Cat Abscess Home Treatment

An untreated cat abscess can become a significant health risk to your pet in a fairly short period of time. You can help your cat recover more quickly if you know what an abscess looks like, what at-home treatment steps to take and when to contact your veterinarian.

How an Abscess Forms

If your cat is scratched or bitten, bacteria may get under her skin and develop an infection. This infection may create an abscess under her skin within two to five days of the injury. Although the original injury may be difficult to locate on your cat, the resulting abscess appears as a swollen lump on your cat’s leg, body or face.

As your cat’s immune system fights the infection, pus forms in the abscess, and the area around the abscess may become swollen and red. The abscess may also be tender, and it may cause your cat to limp (if it’s developing in your pet’s paw or lower leg).

Your cat may also lick at the abscess excessively, which may cause her to develop a bald spot near the abscess. If the abscess ruptures, the pus will drain out of the wound, and it will be smelly.

How to Treat an Abscess at Home

One of the simplest things you can use to treat an abscess is a warm compress. Apply a warm (not hot) washcloth several times a day for 5 to 10 minutes per application. The warm compress will help improve circulation around the abscess, which can help speed up the healing process. The warm compress may also help open the abscess to facilitate draining.

Should the abscess open, the wound will need to be cleaned. Use a hydrogen peroxide solution to disinfect the wound. You will need to soak it daily to remove any scabs that form and to encourage drainage from the wound.

If the abscess is not open and draining after a day or two of treatment with warm compresses, consult your veterinarian for further instructions. Abscesses can cause serious health problems for your cat if they are not properly and promptly treated.

How Your Veterinarian Can Help

In some cases, your cat may lose her appetite and become lethargic. She may also develop a fever. If your cat develops a fever, refuses to eat or otherwise acts depressed, or if the abscess is extremely tender to your touch, contact your veterinarian for further instructions.

Some abscesses do not rupture or drain on their own. Surgical intervention is required to open the abscess, flush out any remaining pus and clean out diseased tissue. Severe abscesses may need a drain to be put into place for a few days to allow all the pus and diseased tissue to be removed from the wound.

Finally, your cat may require antibiotics to help her further fight the infection, and your veterinarian can prescribe those medications for your pet. Be sure to finish all antibiotic prescriptions completely to help ensure your cat's recovery from infection.