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Barn Cat Abscess Care and General Avoidance of Over Vetting

 
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We are new to cats. We are used to dogs. The 5 mo kitten goes in and out as he pleases. He was supposed to be a barn cat, but he learned the doggy door. He showed up one day with an abscess. It ruptured and he is cleaning it. One part of me says he's equipped with the tools to care for himself as long as he is provided a safe environment with the stuff he needs. The other says he needs to go to the vet. So I have done a ton of online searching.

What comes up is a ton of vets saying to take the cat to get it ruptured under anesthesia (if it isn't already), cleaned,  and tested so antibiotics can be administered. He ruptured the wound a day after we were like: "what's that bump?" And it was the weekend. He cleans it regularly and the puss is draining.  He's indoor/outdoor and has access to all sorts of herbs and I could even sprinkle antibiotic herbs where he can get to them if he so chooses.  Why do I need a vet?  Vets here charge hundreds of dollars if you grace them with a healthy pet. A friend took her cat to a vet for an abscess and the vet wanted $600. A cat here is free. Basic immunizations $50. If it were a market animal there's no way he'd go to a vet. However, some family members are attached to the cat, so keeping it alive and healthy is optimal. Thoughts?
 
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Years ago I had a male cat that would occasionally come home after scrapping with another cat, and an abscess would show up within a few days where the other cat bit him. At first, I took the cat to the vet, then after watching what they did, I started taking care of abscesses myself. I would gently push/squeeze the perimeter of the abscess to drain it, the colored puss discharge would subside and then there would be a little blood upon which I would stop, and dip a cotton swab in peroxide and clean up the puncture. Each day I would check it, and if it was increasing in size and filling with puss again, I'd repeat my steps. That worked well for me more than half a dozen times. If the cat has a high quality food to eat, the likelihood of the immune system taking care of it and it healing without antibiotics should be good.
 
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If it is an abscess then you are going to have to give the animal some help to recover, James uses the same methods I use for such occasions.

Redhawk
 
Amit Enventres
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I couldn't bring myself to take the animal for a traumatic experience at the vet so the vet could do what it was already doing. So I observed and only did one other thing. Based on what the vet had but that the cat didn't: I made an herbal blend in olive oil and lightly pet once over the area with it 3xper day. The idea wasn't to apply it to the wound, but to encourage more cleaning and for the kitty to take in the herbs orally while self cleaning.  The blend is based on the herbs in the herbal antibiotics for cats and dogs on Amazon. I used elderberry, echinacea, ginger root, licorice root, clove, I think that's it. I crushed it and soaked it in olive oil. I know a tea would have extracted things better, but I wanted the olive aspect and the particulate that would end up in the cat's saliva would get where they need to go (theoretically).

I'm of course giving this much detail because the cat is almost healed. Within 5 hours he was acting more himself. Within 24hours the swelling was almost gone. Now the first abscess is only visible if you are looking for it.  The second is still visible at the rupture, but the swelling is down.

I am putting up pictures as proof, but they are a little icky. If something changes I intend to post, but since I couldn't find any strong counter information to "Omg, run it to the vet immediately. " I wanted to atleast post some anecdotal evidence that may not always be necessary.
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Cat abscess
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Cat abscess almost healed
 
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We live a thirty minute drive from town and understand your quandary.  Sounds like you did the right thing for your young cat . . . assist where you can and let nature run her course.  Last winter we had a cat that come up with a small chunk of its hindquarters missing (hair and all).  It looked like the cat caught the losing end of a tussle with a racoon.  As soon as we discovered it we liberally applied a homemade plantain salve to the wound on a daily basis.  After about a week the wound closed up and the hair grew back after about four or five weeks.  That plantain is some powerful medicine.
 
James Freyr
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Amit, I'm so glad your cat is doing better and it sure does look like everything is on the mend. Well done!
 
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So glad your cat healed up nicely! I think you made the right call in allowing the cat to tend its wound and give just a little assistance. Animals are far wiser and more able than some give them credit for. Especially when we allow them access to plants for medicine and don’t interfere with their caring for themselves.

Our cat had a gnarly abscess from a coyote bite about a year ago. At first, we didn’t realize that was the issue since it had yet to rupture and she is very fluffy, so we couldn’t see it. She was overheated, panting and acting weird, so we went to the vet. They didn’t even find it, even though I asked them to check the area where the bite turned out to be! They suggested crazy expensive tests (which would not have helped with the abscess) and since I refused, sent me home. A couple days later, the abscess ruptured and was full of maggots, so back to the vet we went. Other than cleaning out the maggots and giving a rabies shot, it was all stuff that could be better done at home. While the maggots did help clean out dead tissue, apparently they will continue to eat living tissue, so getting rid of them completely is necessary.
I guess that’s a long way of saying that in the case of abscess in cats, keep an eye out for fly eggs/maggots. And if it’s the result of an animal attack, make sure the cat is up on their rabies shot.
I’d second the use of plantain for wound care. We used a poultice of it on our cat to near miraculous effect. It is phenomenal at drawing out infection and inflammation and encouraging tissue to heal from the inside out!
 
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Hi Amit.

You're doing great, keep up with the natural remedies.  Been treating barn cats, and goats with natural remedies for 2 decades, vets charge way too much for common sense.  Might I add that a good compress of saline hot water (hot water with salt) also does a great job of drawing out infection and drying the wound, then apply the salve of your choice.  Cat (dog, or goat) will be just fine.  

Cheers!  K
 
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Be sure to get the cat neutered, or abscesses will be a regular thing.
 
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love the idea of natural remedies,
one of my 3 mo old kittens was attacked by a feral cat 2 weeks ago. he got tore up pretty good, dang cat tried to chew his gonads off.
it was off to the vet, he is still on the mend and i dont want to lose him, antibiotics have helped with infections that blew up very quickly after attack, sores are healing but he still cant use his left rear leg. any suggestions
 
Amit Enventres
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I have friends that cared for a stray that looked like it got run over by a car. It's whole back end could barely move. It was skittish, but with regular food, water, and a box to sleep in it began healing and could walk normally.
 
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