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What does an abscess on a cat look like (& how to get rid of it?)

September 10, 2013

Generally in Spring many vets will notice an increase in cases of cats brought into their surgeries with abscesses that need treating. Although they occur all year round abscesses are particularly prevalent during Spring as this is usually breeding season for cats and cats are also more active coming into the warmer weather. Over winter, cats often stay inside more trying to keep warm, as the rest of us are inclined to do also.

What does an abscess look like on a cat

An abscess is what occurs when an infection gets under the skin of the cat and fills with pus and fluid and will eventually burst. They are most commonly caused by scratches and bites from other cats when cats get into a fight. They are usually found around the face, neck, front legs, tail and rump. It is a good idea, if your cat goes outside regularly, particularly at night, that you check your cat over often, by running your hands over the cat and checking for any lumps or wounds that could develop into further infection. You may not notice an injury as cats tend to appear normal and hide their pain until it reaches infection stage. Some things to look out for to tell you that something may not be right with your cat are:

• Your cat is extra sluggish and lethargic

• Loss of appetite

• Fever

• Swelling, redness and/or heat in a particular area

• Your cat not wanting to be picked up or held

How to get rid of an abscess on a cat?

Once you have found an abscess, the next step is treatment. While some people try their hand at treating it themselves at home, by far the best course of action is to take your cat to the vet. This insures that the risk of further infection is eliminated due to proper treatment in a sterile environment and the vet being able to provide you with antibiotics, pain relief for follow up care and also an Elizabethan collar (or cone) to put on your cat to stop them from aggravating the wound by scratching it. After treatment, your cat will be house bound, perhaps for a number of days until the area heals sufficiently.

One thing to make sure of year round is that your cat is up to date with all of its vaccinations, because as abscesses are commonly caused by bites from other cats you don’t know what your cat could contract from another neighbourhood moggy or stray.

There are a few things you can do to prevent the risk of you and your cat having to go through the ordeal and expenses caused by an abscess. First of all, if you are able to, keep your cat indoors. If your cat is an outdoor cat, try to limit it going outside at night as this is when the majority of fights occur. Neutering your cat is very important. Un-neutered cats are the most likely to fight and will take on any of the cats in the neighbourhood, so by neutering you are doing yourself and your area a favour by hopefully reducing the amount of fighting cats.

Spring is an enjoyable season for everyone, and by keeping a close eye on your cat you can ensure it's just as enjoyable for them!

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