I believe that it is unwise to think that a cat owner can provide a complete home treatment for a cat abscess unless the person is genuinely skilled and has access to drugs. Or perhaps he/she is fortunate and the abscess is not too bad. I’ll explain why. However, I am open to an alternative viewpoint.
In layman’s terms an abscess is the accumulation of pus under the skin. What is pus? It is a build up of dead white blood cells (leukocytes) from the cat’s immune system. The cells (neutrophils, a type of leukocyte) are killed in their fight against a bacterial infection. The bacterial infection for a cat abscess is most often caused by a cat bite.
In order to provide a complete treatment for a cat abscess the cat owner will have take their cat to a veterinarian to administer antibiotics to fight the bacterial infection. Before that, abscesses which do not drain spontaneously have to be lanced by a veterinarian and then the cavity where the pus has accumulated needs to be flushed out with a dilute antiseptic solution to keep it open and draining until it heals.
For a proper treatment of a cat abscess there would seem to be the need for veterinary intervention unless the cat owner is skilled and has access to antibiotics for cats.
P.S. Pimples, pustules, furuncles and boils are small abscesses.
P.P.S. Infection can be prevented in many fresh wounds if proper care is delivered within the first few hours. Preventative treatment is the better way but the books say that treating puncture wounds (e.g. from a cat bite) requires a veterinarian.
The books say that a cat caretaker can do some work by localising the infection by “clipping away the hair and applying warm soaks three times a cat for 15 minute each.”
These hot packs assist the natural defences. The skin over the top of the abscess thins out and ruptures. The pus is evacuated. The question though is: will the abscess be ruptured allowing the pus to drain from the abscess? My gut feeling is that it won’t work or if it does it won’t work quickly enough and the abscess may get worse. Bearing in mind that an abscess is painful it may be tricky to handle a cat while administering this home treatment.
For me there is uncertainty whether the treatment will “cure” the abscess. Therefore a veterinarian’s intervention is usually required. Vets deal with this sort of injury all the time and are able to fix the problem quickly and with certainty. The cat caretaker will need to administer antibiotics herself once back home after the trip to the clinic.
The reason for writing this short article is because owners search for “home treatment for cat abscess”. Many cat owners seek home treatments to avoid going to the veterinarian to save on the expense and to avoid an unpleasant experience for their cat. This is okay provided the illness or injury can genuinely be treated by an unqualified person. Sometimes it can. However, delaying treatment to avoid a veterinary visit and to struggle on alone may make matters worse resulting in a big veterinary bill in the future.