I want my kitty to be okay
December 3, 2007 9:26 PM   Subscribe

My cat has some sort of sore that's discharging a clear pus, and the vet can't see us until Wednesday. What can we do?

Last night, I saw something stuck in my cat's fur underneath his chin. I poked at it, and it seemed kind of like corn syrup--a bit more viscous, but similar consistency and color. His hair was sticking to it. I thought he had just gotten into something, so I got a wet paper towel and cleared it off.

It was soon obvious that a bald spot started to appear. My kitty is pretty fuzzy, so it's hard to tell if we just didn't see it before or didn't know what to look for. Anyway, he now has a bald spot roughly an inch square underneath his chin. It is red and irritated and his scratching at it isn't helping anything. I think it may be ringworm, but, again, we haven't gotten to a vet. We have no clue when it started (again, I know when we found it, and it's so obvious now, I can't imagine it had been around for long.. But who knows?). The whole area is inflamed. The hair around it is just coming out.

We're really starting to worry, though, because there is a discharge. It's a clear pus, and it's started to clump up the fur around the bald spot.

We already got one of those collars to ensure he doesn't scratch at it (the sore is positioned such that the collar doesn't rub against it). However.. We're really worried. We don't know what we can do.

Is there anything we can feel assured is safe to put on it (antibacterial stuff)? Should we immerse him in water? Clean it regularly, or try to avoid any contact with it? Do you know any online sources where I could find more information about what to do?

Basically, what can we do to help this situation as much as possible until Wednesday morning?
posted by Ms. Saint to Pets & Animals (13 answers total)
If the drainage is clear, it's probably not infected. Just clean the area with mild soap and water, and then let it crust over (the crust will act like a scab and prevent any dirt or bacteria from getting into the wound). If your cat exhibits any worsening symptoms before Wednesday, call your vet again.
posted by amyms at 9:59 PM on December 3, 2007

Is he an outdoor kitty? This happened all the time to my childhood cats when they got in fights or otherwise interacted badly with the outdoors. Usually the situation would be a small raised infected lump, oozing pus.

Here's what we'd do (the cat may hate this):

Clean the matted fur and wound as well as you can with peroxide. If you're feeling daring, you can try to squeeze some of the extra pus out and then peroxide the cat again.

We never needed to take our outdoor cat to the vet for small wounds like this, especially when the cause was obvious (for example, somebody's claw stuck in his head). However, I think you are wise to take your cat in to get checked out, especially if this isn't something he's used to.

Another possibility: recently, my mom had a cat with an allergy to his food dish- he didn't get pus, but he did get a bald and itchy spot under his chin. When she switched to ceramic dishes, the problem went away.
posted by Secretariat at 10:08 PM on December 3, 2007

It does sound like an abscess. I've seen cats get acne from their food bowls, but not abscesses.

Since it's the chin (an area that will be hard to keep clean and abrasion-free), I would let a vet clean and drain it. The skin over the abscess might slough off and it will be tough to maintain. Watch the area for warmth (sign of infection). The collar is a good idea.

One cat I had (a really fuzzy guy) had an abscess on his rump that we didn't notice until it ruptured. The vet cleaned and drained the area and instructed us to apply triple antibiotic ointment to it.
posted by bonobo at 10:41 PM on December 3, 2007

You can also make a hot compress with Epsom salts. Mix salts in hot water, soak towel and hold in place over the abscess. Repeat until you're both bored 3 times a day. If there's anything in there it'll draw it out.
posted by fshgrl at 10:53 PM on December 3, 2007

when my cat got one of those, the vet just trimmed/shaved the fur around the area and cleaned it out. apparently this is something that is common with cats, so unless there's green stuff oozing out of it, you should be ok until you can get in to see the vet.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 5:19 AM on December 4, 2007

2nding the Epsom salts mixture - it is easy and perfectly safe for cat and you. This will also slightly disinfect the area.
posted by koahiatamadl at 5:31 AM on December 4, 2007

When my cat had an open wound, I was advised to put Neosporin on it a few times a day to prevent infection.
posted by amro at 5:58 AM on December 4, 2007

nth the warm epsom salt soak. luckily, you only have one more day until your appointment, so you should be okay.

pets to your kitty!
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:12 AM on December 4, 2007

What kind of food and water bowls does he use?

I had a similar problem with one of my girls---acne that turned into a weeping sore much as you describe. Switching from a plastic food bowl to a metal one solved her problem.
posted by bonehead at 7:43 AM on December 4, 2007

He's an indoor cat, as he has been all of his life (but he's only 9 months old now). He uses a metal water bowl and a ceramic food bowl.

Thanks for the responses. We put some antibiotic ointment on it last night. After a night with the collar, it's looking a little better. I'm mostly just glad to know that waiting until tomorrow to see the vet won't be dangerous or anything.
posted by Ms. Saint at 8:49 AM on December 4, 2007

Other than the itching and scratching, has your cat's behavior changed dramatically in the last 24 hours. Has his appetite, water intake, urination or bowel movements deviated considerably away from the norm? If he's behaving normally except for the scratching, and if his other bodily functions seem to be normal, chances are quite goood that he's not going to drop dead in the next 24 hours.

Just keep it as clean and dry as you can. I wouldn't bathe him because that will strip away oils and make him more uncomfortable.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:03 AM on December 4, 2007

Clear and open is good!!

I just wanted to offer some reasurance :)

But if he seems ok maybe don't muck with him too much.

If it's kitty acne though, (my boy gets it and sometimes gets like little hot spots (infections) where it has flared) you can wash it with 2% Salicylic Acid.
He has the Clean and Clear, but Nutrogena make one too. Any face wash will do as long as it's 2%.
Ditching the plastic :) And brushing his chin with something nice and bristle-y helped too. He likes it more than the washing as well... :)
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 12:16 AM on December 5, 2007

I wanted to add that sometimes... with cats... it's better to let them just tend to things on their own (while keeping your eyes open for infection, etc).

Cat saliva has it's own antiseptic properties, so even if your cat was to scratch it open, he would be able to clean that wound. I know it's hard to not freak out, but you have to remember that even though he is your baby, he still has some natural instincts to help him along.
posted by Mookbear at 12:12 PM on December 6, 2007

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