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Understanding cat fight injuries (symptoms, diagnosis and treatment)

Fighting normally occurs when two cats meet for the first time, however, cats also fight over territory, dominance and attention. Puncture wounds and injuries often occur during these fights due to the cats’ short, sharp teeth and claws. These teeth are covered with bacteria from within the mouth, meaning that those bacteria pass into the wound when a bite takes place. Claws are usually also covered in bacteria, for example, from the litter tray. Without treatment bites and scratches can develop into large, painful abscesses. Cat fights can also result in the transmission of viruses including fatal feline viruses, feline immunodeficiency virus and feline infectious peritonitis.

Symptoms of a cat fight
Call your vet if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Bleeding

  • Puncture wounds

  • Swellings

  • lumps on the skin

  • Limping

  • Lethargy

  • Loss of appetite

Diagnosing a cat fight wound
Typically, puncture wounds will be present, and in some situations, muscle trauma or soreness. Some fights occur in high above the ground such as in trees, therefore, your cat may also sustain injuries from a fall. Wounds have the best chance of healing without complication if treatment is administered immediatley after the injury is caused.

After care
Initially, cleaning the bite wounds with a saline solution or iodine will help to reduce infection, however, the injuries will likely be extremely painfull and this may be best left to your vet while the cat is under sedation.

While your cat is recovering ensure she is kept inside the house and keep the wounds clean. She may have to wear a collar to prevent her licking at her wounds.