I feed stray cats and often take them to the vet. The information in this article is based on advice from the veterinarian I visit.
Home Care and Remedies for Cat Wounds
I feed several stray cats from my neighborhood. Quite a few of them will even let me carry them around and treat them like babies. The rest just run like mad at the sight of me.
One of the cats I feed showed up the other day with a wound on the back of his neck. It looked like it went all the way down to the bone, and the gaping hole had fur hanging to the side. I called the vet and ran the cat in to see what could be done to minimize the poor thing's suffering.
The vet explained to me that the cause of the gaping wound was most likely an abscess that had burst. The vet then explained how a cat gets an abscess, how to care for the abscess at home, and how to know when a vet’s medical attention is necessary. In this article, we will take a look at the following:
- The definition of a cat abscess
- Abscess symptoms and types
- Why they form
- How they are diagnosed
- How to treat a cat abscess at home
- Necessary supplies and cat handling
- When to see a veterinarian
What Is a Cat Abscess?
An abscess is a localized infection of the skin. It is generally characterized as a pocket of soft tissue that is filled with pus. They often result from bites or scratches endured during cat fights (e.g., between intact males) or from puncture wounds (from fangs, scratches, or pricks).
Cellulitis and Abscess Formation
Cellulitis is the preliminary stage of abscess formation. It generally occurs in tight areas of skin if the infection is deep. The area will be warm, tender to the touch, and hard. In the case of such infections, cats will often present with a fever and stop eating. A sebaceous cyst may also resemble an abscess and/or cellulitis, but is much rarer in cats and occurs when a hair follicle or pore becomes clogged and inflamed.
Cat Abscess Symptoms
Many abscesses may be accompanied by the following:
- localized soft, painful swelling and tenderness
- necrotic tissue (dead tissue)
- foul-smelling discharge from a wound
- lethargy and loss of appetite (inappetence)
Types of Cat Abscesses
Cat Fight Abscess
Biting and scratching from a fight. Needle-like canine teeth puncture skin and create a chamber for bacteria proliferation.
Head, face, and neck.
Inanimate objects—nails, thorns, sticks—can puncture the skin and introduce anaerobic and aerobic bacteria.
Anywhere on the body.
Often requires CT or radiograph imaging—affects the gingiva, tooth root, or pulp and is often characterized by fever and difficulty eating.
Cheek swelling or intraoral irritation.
How Do Cat Abscesses Form?
The vet explained to me that cats' claws and teeth are filthy and are as sharp as tiny needles. Cats dig into dirt to go potty, and they scratch up and down just about anything they can find—from dead critters to moldy trees.
Fight Wounds Introduce Bacteria
Cats tend to be very territorial, and they fight using claws and teeth, which carry a lot of bacteria. A cat’s skin is also thick—especially an outdoor cat. When a cat’s needle-like claws or teeth go into another cat’s skin, dirt and bacteria get pushed in along the way. When the cat’s claw or tooth is pulled back out, the other cat’s thick skin seals together over the hole and traps the dirt and bacteria under the outermost layer of thick skin.
Now, what do you think happens when the skin closes up over the germs and dirt? That’s right—an infection springs up and festers under the skin. This infection may include anaerobic bacteria (requiring low-oxygen conditions), aerobic bacteria, mixed bacteria, and fungal spores. The most commonly identified infections include Pasteurella multocida, an aerobic bacterium commonly found in the mouth of cats, Fusobacterium, Prevotella, E. coli, and Clostridium spp. The infection continues to progress under the cat’s skin until:
- It fills with pus, bursts, and sometimes leaves a gaping hole.
- A vet lances the wound to allow the bacteria and pus to exit.
How a Vet Diagnoses a Cat Abscess
Most cat abscesses are the result of bites or scratches from an attacking animal. Most abscesses will be found on the cat’s neck, front legs, or the tail/rump area. You should have your veterinarian look at your cat's abscess to rule out other conditions like vaccine-associated feline sarcoma (feline-injection site sarcoma) and especially to treat cats with preexisting conditions like:
- Feline Immunodeficiency Virus or FIV: FIV progresses quite similarly to human HIV and is an immunosuppressive virus and condition. It is generally transmitted via deep bite wounds (particularly between intact male cats).
- Feline Leukemia Virus or FeLV: FeLV is another immunosuppressive condition resulting in anemia or lymphoma. It can be transmitted via saliva and blood.
Diagnosis and Treatment
An exam at a veterinary clinic is often necessary to determine what kind of wound care your cat will need. Some veterinarians may choose to do a culture and sensitivity test to determine which type of stubborn bacteria they are dealing with and will choose an antibiotic or medication accordingly. A bacterial culture will allow for the type of bacteria to be identified, especially if your cat is indoor-only, which makes for an unusual case.
Anesthesia and Surgery
Some cats may need to be anesthetized for treatment—especially in severe cases where an abscess won't resolve on its own and can't go untreated (or in the case of a dental abscess). Some deep wounds may require the implantation of a temporary drain and sutures. In addition, a complete blood cell panel (CBC) may be ordered as well as blood chemistries to assess overall health and severity of the infection.
Tips on How to Treat a Cat Abscess at Home
If you are like me and you live on an old farm, you end up with numerous outdoor cats. You simply cannot afford to take them to the vet for every boo-boo. A vet’s treatment is always the best option for severe conditions in cats.
The good news is that most abscesses often resolve on their own—they will burst open and drain. But what happens when they don't? A cat’s skin heals from the outside in, meaning the new skin can close over the wound and trap dirt or germs that are still in the wound, putting the cat at risk for another abscess.
How to Help a Stray or Outdoor Cat
With an outdoor or stray cat, it isn’t always possible to bring the cat indoors for a few days to start the healing process. An outdoor cat might yowl to get outside, he might spray your home, and he might claw up anything within his reach. So how can you help a poor animal even if you cannot afford a trip to the vet? You cannot just ignore the problem and hope the wound heals on its own. The odds of that happening are minimal.
Supplies for Treating Cat Abscesses
- Rubber gloves (medical grade)
- Sterile saline
- Vet wrap (optional)
- First aid scissors (bandage scissors)
- Medicine droppers or 3-6cc syringes (no needle!)
- Antibiotic ointment (vet-approved)
Can I Use Hydrogen Peroxide on My Cat?
Hydrogen peroxide may have many beneficial uses for wound care, but unfortunately, it should not be used on cat abscess and abrasions. In fact, hydrogen peroxide slows wound healing and damages skin cells or fibroblasts—the active connective tissue cell that helps tremendously in wound healing.
Use Sterile Saline
Always work with your vet when discussing at-home wound care. Sterile saline is a much safer alternative that can be used for wound debridement and wound flushing. It can be found in most first aid sections at the drug store.
How to Clean a Cat Abscess Wound
If you have an indoor-outdoor or outdoor cat (especially if immune-compromised), you may want to house them indoors until the wound heals to avoid contamination.
My vet suggested I do the following for an outdoor cat that seems to be eating and behaving normally who cannot be brought indoors. Use the supplies in your cat first aid kit and any antibiotics or medications your vet may prescribe as directed. Perform the above steps 2 or 3 times a day for 3–4 days:
Step 1: Use a Warm Compress
If the abscess has not yet burst and it appears to be causing your cat great discomfort, place a hot washrag over the abscess GENTLY for 10 minutes a few times a day until it opens and drains. DO NOT make the water so hot that it burns the cat. If it hurts your hands, don’t use it. You may need to reheat the washrag several times to keep it warm enough. Don’t be surprised if the cat fights this step the entire time—he is uncomfortable, and the swollen abscess is very tender.
