Abscess in felines

Abscesses developed due to puncture wounds inflicted during fights among male cats are very common. Here are some symptoms and protection measures of abscesses.

At the Blue Cross animal shelter, we very often come across several tomcats with abscesses. Abscesses contain pus that usually occur as a result of puncture wounds inflicted during cat fights. Fight abscesses, especially among male cats, are very common in felines. When cats bite each other during fights the skin is punctured, infecting the tissues inside with bacteria. The wound heals over while trapping the bacteria inside. Pus accumulates in that area as the cat tries to fight off infection.

Identification of abscesses

All wounds do not develop into an abscess. It depends on the depth of the bite, the number and type of bacteria present in the wound and the ability of the cat to fight off the infection. The abscess will be a soft, painful swelling under the skin.

Signs of abscesses

If your cat develops an abscess, he may show the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • He may sit in a ‘hunched over’ position
  • He may limp if the abscess is located on a leg or foot
  • Pus and blood may ooze from the abscesses

Protection measures

You can protect your cat by following these simple tips:

  • If you suspect your cat has been bitten, take him to the vet immediately. The vet can thoroughly examine your cat for any serious wounds. Preventive action can protect your feline friend from developing abscesses.
  • If you know your cat has been in a fight, examine him for any puncture wounds or abscesses. The vulnerable areas are head, neck, forelegs and lower back the base of the spine.
  • Keeping your cat indoors will prevent fighting and abscesses.
  • Male cats fight more than female cats. Neutering your male cat will go a long way in preventing fight and abscesses.

Abscesses are painful and can make the cat ill. Abscesses also make a cat at risk to FIV. Treatment for abscess is through draining of the pus and administering antibiotics. Early action will protect your cat from pain and discomfort.

(Sudhersena is volunteer at the Blue Cross since 1998 and an avid animal lover, owns nine cats and three dogs. She is associated with a number of animal welfare campaigns and programmes.)