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How Do I Get My Cat's Abscess to Drain?

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I just noticed my cat has an abscess on his shoulder. He is licking it, which is good, and his nose is cold so he doesn't have a fever.

I'd like to avoid the vet if I can because of financial reasons. Does anyone have a recommendation on how to get the abscess to open up and drain (like a poultice)?



S.M. from Sherwood, OR

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Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By Brittany K.03/29/2013

I just found a lump, under my cat (Lil buddy's) right arm about a week ago. I was worried about taken Lil buddy to the vet with every thing u hear about how expen$ive it is. But he's my baby an we already lost his brother a few years ago.

So I searched online an called the animal shelter to seek free advise, they didn't offer any services but he did give me a number to a vet office the place needed proof of income to base the charge. The check up was 27$ the pain medication was 9$ antibiotics were 12$, i didn't have a carrier for Lil buddy I was just using this inclosed container that was hard to keep him in. So the worker let me take their carrier and said to bring it back whenever, Wow! Very generous.

During his check up they shaved him, an they found a cut. It was either a bite or he cut it on a fence, but I messed up his medication I was so focused on keeping the medication out of the light, (which I was told that was important) that I forgot to refrigerate it, I did give him two days worth he's acting fine but I did stop because of how long its been out.

The vet office won't be open for a few days, it's a little wider now, I want to start trying to drain it but I want him to be taking antibiotics, so I might go to the pet store to find some antibiotics that might suffice. So if you're low on cash just call your local animal shelter to get some suggestions on some services that provide more reasonable prices I had a good experience where I went.

By maureens12/28/2010

I know the post is old but my 12 (almost 13) year old Bengal ripped a ton of fur off of her left flank last week. I watched the area and it dried out. She's always been an overgroomer, hyper sensitive to other animals but never has been an outside cat at all.

Four days after she rips out the fur, a small lump (seemed huge to me at the time) pops up on her spine under the skin. Overnight, it doubled in size. The next day she had a huge lump under her front left leg. I started calling vets. Started her on Oil of Oregano, high fish diet and pre/probiotics in prep for the antibiotics.

Finally Monday AM I got a vet to examine her. they recommended over 800 dollars in tests and laughed at me when I insisted these were abscesses. Four more popped up in the area where she ripped out the fur.

They pulled some of the fluid with a needle and alas, puss with blood. Sent it to a lab - surprise, white blood cells and puss = infection & resulting in abscess. The reason they didn't think they were abscesses is because there were many of them, she had no visible bites and she is an indoor only cat.

Prognosis isn't great due to age but she's a hearty kitty and she's on pain meds as well as an antibiotic. Surprise surprise, she's now eating and drinking again, purring and while there is not much shrinking of these hideous things they're not getting bigger. Most likely will have to be drained surgically with tubes. I won't do it if her quality of life is going to be crap when it's over because she's lost two lbs in a week and I'd rather have her not suffer for my own benefit.

Bottom line is if you know your pet, stick to your guns on what you know and while internet diagnosis for the ignorant can be very dangerous (believe me I thought she had cancer too at first) but common sense must make you question everything including vets, MDs, surgeons etc. Unfortunately, I have far too much experience watching my mom die but always know your stuff going in and if you can't, ask for help!!

I don't know how long she'll make it but she would have been put through total hell without my pushing on these guys to give her the care that was needed and not upsell me on cancer treatments.

I hope she's okay. I love her so much as well all do our little furry kids!
Best to all dealing with any of these painful health issues with our little guys/girls!

By Lizzyanny [9]01/11/2010

If you cannot cure a problem on your own, or afford to pay for needed Vet treatment, you can surrender the pet to the Humane society and it will be treated and put up for adoption. Not the best choice for a loving pet owner, but sometimes best for the pet.

By Virginia [11]10/07/2009

You can open an abcess yourself, the warm compresses work great, soak them in a solution of epsom salts and hot water until they open.

To keep them open {so they can heal from the inside out} keep vasoline on the area to keep it from scabbing up---if it does scab, just use the hot compress treatment again until the scab softens up & genetly scrape the scab off.

In some feed stores or pet stores you can find something called panalog, it has a very long nozzle and you just put it in the hole and squeeze some panalog in it, it is an antibiotic and what we always used at the vets for these probs.

If possible, shave the hair around the abcess so it doesn't get caught up in the dried puss. Try to keep the cat indoors, and if the abcess is on a lower part of the body check the cat after he goes to the litterbox to make sure no litter is sticking to the area, same treatment if it is, hot, moist compress and remove it.

You should always know {write it down if necessary, tape it to the inside of your medicine chest and always write on their thermometer, PETS} your pets healthy temperature so you will know absolutely if they do have a fever, the vet appreciates it if you can tell them the pets temp and it may decide how soon they get in to see the doctor.

By alicia10/06/2009

Your question is a year old, so I hope your cat is doing well by now. My cat is about to go under for surgery in a few days for an abscess that burst on its own. It's gonna cost me around the same amount of money.

I recommend that anyone in a tight (or strangled) financial situation turn to friends, neighbors and coworkers to fund raise for a pet's surgery.