Step 2: Trim the Hair Back
Try to gently trim away as much fur as possible from around the wound. This step will keep the fur from trapping dirt and germs that may enter the wound. You can use a grooming set of clippers or a small pair of first aid scissors with blunted ends.
Step 3: Use Light Pressure
Wear gloves for this step. Once the abscess is draining, you can help the discharge escape with light pressure. Be sure not to push too hard, or you will hurt the cat. I choose not to do this step because I am afraid to hurt the cat. I let the wound clear on its own while gently wiping the area with a warm washrag to remove germs and other debris. Once the wound is finished draining, you can proceed to the next step.
Step 4: Lightly Irrigate the Wound
Clean the wound out with warm, sterile saline. I use a baby medicine dropper or a syringe (without the needle of course!) to slowly and gently irrigate the wound.
Step 5: Apply Vet-Approved Antibiotic
Apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment after the wound has had time to dry.
Step 6: Only Bandage With Veterinary Assistance
Some people may try to place a bandage or vet wrap over or around the wound to keep it clean if the wound is large, but if done incorrectly, further complications can develop. Most outdoor cats are not going to let you bandage them—heck you may be lucky just to get the cleaning solution in the wound.
Step 7: Assess the Wound
If a scab appears to be growing too fast and you are worried it might trap bacteria under it, you may need to debride the wound during cleaning—this consists of reducing some of the scab to let the wound heal from the inside out.
Keep in mind that the area may be painful. A soak of sterile water will soften the scab so it can be slowly and gently removed in a less painful manner. If the wound ever gets to this point, consider seeing the vet. If the scab has been on for a couple of days already, LEAVE IT ALONE.
Your Safety Comes First
Do not put yourself in danger. Cat bites can result in a trip to the emergency room and require intense medical care. If a cat is seriously in need of help, contact animal control or transport them to a veterinary clinic.
Tips for Handling a Cat Safely
- Consider fear-free restraint: If the cat won’t let you hold it for treatment, try wrapping it in a towel (firmly but lovingly) to avoid getting scratched!
- Wear gloves: Use rubber gloves to prevent getting an infection of your own, should you have any open skin from paper cuts or scratches.
- Do not attempt to lance it: Many people want to know how to lance or rupture a cat abscess. This should be left for the vet to do due to sterility concerns.
- Use food to your advantage: Food is an excellent motivator for food-driven cats. Use it to your advantage. If you are slick enough, you can pet the cat while it eats and apply the cleaning solution and ointment this way. My cats are on a feeding schedule of twice a day—morning and early evening to avoid the raccoons. My injured cat was food-driven, so I was able to clean his wound twice a day at feeding time—otherwise, I would never catch him!
How Long Does It Take for a Cat Abscess to Heal?
Most cat wounds take around 10–14 days to completely heal, but healing time may be faster in young or healthy cats—as quickly as 5–7 days.
As mentioned, some cat abscesses resolve on their own. Healing time is largely dependent on how deep or severe the wound is, the type of bacteria, the health of the cat (FeLV or FIV+), and the environment in which they can heal (clean and low-stress vs. outdoor and humid or cold).
When to Seek a Vet’s Assistance for a Cat Abscess
I have had great success using the above-mentioned method on my cats. There was only one time I had to take an outdoor cat to the vet—he was older, and his wound stayed infected. He stopped eating and just loafed around more so than normal—he would go into such a deep sleep that he wouldn’t even budge when I called his name.
It turned out the poor boy had a fever. The vet kept him for a few days to give him antibiotics and to keep an eye on his wound. That was 2 years ago, and that specific cat is still running around healthy and happy.
When Should I See a Vet?
Anytime you are in doubt, take the cat to a vet for a consultation. The vet will then either keep your cat and take care of the abscess (lance and drain) or send you home with a list of instructions. I am by no means a vet, vet tech, or vet assistant. This is information I have learned over the years and from my own vet. You should always seek veterinary attention if:
- The cat is more lethargic than normal.
- The cat appears to be in any pain or distress.
- The cat has lost its appetite or stopped eating.
- The cat is vomiting (cats can dehydrate easily).
- The abscess does not stop draining within 48 hours.
- The area of the wound is very large.
- The cat is immunocompromised.
- Why Hydrogen Peroxide Is NOT For Cleaning Pet Wounds
Some pet owners have inadvertently slowed pet wound healing with their at-home care before bringing their pet to the vet. Peroxide is the culprit.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2012 Sondra
Evonne Long on June 28, 2020:
I have a @5yr old male cat. About 2 or 3 yrs ago he adopted me by climbing up to my 3rd floor balcony. I already had 3 cats but this cat would come and go. I'm sure he lived somewhere in my apartment complex. Anyway I found he had a tick on his upper right shoulder. I soaked the area with warm soapy waterand waited for the tick to emerge. When I saw the head I removed it. I waited about 2 weeks to make sure it didn't come back or develop a new one. It left him with a tag. Which looked similar to the tick or a nipple. So being unaware I decided to make sure it wasn't a another tick so soaked the area eith hydrogen peroxide. The tag turned white and an abcess developed. It wasn't painful to the touch and there was no opening of the skin. There was no blood or discharge. However over these last couple of years it has gotten larger and larger. Its still white and not quite translucent but it is getting larger. Should I soaking it with warm water. It looks like brown little speckles on the top of the abcess. Am I to just let it continue to grow and wait for it to stop growing on its own??
colin on May 01, 2020:
Hi Sondra, I just read daviddavidson92's advice in your comments section and it's also really helpful. Perhaps you could get together and do a series on helpful hints! Yours and his was the best advice I have seen when trying to work out how to treat my cat's abcess.
colin on May 01, 2020:
That's really good advice and very helpful.
I'd like to see vets do a "drive through triage service at a reduced consultation price.
Many problems with animals don't need expert attention, just common sense care at home and sometimes a quick look by a vet can determine that straight away.
The costs of going to a vet stop many people from taking their animals and the animals suffer as a result.
I'm currently trying to get my cat's abcess healed by using antibiotics and betadine. There are risks involved with dose rates and should the would have been stitched etc.
But I've spent $2000 on my dog that suffers fits and he's still fitting. Even from a vet a lot of it is trial and error.
Before advice like yours was on the internet, I used detol on a previous cat's wound and he got a bad ulcer in his moth from licking it. You learn from mistakes like that.
Trjvbp on February 20, 2020:
Success story using post and comments on this link. A cat adopted us a few years back and has slowly allowed only myself and my husband to pet her. She has a clipped ear so we know she’s fixed. I’ve tried, with no success, to get her into a cat carrier. She won’t even allow us to pick her up.
She came in a couple weeks ago with a really bad smell on her which I thought was improper cleaning of her anus. A few days later noticed her back was moist and that was the source of the bad smell. I found an open would that oozed thick yellowish fluid and an area the size of a silver dollar surrounding it tougher than her other skin.
I knew she wouldn’t willingly get into her crate so researched on the site and treated accordingly.
Applied a warm compress as she allowed
Rinsed with saline nasal spray- only saline in the house
Treated with polysporin
Ordered fish mox over night and when it arrived I mixed with her wet food. She likes gravy so I would grind up the powder really fine and mix with just the gravy part then add the solid part of wet food on top to mask the smell. She eats it all, no problem. Dosage is 10mg per lb of body weight. It is not exact since I don’t know her exact weight, how much of each tablet she actually ingests, etc.
wound drained for a couple days and bled a day beyond that.
