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Well, here we go again....

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
It's definitely kitten season, a less than pleasant time for those of us working the clinical end of this. Not only do we have to deal with the consequences of pregnancy (many of them now advanced), but other aspects of the feline "mating season" as well.

At yesterday's spay/neuter clinic I saw at least five tomcats come through with really nasty wounds, nearly all of them caused by fights with other cats--you pretty much learn to recognize such wounds, especially bite wounds. The best case scenario is that the wound just heals on its own, which usually happens. The worst case scenario is if the bite was infected by a still-healthy/asymptomatic FIV/FELV positive cat. In between are those wounds which, because of their nature (smooth puncture wounds rather than lacerations), develop abcess infections.

A cat with an abcess that is captured can have the abcess drained and can be treated with antibiotics; in those cases the wound will look for a time worse than it is. Feral cats have pretty tough immune systems, and if they aren't compromised can recover even from such injuries, although the prognosis isn't what I'd call good.

The problem is recovering a wounded feral cat. The initial wound treatment will have been done already, but administering any follow-up antibiotics can be a challenge--once the surgical anesthesia has worn off, Mr. Feral is in no mood to be approached much less handled and medicated. Clavamox works quite well for this, and it can be mixed, in pill or liquid form, into the cat's food.

I have a cat I'm recovering now from last weekend's clinic. He's got a prominent but healing wound on his forehead and a well-recovering wound on one of his hind paws. He allowed me to apply a topical antibiotic ointment to his head, which suggests to me that he is a stray rather than a feral (the latter would have tried to shred my arm and escape, after shredding my back as well). Still, his wounds were clearly fight wounds.

One of the advantages to spay/neuter is that cats which have been altered have less inclination to fight. The toms will still fight over territory, but those fights tend to be more ritualistic and end when one backs off. Fights for mating rights are another matter, but when the goal (mating) is removed the cats turn their attentions to other matters and we see fewer injuries....
post #2 of 2
Interesting, I didn't know what you mentioned here about fighting in relation to mating, (though it seems obvious now).

Yet another great reason to spay/neuter!
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