Matthew’s cat banged up in a fight

December 9, 2013 • 2:46 pm

I was alerted to this situation by a tw**t from guest writer Matthew Cobb (he sent it to me, as I don’t do Twi**er):

Picture 1Of course I demanded pictures, and I got the following, along with a narrative:

He’s feeling miserable in a box under a table, purring to himself. Nasty puncture wound to lower lip. You should see the other cat!

I’m not going to try and clean the wound up as that will distress him more. He’s ok for the night I reckon, then the vet’s first thing for some antibiotics.

Here’s poor Ollie:

photo 140

When I visited Matthew in Manchester a few years ago, and was introduced to his cats Ollie and Pepper, I lifted up Ollie to cuddle him, and he promptly batted my nose, making it bleed copiously. While I much regret his current state, I can’t help but see the retributive paw of Ceiling Cat in this.

Best wishes to Ollie.

[EDIT/UPDATE: Ollie is back from the vet’s, full of anti-inflammatories and antibiotics. Doesn’t look like he’ll need stitches. He can’t eat anything as his mouth hurts, but he should be better in a few days. Many thanks for the best wishes. Matthew Cobb (pp. Ollie)]

48 thoughts on “Matthew’s cat banged up in a fight

        1. … which goes to support your original statement.
          Deepity supports you. which do you want first – the wire brush or the Dettol?
          (I suppose I’d better explain that for non-Brits who are not of a “certain age” … second entry here is a good start ; Dettol is an over-the-counter aggressive disinfectant.

  1. Poor Ollie.

    Had our first trip to the vet a couple of weeks ago due to ear trouble. Dunno if that was due to a fight, though…. well, it probably was.

  2. Poor Ollie. Does Dr. Matthew have any of that spray antiseptic/antibiotic? Could he try distracting Ollie with a piece of cheese held a little off to the side, and sneak in a spray of the stuff?

  3. ‘..purring to himself.”
    Yes, cats in pain sometimes do that – also when giving birth. Purring behavior is not easy to grasp. Usually it seems to be a way of communicating with the mother (or her replacement). But I have not often seen a cat purring to itself. Maybe it signals that it is looking for peace, as it cannot defend itself.

    Meanwhile, get well soon, Ollie.

      1. As the first-responder training says, first look at the quiet ones. The ones who are screaming are probably going to let you know if they get worse by the sudden silence.

        1. That’s been true for our cats. The surviving one always quietly sequesters herself when she’s ailing. The recently deceased one, in her last days, no longer demanded fusses. 🙁 Real tell-tale signs.

    1. I sort of moan when I have migraines. I feel for poor kitteh who is probably sore all over from the woopin’

      1. I sort of moan when I have migraines.

        Sure, but presumably you don’t make the same sound when nomming. Cats have this vocabulary of meowing, purring, hissing, growls, what have you, but they seem to use the same word for pain and pleasure.I don’t know other languages for which this is the case.

        1. Though Synesthesia is not a verbal language, but a sensory one, it may be interesting to note that there are people who because of skewed interconnectivity in the brain’s white matter feel extreme pleasure/euphoria when subjected to pain. They still feel pleasure when stimulated pleasurably. So a groan for/from them could indicate either pleasure or pain.

        2. There are distinctly different kinds of purring that domestic cats do. The purr when cuddling with a friend is different from the purr used when a cat really wants something from you.

  4. Aww. Poor kitty. Yes, antibiotics are definitely in order. Animal wounds in a kitty cat will fester into a terrible infection. Hope he is much better soon.

    1. Come on, a little scratch like that? The cat who has adopted me comes home like that all the time. Very rarely his wounds will fester and need attention from a vet. How long would wild cats survive if they couldn’t handle some minor wounds like that?

        1. What’s the survival rate of adult male wild cats? Apparently long enough for stable or growing populations.

          Thanks for the advice. My owner comes home almost daily with fresh wounds and he loves it when I scratch his old wounds. No way I can keep him inside for long. During New Year’s Eve’s fireworks is the only time of the year I dare to block the flap, and even then he drives us crazy with his protests. The local city bird populations are doing fine despite his attempts to decimate them.

