How to Treat Cat Abscess at Home

Scottish Fold cat
Scottish Fold cat | Source

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. Whether they like me or not they all still stop by and eat my food. I leave the food by a large barn in my backyard so the cats don’t overrun my porch and garage (seeing as how I am the only adult in my house that enjoys cats). One of the cats I feed showed up the other day with a wound on the back of his neck. The wound looked like it went all the way down to the bone. The gaping hole had fur hanging to the side and it looked atrocious. I immediately thought this cat had been attacked by another animal or hit by a car. I called the vet and ran the cat in to see what could be done to minimize the poor things suffering. And guess what – the “poor thing” wasn’t suffering much at all. The vet explained to me that the most likely cause of the gaping wound was an abscess that had burst. An abscess is a localized infection filled with pus. The fact that the abscess had burst was a huge relief to the cat since the wound was no longer swollen and festering under his skin. 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. Yes, a vet’s treatment is always the best option for a cat – but 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 to them to the vet for every booboo.

What a Cat Abscess Looks Like

Cat abscess
Cat abscess | Source

The vet explained to me that a cat’s claws are filthy and are as sharp as tiny needles. The furry felines dig in dirt to go potty and they scratch up and down just about anything they can find, from dead critters to moldy trees. A cat’s skin is thick – especially an outdoor cat who had to develop thicker skin to withstand the elements. Cats tend to be very territorial and they fight using those filthy claws and their teeth. When a cat’s needle-like claws goes into another cat’s skin dirt and bacteria get pushed in along the way. When the cat’s claw is pulled back out the other cat’s thick skin seals together over the hole trapping the dirt and bacteria under the outermost layer of thick skin. It’s almost as though the inflicted cat got a germ injection. 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. The infection continues to grow under the cat’s skin until A) it bursts and sometimes leaves a gaping hole or B) a vet lances the wound to allow the bacteria and pus to exit.

Vet Speaking About Cat Abscess Care

If you don’t see a cat for a few days, because he was hiding to fight an infection you weren’t even aware of, and he finally shows up with a gaping wound what should you do? How can you help this 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. Unfortunately a cat’s skin heals from the outside in, meaning the new skin can close over the wound trapping dirt or germs that are still in the wound – and another abscess may grow. Hopefully you can bring the cat indoors for a few days to start the healing process – but with an outdoor / stray cat that isn’t always possible. An outdoor cat might yowl to get outside, he might spray your home, and he might claw up anything within his reach. My vet suggested I do the following for an outdoor cat that seems to be eating and behaving normally who cannot be brought indoors:

  1. If the abscess has not yet burst and it appears to be causing your cat great discomfort you can speed up the process by placing a hot washrag over the abscess GENTLY for 10 minutes a few times a day until the abscess 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 in discomfort and the swollen abscess is very tender.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Clean the wound out with warm water / peroxide solution (3% hydrogen peroxide). I use a baby medicine dropper or a syringe (without the needle of course!) to slowly and gently squirt the cleaning solution into the wound. The peroxide will bubble and the cat won’t like this step because the cleaning solution may sting a bit at first.
  5. Apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment after the wound has had time to dry.
  6. Place a bandage or vet wrap over or around the wound to keep it clean if the wound is large. However, 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. And really the bandage may only cause the cat more trouble in the long run for a cat that might not come back to you in a few days.
  7. If a scab appears to be growing too fast and you are worried it might trap bacteria under it you may need to de-bride the wound during cleaning – this consists of picking away the scab with your fingernail to let the wound heal from the inside out. The area may be painful to your cat. A soak of peroxide solution and water will soften the scab so it can be slowly and gently removed in a less painful manner. This was something I could never do because I was afraid I would hurt my cats. If the wound got to this point a trip to the vet was in order so she could do it for me. However, I have found that the wound did fine if I kept to the cleaning and antibiotic ointment schedule. IF the scab has been on for a couple days already LEAVE IT ALONE. The healing process has already started and you will only further injure the cat.

Perform the above steps 2 or 3 times a day for 3-4 days. My cats are on a feeding schedule of twice a day – morning and early evening to avoid the raccoons. Luckily my injured boy is food driven so I was able to clean his wound twice a day at feeding time – otherwise I would never find the cat! DONE

I have had great success using this 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.

Two week old kittens
Two week old kittens | Source

Items to Keep in a Cat First Aid Kit

  • Rubber gloves (medical grade)
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Gauze
  • Vet wrap
  • First aid scissors
  • Medicine droppers or 3-6cc syringes (no needle!)

How to Diagnose a Cat Abscess

Most cat abscesses are the result of bites or scratches, mostly from an attacking animal.

Most abscesses will be found on the cat’s neck, front legs, or the tail/rump area.

