Rossendale Free Press

Should I take my cat to the vet after fight?

Scrapping mogs can result in infections from bites


QOur two-year-old male neutered cat got into a terrible fight with our next door neighbour’s cat yesterday, with screaming and flying tufts of fur. He seems all right in spite of this, but will he need to see the vet?

AThe main risk is the developmen­t of a cat bite abscess. If there is any sign of blood, a trip to the vet is essential.

I can usually locate bite wounds by palpation and sometimes see them after gentle clipping over the area that has been bitten.

Surprising­ly, these hair-raising fights don’t always do much damage and checking for signs of a developing abscess over the next few days may be all that is necessary.

A cat’s mouth contains many bacteria and one in particular, pasteurell­a, is a main cause of post-bite infection. The affected area becomes swollen and sore, and the cat will lick it.

Common sites for an abscess are on the face and neck, and perhaps for the defeated cat, the rump and tail.

Any sign of an abscess does require a visit to your vet. Lancing and flushing may be required and often an antibiotic course is necessary.

If you get on well with your neighbour there are some constructi­ve conversati­ons to have, but you need to be absolutely sure it’s their cat and not some random stray.

Neutering the cat, if not already done, is essential to drasticall­y reduce the incidence of fighting.

You could also discuss checking for feline immunodefi­ciency virus, which is transmitte­d by biting – particular­ly by unneutered tomcats.


We have a dog and a cat, both 18 months old, and this has been their first proper Christmas with our family. I know we should avoid things like chocolate and grapes but I am wondering if you have any general advice on how to minimise problems?


There must be many thousands of families in the same situation. Many pets have been purchased earlier during lockdown, however, and now face what could be a very unsettling time for them.

My general advice falls into three categories – food, risks and the effect of a noisy environmen­t.

You mention chocolate and grapes, but there are innumerabl­e potential food dangers during the festive period. Most will cause a bad tummy upset.

Rather than go through a large list, my simple advice is to ensure that the dog and cat only get their normal food and any treats that they are already accustomed to.

Make sure the entire family agree to this and remove any temptation by ensuring no Christmas leftovers are available for opportunis­tic scavengers.

When it comes to potential risks, the living room, where the Christmas tree is set up, is the main culprit. Keep pets out of here unless supervised.

Wires can be chewed, decoration­s swallowed, and some cats inexplicab­ly like to eat tinsel or string.

Cats in particular dislike a change to their routine. The decoration­s, noise, children playing and strangers coming into their home will unsettle them.

So both of your pets will benefit from an open door to a quiet room and a warm bed.

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