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Wed Feb 27, 2013, 03:09 PM

Abcess in a cat? Ever seen this?


So, my big old orange tabby, Bear, came home on the weekend, looking a little worse for wear.

We found a few scratches, nothing bloody or graphic.

But, then the wife looked him over again, and all I heard was "OMG !!!" and she instantly starts to cry...

Not good - that scream...

She finds a huge, I mean HUGE, swollen growth on his chest. Our first thought was cancer. We just went thru our neighbours dog, a beautiful, healthy, strong, 5 year old great dane, being put down because of a cancerous lump in the same spot.

That really sucked for about 2 hours. The more we talked about it, the more it just didn't make sense. This growth just appeared in the last few days. So i went a "googlin" and lo and behold, we find info that it might be a bite from another cat.

So we look him over again and what do we find in the middle of his softball sized lump? Two perfect little puncture marks, about 1/2" apart...Bingo.. we felt much relief.

Took the vet all of 10 min's to lance that thing. Sucked out about 1/2 the juice in there...last night he jumps up on me while I'm sleeping on the couch...something didn't feel right...my chest was soaked with this awful smelling liquid...Yes, the rest of the abcess burst when he jumped on me... Gross doesn't even begin to describe the scene... lol.

These little furry things - amazing what we put up with eh?

But let me tell you... those couple of hours where we thought it was cancer were horrible...

27 replies, 10889 views

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Arrow 27 replies Author Time Post
Reply Abcess in a cat? Ever seen this? (Original post)
Fix The Stupid Feb 2013 OP
sinkingfeeling Feb 2013 #1
Fix The Stupid Feb 2013 #6
TrogL Feb 2013 #2
Fix The Stupid Feb 2013 #7
Voice for Peace Feb 2013 #3
intheflow Feb 2013 #4
ginnyinWI Feb 2013 #5
Fix The Stupid Feb 2013 #8
ginnyinWI Feb 2013 #11
fizzgig Mar 2013 #14
bananas May 2013 #26
tencats Feb 2013 #9
ceile Feb 2013 #10
hamsterjill Feb 2013 #12
Fix The Stupid Mar 2013 #13
erinlough Mar 2013 #15
Warpy Mar 2013 #16
hillbie May 2013 #17
hamsterjill May 2013 #18
hillbie May 2013 #19
hamsterjill May 2013 #20
Rhiannon12866 May 2013 #21
tencats May 2013 #22
hillbie May 2013 #23
hillbie May 2013 #24
hamsterjill May 2013 #25
sarahjoelle Jul 2013 #27

Response to Fix The Stupid (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 03:16 PM

1. Why yes. My cat had a huge abcess on his chest in Jan. He'd stopped eating

and was just laying about, so I knew he wasn't well. As I went to put him in his carrier to go to the vet's, I looked down and the sleeve of my jacket was soaked. I thought he had peed on me!
By the time we got to the vet's, there was blood all down his chest and leg.

Now he's a long haired white guy and it wasn't until the doc had shaved his chest that we could see the 'hole' in it. His abcess had gone pretty deep. Vet thought it was from a claw and not a bite. He required a couple of antibiotic shots and was kept indoors for two weeks. (All 4 of my cats are almost feral strays.)

It wasn't until the stuff on my jacket began to dry that I knew it was from the abcess bursting.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 09:21 AM

6. Yep..sounds familiar.


He was just laying around, no energy.

Still ate though...nothing could stop that kitty from eating, lol.

PS - All my cats were strays too

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Response to Fix The Stupid (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 03:32 PM

2. Been there done that, including the covered in blood thing

My tom thinks he's big cat of the neighbourhood and constantly loses fights, coming home scratched up, occasionally with abscesses. I've had a few break open while holding him and ended up covered in blood and puss. I make sure I do it in the bathroom with lots of old towels handy.

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Response to TrogL (Reply #2)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 09:23 AM

7. I live in the boonies.



Always dealing with stray cats. Most are not aggressive though...this is the first time in 10 years I've had to deal with this.


He's doing better now. Abcess went from the size of a softball to about a quarter size lump. Waiting for the next round of 'breakage' and 'oozing'... yuck.

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Response to Fix The Stupid (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 07:12 PM

3. yup.. just had one cat treated for huge abcess on his face.