Signs to look for include:

  • Soft, painful swelling
  • Foul-smelling discharge from a wound
  • Lethargy and loss of appetite

When to Seek a Vet’s Assistance for a Cat Abscess

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 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 seem 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 wound is very large

TIPS to Treating a Cat Abscess at Home

  • If the cat won’t let you hold it for treatment try wrapping it in a towel (firmly but lovingly) to avoid getting scratched!
  • Use rubber gloves to prevent getting an infection of your own should you have any open skin from paper cuts or scratches.
  • If you are slick enough you can pet the cat while it eats and apply the cleaning solution and ointment this way.

Comments 74 comments

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

You are an angel! I have a pet problem...I love them all and do feed strays. I'm glad I read this in case I need the info in the future. I don't think I could clean the wound because blood and stuff makes me freak but my husband could.

I just had my first PET emergency....I just knew I'd be flipping out if anything bad happened to a I put the emergency vet number magnet right on the fridge...thank goodness!! When I'm in crises - my thoughts are allover the place...I ran to the fridge and had the vet on the phone in minutes ... My husband was so impressed! Lol. Knowing myself and planning for my limitations was about the only smart thing I've done lately:) lol lol.

onegreenparachute profile image

onegreenparachute 4 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

This is a well-written and useful hub! I might add that the discharge from an abscess smells horrible!

Many years ago, before I realized the importance of keeping my cats indoors, we had a beautiful grey cat. Scat was a fighter. He often came home with battle scars and developed abscesses several times. He would actually come to us asking for us to take care of it. I was gratified to be able to help him but oooooh!....the smell!!


Cat Wisdom profile image

Cat Wisdom 4 years ago

Luckily I never get abscesses, but it is good to know what to do. Thanks for the great hints!

American View profile image

American View 4 years ago from Plano, Texas

Excellent article with easy to follow instructions and advice. Up and Awesome

Melovy profile image

Melovy 4 years ago from UK

This is such a useful article, and you have explained in such depth. One of our cats frequently gets into scrapes because she thinks she’s the boss of the neighbourhood, but she’s the smallest cat around! This could save us a lot in vet’s fees! Thank you. Bookmarking it for next time she’s in a scrap and voting up! And sharing, of course!

J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Wow this is really interesting stuff! I have never hear of cats having this abscess and I have had many cats, but apparently this is a problem. You have created an exclusive guide for dealing with this infection should it ever occur. Awesome research and execution! Voting up and SHARING!


Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

Ardie - you are a saint to care so lovingly for these stray creatures! I knew there were a bunch of reasons I liked you, and now I know yet another one! This is very well written, and has great information to help pet owners or guardian angels of animals with no home.

Years ago, we lived in the country (Harbison Canyon, mentioned in a hub), and had kitties and puppies. A few got injured or something, and someone nearby who raised animals said to use Blue Coat (it was a dark, indelible blue liquid in a bottle, with a dauber, like shoe polish). We did, and it worked. But sometime after that, my kids got up very early one morning and got into the bottle of goop. They painted their tricycles, hair, clothes and everything with it.

The tricycles never did come clean, but I actually got it out of the clothes (which were brand new - still had tags on them) with several rounds of Spray & Wash. However, my youngest son was a tow head, and his hair (nearly white-blonde) was blue for weeks.

Great hub, and heartwarming. Voted up, useful and awesome.

molometer profile image

molometer 4 years ago from Cambridgeshire, England

I don't have a cat but I have had an abscess.

I can tell you they are very painful.

The cat in the video was very calm and the information very helpful.

Voted up interesting and useful.

Sharing to followers who may have cats. Or an abscess! It needs to be dealt with either way.

Faceless39 profile image

Faceless39 4 years ago from The North Woods, USA

A useful hub for anyone with cats, especially if they're allowed outside. Our cats have had small wounds from time to time, and hydrogen peroxide seems the best cure. Great information!

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

Hello RHW :) I know what you mean by pet problem hahah I recognized it in you only because I know I have one too! At first I was afraid to deal with my cat’s boo boo because it looked like it gaped to the bone – uck. But once I realized it could grow an infection again I hopped to it. However, if I could make the husband do it instead I would! I bet you did fine during your pet’s emergency (how IS Peanut anyway?). I admit I’d freak in an emergency too. Luckily these abscesses aren’t too too urgent.

Oooooh onegreenparachute hahah you mention something I did NOT add – the discharge from an abscess is enough to make even someone with a steel stomach vomit! I wish I could bring all these babies inside. I’m allergic and there are just too many of them. Interesting enough my cat (the same dang one gets the abscesses) always comes to me for tending to!

Hi catwisdom! Im glad you don’t get these boo boo’s – they’re awful to deal with. Stay healthy! :)

Hey AV! Thanks for reading and voting :)

Morning Melovy! (No its not morning hahah but I thought it sounded neat with your name.) I hope this helps you save a bundle…interesting that its always the same cat here with the abscess too. Someone needs to have a stern talking with these feisty felines.