Forward to six days later and she is so much improved! Cellulitis is gone. That skin is back to normal. Wound is scabbing over with no apparent infection underneath. Plan is to treat with the meds for ten days total. Thank you spooky boo for the fish mox tip!
Dawn on November 22, 2019:
My cats abcess has burst shes on antibiotics im bathing her wound with hibiscus but the wound is large
Jana Dee on August 18, 2019:
I use Bag Balm ointment on wounds and it works amazingly well. It comes in a really cute little green canister also.
Avey on December 29, 2018:
Thanks for this information, my kitten had been desexed a 3 weeks ago and was oozing transparent like liquid by the time I got her home. That night it tore open the stitches licked her wound and was in a bad shape in the morning. The second vet trip was out of budget so had to help her at home. I used super glue on a piece of cotton to bring the open wound together and carefully closed it with the cotton.
To keep the kitten from licking and opening it again, I made a hole in a cardboard a bit smaller than her head and pushed the cardboard over to her neck that way she couldn't get it off easily n cud not reach the wound ( it's similar to a Elizabeth collar). Although the wound healed bcos of the initial scratching an abscess formed under the skin, I used aloe vera leaf jelly and the abscess opened, I drained the abscess and kept applying the Aloe Vera and the kitty is now recovering nicely.
wobbly on November 01, 2018:
colgate plax mouthwash (peppermint flavour no burn). apply to spot or abcess and it draws it out, also if the cat licks it, as it is mouthwash it will help with germs from the cats mouth. I also put antibacterial soap on it (just a fingertips worth) and rubbed it in then just leave it.
Randi on October 07, 2018:
My cat has a abcess on her stomach for about a couple weeks now and we can’t afford to go to the vet but these 2 days she has been bleeding from it and we don’t know how much blood cats can loose
Alana on October 02, 2018:
My cat currently has a burst abcess, and being a student, I can't afford a vet trip for anything less than a broken bone. I have my own method of helping him to heal, but it was useful to see someone else's approach. I simply trim the hair around the affected area, and clean it thoroughly with homemade saline solution three times a day for around three days. If it shows signs of further infection, antibiotics such as amoxicillin will work fine for a cat, at a dose of 12mg per pound of weight, every twelve to twenty-four hours until a few days after it seems like the infection is gone. As I said, this is just my method, but I hope to have at least helped someone.
Spooky Boo on September 21, 2018:
Thank you for the info. My inside cats get them when they sneak outside. The first one I took to a vet after it popped and he gave her an antibiotic shot and stitches. The second one I can't afford another $600 vet visit so when it happened on her neck we just let it pop and heal but we used witch hazel to clean it. Unfortunately, it is back so I'm going to get some fishmox and put it in her water and use iodine to clean it out when it pops. Poor thing. At least the hair hasn't grown back yet.
Kai on August 16, 2018:
My cat's face is swelling but still eats. And the swelling seems to grow bigger. I just don't have money to bring him to the vet so I'm curious if there's home treatment for it? I really need help. Thank you.
Laura also on August 10, 2018:
Thanks. This is one of the most helpful articles I’ve read on any pet topic— not just this particular thing. I also have had success treating my indoor/ outdoor cat’s abscesses at home over the years, but this one is on his face (jaw). Most information says “take to the vet” but not only is this expensive, it also stresses kitties out (especially mine).
Melody Ann on July 26, 2018:
My wild kitty has what appears to be an abcess on her left hip area. I suspect my playful house cat scratched her. She appeares to be in pain and there is no opening.......yet. You had great advice of trying to use warm water on a cloth when she eats and i'm hoping to try this. I feel pretty helpless to help her when she clearly has a trust issue right now. She stays outside now and i've made her comfortable in the garage where she can be away from house kitty. I am going to try everything that was recommended with my pretty kitty and maybe we'll both get lucky. Thanks for the advice.
jmp on July 18, 2018:
God Bless You, you are awesome and very Loving.
Laura on June 14, 2018:
I have a baby kitten about 4 weeks old it has a abscess but the vet says it's to small to do surgery. They put it on a antibiotic and pain meds. My question is when the abscess comes out will there be a big hole in the skin? Lots of dry puss lumps came out like past. Is this normal?? The vet is closed so I have to take him in tomorrow. I'm so worried.
Sondra (author) from Neverland on June 10, 2018:
Thank you for taking the time to explain all that. You definitely go into much more detail than I was able to provide :) I also appreciate your willingness to help others in the comment thread. I've taken a very long break from writing/replying to comments to focus on family and life in general. All the best!
DavidDavidson92 on May 17, 2018:
I made the below comment without signing up so sadly I can't edit it; I should have proof read it. The punctuation is awful. I'll add some more to help people who have previously asked questions (although they are months old) in the hope of helping others.
Anyway; to get to the point; lots of you seem to be asking "how do I know if it's an abscess" or "does my cat have an abscess"
Firstly an abscess is an infection. Your cat will be giving off lots of heat at the site of the abscess. Your cat will likely be in pain too, especially when you touch it.
One sure fire way to find out (if it's a closed abscess) would be to make sure it's a lump close to the skin surface and not near any major organs; use a 2ml syringe with a fairly large bore needle on it, 25 gauge should do. The lower the gauge the larger the needle diameter, so a 30g needle will be much thinner than a 20g one and so on. However high gauge needles will block in an enclosed abscess due to clotted blood and dead tissue in along with the pus, so a wider bore is better, though this will cause great discomfort to the cat upon insertion.
Insert the needle into the nucleus centre) of what you believe to be an abscess and then with a 2-5ml syringe aspirate (draw back the plunger) if you get fluid (it can be anything from red to cloudy, clear or standard yellow) if it is an abscess the more pus you remove the less pressure this will be exerting on the wound (and more helpful white blood cells and antibodies) can enter the cavity (when an abscess forms a cavity is created to seal it from the rest of the body, so infection cannot pass into the bloodstream; causing sepsis (blood poisoning); I would only recommend the above procedure to people who aren't squeamish and are able to hold the cat down.
A mild sedative such as diazepam (or similar) may help your cat stop struggling, however this comes under the moral issue of giving psychoactive drugs to your pet, who cannot verbally consent; there may also be legal issues involved too; so make sure you're on the right.side of the law. Opioid painkillers (codeine, tramadol, etc) also will help your pet's pain (though they are dependence forming and shouldn't given for longer than a week; do NOT use formulations with paracetamol (acetaminophen) as this is poisonous to cats. For pain relief I suggest you contact a vet over the phone or if this isn't possible, check pain meds with veterinary compatibility in cats on a veterinary website. One well meaning mistake can mean disaster. Remember that if you are using medicine designed for humans that cats are *much* smaller and the dosage should be reduced in relation to size, sedatives such as diazepam (or similar like diazepam, clonazepam, lorazepam; though alprazolam (XanaX) may be too potent, even when broken down to a small dose) any benzodiazepine will do) just make sure to give as possible, it can always be increased if ineffective after an hour; signs of sedation include unsteady gait (walking as if drunk), misjudging jumps and a general calmness; benzodiazepines also affect the production of new memories for their duration (the higher the dose the more of an domestic effect there will be; though as already mentioned, cats are tiny so 1/4 to 1/2 the human dose is enough, consult veterinary papers for more information) so this may help make your cat forget a procedure which involves being poked with a pointy, painful needle.
I've had a few cats over the years and I couldn't always afford vets bills; one cat (a purebred ragdoll) came seeking shelter. Neighbours who had recently moved in had used her as a breeder and neglected her health entirely (she died a few years ago; euthanized by vet due to pneumothroax (a hole in the lungs letting air into her thorscic cavity) caused by her inhaling a pine needle or splinter (she coughed alot, her original owners were heavy smokers so it must have gotten in that way) that ended up puncturing her lung meaning either a quick death or open chest surgery with a low (30% max I was told; at her age) chance of survival, so she was euthanized.
