Mastitis In Cats - How To Help Your Cat?

Mastitis In Cats - How To Help Your Cat?

Author WCF Staff


Mastitis is a health condition that can happen to female cats that are nursing their kittens. This condition is not as common in cats as in dogs, but you still must protect your cat. All cats have two rows of mammary glands on each side of their belly. Mastitis can develop in one or more mammary glands.

This condition requires proper treatment to protect your cat so she can continue caring for her kittens. Mastitis is a very painful condition for cats; if left untreated, this infection can cause additional health problems for your cat. Hence, acting quickly and resolving this health issue is very important.

What is mastitis?

Mastitis is a condition that can affect our cats that happens because of the inflammation of the mammary glands. This condition usually happens in nursing cats and can occur in one or more cat breasts. It is more common for mastitis to develop in the glands closer to the hind legs.

mother and kittens

What are the causes of mastitis?

Generally speaking, there are two main causes of mastitis in cats. Both of them are painful and will require proper medical attention.

The first main cause of mastitis in cats is a bacterial infection. This will usually happen as a result of injury or trauma to the breast. Little kittens will usually crawl and climb on the mother; in these attempts, they could easily injure the mother’s breasts.

Bacteria can quickly enter the cat’s system and cause mastitis by creating an open wound in the breast.

In other cases, mastitis can occur when nursing cats have no proper milk consumption. This will happen when the kittens are weaned too early or when one or more kittens die, and this causes a smaller consumption of milk. This will cause milk to build in the breast and cause inflammation. This will still be painful for the cat and will require proper treatment.

What are the symptoms of mastitis?

As with any health problem, some symptoms can indicate that something is bothering your cat. The first and the most obvious reason why you should be worried is if you notice that your kittens are not gaining weight.

This will, in most cases, happen because the kittens are not getting enough milk through the breast, meaning that the cat’s breast is infected. After some time, you can expect other symptoms to show.

Symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Decreased milk production
  • Red and inflamed breast
  • Swollen breasts
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Discharge from the breast
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Anorexia

If you notice any changes in your cat’s breast, this should indicate that something is wrong. Depending on the severity of the mastitis your cat is experiencing, she could show different symptoms. The best thing you can do is to notice early signs and contact your vet to provide your cat with proper treatment.

mother and kitten

How to diagnose mastitis in cats?

In most cases, your vet can diagnose mastitis just by looking at your cat’s breast and physical examination. Mastitis will usually cause some symptoms for your cat that your vet will be able to recognize.

The complete blood count is a common test that the majority of vets will perform to see if there is indeed an infection that is bothering your cat. If the test shows a high number of blood cells, this will indicate an infection.

Depending on your cat’s state and the severity of mastitis, some vets could test milk. They will put a few drops of milk under the microscope to determine if there are any bacteria in it.

What is the best treatment for mastitis in cats?

As we said earlier, a bacterial infection is the most common cause of mastitis in cats. This infection must be treated with proper antibiotics. Depending on your cat’s status and the severity of mastitis, your vet could prescribe some pain meds and anti-inflammatories.

In most cases, you will have to hand milk the affected breast to reduce the pain for the cat so the milk can continue to flow properly.

The most severe cause of mastitis will include IV fluids and aggressive therapy in the clinic. In these times, your kittens will have to be fed with formula until the mother returns.

Mastitis in cats will disappear within the week from the start of the treatment. The best thing you can do is to protect your cat and her kittens and prevent mastitis from happening.

mother and kitten

Is there a way to prevent mastitis?

As a breeder and cat owner, there are a few steps you can take to ensure that mastitis will not occur. Of course, this will not guarantee that mastitis will not affect your cat, but it will greatly decrease the chances.

To prevent mastitis in cats, you should

  1. Make sure that everything around your cat and her kittens is cleaned properly
  2. Regularly trim your kitten’s nails
  3. Kittens should nurse equally from all breasts
  4. Regularly check milk production from all cat breasts.

The prognosis for cats diagnosed with mastitis

If your cat receives proper treatment early, within a few weeks, she will completely recover. You must be sure that the bacterial infection was not spread in the cat’s bloodstream because, in this situation, there could be further complications, and your cat will require additional medical attention.

World Cat Finder Team

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