          1. I do hope that, at the very least, he is, shall we say, no longer “he.”

            There are a great many valid reasons why cats should be indoor animals, the most significant of which you just demonstrated are meaningless to you. But there’s also the question of feline overpopulation, which magnifies all the other problems.

            Feral feline populations should, if we are to be wise, decline as rapidly as possible without actively harming those members of the species already alive. That means neutering pets, and it means trap-neuter-release for ferals unsuitable for adoption.


            1. Sorry to disappoint you, Ben, but he is still a he – has been for 11 years now.

              Your “valid reasons” do not apply everywhere.

          2. What’s the survival rate for adult wild humans? Long enough for exploding populations, even in the most desperate situations. This is precisely why the feral cat situation where I live is way out of control. (as is the feral human situation in much of this sad world). Doesn’t take long at all to reach reproductive age, esp. in cats.

            In any case, I feel your pain re: the protests of our overlords. Similar situation here, except our (Colorado Springs) bird populations have a good smattering of rare (and getting rarer by the second) critters. We had a close call with Butter (white kitty, pictured in my Gravatar) who managed to decimate (actually sliced it neatly into ten pieces) what was luckily upon inspection a common house wren. It was a wake-up call for us, though. It took a while, but I managed to survive his yeowling without resorting to piercing my eardrums with my fashion-designer chopsticks.

            We’re letting him out at the moment to roam freely, but only because the brutal cold drives him right back in. One of the few things I can say is really, really cool about this winter (besides the temps).

              1. Yes — leashes for cats!

                It’s nowhere near as weird as it might sound.

                If I was able to get Baihu, a feral kitten born to a feral mother who never had physical contact with another human before we adopted each other when he was several months old…if I was able to get him to walk alongside me on a leash on park trails in Phoenix South Mountain Park, then anybody can get any cat comfortable and happy on a leash.

                As an added bonus, of course, you’ll find yourself spending a lot more time outdoors, yourself….



              2. Butter’s probably adding years of life to me in more ways than one by the walksies. What we use for a “leash” is really nothing more than a short piece of rope with a slipknot, strategically placed. And now he expects it, and responds to verbal requests when off it… more added benefits (esp. where cars and other hazards are concerned). Sounds like a pain in the dumper, but it has worked out very well.

              3. Baihu’s too skittish for a rope and slipknot; he’s got a figure-8 harness and a personalized leash (with name and microchip ID). And it’s essential for when bikes (rapidly) approach us on the trail…he’s always within quick reach for me to scoop him up off the ground and onto my shoulders, rather than run into the brush or zig when he should have zagged or for us to clothesline the cyclist or whatever. Same thing with d*gs — and even just other hikers, for that matter.

                Once on my shoulders, he stays there until he’s convinced it’s clear again, assuming he feels like walking. Generally, he winds up walking about half the time, and riding the other half.


    2. I’d agree with Idop (below | above) ; for minor wounds like that I’d not bother with a trip to the vet, antibiotics or anything more complex than a bit of TLC – which the box is probably an expression of already.
      Our moggie Jackie would come in with cuts and scrapes like that on a regular basis and never had any infections. Not even when she had a month-long running battle to evict a nest of rats from under the compost heap. Multiple fights, multiple tattered ears, cut noses and bitten limbs until eventually a big dead rat on the back doorstep overlooked by a very battered and proud looking Jackie. Fresh raw liver was already in the fridge in anticipation of the event, so she got a good breakfast that morning.
      The only time I recall taking her to the vet (apart from the one-way trip at almost 18) was when she got hit by a car at the front of the house and dislocated a hip, broken leg and assorted battery. which didn’t stop her from climbing over an 8ft wall to get to the back doorstep.
      Cats are tougher than most people think.

  5. It’s rather engaging to sit on a porch with a bit of nectar in hand, near the midnight hour, perhaps with a bit of fog about, and listen to two tom cats, on a wooded hillside, indulge in a bit of hair-raising audible abuse, before having a go at each other, seemingly “red in tooth and claw.”

  6. I don’t believe in letting cats outdoors for this reason and all the other stuff that can happen to them. Not to mention what they do to native fauna!

