Apart from virus diseases, the other most common cause of illness or sickness in a cat is due to fighting or accidents. During a fight, cats will puncture the skin of their opponent with their sharp canine teeth, the long pointed ones on either side of the mouth. These produce a puncture wound and frequently carry bacteria deep into the tissue under the skin. The area becomes hot and gradually an abcess develops in the form of a painful diffuse swelling which the cat will resent being touched. These abcesscs, if left untreated, can spread and cause the destruction of areas of tissue which may take some time to regenerate. The best advice is to seek veterinary attention when you suspect that your animal has been involved in a fight – careful searching through the fur may reveal the tiny puncture wound of the canine tooth or scratches from the opponents’ claws. These should be bathed in a mild and cat-safe disinfectant or antiseptic. If any of the area is hot and painful then it is wise to administer antibiotics, which your veterinarian will do. Thus preventing the development of more serious abcesses. In very severe eases where the abcess has developed, and especially if it is located on the top of the head or along the back where drainage would be difficult, it may be necessary to lance the abcess surgically and clean it out thoroughly under anaesthetic. This occurs most frequently in torn cats and frequent repetition leads to scarring and that comfortable crumpled sock look that ageing torn cats seem to acquire.
Another common site of injury during fighting is the ear and in severe cases a haematoma can develop. The ear itself is rather like an envelope. When a haematoma occurs due to injury or even excessive shaking of the head, which is common when ear mites are severe, when a blood vessel breaks and the envelope fills up with the escaped blood. If this happens it is wise to seek immediate treatment as, if left, the normal healing process leaves the ear in a crumpled and misshapen form. By cutting an S-shaped incision on the inside of the ear, cleaning out all the blood which by then will have clotted and stitching the two sides of the car envelope together, the veterinary surgeon can often prevent such disfiguration.