Maybe you just heard from your vet that your cat as mastitis or maybe you’re researching what may be bugging your cat and came across “cat mastitis.” Either way, this problem can really bother cats unlucky enough to suffer from it.
Learning about this painful problem is the first step to helping your cat find relief. Treating and preventing mastitis will help your feline feel better.
What is Mastitis?
Only female cats can get mastitis. Why? It’s an inflammation of the breast caused by a bacterial infection. Mastitis results in swelling, redness, soreness, and pain. Cats can get mastitis in one or more breasts.
Signs and Symptoms of Mastitis in Cats
Most cat parents learn of their kitty’s mastitis when they scoop their cat up and their cat reacts in pain or they feel the swollen, warm breast.
Signs of Cat Mastitis Include：
- Redness of the breast
- A swollen breast
- Discharge of the nipple
- Pain when touched
- Purple coloration (in severe cases)
- Ulcers (in severe cases)
- Blood or pus from the nipple (in severe cases)
Nursing mother cats or “queens” can suffer from mastitis. This is most apparent is kittens do not gain weight as they should. This is because the infection blocks the mother’s milk from flowing properly.
When left untreated, mastitis can spread into a cat’s bloodstream and get her very sick. If your cat appears lethargic or loses her appetite, bring her to a vet immediately.
What Causes Mastitis?
Most cats develop mastitis due to bacterial infection. If bacteria enter the teat canal, it can cause swelling and inflammation. Nursing mother cats are most likely to suffer from mastitis. Cats allowed outdoors where they have access to unhygienic conditions can also increase the likelihood of your cat developing mastitis.
Other ways a cat can get mastitis include:
- Trauma to the breast
- Weaning kittens too early resulting in an accumulation of milk
- Nursing kittens with dirty paws or faces
Treating Cat Mastitis
Your vet is one of the best resources for understanding the best approach to treating your cat’s mastitis. You can expect your vet to suggest the following:
Antibiotics. Because mastitis is caused by bacteria which results in an infection, antibiotics are often necessary. Probiotics, pain medicine, and anti-inflammatory prescriptions can also help treat the infection and associated symptoms.
Clean the area clean. Wipe your cat’s teat with a warm, damp cloth and change her bedding regularly. This will help the teat heal and reduce the likelihood of another infection developing.
Try a natural compression. Cabbage leaf compressions can help treat mastitis. Press the cabbage leaf and secure it to the infected teat for two to three hours. You can keep it secure with a makeshift bandage made from a shirt sleeve.
Clean is key too preventing mastitis in nursing cats. Change your cat’s bedding frequently and keep the surrounding area clean. If kittens track into urine or feces, clean their paws with warm damp wipes. Keep an eye on if the kittens are rotating between teats. If one teat is ignored it may be developing mastitis or more prone to develop mastitis.
Mastitis can be painful for cats and other animals that experience. If you have a nursing mother cat, be sure to bring her by the veterinarian for regular exams. Keep her bedding fresh and clean. If your cat develops mastitis, be sure to handle her gently and follow your vet’s directions.
— Meow for now —