There are lots of people in our lives who care about us, and our furry friends. You can write an email, create a flyer, or a website; anything to solicit the help of your loved ones. And explain your situation and why you care so much about your pet (and all animals) to make sure he/she has the proper care. You could hold a house party (so everyone can meet the sick little kitty) and have pictures of your cat up and at the end of the night, ask folks to donate money (it helps if they know ahead of time that they're attending a benefit intended to raise money). Any other creative ideas you can think of will surely prove helpful.

By Sam (Guest Post)12/19/2008

The question is what do you do if you have NO MONEY. Poor people love there pets too. What is the answer?

By Avi (Guest Post)12/05/2008

I hope that this works. I'm having the same problem...my cat has an abscess on her neck. I took her to the vet and they gave her antibiotics but...I mean I don't know what to do from there. The vet told me I really needed to get her surgery to drain the abscess but she said it would cost between $600 and $700, which was not just pricey but I don't have that much money, period. It's not even like I just don't want to spend that much...I actually don't have that much, and I'm not eligible for any of the credit programs that I know of. I dunno. I just wanted to put that in here. People say that you should take care of your cat and you're being cruel of you don't do X and Y, but quite simply, I cannot physically pay for it.

By Martyn (Guest Post)10/08/2008

Thanks everybody - some good tips here. We have no vet in this area of Greece, so these tips have been helpful.

By JESSIE (Guest Post)09/08/2008

MY CAT HAS JUST "TODAY" RECEIVED TREATMENT FROM A VET ITS BETTER IF YOU TAKE THEM to the vet otherwise the infection can spread further than the eye can see then your poor kitty will be very sick. Expensive but worth it.

By (Guest Post)07/12/2008

My cat has been off for a few days, not wanting to be touched on his back. Took him to the vets last evening. Has abscess on his back. Vet squeezed it, loads of smelly pus came out. Pain relief and antibiotics given by injection. Antibiotics to be given orally for the next four days and abscess to be bathed in salt water solution several times per day in order to keep the hole open so more pus doesnt form.Overnight its all built up again which proved how quickly the hole heals over. There was a large amount of pus this morning when i treated him.We have to see the vet again in 4 days if its not completely gone. Its very important to take your animals to the vets, they dont have a voice and not to treat them with respect is cruel

By (Guest Post)01/28/2008

It isn't good that your cat is licking it. An abscess is cause from a cat bite or scratch. The bacteria in a cats mouth is very unsterile, so by him licking it, he can cause more infection. Some vets say to go as far as putting a cone on him just to prevent licking.

By Sally (Guest Post)01/19/2008

Update on my cat.

My sister told me to hold a warm, wet cloth on it and a short time later, it started to ooze puss. I gently squeezed as much as I could, out. He kept licking it. I gave him the warm rag treatmment and then peroxide a few more times and he's perfectly fine. I also learned not to put Neosporin on it as that would cause it to heal from the outside and trap the infection inside.

I would have taken him to the vet if he had gotten a fever but the infection did not internalize.

By Chris [1]01/17/2008

I agree with the posts that state you need to seek vet care. I have a cat who developed an abscess, it started to drain and smell. I starte to lick the area, which was when I noticed since it was under his shoulder. It turned out to be a tumor and needed to be removed.

He had minor surgery, $160 at my vet and now he is as good as new, despite being 15 years old.

Truly get a vet check before you lose your pet.

By carla (Guest Post)01/16/2008

Please get vet care for your cat! Being a responsible pet owner entails vet treatment as well as proper food, care and water. Untreated, it could develop into more infections!

By Sherri (Guest Post)01/16/2008

Hi,
Your cat needs to go to the Veterinarian to be put on Antibiotics. If he is not, he can get really sick from these. An abscess can be fatal if not treated. Good luck

By Louise B. [4]01/16/2008

I am unsure what you mean by an abscess. If this is a small infection caused by being in a fight with another cat, you could treat it like you would a small infection on yourself. I have used an antibiotic cream on my cat, but the scratch which was infected was on the middle of his back where he couldn't reach it. I have also used this on a kitten who had infected tail and leg from getting caught in the door. The leg was not broken or anything -- it had been scraped, and then became infected. I had to figure out some sort of bandage to keep the kitten from licking the cream off. If this is infection under the skin, perhaps it is as the previous poster has mentioned, an infection that has scabbed over and is still badly infected undernneath. I have no experience with that sort of thing.

By schubunny [5]01/15/2008

I understand you have financial issues but I would still go to the vet. My older cat had the same thing , and even though it cost me a lot, I felt much better having it done professionally. It prevents further infection, and they know how to treat it properly. It healed up in no time. If you love your animals, you will take them to a hospital just like any human.

By Candy [1]01/15/2008

You can try a warm compress held on there for 5 to 10 minutes 3 or 4 times a day until it ruptures. But if it is not small there is a good chance that he will need some antibiotics. A cold nose doesn't mean he doesn't have a fever. The only way to tell is to actually take it. If it is over 102.5 then he has a fever. After it ruptures you can flush peroxide ONCE into the wound, then just use antibacterial soap once or twice a day to keep it clean and the scab off. Apply neosporin. Cat's skin has a tendancy to heal before all the bacteria is gone and then the abscess will return in a few days after it scabs over. So usually cats will need oral antibiotics.

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