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What to Do When Your Cat’s Been Bitten by Another Cat

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If you’ve ever lived with a cat, you’re surely aware that they’re feisty fur balls who can show aggression at times. Due to their territorial nature, cat bites from other cats can be rather common.  How common? ‘Bite wound’ was one of PD’s most common pet insurance claim types for cats in 2021.

Being a kitty cat parent means you’re responsible for the wellbeing of your fur ball. It helps knowing what incidents and signs require a vet visit and when it’s not so critical. So, how dangerous are cat bites and what should you do? Let’s pounce right in. 

Two cats sizing off against each other. Cat bites and cat aggression can be a territorial issue.

Cat bites… how bad can they be?

Short answer? Pretty bad. 

Like with most animals, the inside of our furry feline friend’s mouth carries a lot of bacteria. When their teeth penetrate they leave behind some of that bacteria in the skin.

Smaller bite wounds are almost never a problem and will heal rather quickly. It’s the bacteria that remains under the skin that’s a problem. Bacteria left untreated can multiply under the skin and lead to infection, which will show as an abscess or closed pocket. This doesn’t just go for other cats, humans can also get infected – find out more about that here.

How to identify a cat bite

Because our kitty friends are covered in fur, it can be tricky to identify cat bite wounds. However, their fur can also help us to notice these wounds. If you notice any areas of that look wet, part the fur gently and check the skin for marks. These could be scabs or open wounds. The most common areas of injury are usually the head, hind legs and tail.

As mentioned before, these wounds can heal over quickly. In this case, you’ll be looking for possible abscesses beneath the skin (abscesses were also in our top 10 claim types for cats in 2021 – see the connection?).

The symptoms of these are:

  • Limping
  • Fever
  • Excessive grooming of the affected area
  • Swelling under the skin (usually painful)

Living in Australia, you’ll know it’s not just bites from other furry pets you need to look out for. Ticks and snakes are real risks too. Here’s what you need to know about snake bites and your pets and about flea and tick treatments for dogs and cats.  You’ll also need to be aware of how to remove a tick properly.

Two cats sizing off against each other. Cat bites and cat aggression can be a territorial issue.

Treatment for cat bites

If your cat’s been bitten by another cat, take them to a vet to check whether antibiotics is needed. If you haven’t done that before the wound develops into an abscess, you can put a hot compress on it to increase blood circulation. Sometimes, the cat’s immune system will be able to get rid of the abscess on its own.

If it doesn’t, a vet can remove the pus either through surgical removal or by draining and flushing.

Why do cats bite other cats? 

As mentioned before, cats are territorial by nature. This means that once they’ve decided an area is theirs, they’ll defend it if another cat comes too close. Cat aggression is usually shown with claws and teeth. 

Cats also can bite out of fear, when they’re playing, or when they’re unable to show their aggression toward one stimulus and redirect it onto another animal or person. Male cats are more prone to fighting, especially when they’re competing over a female.

You may find your cat biting another cat if they’re used to being the only cat in the household and a new cat is introduced. If you’re planning on bringing a new kitty home, read this guide on introducing your cat and kitten for the first time, before they meet.

If your cats all live together in one household and are fighting, there are steps you can take. First off, check out these three ways you can safely break up a cat fight if you see it happening.

Then make sure your cats aren’t fighting over resources. Have multiple food and water bowls so the cats don’t need to share. The same goes for litter boxes, perches, and toys. If this still isn’t helping the cat aggression, you may want to enlist the help of a pet behaviourist.

Because prevention is better than cure, here’s more on how to stop a cat from biting.

A cat hissing with its head towards the camera to reveal teeth. Cat bites and cat aggression can be a territorial issue.

Cat insurance for our furry felines

Cat bites are only one situation among the many accidents and illnesses that can trouble your feline friend. PD Insurance cat insurance plans will cover you in the case of emergency medical treatment, vet visits or surgery when the costs pile up.

As pet parents, our animals are part of the family. In case of an emergency you want to be thinking about where to get the best care, not about if you can afford it. 

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