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How to Care for a Cat's Abscess (or any animal really)

Updated on February 4, 2011

My Cat and his Abscess

His Abscess, notice swelled, red, with hair loss.
His Abscess, notice swelled, red, with hair loss.
After his surgery, he has his drainage tube.
After his surgery, he has his drainage tube.


Let me start off my saying that any animal or person with an abscess, sometimes called a cyst, should go to the vet or hospital to ensure it is completely and properly taken care of.

An abscess forms on a cat usually when they get into fights with other cats and the wound heals too quickly leaving the bacteria inside. The bacteria then continues to multiply inside the animal and basically becomes a giant puss bubble. It smells rancid and is the worst smell I have yet to come in contact with.These can be very dangerous for the animal and causes a high fever. If you cannot get to a vet right away here are a few tips to get the abcess under control.

Step one: Get yourself something to cover your face from the smell so you're less likely to vomit if you have a weak stomach, a bandanna will suffice. Run some hot water, you want it as hot as possible without burning yourself. Grab a clean, old washcloth and wet it with the hot water.

Step two: With the animal relaxed place the hot washcloth over the wound, don't press hard or it will pop. You want it to open up on your own. The vet will open it up more later. The abscess probably won't open the first time you put the compress on it, so keep getting the washcloth hot until it opens up. *Caution: This is very gross, rotten smell. Green and brown with some blood is normal. It may haveĀ  clumps in the puss*

Step three: Once it's open, without squeezing out the puss try to get as much out as possible. This will not hurt your animal, your animal will simply feel relieved of the pressure. Keep rinsing and wetting the washcloth till as much puss as possible is out.

Step four: I personally use peroxide on my cats, it is safe to use. However, I don't know if it's the best thing to do when they have an abscess. The vet had me use it after the surgery on my cat so it should be fine to use before the surgery as well. So, as I was saying to further get rid of infection use peroxide and clean out the wound. It will bubble like crazy so keep applying it till there's less bubbling. Put on a cloth bandage over the wound with some ointment to help infection from spreading.

Step five: Get the animal to the vet ASAP. DON'T let the wound heal before you get to the vet it could come back if it isn't completely drained. Use compresses daily in the mean time to keep the wound open and to be sure its gone. A vet can tell you if you need a surgery to complete the process. They will make an incision on the cyst, squeeze out the puss, rinse it with a special formula, and put a drainage tube in if that is the case.

Checking your animal daily for scratches could prevent abscesses from forming. Clean-up all wounds on a cat after a fight, like I said before peroxide and an anti-bacterial ointment work best. Also getting your cat fixed can also prevent cats from fighting consider getting your animal fixed so this won't happen to you.

Things to help you with your cat's future health


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    • profile image

      Stevey wonder 7 years ago


    • Maria Cecilia profile image

      Maria Cecilia 7 years ago from Philippines

      when my dog had surgery(several surgery) I got used to the cycle that after two days, his wound became wet with puss fluid making it look like a weeping wound, in this case I clean the wound with betadine paint, wait a little minute then I will add glycoseryl gelly, this is very effective in weeping wounds

    • profile image

      cosette 7 years ago

      omgsh, poor little guy. glad to see he is all better. i don't have a cat - i have a bunny, but i agree it is good advice to take any pet to the vet right away before things get out of control. it saves them (and you) a lot of pain and grief.

    • Tom T profile image

      Tom T 7 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Wow...this brings back memories. I also will put a small dab of neosporin on the wound using a q-tip.

      Your best tip may be in the last paragraph. It is the puncture wounds caused by claws of other cats that are the biggest causes of abscesses. If you can clean them out before they get infected, you will save a lot in vet bills. (Same basic procedure you outlined but apply the neosporin at the end.)

      Great Hub and keep up the good work!