When she first turned up her teeth were terrible; two were completely rotten and loose. There was no saving them.and they caused her great pain.
She was given 7.5mg of diazepam (a very high dose for a cat) and once she was close to a deep sleep and I could open her mouth with ease as well as feel her teeth with gloves on (they were extremely loose, one held on only.by flaps of skin.
I grabbed some forceps and with my mother holding Maxine steady I loosened the first tooth using gentle pressure, (heavy pressure can shatter a rotten tooth causing major problems skin extraction) which was barely hanging on and removed it, the second one was more firmly held but abscessed, I gave it a few wiggled from side to side, breaking the fibrous connections and then gave a sharp tug (at this we got a weak yowl) removing it and draining pus into her mouth.
We put her into a room with soft food, hard food and litter for 36h until the diazepam has worn off fully and she had healed (the last thing you would want is the cat outside fighting) for the next five years until she died she developed a love for hard food, which was previously too uncomfortable to eat and she gained a healthy amount of weight, after being skin and bones.
This may sound like a bit of a tangent though it shows correct procedure for sedation at home (which I doubt most vets would recommend but sometimes vet bills cannot be afforded).
Anyway, to recap, if you are unsure that what you feel is an abscess, feel for a scab, check to see if your cat is in pain, especially when you touch this "knot" or bulge (a very gentle squeeze should let you know) abscesses give off heat and your pet may be feverish, lethargic, have a lowered appetite or simply seem "out of sorts", of this is the case it is probably an abscess that isn't opening.or draining and will get worse over time..
You can confirm by piercing to the nucleus of the swelling with a medium (to a cat, so no lower than 20g, 23-25g recommended) and a 2-5 ml syringe, when you pull back (aspirate) if it is definitely pus try to remove as much you can, this will reduce the pain your cat is in as it relieves the pressure, if you can do this multiple times by removing the syringe (but not the needle) emptying it's contents into a bowl for disposal (have a careful sniff, if it smells terrible you have yourself an abscess) continue draining until it's all drained, you could new. Sterile syringe filled with saline to (gently, you don't want the needle to have moved and you to inject saline into the wrong place rather than the abscess cavity.
Fill with saline, swap syringes then remove the saline and empty it out too, this will clean the cavity and.hopefully prevent reinfection..
However do not attempt this procedure if the abscess is on the head as the eyes and ears are there and your cat needs working ones, on the belly near internal organs (deep in the belly) near the spinal cord (between the shoulders for example as one slip could paralyze your kitty!!), if it is somewhere simple like the flank be careful you don't damage an artery as an arterial spasm can cut off blood flow to a whole limb.
In short, if you feel the procedure is beyond you, call a vet. Some may have honestly joined to help animals and might only charge for.equipment + medicines/drugs. If you are short on money make this known, shop around and politely say that your pet isn't well at all but all other quotes have been too high.
When it comes down to it a vet is the best qualified. We can treat injured animals but a vet has spent nearly a decade learning their trade and their most common patients are cats and dogs so if you can ***consult a vet***
If not proceed with caution and the knowledge that as well meaning as you may be, this might still be seen as animal cruelty if it goes horribly wrong.
You can do the above, however have one or two people who you have talked through the procedure to assist, it will make life much more simple as you can't magic medical implements whilst holding a (sedated) cat down.
Apologies for typos, done on phone.
David Davidson on May 16, 2018:
One thing I would like to add.
Do NOT use peroxide. It is for external use only and if used in irrigation of a abscess you'll not just be killing the bacteria, but also the cat's own white blood cells fighting the infection and slowing healing times by killing new muscle/skin cells that are growing to close the wound up.
Use an antiseptic (call your vet or check online first as some medicines that are harmless to other mammals are very toxic to cats (paracetamol/acetaminophen for example is deadly poisonous to cats but safe for use in most other mammals) on the outside of the abscess only (you may want to consider an Elizabethan collar for him/her to stop the cat further licking it and introducing more bacteria into the wound. If you want to irrigate the inside of the abscess use saline solution. A bottle of sterile saline solution is the best but standard non sterile saline should do; it'll still be much cleaner than tap water. You can also make your own sterile saline solution by adding 90g of table salt to (just over, to allow for evaporation whilst boiling) 1l of water or reduce half both figures if you need less, etc. Boil for ten minutes, let cool for five then suck it up into a large (needle free) syringe (50-100ml) for irrigation so long as the syringe came in a sterile pack, the saline should be sterile for 3 days, 2 weeks if refrigerated.
Personally my cat has a (small) abscess on his head, just in front of his ear (he *hated* getting a small haircut, especially the sensitive hairs at the entrance to his ear.
He climbed up on my chest last night and my first thought was that he stank; it was only when I got him into a bright room did I notice he had what appeared to be a bite mark on the top of his head, on further inspection it turned out to be an abscess.
I gave it a good squeeze and got extremely foul smelling and clear liquid out of it; he hated it, though afterwords went to sleep on my the foot of my bed.
I checked it again yesterday, thinking it on the mend and saw a scab (often a good sign) but when I have a light squeeze terrible smelling yellow pus came out and matted the fur. I grabbed my mayo scissors from my "throrough" medkit (scalpels, sutures, forceps, etc) and gave him a haircut (the scissors are extremely sharp as they're intended to cut through fat and skin) so I was able to pretty much shave the hair down to stumps, pus got all over the scissors so they had to be washed and put in a pressure cooker to re-sterilize them.
I really want to avoid the vets as they often charge a fortune even for a minor operation. I've even toyed with the idea of putting him under heavy sedation (though not anaesthesia) and lancing the abscess myself, though I feel that would come under "animal cruelty" even if it is well meaning.
I'll see if he gets better over the weekend and see where to go from there.
If it gets worse there is one decent vet nearby; since I'm on state benefits there's also the free vet though it's usually packed with people with Staffies that have often injuries consistent with dogfighting..., the nearby vet may do a cheap physical and prescribe antibiotics as the abscess is small and open.
Darlene Clonts on March 24, 2018:
i had a stray kitten show up about two weeks ago ,she had an absess on her back tail bone i have been keeping in clean if it gets a scab and gets puffy i pull the scab off and clean it ,well today the sore is healing but still a little puffy so i mashed on it a little and a tiny bit of pus came out then blood and all of a sudden this thing came out that was small and i thought was some parasite but was something that wasn't alive it looked like a piece of bone is it possible that another cat bit her and left the piece if tooth in her or could her bone be chipped from the bite or could it be a nail she is eating
Ernest Pearson on March 12, 2018:
My cat just got a baseball size abscess or tumor. What can I do at home, since I don't have money for the vet.
