Treat an Infection in a Cat
Every cat owner has, at one time or another, dealt with some sort of infection in the pet. Just like children, cats get themselves into trouble occasionally. Common types of infections include skin, eye and internal infections; some are treatable from home and others will require a trip to the veterinarian. If you think your cat has a serious or life-threatening condition or illness, it is in your cat’s best interest for you to take it to a specialist as soon as possible.
1. Eye infections are often easy to spot; they cause your cat’s eye to swell or become red. An infected eye oozes liquid or sticks to your cat’s inner eyelid. Cats suffer from a form of feline herpes resulting in conjunctivitis and from other diseases that cause symptoms similar to the human “pink eye.” A wound on or near your cat’s eye can result in infection, which should be treated as soon as possible to avoid long-term damage.
2. Clean the infected eye at least twice a day, applying any prescription, antibacterial eye drops as instructed. Cleaning the eye is critical to ensuring that your cat makes a full recovery. Wipe away any discharge from your cat’s face with a cotton swab or pad.
3. If your cat’s eye infection is the result of a wound, investigate the possible cause(s). Keep your cat indoors as much as possible while the infection heals. Search for any sharp objects or toys on which the cat may have injured itself. If the wound appears to be the result of a fight, keep your cat indoors more often to avoid further injuries.
4. Skin infections are the result of an untreated wound or condition in your cat. Most skin infections are easy to treat in their early stages. An advanced skin infection can be life-threatening or permanently debilitating. The best way to prevent this is to sterilize and monitor your cat’s infection.
5. The first step in dealing with a local skin infection, which is the result of a wound or puncture, is to trim the hair around the injury. This gives you direct, convenient access to apply treatment as necessary. It might be helpful to have a friend or family member hold the cat while you trim, to avoid any further injury.
6. If the wound is fresh, then an advanced infection is unlikely. Examine the wound for any bumps, swelling or pus. Clean the wound with saline solution; be thorough and repeat once to be sure. If the wound does not have a serious infection, drain the wound as best as possible and keep it clean. Apply antibacterial ointment and keep your cat indoors until the wound is healed.
7. If your cat has multiple infections or widespread skin damage, it is likely the result of a fungal infection or allergic reaction. If a skin infection emerges in multiple locales, take your pet to a specialist as soon as possible to begin treatment. Widespread infection can result in severe, and sometimes permanent, hair loss and discomfort.
8. If a widespread infection in your cat appears to be fungal, isolate it from other pets and humans. Some fungal infections are contagious to other animals and to people, and are much harder to eliminate after they have begun to spread.
9. Internal infections are much harder to treat at home, and will almost always require a trip to your veterinarian. Internal infections include infections of the respiratory system, urinary tract or reproductive organs. Not all of these types of infections are permanent or fatal, but many have the potential to cause serious harm.
10. If your cat exhibits the symptoms of a chronic, internal infection, seek the help of a professional; it might be the only way for your cat to get better. Keep your cat in a comfortable, warm environment for the duration of the illness. Exposing your cat to a stressful environment can hurt its chances of recovery.
11. Carefully follow any instructions that accompany medication for your cat, even if the pet appears to have recovered. Failing to follow directions or to follow through with your cat’s anti-bacterial medication could allow the disease to re-emerge, possibly as a more lethal strain.