He had been in a fight a couple of weeks earlier but
had seemed to heal up just fine with no after effects.
Then overnight, his face swelled up.. same deal.
The vet sees these all the time, apparently, even
just from a little scratch.

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Response to Fix The Stupid (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 08:12 PM

4. Uh-oh. We have a feral cat that lives in our garage.

We hardly ever see him even though we feed him. My boyfriend had a sighting the other day and said the cat looked like he had a huge white growth on his back. I'll bet you this is what's happening with our garage cat.

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Response to Fix The Stupid (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 10:48 PM

5. still dealing with one--- after 10 months!

It was around Mother's Day last May. Our tabby cat developed a bump on her forehead. She's an indoor cat but had been in the fenced garden with me a few days before and might have gotten a bee sting or a bite from a shrew, or maybe one of the other two cats hooked a claw into her forehead. Whatever. It burst, and after a course of antibiotics it still wasn't all better. I waited for a month or so, and eventually took her back in, where the vet found the infection had penetrated into her sinus cavity over her eyes, right through the bone. He had to do surgery to clean it all out, she had the cone of shame for two weeks and a month of antibiotics, then waited another month, more antibiotics, etc. This takes us into December. Didn't get much better on the antibiotics (Orbax) and didn't get worse off them.

The thing would be flat with a dry scab, but then about twice a week it would crust up and ooze pus and blood, and just never heal. I took her back again about a month ago, ready to have them send in a culture. But the vet said that it will heal eventually, just takes time. I am to soak off any crustiness and apply hydrogen peroxide, and after a month it is looking better and not oozing much pus anymore. Not all healed but the wound isn't as deep. I'm really waiting for the day it is closed!

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Response to ginnyinWI (Reply #5)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 09:24 AM

8. That sucks. Poor Kitty.


I could tell it was affecting our kitty. Just really lethargic, not playing with his sister...

Hope you're kitty feels better soon

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Response to Fix The Stupid (Reply #8)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 02:56 PM

11. she seems to feel just fine

I don't know if she's simply gotten used to it. I asked the vet if it hurts her, and he said it probably is annoying, like if you would have a sliver in your hand. I know what that's like--had one in my hand for three months once! Kitty is eating and playing like normal so we aren't worried about that too much. She even head butts me, scab and all!

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Response to ginnyinWI (Reply #5)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:03 PM

14. we had that happen with a cat once

and it never really healed. i don't know how long he had it before he died, i was a little kid and it seemed like a long time.

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Response to ginnyinWI (Reply #5)

Thu May 16, 2013, 12:27 PM

26. We had to pick the scab open and pour in peroxide every day

It was a long time ago, my niece's cat had an abscess on top of it's head from a fight with another cat.
This is what the vet told us to do.
I'd hold the little guy while she picked the scab and poured in the peroxide.
The peroxide made the puss bubble and foam.
With peroxide, you keep pouring until it stops bubbling.
It was horrifying.
But it healed.

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Response to Fix The Stupid (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:58 AM

9. Over the years my cats have had some small and large.

Here's one that went unnoticed on my cat's lower back side until it burst. Could have been about 7 - 10 days after he was in a fight with another cat.


Same abscess after work up by my Veterinarian.


Again 16 days later.


This one at the time cost about $650 to fix .

Was your Vet able to close up the wound?
With my cat's abscess, the wound had become too large to close up and heal on it own. I had two more cats that did well with my own handy work with needle and string creating a drain under the infected site. Warm water or warm wet compress therapy works well with these wounds along with an oral broad spec antibiotic.

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Response to Fix The Stupid (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 01:15 PM

10. oh gawd yes! disgusting things.

My cat like to shake his head (his abcesses are usually on his ears) after a good lancing or cleaning, so that I'm cleaning puss off of me and the walls.

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Response to Fix The Stupid (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 03:06 PM

12. A warm compress

Applying a warm compress to the abscess will help it to drain. Easier said than done with some cats, of course.

Abscesses ARE gross, but treated properly (which you're obviously doing) they usually heal. There are feline diseases that can be transmitted via these bites, and I'm sure your vet has already explained all of that to you.

Good luck, and thanks for caring about this kiddo!!

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Response to hamsterjill (Reply #12)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 09:39 AM

13. This^^^



The warm compress REALLY helps. I would advise this if anyone runs into similar situation.

