What To Do If Your Cats Wound Smells

Posted on
November 4, 2020
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Has your adorable little fuzz buddy been smelly funky lately? Maybe he has a smell that you can’t identify. He doesn’t smell like waste or urine but he certainly has a kind of smelly smell that smells smelly. Well this would be a good time to check your cat and see if he has an abscess anywhere.

picture of a cat with a wound on its neck
Keep an eye out under your cat's fur any time you suspect a smelly wound. Photo Courtesy of VCS Hospitals.

What Is An Abscess?

And How Do Cats Get Them 

An abscess is a painful wound on your cats body that usually forms after they have been punctured or scratched. Typically this kind of scratch or puncture occurs when your cat has been getting into some sort of shenanigans with other animals. They get exposed to strains of bacteria during their rascality and that bacteria causes problems.

Maybe your cat has been playing too rough with another cat or dog in the house. Or perhaps they enjoy fighting with a neighborhood cat down the street. Or alternatively they have been getting into some sort of hairbrained hijinks with a local racoon or squirrel under the cover of night. Your feline friend can get a scratch or wound that punctures the skin just about anywhere.

However, what separates an abscess from a regular wound is subtle but very important. When your cat normally gets wounded its skin heals and any type of infection is killed off. Particularly when a human treats the wound with some kind of antibiotic. When the wound is hidden under the cat's fur and nobody knows to disinfect it, the wound can heal with an infection down underneath the top of the wound. When a puncture happens the wound is narrow and deep. So it's possible for the top of the wound to heal faster than the rest of the wound. This can trap bacteria and pathogens inside of the wound that causes infection. 

n abscess will look different from a typical flesh wound and be hidden underneath your cat’s coat. Photo Courtesy of Figo Pet Insurance

How to Tell If Its An Abscess or Not

Fluids, Odors, and Drainage. 

There are a few different ways to tell if your cat has an abscess. Two symptoms that can cue you off early that your cat has an abscess are if your cat seems overly lethargic or is running a fever. The infection running underneath your cat's skin can cause other symptoms all through your cat's body, Which includes symptoms of sickness and illness like fever and lethargy. So always be sure to keep an eye on your cat's emotional wellbeing.

There is also of course the smelly smell that was mentioned earlier. This odor is caused by the infection being trapped down under the wound. It  creates pus and discharge as it ravages beneath the skin. The pus and discharge give off a terrible odor. This issue is exasperated when the discharge breaks through the skin. Eventually the production of the pus and discharge that are trapped under the skin are over produced. When this happens it has nowhere to go but through the cat's skin.

This is essential when identifying an abscess on your cat. You can identify the abscess before the pus and discharge break the skin. If you find any type of wound that seems to be swelling with fluid, that is a good sign of an abscess. Similarly, if you find a wound that is draining any type of discharge or pus and has a pungent smell this is also likely an abscess.

Additionally if you’ve noticed a wound on your cat that just won’t seem to heal this could also be an abscess. If you notice your cat has an area that seems particularly sensitive, or has a surface layer of skin that seems raw and tender this can also be an abscess. When your cat has an abscess for a long time the top layer of skin will become irritated by the infection underneath.

lethargic cat on a table
If you notice a fever or your cat being lethargic check for an abscess under their fur somewhere.

What To Do After You’ve Identified the Abscess

Clean the Wound and Get Them To A Vet.

If you find an abscess on your cat there are a few steps you should take. First you can trim the hair off of your cat from the location of the wound. Make sure you have your cat all bundled up and get some hair clippers. Be careful not to agitate the wound, but remove as much of the hair from around the wound as you can.

Next you can use a clean warm washcloth or compressed to the site of the wound. Try to let it sit on the wound for a few minutes. After the wound is clean, be careful about sanitizing the wound. Hydrogen peroxide can cause further damage when it is applied to an open wound. NEVER USE ALCOHOL.

Finally after you have identified and cleaned the wound, you’ll want to take your furry friend to the vet. In all likelihood the vet will drain the wound and lance the abscess. They’ll analyze the discharge from the wound and figure out what bacteria needs to be treated with an antibiotic. 

After they’re all done they’ll send you and your furry friend home with some medicine to take care of the lingering infection. After taking the medicine prescribed, your cat's abscess should heal back to normal and that smelly smell should be gone for good.


cute cat with a cone on its head
After a visit to the vet your cat's wound should stop smelling. Photo Courtesy of Zoetispetcare.com.

Nobody likes when their pet gets injured. But if you notice an injury on your cat that is producing a smell that is highly pungent or unusual definitely take a look at them. If it is an abscess you’ll want to identify it ASAP. Letting an infection lingering under your cat's skin has obvious negative health effects for them. The best thing to do is to identify the wound and get your cat to a professional that can treat the infection.

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Posted on
November 4, 2020
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Advice
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