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What are Bite Wounds?

Even the friendliest of cats can get into an altercation with another cat, dog or other domesticated or wild animal. Even cats that have been raised in the same household can occasionally have disagreements over food, toys or a favorite sitting spot and use fangs and claws to settle the dispute. When this happens, bite wounds can occur. It is important for pet owners to realize that, while larger injuries obviously require care, even smaller wounds that appear to be minor can create large health problems if not properly cared for. If your cat has suffered a bite wound you should seek immediate veterinary care, regardless of the severity.

Bite Wounds Average Cost

From 225 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

Symptoms of Bite Wounds in Cats

In many cases, it will be obvious that your cat has been in an altercation. Either the owner will be present for the fight or your cat will present with an open wound. In some instances, thick fur can hide larger cuts. Bite wounds can also take the form of punctures with little to no bleeding. In these cases, the only sign of a bite wound may be infection that forms at a later date. Signs that your cat may be suffering from a bite wound include:

  • Obvious wound or injury
  • Puncture marks on skin
  • Reluctance to be touched or held
  • Raised bump or abscess at site of previous bite
  • Fever from infection caused by improperly wound care 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy from pain or subsequent infection
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Causes of Bite Wounds in Cats

A bite wound typically occurs as a result of a fight or rough play between two cats or your cat and another animal. Cats’ teeth are naturally sharp and are meant to tear easily into flesh. This can make even quick encounters between cats a potentially injurious experience. 

Many of a cat’s teeth are dagger-like in their sharpness, causing immediate penetration and then withdrawal. During these quick but penetrating bites, bacteria from the mouth can enter the tissues under your cat’s skin. In wounds that bleed freely and easily, these bacteria have a better chance of escaping. In cases which the wound seals up quickly or is more of a puncture, the bacteria will remain under the skin, causing an infection-filled sac to form. This sac will take the form of a raised bump called an abscess and is the body’s immune response to the foreign bacteria.

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Diagnosis of Bite Wounds in Cats

Diagnosis of a bite wound in your cat will rely primarily on physical history provided by the owner. You should discuss with your vet whether your cat has recently been in a fight with another animal. It will be important to note the approximate time frame, and if possible, whether the other animal is up to date on its immunizations. This will allow your vet to rule out the potential spread of other infectious diseases as a result of the bite. If you did not witness the fight, you should let your veterinarian know the approximate timeframe for appearance of any wound as well as whether your cat is an indoor or outdoor cat.

Your vet will next conduct a thorough physical examination of your cat. This will allow your vet to determine the severity of the initial bite wound and to also search for any additional wounds that may be hidden within your cat’s fur. In some cases, it may be necessary to shave sections of the cat’s body  in order to provide better access for treatment and to identify any additional wounds. This is especially the case with long-haired cats.

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Treatment of Bite Wounds in Cats

Treatment of bite wounds will involve several steps. First, your vet will assess the severity of the wounds. Your vet will attempt to stop any severe bleeding to initially stabilize your cat. Next, the wound will be thoroughly cleaned with an antiseptic wash, alcohol, iodine or other sterilizing substance. This will be another situation in which your vet may need to shave portions of your cat’s fur, in order to provide better access to the bite. In the case of larger wounds, your cat may need stitches in order to allow the layers of skin to heal together properly. Your cat may need to be sedated or anesthetized for this procedure, and will most likely be given oral or injected pain or numbing agents in order to minimize pain and reduce movement during the procedure.

For treatment of abscesses, your vet may choose to lance the area in order to allow bacteria and infection to escape. This will involve medicating your cat for pain and making a quick and small incision along the abscess, then draining the wound of any fluid. The wound area will then be thoroughly cleaned. In some severe cases of either abscess or serious bite wounds, your vet may place temporary drain tubes in the wound, which allows bacteria and fluid to drain as the wounds heal and provides for quicker healing.

Finally, in the case of most bite wounds, your vet will prescribe antibiotics to either prevent infection or to halt the spread of the current infection in the case of an abscess. 

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Recovery of Bite Wounds in Cats

Recovery and management of bite wounds in your cat will depend on the severity of the initial wound. In non-life threatening cases, your cat should make a complete recovery with proper treatment. If your cat has had stitches or a drain tube, you will need to schedule a follow up procedure in order for these items to be removed part way through the healing process. Allowing the wound to fully heal around stitches or tubes can create additional complications to healing.

You will need to ensure your cat is kept comfortable and quiet to promote healing from a bite wound. Your cat may also need to wear a cone or other appropriate limiting device if they incessantly lick, groom or otherwise irritate the wound site.

Overall, with appropriate follow-up care and adherence to your veterinarian’s prescribed course of medications and wound care, your cat has an excellent chance of a full recovery from their bite wound injury.

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Bite Wounds Average Cost

From 225 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

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Bite Wounds Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Siamese

dog-age-icon

Nine Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Bite Marks , Swollen Throat. Abscess Wit What Looks Like Something Is In It

I’m a single parent with little income and want to take care of my son and his cat. Is there anything I can do without going to a veterinarian and having to pay a lot of money.

July 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. If your son's cat has an abscess, or a parasite, there really aren't any home remedies for that. Having him/her seen by a veterinarian would be best for the cat, and will allow them to treat the cat so that it can heal. If the cat is not spayed or neutered, that may help prevent expensive bills caused by fighting injuries, and there are many low cost spay/neuter clinics that can likely help for less money. There may also be a low cost clinic in your area that can help with this situation, and many large chain veterinary clinics offer a 'free first exam' which might help. I hope that the cat is okay.

