Anyone who owns (or is owned by) an outdoor cat is all too familiar with the cat fight abscess. Our feline friends go out into the world and can frequently get into disagreements with other cats. During these fights, the cats will scratch or bite each other to either defend themselves or protect their territory. When the bites or scratches are inflicted, bacteria that normally lives on the teeth or the nails gets embedded under the skin. Now there is nothing that bacteria loves more than a warm, moist environment to multiply in, and the tissue under the skin is just that. Once there are large numbers of bacteria, it starts to produce pus- that horrible, smelly, yellowish, greenish stuff. When the infection sets in and pus begins to build up, the body responds by ‘walling it off’ to prevent it from spreading elsewhere in the body- thus forming an abscess.
As abscesses get bigger, they press on the tissues around them causing discomfort and pain. If the abscess is on a limb, it can cause lameness. The cat may seem ‘grumpy,’ painful and reluctant to be handled. Apart from the pain, the cat may have a fever and feel generally unwell, be lethargic or may stop eating.
All abscesses require veterinary treatment. If the abscess has already ruptured (burst), the cat may just require antibiotics. If the abscess is still intact, the cat may require anesthesia to lance and drain the abscess. A drain may be placed for a few days to provide an outlet for the pus, and antibiotics will be prescribed. If your cat is very sick or dehydrated, he or she may require a drip. If your cat frequently gets into fights, speak to your vet about the FIV (feline aids) vaccine. Getting your cat desexed may reduce roaming and fighting behavior.
What do you think? Would you do whatever it takes and get your cat desexed to prevent fighting and other behaviors, or do you think that’s cruel and would rather deal with it’s problems? Sound off in the comments below.