cat fight leads to a cat bite

Help! Another Cat Bit My Cat (Meee-ow)!


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Cat fights are just the worst (the ones between the furrier kind, of course). A cat fight can easily lead to a cat bite, which can quickly get infected then turn into an abscess. And with the commotion of all the paws, claws and flying fur, any wounds may go unnoticed altogether. Even days after…

If you’re a cat lady or lad then take note: bite wounds are on our top 10 claim types in 2021. Abscesses are also on the list and there’s a distinct connection between the two. More on this below.

Although cats seem so self-sufficient, really they sometimes need a helping paw. If another cat bites your cat – or yours bites them – a serious infection could ensue. That’s when vet treatment becomes more of a need-to-have than a nice-to-have.

Here’s why. Pssst, don’t worry, we know you don’t own a tiger, just continue reading to get the gist

cat fights and bites happen with big cats too

Why do cats fight and bite (can’t we all just get along)? 

Ever seen documentary footage of two lions or tigers fighting? The narrator always walks us through how territorial these big cats are and the same is true of the ‘little’ guys too. Our cats fight because they’re territorial. They’re territorial over space, stuff they like and even sometimes other pets and people.

BTW if your cat bites you (even playfully), you’re also at risk of skin wounds and infection. Read three simple steps to stop a cat from biting and scratching you.

In addition to cats fighting and biting for proprietary reasons, they might also do so in defense because they’re scared. Any change to the home and living environment can bring on a cat fight too.

Here are more reasons your cat may get into a fight:

  • It’s a male competing over a female mate
  • It’s a female defending herself from a tomcat’s unwanted advances
  • Resource guarding (food, toys, litterbox etc.)
  • Playing
  • Cats that are sick or injured might strike out and bite in defence of the pain they’re in
  • New pets being introduced to the home can cause upsets with old pets

Read about first time kitten and cat introductions for easy steps to a happy household, free of cat fights and bites. If the situation’s already heated up, be sure you know how to safely break up a cat fight.

If on the other hand you’ve got a canine-cat fight on your hands, read how to stop a dog and cat from fighting.
Also explore the ins and outs of why dogs chase cats.

a cat bite from a cat fight can become easily infected

Do cat bites get infected?

Short answer? Almost certainly.

The bite wound itself may heal quickly – especially when it’s a smaller bite. But once a cat’s teeth have penetrated another cat’s skin their oral bacteria quickly set to work multiplying beneath the skin of the victim.

It’s not just cats, the bite of almost any animal (humans included) can be poisonous. This is because the inside of our mouths is alive with bacteria. When this enters through a bite wound these bacteria can do harm as they set up shop beneath the epidermis.

So what happens when a cat bite becomes infected? It becomes a closed pocket of infection, otherwise known as a cat abscess. Meee-OW!

How to identify a cat bite or abscess?

Even if you witness a cat fight – scary – identifying whether there’s a cat bite can be tricky. That’s because a cat’s fur and skin easily conceals wounds. (Kind of like the way a baby’s chin fold hides old food and other unidentified goo – we know some of you are nodding).

With a little know-how, you can become a pro at recognising whether your cat has been bitten. Or has any skin wound for that matter. Take note of any ‘wet’ or damp patches of fur. Gently part the fur at these places to see if the skin has marks, scabs or open wounds.

In a cat fight, the head, hind legs and tail are the hot spots most likely to be wounded. So check these first. Remember these wounds can quickly heal over so keep a look out for cat abscesses too.

cat stalks another cat in lead up to a fight

Symptoms of a cat abscess

As we mentioned earlier in this article – abscesses are among our top 10 pet insurance claims. That means bites and skin wounds often go unnoticed, developing into something even worse. A cat abscess may be easier to identify because it causes a myriad of other symptoms.

Here are some telltale signs of a cat abscess:

  • Excessive grooming of the wound/abscess site
  • Fever
  • Limping
  • Painful swelling

Of course, a cat bite from a cat fight isn’t the only possible cause of an abscess. Besides bites and scratches, some fleas and ticks can aggravate skin so read about tick and flea treatment for NZ pets.

Do cat bites need antibiotics?

If a cat has bitten your cat, a vet needs to assess whether antibiotics are needed. If your cat has already developed an abscess, a hot compress may help to stimulate blood circulation, which can in turn aid your cat’s own immune response.

Sometimes the abscess can heal on its own. If not, a vet will need to surgically drain or flush the pus that accumulates under the surface. Even just reading this tells you something – vet treatment is the first and best approach.

Watch this video on cat abscess diagnosis and treatment:

Crouching tiger, hidden abscess

If your cat gets a bite wound or an abscess then a cat insurance plan makes treatment super simple and affordable. Each of our three award winning cat plans cover health care costs from accidents to surgery and so much more.

If your cat bites someone else or their cat then third party liability in our pet insurance also helps cushion costs.

Choose New Zealand’s favourite pet insurance provider. Whether it’s for your cat or your dog, you’ll get one or more months FREE pet insurance with PD when you buy a plan online. Click below to get your quote.

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