Charli survives a cat fight injury

The owner of Charli, the 1 year old domestic short hair, noticed that she was more "clingy" than normal one day and that she had a wound over her left hip. Charli has recently shifted to Melbourne from Sydney and visited us for the first time. On examination, Dr Fiona found that she had a cat fight abscess and a temperature.

She was admitted to hospital so that the wound could be cleaned and treated while she was under anaesthetic.

As Charli had been in a cat fight, it was decided that she be tested for feline AIDS (feline immunodeficiency virus: FIV) and feline leukaemia virus. Luckily both of these tests were negative.

In hospital, Charli was given a general anaesthetic and the abscess was cleaned and debrided thoroughly. It was found that the abscess was actually very deep and extending into the lower muscle layers on the hip. Because of the size of the wound and it's location over the hip, we were unable to close the skin edges. Therefore, the wound had to be kept open and allowed to heal by granulation tissue. The wound had to be dressed to prevent further contamination. This was achieved by placing some loop stitches around the edges of the wound and using them to anchor a dressing over the wound. A drain was also placed through the wound to allow any exudate to discharge out.

Charli was treated with a course of antibiotics and an antiinflammatory injection.

She had to come back to the clinic every 1 to 2 days for the next week so that the dressing could be changed and the wound cleaned under sedation.

Charli was becoming less and less tolerant of the dressing and the Elizabethan collar and was performing amazing acrobatic manoeuvres to try to remove the dressing. After a week, the wound had reduced to a small enough size that we could close the skin edges. We did so under anaesthetic and Charli was much as a result. The wound then proceeded to heal very well and the stitches were removed in 10 days time.

Facts about cat fights

  • Cat fight abscesses are very common occurrences in urban areas. Fights commonly occur at night as cats are historically nocturnal animals.
  • They occur if a foreign cat invades another's territory or if a resident cat decides to assert its dominance.
  • A cat is more likely to be in fights if it is not desexed, strays far from home or is generally aggressive.
  • In order to prevent your cat from developing cat fight abscesses, we recommend desexing and keeping them inside at night.
  • Cats that fight are also at risk of contracting cat AIDs or leukaemia virus.