Louise on January 14, 2018:
My 8 year old feline cat (my little sponge - she absorbs all stress and pain. I have teenage girls!!! ) was taken to the vet a few days ago as she was suddenly limping and hissed and cried when I tried to touch her. The vet kept her for the morning and decided it didn't need x-ray and gave us painkiller solution to administer by mouth. We only got one lot down her. The other night as I cuddled her I thought she smelt really bad but guessed she might have rolled in something unpleasant. She was no longer limping either. Anyway, this morning I was aware that she was licking her side and saw a small bald patch and a hole about 1/2 centimeter in size. I took a photo before she disappeared as she does and my husband showed the vet. They were not surprised and said to take her in if it gets pus in it. Well it looks like we might not need to thanks to your very detailed summary on regarding abscesses. Thank you so much, it was very informative and I'm so grateful to you. I will let you know what happens if I need to. :)
Sandy on December 05, 2017:
Hi Sondra, thanks so much for your post. It was very supportive as my old cat (18) had her first ever abscess last night. As she was lying on me, it burst and I had no idea what was happening. I have a sister in the UK who is a vet and she told me to gently squeeze out what I could (though most of it had gone everywhere) and then apply a saline solution. It was all pretty disgusting, the smell is something else but at least my cat is eating this morning and much chirpier. I will continue to keep the wound clean and change her bedding but for the moment I am just so grateful to hear that it is something that can be treated at home with some love, care and attention. Thanks for your encouragement. Sandy
Lisa on November 28, 2017:
Hi, I have a cat that just went to the vet 2 weeks ago and got nutered well now he has this big knot between his shoulder blades would it be an absess? He is a inside cat I’m worried about him don’t have the money to take him back to the vet please help
Nicole on November 22, 2017:
Hi, my guy is 18 & doesn't like to be groomed, although I do the firm towel holding trick when trimming back claws..... however this poor guy has what looks like a small abscess near his pp, I've successfully washed him & applied triple antibiotic ointment x2, although he was yowling & most likely cursing at me. Is there something else I can do? We leave for thanksgiving tomorrow & don't come back til sun, so the vet is not an option right now. Neighbors will be caring for him 2-3x/day while we're away, but I'm concerned about him because he's old & obviously in some pain, although voiding & eating fine. Am I doing enoughfor now?
evelyn cond on October 18, 2017:
Thanks will try that hope it works
NICOLE KEATING on September 26, 2017:
I have used this method several times. You must be persistent with the hot packs. It is very effective.
Mariah on July 27, 2017:
what an adorible kitten its so small i just want to cuddle in its soft tender fur i love it
Carla Dantzler on July 14, 2017:
Thxs so much for your info, I had to treat and deal w/this exact problem with my female furbaby.Patty (furbaby) is fine now because I knew the techniques I was taught through this vlog .Patty was a trooper and thankfully came through this all like the strong lil'lady she is but only because of caring vets that know the importance of educating the public on how to properly take care of furbabys of all breeds.Thank you to VETS everywhere and a big shout out "THANKS" to animal lovers everywhere who also do as much as possible to luv and care for animals in any situation.
rabiya irfan on June 17, 2017:
my cat is stray and she has hole side beside her ear filled with pus how can i treat her
Sue E on June 09, 2017:
My Daughter's cat is huge.
He has a septic wound on his head
I don't have peroxide it's 22:00 u.k time.
any suggestions on what to use instead please.
ayla on May 31, 2017:
my cat got injured i dont know how she might have an infection one side of her body is black with worms
Maureen Prince on May 24, 2017:
My cat is a outdoor cat and has had a couple abscess and the home remedy you have given is awesome it works every time it has saved us from vet bills that we just cant afford thank you for the information. you are truly are an angel.
JS Matthew from Massachusetts, USA on May 05, 2017:
Hello there, old friend!
My cat had a crusty bump on the side of his ear and as I first touched it he was resistant. This cat is my own and he is an indoor/outdoor cat and although he is "fixed" he can be quite aggressive. He gets into fights with neighborhood cats often and comes home with "scratches and bruises" quite often, and can turn in an instant on us humans when we pet him or try to move him (he likes to bite and scratch people, furniture, and especially gnawing on electrical wires and device chargers). He is about 4 years old.
Anyway, as I put slight pressure on the bump, a yellow, very smelly puss began to ooze from it as it came to a head. He sat there like a champ (he would normally bite and scratch the heck out of me) so I knew that this was causing him distress and my actions were giving him relief from the pressure. It kind of reminded me of a human boil, so I can understand the pain he must have been in with all that pressure under the skin. So after it was drained, he went into normal mode and started getting angry so I gave him some space and later cleaned the wound with Hydrogen Peroxide.
It's been almost 24 hours and there is still a little bit of residual fluid draining but he seems to be happier and has shown me affection to show his gratitude. I learned a lot from this article so I wanted to thank you. I also wanted you to know that your article on PetHelpful came up as the 2nd listing on the first page of Google after I searched the terms: "My cat has a cyst with yellow puss coming out". Congratulations! That is impressive. Thanks again and best of success.
Laurah dejesus on April 17, 2017:
This was very informative thank you
Duizhang Jerry on February 03, 2017:
I followed these instructions to the letter. My wife was sure we were going to lose him. A week and a half later and he's almost all better. Even the fur is starting to grow back. Thank you from him, from me, and especially from my wife.
Jerry on January 26, 2017:
Thank you for this article. My wife is freaking out, in fear of losing him :(
Lyn on January 05, 2017:
my cat clawed my bad on new years eve,thought it was his urine,but now i think its a abbcess or ulcer,sad thing is iv a broken back tooth and iv been telling him about it,now i know iv given him collodial silver,dabbed some on his gums ,and hes drank some in a dish,hes not been eating like normal but hes eaten all his meat today and buiscuits ,i thought he dident like,thank god for collodial silver,just hope iv enough for both of us till next week when i get my pension,,am still taking him to vets soon for a check up,and claw cut,but i feel a lot happier now hes more my boy again,
Melinda on August 28, 2016:
My cat had an access and diappeared for several days. When he came back there was a seeping very stinky hole on his tail. He keeps making a licking Linda clicking sound over his water. Why???
jodiz on August 22, 2016:
Hi thanks so much for this post, my cat has one and I just don't have the funds to take her to the vet, so have been keeping it clean and covered, pleased to know I have been doing the right thing, thank you so much for helping xx
Chloe on August 04, 2016:
Hi this is an emergency , well my cats mouth is bleeding , not to much but it is bleeding he liked my bed and some of the blood came on it I just want to know if this is serious or not or at least do u have you any tips that could help , I do think he only has something small but i always like to be on the safe side , please answer this soon. Thank you
maddi on May 09, 2016:
thank you so much for this information! everywhere else i looked for help just seemed to use all the 'medical' wording and i couldn't understand a thing. my cat (mainly indoors but likes to take the occasional wander under the neighbours porch) had a giant one on the back of his neck and when i pressed down at least three table spoons of disgusting goo came out, i also used warmed up saline solution to clean the wound out before putting in the hydrogen peroxide and it seemed to help? (either that or he trusts me enough to know that i'd never intentionally hurt him. But honestly. This article nd yourself are a godsent! thank you! thank you! thank you!
Rissa on March 25, 2016:
Thank you so much this website helped so so very much my cat Mikey was attacked and has a bite and a hole where his arm-pit is and the bite has already healed but the hole under his arm-pit isn't healed yet but I will do these steps and tell you if it worked
chris on March 08, 2016:
animal long enough to apply the solution a old lady told me about it and yes I tried it and it works
christine on November 17, 2015:
I had 2 cats that had cancer the absess nroke and yes the smell was horrific! To say the least! My poor babies didnt make it. Now moms noy has 1 that just broke ty for ur post hes in garage and healing fine!
Ritika on June 20, 2015:
Thanks a lot for this article,my situation is similar to yours (but I only have 1 cat).this article is a saving grace,couldnt thank you enough:-)
Rabbitmoon on March 14, 2015:
.Thank you SO very much. My Henry's abscess broke just a while ago and his is moving about MUCH more freely. He won't let me near the wound just yet, but I can see it clearly since there's a large patch of bald and the wound is very small. After reading your article, I have changed all his bedding and am biding my time, til he eats and then--peroxide time! God bless you---I will sleep tonight and Henry will be much more comfortable!
