Treating a Cat Fight Abscess

Cats can be surprisingly territorial; your normally docile house pet can get involved in a serious cat fight if an intruder enters his turf.

Most cat fights involve a great deal of growling, posing and hissing. This is typical cat behavior when meeting a new arrival. Often, this is as far as the aggressive behavior goes and one or the other will retreat. If, however, the interaction escalates into a serious fight, sharp claws and teeth can result in a cat injury.

Causes of Abscess Injury

A cat bite can be quite deep. Since it is a puncture wound, the likelihood of infection is high. Cat skin heals over quickly, and any contamination is sealed in. Bacteria can quickly multiply and create an abscess. Typically, infections begin to develop within two to four days of the episode.

Symptoms of Abscess Due to Bite

Often, your cat will have no other wounds-you may not know he's been in a fight. Your first sign may be a warm, swollen area somewhere on your cat's body.

As the infection worsens, you cat may begin to show signs of pain. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Limping
  • Lethargy

Treatment of Cat Fight Abscesses

If you witness the fight or bite and are able to administer antibiotics within twenty-four hours, your cat will probably avoid an infection and subsequent abscess. If, however, you don't notice the bite until it has begun to swell, you will need to monitor the wound closely and take appropriate action.

Sometimes, abscesses rupture and begin to heal on their own. A ruptured abscess will release foul-smelling pus. This is actually a good thing; the contaminates are flushing out. Wash the wound with salt water or diluted hydrogen peroxide.

If the abscess does not open or rupture on its own within twenty-four hours, your veterinarian may need to lance and drain it. In more severe or deep bite wounds, a drainage tube may be required to assist fluid removal.

Most cat bite wounds heal quickly and without incident. If your cat is experiencing a delayed healing, your veterinarian may wish to look for an underlying condition. Immune disorders such as feline leukemia can spread via bite wounds and retard healing.

There are no cat training methods to prevent feline fights. Neutered male cats tend to be less territorially aggressive, and all cats should be kept indoor at night to reduce the chance of fighting.

Tell your veterinarian if you cat spends unsupervised time outdoors, and be sure your cat is up to date on all appropriate vaccinations.