Cat Abscess Causes

A cat abscess is an accumulation of pus that occurs on the spot of a puncture wound or under the skin due to an infection. The abscess can become swollen, and the cat will lick the spot to indicate the presence of an infection. In some cases, the infection may not be obvious, as it may be in a hidden area and the cat won’t show any obvious symptoms. Knowing the causes of cat abscesses can help you prevent these infections. An untreated abscess can mean the spreading of the infection to the internal organs, which can be fatal.

Puncture Wounds

Cats can get into fights with other cats, ferals or animals such as raccoons or skunks, and they can get badly injured. If a wound is not treated properly, it can get infected due to the bacteria present in the attacker’s saliva. Pus accumulates in the area of the infection and will cause an abscess.

Foreign Bodies

The cat can get injured by stumbling on and getting injured by foreign objects. He may get splinters or grass seeds stuck under the skin, causing a wound and an ugly abscess. The foreign body must be extracted and the wound should be treated to prevent the spreading of the infection to the vital organs.

Tooth Decay

Decayed teeth can get infected and pus can accumulate in the gum area surrounding the tooth. The cat will touch his mouth to signal that there's something wrong. If you check your cat’s mouth, you will detect a foul odor. When you gently press the gum in the affected area, you will feel a subtle pulsation and the cat will move due to the pain.

Symptoms of Abscess

An abscess can develop 3 to 5 days after the occurrence of a puncture wound, and it's caused by the bacteria that penetrates the tissues and multiplies. An infected wound will be red and swollen, and the cat will experience fever and pain when the wound is touched. An abscess will also be signaled by lack or appetite and lethargy. There may also be a yellow-brown discharge from the wound.


Abscesses can be treated with oral antibiotics and topical ointments. The pus will be eliminated and you should clean this with a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide. In severe cases, the pus may have to be drained at the vet’s clinic.

If the cat has a tooth abscess, this will be treated with antibiotics. After the swelling is gone, the tooth might have to be removed.

Prevent Abscesses

Abscesses can be prevented by keeping your cat indoors and avoiding contact with other cats or animals. Neutered cats are less likely to get in fights. If your cat has been in a fight, you need to disinfect the wound immediately with some antibacterial soap or hydroxide peroxide to remove the saliva of the attacker. Apply some antibiotic cream and bandage the wound. Supervise the progress of the wound as it heals.

Tooth abscesses can be prevented with a proper dental hygiene: daily teeth brushing, chew treats and toys.