Bear just sits there and lets us hold the warm compress to him - he loves it...

Now the peroxide, that must sting a bit because he lets us know he does not like that

I'll try and get some pics up soon. I also have another female I would love to get you smart people to identify for me...she's the oddest looking cat I've ever seen...

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Response to Fix The Stupid (Original post)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 10:55 PM

15. I have two barn cats who are males.

These things happen frequently. I try to get them cleaned up right away so they don't get yucky smelling. They are horrible in areas where the cat can't lick the wound. When the cat can get to it they will keep it clean themselves.

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Response to Fix The Stupid (Original post)

Mon Mar 4, 2013, 01:27 AM

16. The original puncture can be from tooth or claw

both of which will inject bacteria under the skin. The superficial skin wound heals, making a perfect environment for some really nasty bugs to grow.

Cats are very prone to abscess, especially when they go outdoors and most especially when they're un neutered toms. My indoor-outdoor clowder of five would average 3 abscesses a year among them.

The last thing that let go on me when the cat jumped up was an infected anal gland. I was wearing khaki jeans and wore them in to see the e-vet so s/he would know what the cat was producing. The vet was more disgusted than I was.

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Response to Fix The Stupid (Original post)

Wed May 1, 2013, 03:06 PM

17. Cat - Abscess - Please help

I just joined, so I guess I can't start a new thread My 6 yr old male cat has a abscess that has burst open. It's on his left rear leg. Most of the hair has fallen out and there is a piece of skin (thick) dangling. It looks clean. It's larger than a 1/2 dollar. I've put him on 1/2 tablet Clavamox (they are 125mg tablets), 2 times a day. He's had 3 pills.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/libfclohoxsfwvt/pXEvJz4ixO

I don't know if I need to have a vet look at it. If I do, it will cost at least $500, cause I've done it before. Here is where you can see pics. Any advice would be very much appreciated.]


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Response to hillbie (Reply #17)

Wed May 1, 2013, 05:48 PM

18. Warm compresses

I posted this upthread, but will repeat again since your post is current.

Warm compresses on the area will help it continue to drain. It is important that all of the yuck and infection come out of the wound. Cats skin notoriously closes very quickly and it is imperative that the wound be kept open and draining until past the point of infection.

Is the cat eating, drinking, peeing and pooping?

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Response to hamsterjill (Reply #18)

Thu May 2, 2013, 12:32 AM

19. Hole is very open

Thanks for your reply. The wound looks "very" open. Too open maybe. It's a big gaping hole. Going deeper in the center. I don't see any puncture areas and I'm afraid to touch it, for fear of making my cat more aware of the wound or irritating it. He doesn't seem to be bothering it. Usually the cats want to lick their wounds, but he is just ignoring it. I'm hoping that's a good thing. I don't see an abscess. I'm assuming it was there, then burst open, thus the huge open skin and hole. I don't see any area that should be draining or swollen. Did you see the pictures? He's lost a lot of hair around the area too. In a way I'm wondering it whatever happened there was even an abscess. It really looks like something took a chunk out of his leg. Do you think he needs stitches to close up the hole? It's so deep. What can I expect? Will the hole close? It looks too big to close on its own? Will it heal from the red part out by scabbing over? Is it good to scab? It's very wet looking now, not dry at all. Is that good?

He is drinking and eating, I'm not too sure about peeing and pooping. I've let him outside a little for some fresh air and I'm hoping he's going while he out. I'm not letting him stay out too long, I don't want the wound to get dirty. He is a little more mopey then usual, but I wouldn't say lethargic. I guess he just doesn't feel well.

Sorry for all the questions, I just want to do the right thing. I might end up taking him to the vet if I don't see improvement. I don't even know what the improvement signs will be.

Thanks!!!

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Response to hillbie (Reply #19)

Thu May 2, 2013, 01:18 PM

20. Obviously, a vet visit would be in order.

I know it's expensive, but a visit to the vet would be the best solution.

I am NOT a vet or vet tech. I am a cat rescuer with many years of experience in cat rescue. If this were my cat and I had the means, I would take him to a vet.

If expense is a problem, is there possibly an ASPCA or rescue group that you might contact that could provide the name of a low-cost vet? We have a couple of great vets in our area that all of the rescues use, and if we "refer" someone, that person generally gets a discounted price.