Hi JS! The abscess is mostly an outdoor cat problem. They get into fights with other outdoor cats that have dirty claws. Then the bacteria are introduced under the skin and all heck breaks loose :) Your cats are lucky they never dealt with this!

Marcy you’re just too sweet! And that story, ooooh hahah I can imagine my kids getting into the blue and my little white-haired sweetie ending up with blue curls for weeks also. How much fun that must have been when you took your blue hair boy to church lol

Hiya molometer! Oooh ouch oh no a human abscess! I don’t even want to think about how bad that must have hurt. As for the cat in the vid – I wondered if he was on sedatives hahah

Hello Faceless39, hydrogen peroxide is a lifesaver when it comes to pet injuries. Thanks for reading :)

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

What a wonderful, detailed, and helpful Hub. You are just an angel, to care for so many cats and to provide the rest of us cat lovers with the information and skills we need to help a cat with an abscess. My current four cats and my future kitties thank you as well.

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Man Ardie - I'm amazed at Peanuts recovery! Thanks:) Basically they fixed his jaw and wired a guard around all his upper teeth. He looks as if he just has gums on top:) kinda funny! But he can only lick...I add lots of water to this expensive can food (2 bucks a can?) and make a gruel and mix up his meds in it...he licks it up! Lol. I think he is gaining weight! Lol. He's wagging his tail, going on walks...he seems as if he's adjusted well!

Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

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 :)

FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 4 years ago

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.

Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

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.

Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 4 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

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!


Jamie Brock profile image

Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

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 :)

Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

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 :)

sholland10 profile image

sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

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! :-)

Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

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

Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

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.

Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

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 profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

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.

Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

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!!

Rusti Mccollum profile image

Rusti Mccollum 4 years ago from Lake Oswego, Oregon

Thankyou for so much information.

Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

Hi Rusti, I hope it helps! :)

RU-Living-Healthy profile image

RU-Living-Healthy 4 years ago

I like the idea of a cat First Aid Kit. I never thought of that until I read your article, thanks!

Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

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 profile image

RU-Living-Healthy 4 years ago

LOL I appreciate your honesty :) It is a good idea though. Better safe than sorry!

Tstitch profile image

Tstitch 4 years ago from Spokane, Washington

I have two cats so this is always helpful. Thanks.

catmommy 4 years ago

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?

Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

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.

janniesavon profile image

janniesavon 4 years ago from NE USA

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?

Thanks! :)

sashenikainderby profile image

sashenikainderby 4 years ago

This is a very good article. I try to take my cat to vets when we have emergences but you never know....

Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

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!!

Nina 4 years ago

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.

sashenikainderby profile image

sashenikainderby 4 years ago

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.

Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

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.

Dancing Water profile image

Dancing Water 4 years ago

Thank you for the time and extensive effort you made to help us with our fur babies!

Melbourne31 profile image

Melbourne31 4 years ago from Ogden, Utah

Love cats! Sad to say my parents don't want me to have one. =(

janniesavon profile image

janniesavon 4 years ago from NE USA

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! :)

jennzie profile image

jennzie 4 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA

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.

Peter Geekie profile image

Peter Geekie 4 years ago from Sittingbourne

Dear Ardie,

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

Mrs. Menagerie profile image

Mrs. Menagerie 4 years ago from The Zoo

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! 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...

cherylvanhoorn profile image

cherylvanhoorn 4 years ago from Sydney

Oh poor kitty! I hate it when they are sore and sick.

cindy 4 years ago

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. ;)

glorgeousmom profile image

glorgeousmom 4 years ago from Philippines

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.

Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland Author

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.

Elise-Loyacano profile image

Elise-Loyacano 4 years ago from San Juan, Puerto Rico

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.

Mads01 4 years ago

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.

gail frederick 4 years ago

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!

James 3 years ago

Why the choice of a peroxide solution? Hydrogen peroxide actually slows the healing of a wound.

Amber 3 years ago

^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.

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Neinahpets 3 years ago from Greater Toronto Area, Canada

Great article! Thank you for sharing. I will save this for my cat :)

Donna~ 3 years ago

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 :)

John santillan 3 years ago

Very great!! Helped me a lot!

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Solaras 3 years ago

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.

Katie 2 years ago

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

Anna 2 years ago

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

Ross 2 years ago

Well my cats abcess thingy popped and leaked out but now his tail is swollen

Melernea 2 years ago

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.

Martine 2 years ago

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

Jess 2 years ago

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)!!

audiegeordie 2 years ago

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

Wendy 24 months ago

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!

Rabbitmoon 19 months ago

.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!

Ritika 16 months ago

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:-)

christine 11 months ago

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!

chris 7 months ago

animal long enough to apply the solution a old lady told me about it and yes I tried it and it works

Rissa 7 months ago

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

maddi 5 months ago

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!

Chloe 2 months ago

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

jodiz 2 months ago

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

Melinda 2 months ago

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???

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