Abscesses in Cats: What they are, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Abscesos en Gatos: Qué son, Causas, Síntomas y Tratamiento

Welcome to Waggy's! In this article, we are going to talk about an important topic for the health of our feline friends: abscesses in cats. Abscesses are a common concern among cat owners, but what exactly are they and how can we manage them? Join us as we explore the causes, symptoms, treatments and preventive measures for abscesses in our beloved kitties. Don't forget to follow us on our social networks to stay up to date with more useful and exciting content for you and your pet.

What are abscesses in cats?

Abscesses in cats are collections of pus usually caused by infected wounds, bites from other animals, or scratches. These pus-filled pockets can form under the skin and are the body's natural response to infection. Cats are prone to developing abscesses due to their territorial nature and they often present as swollen, tender bumps that can grow rapidly.

Causes of abscesses in cats

Abscesses in cats can be caused by a variety of factors, the most common being:

  • Fighting wounds: Cats are territorial by nature and may confront other cats, which can result in bites and scratches that become infected, forming an abscess.
  • Traumatic wounds: Injuries from accidents, such as being hit by a car or falling from a height, can cause wounds that become infected and develop abscesses.
  • Bacterial infections: Bacteria present in the environment or on the cat's skin can enter through cuts, scrapes or other minor injuries, causing infections that lead to abscess formation.
  • Injections or medical procedures: Sometimes injections or medical procedures can cause secondary infections that result in abscess formation.
  • Parasites: Some parasites, such as fleas, ticks or mites, can cause irritation to the cat's skin, increasing the risk of abscesses if scratches or wounds occur. Learn everything about deworming cats to prevent said irritation and subsequently, accumulations of pus.

How do I know if my cat has an abscess? Symptoms

Identifying whether your cat has an abscess may require careful observation of its behavior and a physical examination. Here are some common symptoms that could indicate the presence of an abscess:

  • You may notice a bump or swelling under your cat's skin. This may feel warm to the touch and be tender when palpated.
  • If the abscess is on a limb, your cat may show lameness or avoid using that paw.
  • Your cat may become less active than usual, show signs of pain or discomfort, or refuse activities he or she normally enjoys.

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  • The presence of an abscess could cause your cat to lose its appetite or become less interested in eating.
  • Your cat may repeatedly lick or bite the area where the abscess is located in an attempt to relieve the discomfort.
  • If the abscess opens or drains, you may notice a discharge of pus or purulent material from the affected area.

Treatment for abscesses in cats

Treatment for abscesses in cats generally involves several steps to ensure complete healing and prevent complications:

  • Draining the abscess: If the abscess is large or mature, the veterinarian may choose to drain it to remove accumulated pus. This is done under local or general anesthesia to avoid discomfort to the cat.
  • Cleaning and washing: After drainage, the affected area is carefully cleaned to remove any residual pus or infected tissue. This helps prevent the infection from recurring.
  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics are prescribed to treat the bacterial infection and prevent its spread. It is important to follow the full course of treatment as directed by your veterinarian.
  • Analgesia: Analgesics may be given to relieve pain and discomfort associated with the abscess. This helps the cat feel more comfortable during the healing process.
  • Veterinary Checkup: It is important that the cat be checked by the veterinarian regularly to monitor the healing progress and ensure there are no complications.

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How to cure a cat abscess at home?

Here are some steps to follow to care for your pet from home:

  1. Wash your hands and gather all the necessary supplies to take care of cat grooming and hygiene , examples of these supplies would be: disposable gloves, warm water, mild soap, sterile gauze, saline solution, an Elizabethan collar or a cat t-shirt to avoid licking the area, and any medication prescribed by the veterinarian.
  2. Use warm water and mild soap to gently clean the area around the abscess. Avoid using irritating products such as alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, as they can worsen the irritation.
  3. Apply warm compresses to the abscess for a few minutes to help open the pores and facilitate drainage of pus.
  4. If the abscess appears ready to drain, use sterile gauze to apply light pressure around the area. This can help release pus. Avoid squeezing the abscess forcefully, as this can cause more damage.
  5. After the pus has drained, wash the area with saline solution to help clean and disinfect the wound.
  6. If your vet has prescribed topical antibiotics or other medications, apply them as directed.
  7. Observe your cat closely over the next few days to make sure he is improving. If the abscess worsens, becomes larger, or your cat shows signs of discomfort, seek veterinary care immediately.

Can a cat die from an abscess?

Yes, a cat can die from an abscess if not treated properly. Although abscesses are not usually fatal on their own, they can lead to serious complications if not managed correctly. If an abscess is left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of the body, causing septicemia or systemic illness. Additionally, the pain and discomfort associated with an abscess can affect the cat's overall well-being and affect its ability to eat, move, and rest properly. Therefore, it is crucial to seek veterinary care as soon as an abscess is suspected to avoid serious and life-threatening complications.

Can abscesses in cats be prevented?

While it is not always possible to completely prevent abscesses in cats, there are steps owners can take to reduce the risk of them occurring. Keeping cats in a safe, controlled environment, minimizing fights with other cats and avoiding risky situations such as accessing areas with sharp debris or dangerous plants, can help prevent injuries that can lead to abscess formation. Additionally, keeping up-to-date on vaccinations and regular health checkups can help detect and treat underlying health problems before they turn into abscesses.


In conclusion, abscesses in cats are common health problems that can arise due to wounds, bacterial infections or traumatic injuries. While they can be painful and uncomfortable for cats, early detection and proper treatment are critical to preventing serious complications and ensuring a successful recovery. Owners should be alert for any signs of an abscess, such as swelling, tenderness, or changes in their cat's behavior, and seek veterinary care immediately if they suspect the presence of this condition. With proper management and care, most cats can fully recover from abscesses and return to normal health and well-being.

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