Outdoor Felines and Their Injuries

For the Love of the Outdoors - Our Felines Safety

We’ve heard of stories of beloved cats getting hurt outside. Some cats are bullied by other cats or packs of dogs, and being outside puts your cat at greater risk for diseases like Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (similar to AIDS.) Outdoor cats are below wildlife predators in the food chain, and they are sitting ducks for owls, coyotes, dogs and native big cats. Dogs running in packs will consider a cat fair game. Even with a full set of fangs and claws, the cat rarely has a chance when caught outside, and declawed cats are even more at risk.

Wounds - Symptoms to Look Out For

Cat bite wounds are almost always sustained when cats face off or when they run. Consequently, puncture wounds and their resulting abscesses are typically found on the face, shoulders and forelimbs or on the tail, rump and backside. The most common presentation is an area on your cat that looks like an open sore with fur missing or matted fur. The area may be oozing yucky, smelly stuff. It may be painful or not. Before the area “abscessed,” your cat suffered a bite wound. Bacteria from the bite wound festered underneath the skin until finally it burst open, draining pus or blood, or both. You may not be able to see a wound until you look (or sniff) closer. A "cat abscess" is the name for an infection that festers under the skin and breaks open. Most of these abscesses are from cat fights. Although I see abscesses all year long, they are more prevalent when more cats are going outside.

Despite their varied appearance, cat bite abscesses almost always follow the same pattern:

1. Simple puncture wound visible (days 1-2)

2. Swelling around the area (days 2-5)

3. Lifting of the underlying tissues and abscess formation with hair loss around the wound (pus accumulation in pockets these layers create starts on day 1 but progresses rapidly—or not—depending on the location and type of bacteria involved).

Wound Care - Bring Your Cat to the Veterinarian

If you find a wound or obvious abscess, or if your cat is lethargic and you suspect a fever, please bring feline to your veterinarian. Catching an abscess early is important but not required.

There are many ways to treat an abscess:

1. Antibiotics

2. Culturing the wound(s)

3. Draining and cleansing

4. Debridement and drain placement (if big pockets are present)

5. Fluids for feverish cats

6. Pain relief.

A follow up appointment and monitoring of the site(s) is very important part for the veterinarian and for the owner.

Love the outdoors kitty! Owners watch your felines! Enjoy your final days of summer!


outdoor kitty house



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