Cat Bite Wounds – Pet tip 181
Cat owners that let their domestic housecats roam outside run the strong risk of having their cat bitten by another cat. This is especially true and very common in denser city areas where domestic outdoor house-cats come into frequent contact with feral (undomesticated) cats. Feral cats are almost never spayed or neutered and thus many feral cats are more aggressive than domesticated housecats that never had to fight other cats for food or other resources. Unneutered feral males in particular can be particularly aggressive outdoors and will frequently fight with other cats. When a feral cat gets into a scrap with a housecat, the housecat usually loses and often ends up with a bite wound.
When a cat gets bitten by another cat and its skin is pierced, then harmful bacteria also end up under its skin. The skin then closes within a few hours and traps the bacteria under it. These harmful bacteria can easily cause a bad infection and subsequent abscesses (collections of pus usually from infections) that get much worse if left untreated. Aside from these types of infections and abscesses, many other terrible diseases can be transmitted from cat to cat via bite wounds. Some common, frequent, and potentially deadly diseases that get passed from cat to cat in this way include the feline leukemia virus, rabies and the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Although there are vaccines to help fight rabies and feline leukemia, there is no vaccine against the feline immunodeficiency virus.
If your cat does get bitten by another cat, you need to bring your cat into the vet ASAP. If antibiotics are given within the first 24 hours after a bite wound is inflicted, then this will likely stop abscesses from forming. If the cat waits a few days before seeing a vet, then infection and abscesses are likely consequences. Treating abcesses and an infection is obviously more stressful on your cat and more costly to the cat’s owner than just treating an infection.
It goes without saying that if your domestic housecat goes outside then it needs to have all of its vaccinations up to date. Even then, your cat will not be totally safe from other cats. It can still get FIV from other cats which sometimes takes months or years to show up and has no cure. Bite wounds can also in and of themselves be fatal depending on where the bite is delivered and how severe it is. It is far safer to simply keep your domestic cat indoors or outdoors only under your direct supervision. This is more easily accomplished if you start when the cat is a kitten.