • Collapse

Anaphylactic shock is a life-threatening emergency that requires an immediate vet visit. Your vet will administer medicine such as antihistamines and corticosteroids. If your cat became dehydrated as a result of their reaction, they may potentially need an IV as well. The hospital will likely keep your cat for a couple days to make sure they’re stable.

Your vet may give you medication to treat future stings immediately. However, keep in mind that you’ll still need to bring your cat in if they’re stung by a bee again, even with such medication. The medicine simply lessens the significance of the reaction and gives you more time to reach the vet. Those few minutes after your cat is stung can be critical, which is very scary if you live far away from an animal emergency center without the medicine.

a cat that feels sick and seems to vomit
Image Credit: chie hidaka, Shutterstock

The 5 Tips to Prevent Bee Stings in Cats

If your cat is severely allergic to bees, it’s important to reduce their chances of being stung in the future. Outdoor cats are obviously more likely to be stung by bees simply because they have more opportunities. However, even indoor kitties are at risk since bees can slip through tiny crevices and invade your home. Here are some proactive steps you can take to protect your cat.

1. Look for hives around your house and garden

Try to find out where the bees are coming from. Bees and wasps love covered areas such as porches and shrubs to house their hives and nests. Don’t try to tackle a beehive by yourself. If you find an active hive, call an exterminator for help.

garden fish pond
Image Credit: PondGuy, Pixabay

2. Contact an exterminator

We love what bees do for our environment, but if your cat is allergic, they’ve got to go pollinate elsewhere. You might want to call an exterminator to ask for advice if you have a large bee population near your house, or if you’ve found an active hive.

3. Plant bee-friendly flowers far away from your house

If you own a generous tract of land, you might grow plants that attract bees far away from your house to entice them away from your cat. Bee balm and milkweed are good options, but your local garden supply store can let you know about more plants that grow well in your area.

4. Tightly seal your house

Check your windows and doors for cracks that could allow insects or other critters to slip inside. Keep the doors closed or install a tightly woven screen door to avoid bugs from flying into your home.

cat sitting on windowsill while vocalizing with mouth wide open
Image Credit: sophiecat, Shutterstock

5. Keep an eye on your cat, especially outdoors

If you notice your cat playing with an insect, make sure it isn’t something that can potentially sting them. You’ll also want to be mindful of your cat’s general behavior so that you can catch early warning signs of another sting, such as limping or swelling.


Unfortunately, it’s fairly common for cats to become stung by bees. Your cat will likely experience pain and mild swelling, but thankfully allergic reactions are rare. However, bee allergies can be scary, so you’ll want to keep an eye on your cat for at least an hour following their insect encounter and call your vet just to be safe. If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, you should take them to the vet immediately before the response has a chance to progress toward anaphylactic shock.

Featured Image Credit: Jesse Franks, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database