I did look at the pictures and I've seen worse in all honesty, but it all depends on how the cat's body is able to handle the injury. A healthy cat would have a better chance of recovery than a cat with other health issues, etc.

What I believe I see in the pictures agrees with your assessment. An abscess that has opened and burst. But it's still important that any remaining infection be allowed to drain out. Therefore, I would still continue to apply warm compresses and see if you get anything more out of the wound. The abscess most likely formed in the first place from a bite from another cat. If possible, it is best to keep your cat indoors to prevent this type of thing from happening again.

If this is an abscess, then the clavamox you are giving him should do some good. You know the cat better than anyone and you can assess the situation based on the cat's behavior.

Again, however, if you have the means, you should take the cat to the vet.

As a cat lover, I appreciate that you care enough about this kiddo to be concerned. Thank you!



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Response to hillbie (Reply #17)

Fri May 3, 2013, 02:59 AM

21. According to my vet, different kinds of infections require different antibiotics to be effective

My dog had a urinary tract infection that wasn't getting better, kept bringing samples to the vet and he kept saying it was gone, but the dog and I knew otherwise. So I took him to the vet I go to now and he said that he had to do a culture to determine which antibiotic to use. What he gave my dog cleared it up in no time, but I'd wasted time and money, let alone the toll it took on my elderly cocker spaniel!

I agree that this definitely sounds serious enough for a vet visit. It's likely to get worse without medical treatment, and that could cost you more and jeopardize the life of your cat who must already be feeling bad. I also agree that letting the cat outside isn't a good idea with such an infection.

I sure wish you luck with this and am sorry that your vet charges so much. I know how it is, since I adopt older animals, rescued my last kitty from outdoors. Please let us know how it goes...

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Response to hillbie (Reply #17)

Fri May 3, 2013, 03:20 AM

22. That one looks like it will need some help to closeup there.

But first, is there anything like a strong pungent odor at the wound site? You will, to be sure about it, touch or blot the sore and check for any foul smell about it. An ongoing infection will stink and the wound will need to be flushed out. I will flush a wound with a product called Dermachlor Flush Plus which can be commonly purchased for about $9-$12 for 16oz bottle. After cleaning out a wound I like to use Dermachlor Rinse padded on daily along with a warn wet compress 2X daily for up to 10+ minuets. Google it and also instructions on flushing a bite wound on cat. Its not difficult to do and its vital to clean the wound for it to have a chance to heal. When I irrigate a wound I look closely at the margins of the wound and its depth. On a deep wound the irrigating stream will typically lift up the skin around the margins and reveal any deeper pockets of decaying tissues. You can do this and mostly I find the Cat will stay calm enough if I have a willing helper with thick gloves. Second, your Clavamox dose is very good to have started and could be needed for at least 14 days and likely longer. Ten pounds of Cat? I find that a shallow wounds no larger then a dime on cats can usually close and fill in with a minimum of human help. You describe the wound here as half dollar in size and it appears deep in your photo. But the Cat has full normal movement in that back leg so probably its not very deep then? I would remove any dead skin flap and shave the fur back a good inch all around the wound. You say the Vet will want $500 plus?
The Veterinary Clinic I use it not a cheap one did just this past month charge me $127 total for my latest wounded Cat. I have no clue to your location but I'm sure that my Vet invoice is avg cost for maj metro area. I delayed taking him for about 10-12 days after he had been bitten on his mid back because I didn't know that the bite wound had so quickly closed up. It abscessed and then ruptured at my touch later. Its a big big male Cat and no one would get a daily oral antibiotic into to him. He had to go to the Vet. My invoice was just typical I believe for the problem. Items were $57 full exam included shaving fur around the wound+flushing out, $50 Cefovecin inj antibiotic good for 30 days, $10 Panalog ointment and something else I don't remember what right now. The Dr told me that it looked like the wound would possibly need help(surgery) but I wanted to see myself if it could close without more cost. So far its been good. Cost to surgically close a large wound probably upwards $700 today. But a decent Vet I think would work with you. The one big cost one I suffered was for a Cat with a very deep, very infected rotten bite wound on his lower backside. I wonder if your Cat's wound is like you think also, a bite with a tear out. I remember another cat of mine now that 3 years ago went in for a somewhat fresh 3/4 inch long slash wound on the side of his head. Got him 4 stitches to close it up without anesthesia, 10 days antibiotic, cost $150 and all was good. Yours being on the back leg, possibly the Dr would be willing to work it up without the big cost of anesthesia, inserting a drain and all. Looking at that pic again I sure wouldn't want that to get deeply infected there. Hope it plays out well.