Wendy on November 01, 2014:
This is a great article - wish I had seen it sooner! Our indoor Kitty-kins has had quite a time since I have been trying to help the outdoor cats that have adopted us. We are the only home around with no dogs, and keep the outdoor tap dripping into a bowl for the ferrals and strays to drink. Anyway, two years ago, and this summer, super-friendly pregnant cats came around. Since it is so hot in Arizona, when I could tell they were due, I brought them into our laundry room, where they birthed and lived until weaned and I could get them fixed and to good homes.
Well, Jenga, the mama cat this summer, got out of the laundry room while we were out one night and terrorized Kitty-kins. Kitty thought it was Angus (her eye-sight has never been too good since we got her from a shelter), the baby boy that we kept of the mama stray, Gala, from two years ago. Even though they had become buddies, she began to hide and run from him, and he began to chase and terrorize her. Well, he got to her while we were out, and evidently she got a nail or tooth in her rear-end, under her tail, that we didn't know about. She became lethargic and wasn't eating properly, and a few days later I noticed her licking and licking in that area and it sounded juicy! She was also leaving a trail of blood tinged liquid where-ever she sat. I took a peek, and it was a big lump, oozing and smelling. Horrible. I ended up having to put a cone on her so she couldn't get the area since she kept making it bleed. We could smell the stink of it from a distance and I finally resorted to dabbing it with peroxide and putting the triple anti-biotic cream on, the one we use for cuts and such on ourselves.
Kitty was getting worse, and my husband is NOT a cat lover, and has said no more trips to the vet (Jenga had gotten mastitis, Angus had Urinary issues going to the litter box every couple minutes, and Gala had some sort of skin problem, possibly ringworm or mange, that spread to her nose from her underside and was furless, badly gouged from her pawing it and bloody) I ended up giving Kitty the little bit of antibiotic liquid for a couple days that we had left from Jenga's mastitis, and she seems to be feeling better, with the lump having softened. Today I tried bathing her rear-end in a sink, with the help of my son - THAT was not fun, but her end was such a mess (we have had to keep the cone on her as she goes right at it and the bleeding starts up) especially since she has to go the bathroom, and it is right in that area. One trick that I did read elsewhere in order to help keep the hydrogen peroxide in the area for a bit, is to mix it with a bit of aloe and some glycerin. I also used some diluted Epsom salts in the warm water when I pressed that on her sore. I think those things helped as well. Today she seems a bit more like herself, talking to me when I come in the room :)
I really appreciate those who write articles like this, and those who make helpful comments, as well. I do want to help these cats, but am limited in taking them in to the vet. So many other sites just say take them to the vet. We in our family even rarely go to a Doctor!
Now I am also dealing with Jenga, who on top of getting the same skin condition that Gala has, sore nose and all (they are the two mama's and remain outdoor cats), also has paw problems, limping, with sores on a couple feet, and one center pad all swollen. I smell that bad smell on her, but she is not as willing for me to give her a good look-over and I'm not sure if it is her nose or foot that is the most troubling. She too, now has a cone on, as she was chewing her paws til they bled, and scratching her nose. My son and I gave her a homemade dip of water, hydrogen peroxide (2:1) and one cup borax, which is what seemed to help Gala. It is just tricky to treat her nose, as I don't want to get anything in her eyes, and her tongue, even with the cone, can reach at least the tip of her nose to lick anything off - and her feet don't seem to be improving. I've stayed up late trying to see what can be done.
Anyway, I do appreciate the posting of such good information!
audiegeordie on September 06, 2014:
wow...I know this article is a couplr of years old, but found it thanks to yahoo..sooo glad I did, my elderly 14 year old boy had a rather large 1 between his shoulder blades. He's an outdoor kitty & prefers to live in the greenhouse rather than the house. Thanks to your article, I was able to help my boy over the weekend when the abcess burst. I was out for the evening & when I came home, I checked on him to change his water & food. I noticed a foul smelling & a sticky liquid on his coat & noticed his lump had gone...thanks to your advice, I managed to drain his abcess (was sooo surprised he allowed me to) & to clean his wound & dress it with sterile dressings. I followed your advice to the letter & he is fine, the wound is sealing over & is lovely & clean. Thank you soooo much, our vey doesn't open until Monday agsin, but you saved us the 1 hour journey & about £150.00 in fees..Excellent article & easy to follow instructions...Thank you sooo much..from me & Olly cat xxxx
Jess on June 01, 2014:
Just wanted to say this article was great for tips; but one tip I have learned from local cat-lovers and my vet "vets to cats", is that IF you are to use peroxide on any wound (not sure of a dog) it CAN possibly burn off the skin and surrounding areas. Since I have heard all about this (and saw some gruesome pictures of what can happen?) I would definitely say just stick to the neo-sporran... It also IS NOT toxic for your pet, or children that could come in contact with their cats.
Your story really helped thought, in fact! Thanks so much cat lover(s)!!
Martine on May 20, 2014:
Could somebody please advise me of a good antibiotic ointment? I am in UK and having trouble finding one. Is antibiotic ointment the same as antiseptic ointment? Are you using one just for pets or a human one? confused! Thank you for the useful info. I have just been released from hospital to find my cat in a state. He is ok in himself but has a smelly open wound. I have cleaned it with Salty Water this morning. I can't do much myself at the moment. Been seriously unwell but also need to look after my baby boy. I have him indoors to try to aid the healing. x
Melernea on April 26, 2014:
So glad I discovered your beautiful site. I too have a beautiful cat with multiple abcesses on her left cheek. There are small holes that come and go. I keep it clean but I will try the betadine and cream. I am a huge animal lover and am always looking for helpful information in keeping them well. Thanks. Great site.
Ross on February 26, 2014:
Well my cats abcess thingy popped and leaked out but now his tail is swollen
Anna on February 06, 2014:
Thank u so so much it put my mind at ease so much although I think it was an abcess on his front left paw it was a puncture a clear fluid an blood came out however it didn't smell at all!??? He seems to be getting better as like your cat my young man is a food monster!!!!! So again thank you it really stopped me panicking as I recently got made redundant and money is extremely sparse........ Take care and Godbless you your family and ALL your beautiful animals xxxxx
Katie on January 30, 2014:
Great article, I had no idea! And thank you for caring for all of those homeless animals, you're truly a good person and the world needs more of that! I could never turn my back on an animal in need either. I'll keep this article in mind for my cats!
Love from Atlanta
Barbara Fitzgerald from Georgia on July 15, 2013:
Great hub - Years ago I lived with my parents who had 5 cats at the time. I was putting hot compresses on the abscess of the alpha cat, Trevor, who was not enjoying it, and making that clear with angry groans.
Halfway through the session, something punched me in the back - HARD. I turned just in time to see the other black male cat, a 16 pounder, running out of the room. He had jumped on my back to try to get me to quit torturing Trevor.
Keep your door shut when treating abscesses if you have a multi-cat household. They sometimes try to defend each other. lol.
John santillan on May 31, 2013:
Very great!! Helped me a lot!
