Why do I hurt my cat

Fight among cats

It hisses, howls, bangs and the cat comes home with a deep scratch or even a bite wound. Cats fight - sometimes over and over again. They don't seem to learn from painful wounds and arduous vet visits. As soon as the injuries have healed and clearance has been regained, the fighting will resume.

This is also the case with Parson. The little tomcat was bitten so hard by Andrea Trueb from Aarau three times in a row in the last few months that the wound had to be opened and cleaned by a veterinarian and the animal had to be treated with antibiotics. As soon as one cure was over, the next had to be started. Two other cats from the same roost also had to be treated for bite wounds.

According to veterinarian Alexandra Dittus from Winterthur, a high cat population per unit area or the appearance of new, often young, velvet paws in the neighborhood are common reasons why cats fight each other. In addition, there is a seasonal dependency: «In spring and autumn cats come to us with fighting injuries and bite injuries. At this time of year, neutered cats are also uneasy, as it would be the time of reproduction, »says Dittus. But she emphasizes: "The better the cats are socialized, the less often problems arise." In the case of Parson, according to its owner, there are two main reasons. On the one hand, there are a lot of cats in the area in question. On the other hand, the series of injuries took place in the spring months.

When cats fight, three types of injuries tend to result: bruises, scratches, and bites. Superficial wounds can be disinfected by the owner himself after cutting the hair - if the cat allows it. Care should be taken that the cat does not lick away the disinfectant. Deeper scratches and bite wounds are more delicate. "Bite injuries particularly often lead to infections and abscesses, some of which even have to be treated surgically," says Dittus. Because bite wounds often only lead to small, punctiform, encrusted wounds in the thick fur initially, the owner often misses them. Only after about 48 hours does the abscess develop, which can also lead to a fever with "blood poisoning": "A visit to the veterinarian is then advisable at the latest."

She has never seen a directly fatal outcome to a fight in her practice, says Dittus. Depends on the
Localization of the injury, but it could get serious: "For example, if scratches go into the eye and the cornea or the lens are injured."

Painful and expensive
In addition to pain and worries and the time required, there are the costs for the veterinarian including medication. “The treatment of a bite or scratch injury can quickly amount to 150 to 450 francs. In complicated cases even more », says Dittus. If the cat is insured, the costs will be covered. Animal insurances usually include a deductible of around CHF 200 to 250 per case (read more about animal insurance here). If the costs exceed this amount and any waiting period has expired, the insurance will cover the rest. This regardless of whether it is known which cat is responsible for the injury, such as Carole Morgenthaler, press spokeswoman for Vaudoise Insurance, to which the «Animalia» pet insurance heard, executes. If, on the other hand, your own cat is the aggressor, you are protected from any claims by the owner by taking out private liability insurance.

Claiming compensation from the owners of the neighboring cat is not that easy, as Isabell Schnell, legal researcher at the Tier im Recht (TIR) ​​foundation, explains. An animal owner is generally liable for the damage caused by his animal. But because cats - in contrast to dogs, for example - are less well controlled, educated and supervised, the liability of their owners is limited. «From a legal point of view, cat owners do not have to be responsible for damage caused by their cats. It would be disproportionate for them if their owner had to constantly supervise them, ”explains Schnell.

House arrest contradicts animal welfare
It is just as difficult to ask the owner not to let his aggressive cat out. "For such an encroachment on the property rights of a cat owner a court order would have to exist," says Schnell and adds that in such a case the animal welfare law would probably decide in favor of the neighbor cat and against an exit ban. "It would be considered inappropriate if a cat that is used to being outdoors was suddenly locked in an apartment or house."

At the same time, TIR is well aware that the legal situation for the owners of the injured and injured cats themselves is unsatisfactory. Quickly advises to always seek a clarifying discussion with the neighbors in case of incidents in order to find a good solution together. For example, certain free running times could be agreed and
any ruffians are kept away from each other. In order to avoid disputes among neighbors, TIR also recommends that cat owners voluntarily assume the damage caused by their animal - or take out private liability insurance that covers the damage up to a certain amount, even if the pet owner is actually not liable. Because it is difficult to get cats used to each other or to teach your own cat more peaceful behavior, says Schnell.

The last visit to the vet by the cat Parson was two weeks ago - without it being known which animal has bitten for the third time. The owner paid for the bills in the amount of around 700 francs because the insurance provides a deductible of 250 francs per injury case.