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ASK THE VET

Cat Fights: Time to Neuter, Confine

May 05, 1988|Dr. GLENN ERICSON | Got a question about your pet? Write Dr. Glenn Ericson, Ask The Vet, Orange County Life, The Times, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, Calif. 92626. Ericson, a practicing Orange County veterinarian, is president of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Assn

Q: My cat frequently gets into fights with other cats and often gets infected wounds. How can I stop him from getting into fights, and how should I treat his wounds?

Traci Stiles, Costa Mesa

A: Cat fights seem to be a matter of chance, depending on the number of cats that run loose in your neighborhood. Being territorial animals, cats will defend their turf from intruders. If your cat is not neutered, he may roam throughout the neighborhood, seeking female cats and fighting with any male cat that he may encounter.

I highly recommend getting your cat neutered if he is still intact. You may have to confine your cat indoors more often and let him out only when you are outside. I recommend keeping him in at night when most of the stray cats are more active.

If there are strays, you should contact animal control or use a humane trap to catch them and have animal control pick them up. This will reduce the number of fights, decrease the exposure to infectious diseases and parasites and reduce the chance of more unwanted stray cats breeding in your area.

If there is a particular cat that is the major combatant in your area, you may need to talk to the owner and discuss some kind of arrangement for decreasing their contact with each other.

If your cat has a bite wound, clean it with an antiseptic solution or hydrogen peroxide. I recommend having your cat seen by a veterinarian, who most likely will treat your cat with antibiotics.

Infected wounds often develop into abscesses which will need to be surgically drained and cleaned. Abscesses can lead to generalized infections and may become extremely serious and difficult to treat. Make sure your cat is current on vaccinations.

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