    1. Wild cats are part of our native fauna. Yes, the domesticated moggies do have an impact, but there’s plenty of other carnivorous wildlife out there too.
      If I lived in an area without a native cat-equivalent predator, I’d think more carefully about keeping a cat (which I don’t, but I’d like to ; SWMBO). But I don’t, so it’s not a problem.
      I occasionally swap whiskey fumes with a friend from uni over his contention that the wolf should be re-introduced to the Scottish mountains. It seems like a good idea to both of us, and it may actually come to pass. Anything (almost) to control the white and red plagues.

  7. If Matthew truly loved his cat, he wouldn’t allow it to go outdoors. I understand that it’s probably too late to change this one into an indoor cat but if he gets a new one in the future, indoors is the safest place to be.

      1. I also know somebody who responsibly supervises his cats’s outdoors time, whether in the back yard or on a walk in the woods. Young cats stay on the leash until he knows they’re not going to do anything stupid. Cats who won’t do anything stupid are let free, but they stay close to him.


          1. Thanks.

            It’s actually been at least a week since our last outing…lots of things, including some car trouble, has conspired to keep him indoors.

            He’s been enjoying the winter sun on the bed a lot, so I don’t feel too guilty.


    1. Harsh Leslie. We’ve had three cats up until recently, two died from old age- both were in their 20s- and the youngest, the remaining cat ( a rescue feral) is 13. They’ve always been indoor/outdoor cats, and apart from a period in Spain where lizards were fair game, they do little to the bird population apart from sit chattering at magpies from the safety of the living room window. Of course they were spayed and neutered so felt no desire to travel or mate or fight. Regarding cat bites, however, infection is pretty nasty, quite common and if untreated really takes its toll on the immune system of cats; there’s a reason feral male cats have high incidents of disease and death, poor things.

    2. Dock the claws too, to prevent damage to the furnishings?
      Cats (and d*gs, to a lesser degree) are barely-domesticated wild animals. The behaviours that you see in a caged (indoor) cat are typical of the psychoses exhibited in zoo animals. Which most people recognise as cruelty.
      Like it or not, but nature does involve vigorous, violent conflict between conspecific animals over resources. Be that humans to exploit, or other animals to mate with. It’s one of the fundamental elements of natural selection.

  8. Ceiling Cat smites her followers with the paw of arbitrary retribution for imagined infractions.
    This one does not appear to be dead – yet – which is normally a good start towards not being dead tomorrow too.
    Is there another cat in the area looking thoroughly battered?
    I wouldn’t bother with the vet for something like this ; Ollie has probably already done all the cleaning that is needed. Tetanus? If he(?) gets scrapes like this regularly, then he’s most likely already up to date on his natural boosters. If he takes chew-stick type things, it might be worthwhile getting him to play with one for a while to check that the lower-left canine isn’t loose – which would be grounds for the vet. But otherwise, no action necessary.

  9. I wouldn’t be so cavalier about when you take an injured cat to the vet. Actually, the sooner the quicker that cat sees the vet. Bacteria are not respecters of human convenience and you have no idea whatsoever about which bacteria the other cat may have gifted to yours. Tetanus is a good idea, also verify that his inoculations are up to date.
    Jerry – are you going to Quentin Young’s event at the Seminary Coop Bookstore – where he is reading from his memoir today (12/10) at, I think, 5 P.M.? That man has been a positive force for good for his whole life and the best physician/Internist I have ever encountered – a most remarkable person and doc. Quentin has always been a radical and a social activist, and I doubt that has changed. I am so delighted to learn that he is still alive and kicking.

    1. TBH, I wouldn’t take myself to the quack for injuries like that unless I thought I’d damaged a tooth, or knew that I’d been head-punched or something similar. Plenty of shots up to date – yellow fever is due in Feb IIRC – including tetanus. I get enough minor cuts and scrapes from mountaineering and rock climbing and coming off the bike in the woods that my immune system is constantly being challenged by bacteria. And even so, I wouldn’t bother my own quack for something like this. (I’ll add that there’s fully socialised health care in this country so I’ve absolutely no concerns about the cost of treatment. Every second year when my employer asks me if I want to join the company’s privatised health care scheme, I reject it out of hand.)

  10. Poor Ollie! Ah- the joys of life with cats;never a dull moment, eh? Actually, he looks quite satisfied.Ceiling Cat must have been with him. Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Ollie.

Leave a Reply