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Cat fights and dealing with the aftermath

Flying fur, hissing teeth, and yowling that sets your teeth on edge.

Those with cats will recognise the all-too-familiar symptoms of a fight in all its fury.

As an owner you know you can't stop it, all you can do is deal with the aftermath, whether that's sulking, or something more substantial than wounded pride.

Firstly, the tiger in your living room is territorial by nature, but the majority of times when two cats cross each other's path, a warning growl is given and one backs down. I'm sure you have all seen two cats in an apparent staring competition, which results in one slowly turning tail and slinking away.

Occasionally however, neither cat will back down and a fight will occur. These are generally short-lived and noisy resulting in one or more bite wounds.

They are mostly on the head or at the base of the tail but can be anywhere on the body. The mouth of a cat contains a lot of bacteria which, when it breaks the skin, results in a cat bite abscess.

But, what are 'cat bite abscesses', how does your cat get them, and what do you do next? Hopefully this will answer some of the questions you may have.

Cats have cleverly evolved over millions of years to deal with just this type of injury. Instead of the bacteria entering the cat's body and making them ill, the cat walls off the bacteria into an abscess. This process takes roughly two days. The abscess then bursts out and expels the bacteria, which is usually the first time an owner will know the cat has been in a fight.

This is the gruesome bit. You will see a foul-smelling yellow thick cheesy pus oozing from your beloved pet as the bacteria is expelled from your cat. It is best to take them to your vet to get checked over and cleaned up, and medicated if required.

You cat will recover beautifully and hopefully will have learned their lesson and won't argue with the same cat again. Cat bite abscesses can often be prevented by having your cat spayed or neutered, which reduces the likelihood of them getting into a fight in the first place. Have clear territories for each of your pets by creating perches and hideouts in your home. Cats need their own space so make sure you give it to them wherever possible.

The majority of cat owners will experience a cat bite abscess on their pet at some time. Don't panic, but do contact your vet to ensure your furry friend is back in top shape quickly.

Dr Lucy Richardson is the owner of CedarTree Vets, a companion animal concierge veterinary service in Bermuda. She graduated in 2005 from Edinburgh University and has worked as a vet in Bermuda since 2006. She is married to Mark and has two beautiful children, Ray and Stella. If you have a topic you would like Dr Richardson to discuss, please contact her at cedartreevets@gmail.com or visit her website at www.cedartreevets.com

Vet Lucy Richardson with a less-than-happy cat (photo byGlenn Tucker)

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Published October 21, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 20, 2013 at 11:44 pm)

Cat fights and dealing with the aftermath

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