Scratches and bite wounds from fights generally cause abscesses in cats, according to HowStuffWorks. Abscesses develop after the cat’s wound becomes infected due to bacteria transmitted from the other animal's mouth or claws.
Abscesses in cats generally occur near the rump, tail, front legs or neck area, explains HowStuffWorks. Signs of an abscess include lethargy, loss of appetite, painful swelling and a foul-smelling discharge from an open wound.
Pasteurella multocida bacteria most frequently cause the infections that lead to abscesses, according to petMD. Abscesses are fairly common but may be detrimental if left untreated. A veterinarian can provide a diagnosis and determine the best treatment method.
An individual can initially treat the abscess at home, if preferred, explains HowStuffWorks. Clipping away the hair surrounding the abscess provides a view of any drainage. If the abscess is not draining, applying hot, moist compresses to the area two or three times a day for 10 minutes at a time can help it drain. Cleaning the abscess area with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide two or three times each day and removing any scabs that form for a few days is recommended. If the abscess is large or the cat’s health does not improve or becomes worse over the course of the initial treatment, the cat requires veterinary care.