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My cat's fur caught fire briefly. What should I do?

Closeup of a tan-and-white cat's face, with visible whiskers.

Burned whiskers will grow back. (Photo: Flickr/JuhlDK13)

My cat's fur caught fire briefly. What should I do?

October 25, 2012

Q: My cat (1 year old) just got singed by a candle she jumped on. Her left whiskers are partway gone and curled at the ends, and she smells like burnt fur. When the incident happened I saw her fur catch fire for a second. She seems OK now, but what should I do? Will her whiskers grow back?

A: The first thing you should do is to check the area around the burn very carefully and thoroughly to ensure that it didn?t reach her skin. You will also want to check her paw pads and nose. If you notice any burns on her skin (these can range from red to black to even white, depending on the severity), you will want to have her seen by a vet. This is important, as deep and severe burns that go past the initial layers of skin can be painless, so she might not be showing any signs of being burned.

If you do not notice any damage to the skin, you can gently wipe her whiskers and burned fur with a moist paper towel to get rid of any residual ash that may be remaining on her fur or whiskers.

Whiskers do grow, but they typically take longer than fur, so it might be a while before they are back to her normal length.

-- Answer from Erin C., a veterinary technician on JustAnswer.

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