August 2008 Issue

Abscesses: Signs of Trouble

These pus-filled skin eruptions most commonly occur in intact, free-roaming male cats. Here's why.

For several days, your good old cat has been acting oddly, lolling about the house, uncharacteristically lethargic, off his food and seemingly depressed. Then one evening, while stroking his back to comfort the mysteriously dispirited animal, you notice a smallish but alarming lump just to the side of his tail. Although you touch the lump ever so gently, he reacts with a howl, hisses, leaps from your lap and scurries to a dark corner. The lump you discovered is quite possibly an abscess, and although your touching it caused the poor animal intolerable discomfort, itís a good thing that you spotted it. The sensitive swelling may indicate that the cat has an infection of some sort, which would explain his sluggish behavior of late, and prompt veterinary care is in order.

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