July 24, 2020

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dog-breed-icon

Cat

dog-age-icon

One Year

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Dog Bite And Shaken Violently

My cat has a big lump on his head/neck he was attacked by a pitbull the dog thrashed my cat around it was horrific. He ran away after 6 days he came home and when I pick him up or pet him I can feel his insides swishing around like something is alive in his his. What is this and what can I do other than take him to the vet

July 9, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

I'm sorry that happened to your cat. Unfortunately, he probably needs veterinary care after a trauma like that. They can see what is wrong and get him treatment so that he feels better. I hope that he is okay.

July 9, 2020

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Mango

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Ragdoll

dog-age-icon

1 Year

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Limp

Our indoor cat somehow got stuck to being outside all night, brought him inside everything seemed fine until noticed he was limping and now looks like 4 bite marks all around his tail, noticed he’s been licking the area, doesn’t let me look st the area but looks like puss coming out one 1 of the bites, should I take him to the vet? He seems fine, sleeping , eating, playing, but does not like to be touched in that area .

Sept. 11, 2018

Mango's Owner

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Tammy

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Tabby Cat

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10 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Puss

i noticed that right side of my cat check looked bigger then other side I thought it was because of her fighting a lot and then last few days it got bigger and was sticking out and I woke up and it had popped before I could book her into see a vet and I pressed on it ril I got all the puss out will it be okay know.

Aug. 23, 2018

Tammy's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Cat scratches from fighting are prone to getting infected and abscesses forming, you should ensure that the area is clean but you should still visit your Veterinarian for an examination as a course of antibiotics may still be required. Without examining Tammy myself I cannot say whether it would heal now or not. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 23, 2018

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Bullet

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tabby

dog-age-icon

7 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Donut Like Would With Puss-E Center

My cat has a wound that looks like a donut. Round outside with a puss-e center and it stinks like rotting something. I put a cone on home so he doesn't lick it. I have been cleaning it daily and giving penicillin twice daily. It's only been 4-5 days since I started. I does kind seem like it's getting better. But maybe there is something else I can do as a home remedy? I'm not taking the cat to the vet. Looking to do myself. So if you can help me that would be great. Thanks in advance. Also would like to point out that he seems very normal. Hes eating. He is pushy to go outside. Hes doesn't have any visible symptoms. Until I roll him over and he has this thing on his stomach. Ok thanks again.

Aug. 19, 2018

Bullet's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

I can't recommend any treatment for Bullett without seeing him, since I don't have any way of knowing what is wrong with him. If you are lucky, the peniciliin dosage that you are giving (I don't know what that is) will work. If not, it might be a good idea to have him seen by a veterinarian, as there are many factors that could influence him getting better.

Aug. 20, 2018

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Gee

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Pet

dog-age-icon

2 Months

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Collapse

I turn to a vampire any time i want to. i become a vampire because of how people treat me, this world is a wicked world and not fair to any body. at the snack of my finger things are made happened. am now a powerful man and no one step on me without an apology goes free. i turn to human being also at any time i want to. and am one of the most dreaded man in my country. i become a vampire through the help of my friend who introduce me into a vampire kingdom by given me their email. if you want to become a powerful vampire kindly contact the vampire kingdom on their email worldofvampir@hotmail.com

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Luna

dog-breed-icon

Ragdoll

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Licking At Wound

My outdoor cat got a bite at the base of her tail yesterday. Once I realized she had it I put some hydrogen peroxide on it and it has since sealed up so I hope that she will be ok since I cant take her to a vet during quarantine. What signs should I look for if the infection worsens? Should I keep using the hydrogen peroxide or do a salt water mixture? Luckily other than licking it the bite doesn't seem to be bothering her much and shes still eating and playing like normal.

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Flynn

dog-breed-icon

mixed

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Limping
Drag Back Legs

My cat was playing as he normally does with the other and they were playing abit rougher this time and they were running around and I think hes hurt himself when they jumped on him and hes now limping with both legs kinda dragging but still walking a little balancing on his back paws. He isn't crying or seems to be in pain. I'm isolated right now so I can't even get him looked at. Any advice on what this could be? My mum said he could've hit a nerve and just deaded his legs but I'm not too sure. Any advice will be great thanks.

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Belle

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Siamese cross

dog-age-icon

6 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Appetite

My cat has been bit by something we think a raccoon and it has just got worst and worst it’s super puffed out and keeps leaking puss that smells really bad and keeps laying in his litter box to hide from everyone and he’s stopped eating

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Mango

dog-breed-icon

tabby

dog-age-icon

16 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Acting Normal, Ate And Drank Normal
Is Purring
Is Meowing

My cat came home wounded, seemed and smelled like a dog bite, he's not bleeding and there is no pus, we had a doctor home (only thing we could think of at the moment was to ask her) we cleaned the wound with a small amount of peroxide and afterwards cleaned the wound with saline solution and plain water around the wound. He ate and drank water fine, he's acting normal and I even managed to cut some hair around the wound with some scissors. Not sure if it is extremely necessary to take him to the vet, the wound is on his jaw beneath the ear closer to the neck.

Bite Wounds Average Cost

From 225 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

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