Cat Fights and Treatment

Cats Fighting

Why do cats fight?

  • Cats get into fights most commonly because they are very defensive of their territory. Over 90% of cat wounds result from cat bites sustained during a fight with another cat. Dog, rat and other rodent bites are much less common.
  • Cat wounds are more common in male cats than females, and intact (un-neutered) males are the most common fighters.
  • If left untreated, a cat bite infection often results in making the cat very ill.

My male cat has been neutered. Why does he still fight?

  • Neutered male cats still want to defend a small territory around their home. So if another cat comes around, your cat may still defend his territory.
  • Even female cats fight with other cats to defend their territory.

What can I do to stop my cat from getting in fights?

  • Neutering may reduce territorial fighting, but will not completely stop it.
  • The easiest solution is to keep your cat indoors, where there’s no exposure to other cats.
  • If your pet is an outdoor cat, try to keep it indoors at night, when most cat fights tend to occur.

What should I do if my cat is bitten?

To avoid infection, call your veterinarian immediately  for advice. The reason is…

  • Cat bites can leave deep wounds in the skin. These punctures rapidly seal over, trapping bacteria from the other cat’s mouth under the skin of the victim, where they can readily multiply. You may not see the puncture wound, but if your cat’s leg was bitten, your cat may limp. Some bitten cats may just be lethargic (low energy), have a fever, or groom the injured area excessively.
  • Bacteria can turn into an infection that may go unnoticed for several days.
  • Eventually, swelling and pain at the puncture site develops, and your cat may develop a fever.
  • If left untreated, pus may develop around the wound, forming an abscess.
  • In rare cases, cat bites result in serious conditions such as septic arthritis (infection of a joint space), osteomyelitis (infection of bone) or pyothorax (the chest cavity fills with pus).

How will my vet treat cat bites?

  • To stop the spread of infection and prevent any further health issues, your veterinarian will give your cat antibiotics; hopefully within 24 hours of the bite. Be sure to give your cat medication as prescribed.

What should I watch for if my cat has wounds?

Be sure to follow your veterinarian’s at-home instructions so the wound can heal and keep your cat free from infection.

If the infected wound does not heal within a few days despite your best efforts, your veterinarian may want to run further tests.  Bite wounds are the main route of transmitting dangerous viruses, so your veterinarian will run blood tests to diagnose them.

If your cat has been wounded in a fight…

If you know your cat has been bitten or if you see the signs described in the above information give us a call. Dr. Smith will be happy to treat your pet.

Source: My Pet ED, Ernest E. Ward, Jr., DVM

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