If your cat lives an outdoor lifestyle, it’s inevitable they’ll eventually get into a spat with other cats in the neighbourhood. Here’s Ou Kaapse Vet’s guide to everything you need to do and know after a cat fight.
Do I need to see the vet?
You should always go with your gut instinct when answering this question. If you feel your pet needs to see the vet, don’t hesitate to bring them in.
If your cat is struggling to breathe, shows any sign of damaged or broken limbs, seems unusually tender to touch around the abdomen or mouth, has broken teeth, injuries to the eyes, or exhibits personality changes, you need to get them to the vet as quickly as possible.
Cats can be notoriously difficult to find wounds on, due to a close, dense coat. You will need to perform a through examination of your pet even if wounds seem mild and they are behaving normally. If, after examination, you detect any larger wounds, lacerations or deep punctures, it’s also a good idea to bring them in for proper wound care and stitches.
What should I do at home?
If you’ve decided it is an emergency situation, simply get kitty into their carrier and hit the road. The sooner you can get to your vet, the better. They will handle all major cleanup needed as part of the treatment. If an excessively bleeding wound is present, you can staunch it with a clean towel.
If it isn’t time to scramble to panic stations, however, then it’s time to get kitty cleaned up. As mentioned above, you will start with a thorough examination. Do this in a closed room, where you can let kitty go without them disappearing. The bathroom is often a good idea, as it’s small, pretty clean and well lit.
If there’s signs of ‘favouring’ a limb, or lameness, gently explore what’s going on. Extend their claws by gently pressing the paws to check for broken nails and damage. Check the coat carefully for punctures and scratches, and pay careful attention to the tummy, mouth, tail and eyes.
How do I clean the wound?
Cat bites and scratches are very prone to going sceptic, so you will need diligent, careful and repeated cleaning. They tend to heal too quickly at the surface, leaving infected matter trapped in the wound. Many standard disinfectant products are not safe for use on cats, either. Use a saline solution made with ½ teaspoon non-iodized salt dissolved in a cup of previously-boiled warm water to irrigate, flush and clean the wound. Be prepared to check on these at least daily. If you see any signs of infection or changes in the wound, your kitty may need a trip to the vet after all.
Remember that your vet team will probably want to know what’s happened, even if you don’t need to bring the cat in immediately. If you have any concerns whatsoever, rather chat them over with your vet than leave it too late. The Ou Kaapse Vet team are always here to help you make the best decisions for your animal’s continuing good health.