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Response to Fix The Stupid (Original post)

Fri May 3, 2013, 12:32 PM

23. Same

The wound is still open. It does not appear to be better or worse. I have an appointment at a low cost vet on Sunday. It's about an hour away. I'm still giving him the antibiotics. The wound does not smell. He is still eating and drinking. So as long as he remains the same I will wait until Sunday. If anything changes, I will have to take him to the local vet.

Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. It's helping me make good choices.

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Response to Fix The Stupid (Original post)

Wed May 15, 2013, 04:24 PM

24. All is good!

I took my cat to the vet on Sunday after I posted here. She stitched the wound...maybe 5 or 6 stitches. She said to wait to 2 weeks to have them removed, but my cat tore them out after 9 days, which was OK, the wound had already healed enough that they weren't needed. She did give me a collar, but it was just too difficult to deal with. I watched my cat and he didn't seem to bother them for the 1st week, then all of a sudden, I saw they were all gone. I think he pulled them out all at once, about 9 days later.

She gave me more clavomox in pill form (125 mg)....1/2 pill 2 X a day.

The bill was $150 from the discount vet, which was great, cause I was expecting a lot more since I knew he would need to be sedated.

Thank you all for your kind words, suggestions and support.

The wound is healing nicely and my cat is back to normal.

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Response to hillbie (Reply #24)

Thu May 16, 2013, 12:24 PM

25. Yay!!!! Glad to hear things are going well!

n/t

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Response to Fix The Stupid (Original post)

Tue Jul 2, 2013, 12:54 PM

27. I know I'm a bit late to the game but..

I recently experienced a cat abscess situation, and Google directed me here. All of this was extremely helpful and comforting, so I thought I'd share my story.

My indoor cat escaped out the window of my apartment. I live in a city with a lot of other stray cats, so I was pretty worried. I found her 2 days later right under the window she escaped. When I picked her up, she cried a little as if she was in pain. I got her inside and examined her, and she cried every time I touched her rump/tail area. I checked her skin and everything, but I couldn't find anything, so I figured she had bruised her butt when she fell out of the window. She also had this nasty smell, but I figured she'd either rolled in her own poop or made that smelly spray cats make when they're scared. I figured I'd let her get her strength up before taking her to the vet. This was a Thursday, and I was planning to take her to the vet the next Monday. I examined her back area every day to make sure all was well, which it was! She was very lethargic and wasn't eating much, but I attributed that to the fact that she had been lost outside for a few days.

Sunday night, she is laying in bet with me and when she stood up, it looked like she had peed all over the sheets. It smelled awful, and that's when I noticed this huge pink inflammation right under her tail. Boy, was it gross. There was no blood or anything, so I waited until after work on Monday to take her to the vet.

When we got there and the vet took the cat out of the carrier, there was a giant bloody gaping hole right near her tail, about 3 inches wide. I could literally see her insides. It looked so painful and I was so shocked that the wound had gotten so bad so quickly. While the vet shaved her back, the wound only looked worse. The vet informed me that she would need reconstructive surgery with sutures, she would need a drain put into the wound, and dead tissue needed to be removed.

The surgery took about an hour. They gave her a sedative, antibiotics, pain killers, and fluids. They were able to bring her out of her sleep really quickly. The entire visit (plus the antibiotics and painkillers to take home, plus the cone of shame) cost me $277.00, which was such a nice surprise. She will be getting the drain removed in 3 days, and the sutures removed in 14 days.

The day after surgery, it was like she was her old self again. You never would have guessed that her tail needed to basically be sewn back on just hours earlier. She's eating and drinking just fine.

The hospital I went to accepted this credit card, which I had never heard of until now: http://www.carecredit.com/
Definitely something to think about if you (like myself) find yourself in situations where you're not sure if you'll be able to afford a vet visit for your pet.

Sorry for the novel. This thread was just so helpful to me, that I wanted to share my story for any other worried cat parents out there.

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