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Cat Bite Abscess

Added on 28 March 2018

What is a Cat Bite Abscess?

A cat bite abscess is a swelling filled with pus. They are commonly found on the face, neck and the base of the tail. They are usually very painful and if untreated they can get large and may burst discharging a foul-smelling pus.

Why do abscesses occur?

It is common for cats to fight over territory with unneutered males being the main culprits. Whilst neutering will help, it by no means eliminates all territorial disputes. During these disputes, cats can get bitten and these bites rarely resolve without issue. When a cat is bitten, the bacteria from a cat’s mouth is injected into the tissue. This bacterium then sits beneath the skin where it festers. Often the initial puncture hole seals over and with a covering of hair it is difficult to spot the injury.

How to tell if your cat has an abscess? What is a cat bite abscess and how to treat

  • Your cat may be lame, grumpy when handled or off their food
  • You may feel a swelling when stroking your cat
  • A patch of hair may fall out in the area.

How to treat a cat bite abscess? 

  • If you see what looks like a bite wound, bathe it with salt water (a tablespoon in a pint of water) and contact us for an appointment. Early treatment can prevent the bite developing into an abscess
  • If there is a swelling that you think may be an abscess, contact us for an appointment. The vet may need to admit your cat so that they can lance the abscess, drain and thoroughly flush away the infected material. A course of antibiotics may be prescribed to clear up the infection
  • If the abscess has burst, again, bathe with salt water if your cat will allow it and contact us to make an appointment. After an abscess has been lanced or has burst, you may be advised to keep the wound open by bathing. This can avoid the skin closing over before all of the infected fluid has had the chance to drain away

Cat bites in humans

The bacteria in a cat’s mouth can make bite in humans very dangerous. If you are bitten by a cat and the bite breaks the skin, it is important that you seek medical attention. If you experience fever or flu-like symptoms, you should seek urgent medical attention.


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Eastcott Veterinary Clinic & Hospital
Edison Business Park
Hindle Way, Off Dorcan Way,

Telephone: 01793 528341
email: enquiries@eastcottvets.co.uk