Donna~ on May 01, 2013:
Thank you for such a detailed article. My poor outdoor kitty that kinda adopted myself and a neighbor a few months ago is in never ending fights. Normally its just a small injury but this time Mr. Fight Club came home with an abscess. I cannot afford a vet but love him and feel terrible for him. The abscess busted yesterday and drained and I cleaned it really well with peroxide and warm water, it looks a lot better today but I am concerned about the small hole in his back rear (just above the tail) I will continue with the peroxide and water for a few days so it doesn't heal wrong. I love him dearly but am on a limited income so I am trying to do the right thing for him even though we are financially limited to help..Your article helped take some of the fear and terrible guilt out of it for not being able to afford a vet for him, believe me if I could I would. Thank you again :)
Stephanie from Canada on January 27, 2013:
Great article! Thank you for sharing. I will save this for my cat :)
Amber on January 13, 2013:
^James, I think that's part of the point. The hydrogen peroxide will slow the wound from healing, allowing the infection to drain instead of forming a scab, keeping the infection inside the cat's body. Cats have the amazing ability to scab up within very little time after being wounded. That's part of what forms the abcess to begin with.
James on January 08, 2013:
Why the choice of a peroxide solution? Hydrogen peroxide actually slows the healing of a wound.
gail frederick on August 16, 2012:
Any ideas on how to treat a stray who won't come near me. He eats the food I put out and I've been giving him antibiotics (from the Vet) for the last 10 days. He has an abcess on his leg. The Vet (It was a snip clinic), told me when I had him fixed. He won't go near the trap/cage now because of what happened to him the last time he fell for that trick!
Mads01 on August 07, 2012:
Very helpful article. My big boy outdoor cat Oliver Jacob recently became very ill. We took him to the vet. She did an xray and found he had fluid on his lungs. I showed her a mark on his leg, she said he may have an abscess. She gave us some antibiotics and sent us out the door. He stopped eating and drinking. We mixed up gravy, baby food, and pedialyte. We feed him by a syringe every two hours. Noticing the wound on his leg became pus filled, I cleaned it with antiseptic wash and applied antibiotic ointment with a q-tip. Later, we found another abscess up by his shoulder. I tried to bandage the wounds but, he kept ripping off the bandage. At least, while the bandage was on it soaked up some of the drainage. He is doing much better now. He is eating on his own and walking around. I really did not think he would make it. We live in the country, I have 14 cats (12 of which have been spayed/neuered). Way too many to take to the vet every time they get sick. But, when they stop eating or drinking they need vet care. I just wish our vet would have been more helpful, she didn't tell me how to take care of the abscess or how to help him eat. Thanks to articles like yours we were able to figure out a good plan to help bring our big boy back to being himself.
Elise-Loyacano from San Juan, Puerto Rico on August 02, 2012:
Useful article. If the cat really doesn't like the peroxide, a less painful way to clean the wound could be saline solution (basic saline solution from the contact lense section of the pharmacy). It won't clean as well as peroxide, but it's better than nothing.
I remember when my cat Suzie had an abscess in her behind. I found out when she wouldn't come down to eat, and when I picked her up, the abscess exploded all over my leg. Poor girl wasn't happy, but she recovered.
Sondra (author) from Neverland on June 27, 2012:
Janniesavron, I have to apologize! Your comment was hidden in my spam comments for some stupid reason and I didn’t even see it until now. And your comment is a great one :) Im glad to hear your Ellie was a good patient and he got better. I’ve been lucky that the ooze is already gone most of the time by time I see my outdoor cats need treatment. But I’ve heard and read the same thing about it being awful and beyond gross. I bet you could find something just like vet wrap at the pharmacy. It’s a flexible, self-cling cloth-type bandage much like we would use over a burn or large wound.
Dancing Water, thank you for stopping in and being supportive! I hope this info helps anyone who needs it. I will be honest that I learned all this by trial and error with my own fur babies and a HUGE vet bill I was racking up taking in all the farm cats – yikes!
Melbourne31, maybe when you are older! My parents never let me have a cat either and now I have 6 :)
Jennzie, thanks for sharing. It does look like a very painful boo-boo but my cats seem to be in the most discomfort when the abscess is growing, before it bursts.
Hi Peter Geekie :) I prefer to try treatment and relief of symptoms (even for myself and my kids) at home. But I am always very aware of the progression of infections. The first sign that Im in over my head and Im racing to the doc. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Mrs Menagerie! Oh the dog haha who would’ve thought the dog lick would cause it to open?! Buuuut maybe the dog knew the cat was suffering and he took it upon himself to do what was needed. Im glad your baby is doing all better. These injuries can be very repulsive and gross. Thank goodness they aren’t so bad to treat.
Hi Cheryl, I hate it too. And when a kitty acts sick you know he or she really and truly IS very bad off. Cats, by nature and for survival, hide pain and illness so very well that we often don’t know our pets are sick.
Hi naimishika, thank you for the picture plug. Im sure many cat-lovers will appreciate the link :)
Hi Cindy :) Please do come back and let us know about your baby. If you have any questions you can contact my via the link on my profile page through an email. Best of luck!
Gloreousmom, thank you for that tip! Hopefully other people local to you, who have cats, will see your information and it will help them. Unfortunately I do not have Moringa close.
Glo L Bernadas from Philippines on June 26, 2012:
Thank you for the valuable information that I can use and refer to in the future. Our previous adopted cat we called Peanut almost always had abscess from wounds he got in defending his territory when hints of territorial invasion is suspected. But true to what you've said, a trip to the vet is not always possible so we resorted to natural cure. The fresh ground bark and leaves of Moringa locally called Malunggay directly applied to the abscess and then bandaged was very efffective.
cindy on June 23, 2012:
Hi! I have a little one who hid and I picked her up and it oozed all down my legs, I freaked out cried cuz the vet wanted 500 up front, doing what you described, so far so good! Wish me luck she out of hiding but the smell is horrible! Yuck, keep you posted on the progress. ;)
cherylvanhoorn from Sydney on June 23, 2012:
Oh poor kitty! I hate it when they are sore and sick.
Mrs. Menagerie from The Zoo on June 22, 2012:
Very helpful hub! I recently had exactly this happen to my cat. He started acting lethargic; then I noticed a big "bubble" forming on his shoulder. Before I could do anything about it, the dog licked the blister and made it pop! Uhhhggg...it was disgusting, but the cat seemed so relieved! I cleaned it really well with hydrogen peroxide and he recovered beautifully. No trip to the vet required! I guess I should thank the dog but it really was REPULSIVE! heehee...
Peter Geekie from Sittingbourne on June 22, 2012:
An excellent, well researched and written article -well done.
This is just the sort of approach to home medication which does not fall into any of the traps of quackery that some, unwittingly, do.
Thank you - voted up, useful and interesting.
Kind regards Peter
Jenn from Pennsylvania on June 21, 2012:
That looks like it would be very painful for poor Kitty! Thanks for the information, so now I know what to do in the event this happens to any of mine. Sharing.
janniesavon on June 21, 2012:
When our cat developed an abscess on his leg, we read in a book on taking care of cats about the need to put warm compresses on it to bring it to a head. We did that and were able to empty it out, though it took a few times of working on it to get all the puss/gunk out. We were fortunate that our cat is fairly laid back and didn't put up too much hassle for our being able to do the emptying of the abscess.
It was Nasty, the gunk that came out and what you said about the foul-smelling discharge was oh, so true! But this area finally healed up okay after it was all cleaned out well. And happy to report our cat has never had another problem with getting an abscess. And we're sure if he could talk, he'd tell you he's happy about that too! :)
Melbourne31 from Ogden, Utah on June 21, 2012:
Love cats! Sad to say my parents don't want me to have one. =(
Dancing Water on June 20, 2012:
Thank you for the time and extensive effort you made to help us with our fur babies!
Sondra (author) from Neverland on June 19, 2012:
Nina, I hope this Hub helps you treat your poor Kitty-Boy :( I hate hearing about the poor dears when they get injured. Please let us know how he's doing in a few days.
sashenikainderby on June 18, 2012:
to Nina. My mum has the same name.
I hope that your cat will improve in health. I have my cat just for one and a half years and he has become a very important member of our family. I get worried when Boris stays outside for a night and I understand how precious your Kitty-Boy.
Nina on June 17, 2012:
So glad I came across your post. My Kitty-Boy had been hiding for couple of days (indoors). When I found him, he had a huge abcess by his cheek,just below his eye. I cannot afford the cost of a vet. I will try everything you recommended. If it does not get better, somehow I will locate a low cost vet to check on him (he is almost 20 yrs. old). Thanks again. Super post.
Sondra (author) from Neverland on June 17, 2012:
Hi sashenikainderby :) I think its best practice to try to get your pets to a vet for emergencies. But for those instances when the vet isn't open or if someone cannot afford it, this can work unless the infection gets too bad. Thanks for reading and commenting!!
sashenikainderby on June 16, 2012:
This is a very good article. I try to take my cat to vets when we have emergences but you never know....
janniesavon on June 12, 2012:
This is great information. We had a similar situation to catmommy above with our one cat, Ellie. He was limping and upon examination of his leg we saw there was a swelled area--an abscess that was starting up.
We did just as you mentioned Ardie and did the warm compresses on it and it eventually let loose. Then it was a matter of dealing with the smell of the ooze coming out. Yikes!
We were fortunate with Ellie, though, because he seems to be kind of laid back when it comes to treating things like this. He didn't fight us all that much in other words when we were trying to treat his "boo boo." Our other two would be hard to handle. We sometimes call Ellie "Mortimer" because he's REALLY laid back. LOL
We also used antibiotic cream on the area and voila! He got all better. :) But, man, that stuff oozing out was something else! ugh!
One question, though, what is "vet wrap"? Is there anything that can be gotten in a regular drug store that would be an equivalent to that?
Sondra (author) from Neverland on June 11, 2012:
Hi Tstitch :) Hopefully you never need to use this info but if your kitty gets a boo boo you’ll know how to take care of it! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.
Hi catmommy :) I do often have problems with my cats so I do the best I can while saving my hands and arms from little razor claws and teeth. Have you tried wrapping your kitty in a towel with just her one leg sticking out? It’s a lot easier to contend with one cat foot than with four crazy feet all flailing like mad!! When I have a kitty that fights treatment literally tooth and nail I use a syringe (without needle of course) and I squirt the peroxide solution into the wound. Let me know if either of these ideas helps! If not we can always brainstorm and come up with something else.
catmommy on May 30, 2012:
So appreciative of this article and all the feedback. My cat, shadow, has an abcess. We didn't know why she was limping,...(front right leg just below the elbow)couldn't see anything wrong. She kept feeling worse and then stopped eating and drinking except for just a little. Then tonight we discovered a lot of bloody goop on the carpet where she was resting. Our prob is, when we try to help her, meaning clean it, etc, she has a hissy and scratches and bites. how do we...? She does feel so much better since it opened and drained. A bit ago, after reading this, I mixed peroxide half and half with water in a glass and picked her up and just stuck her leg in it. At first she seemed to be okay with it, but after just about 5 seconds she squirmed out of my hands and tried to bite me. I can't imagine how you guys all seemed to have no probs like this...what to do?
Tstitch from Spokane, Washington on May 30, 2012:
I have two cats so this is always helpful. Thanks.
RU-Living-Healthy on May 29, 2012:
LOL I appreciate your honesty :) It is a good idea though. Better safe than sorry!
Sondra (author) from Neverland on May 28, 2012:
Hello RU :) I will be honest and admit I never thought about getting a pet first aid kit either - until I was finishing research for this Hub!!
RU-Living-Healthy on May 25, 2012:
I like the idea of a cat First Aid Kit. I never thought of that until I read your article, thanks!
Sondra (author) from Neverland on April 15, 2012:
Hi Rusti, I hope it helps! :)
Ruth McCollum from Lake Oswego, Oregon on April 15, 2012:
Thankyou for so much information.
Sondra (author) from Neverland on April 11, 2012:
Becky, I can just imagine trying to do this to my dog! He is a collie/shep mix and a medium to large size. I would need several people to help my with him also. I had a boxer once and he was VERY stubborn hahah so I can just see you in the tub with yours!!
Becky Katz from Hereford, AZ on April 10, 2012:
The main problem with treating my dog was that he was so huge and muscular. He was a large boxer with a lot of spirit. It took three of us to hold him and we lanced it. Very much like treating any wound. We then injected with the peroxide, which he did not like and waited for it to clean out. We injected the peroxide several times. Then we used the shower to clean it all up. Large tubs come in handy for some things. We were all in it with him.
Sondra (author) from Neverland on April 10, 2012:
Hello Becky, thank you for that information - I had no idea a dog could get an absess too :) Now any dog owners will know they can use the same steps to treat the pooch!!
Becky Katz from Hereford, AZ on April 10, 2012:
My dog got in a fight and the same process works for them. My do got an abcess on his neck from the other dog.
Sondra (author) from Neverland on April 08, 2012:
Hi sholland - yes it can be quite GROSS to drain the absess yourself....blech!! But if you know it will help your baby you do what you can. Im in the country with all the strays too - and I can't help it if I see one of them injured. I just HAVE to help. Thanks for the votes and shares
Susan Holland from Southwest Missouri on April 05, 2012:
Hi Ardie! I love your cats! The pictures are gorgeous. We had a cat that had an abscess one time. She was IN PAIN. I didn't know you could take a warm washcloth and put it on it several times a day to get it to drain. We rushed her to the vet, and it was not pretty and it smelled horrible. Our vet said the same thing about cats' claws being filthy, and she had probably been in a fight. We put an antibiotic salve on it until it healed. As you said, she did feel so much better after it burst. It was horrible, though. We keep an eye on our cats now. We live in the country and have many strays around.
Very informative hub for cat owners/lovers. Votes and shared! :-)
Sondra (author) from Neverland on March 28, 2012:
Hi Sharyn and thanks. I have had to look up this info from my vet so many times that I now have it all memorized. I hope it helps someone else and their little kitty furball :) Fat Boy seems to be doing really well! He has put on more weight - he moves slower now - old age. But he still purrs and drools. He really seems to be my little miracle boy (well maybe not so little hahah)
Thanks Jamie! If you get a cat and it gets a boo-boo you know where to come for help :)
Jamie Brock from Texas on March 25, 2012:
Hi Ardie, this is a very useful hub for cat owners.. I can't have one because I live in an apt but eventually I plan on maybe getting one. Thank you so much for sharing this useful info :)
Sharon Smith from Northeast Ohio USA on March 22, 2012:
Hi Ardie ~ This is a great, well written hub with excellent information. I have not had to deal with an abscess on my cats but have on a dog. You really give some great tips here. I have not read all your comments and wonder how Fat Boy is doing? I hope he is well!
Sondra (author) from Neverland on March 17, 2012:
Hi Flora - it IS really hard to see the abscess on a kitty. I cried and freaked out the first time I saw one on my cat. Luckily we can also just run our babies to the vet if we don't like the task at hand.
FloraBreenRobison on March 14, 2012:
I would need help treating an abscess on Amy. It is a two person job. I cried when I saw the picture of the cat with an abscess.
Sondra (author) from Neverland on March 09, 2012:
Hi phdast7 :) Thanks for your kind words - but in all honesty I think 'my' kitties are the angels. When they're not fighting one another they are quite sweet hahah I hope this helps if your cat is ever unfortunate enough to get an abscess. Thanks for reading!
RHW that's great! Poor poor Peanut recovered fast - cuz he has such a perfect family and Pedro :)