How to Treat Cat Mastitis

Updated July 19, 2017

Mastitis is an "inflammation of the mammary glands" that occurs due to infection. Lactating cats who have recently given birth are at risk for developing mastitis. The infection can occur in one or multiple glands. The emergent condition requires immediate medical attention.

Signs and symptoms of cat mastitis include red, painful and hot -to-the-touch mammary glands. Fever, decreased appetite, lethargy and discoloured yellow or bloody milk may be present. The kittens may also be sick.

Consider the causes for cat mastitis and if they apply to your cat. Causes include poor hygiene, an infection throughout the body, or "trauma" caused by the offspring by biting or scratching, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual.

Consult a veterinarian to make a diagnosis. Provide a pregnancy history, if applicable. A culture may be taken of drainage and milk to determine the type of bacteria causing the infection.

Treat feline mastitis with medication, hydration and rest. Broad spectrum antibiotics are used to help combat infection in the cat. Pain medication may be administered. Warm compresses may be applied a few times a day to the cat's abdomen. If present, abscesses may need to be drained.

Treat the offspring with antibiotics. If the mother has a positive diagnosis of mastitis, the kittens are at risk of developing a life-threatening illness.


Blood tests and other diagnostic screening tools may also be used to rule out other diseases.


If you cat has any of the above mentioned symptoms, consult a veterinarian immediately. Prolonging treatment may have life-threatening consequences for the cat and her kittens.

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About the Author

Jennifer Moyer, BSN, RN, CBC, has been writing professionally since 1994. Her monthly health advice columns appear in "Ithaca Child," "Ithaca Teen & Parent" and "Tompkins Weekly." She has contributed to peer-reviewed nursing journals and presentations, and is a certified breast-feeding counselor. Moyer holds a Bachelor of Arts in government from Franklin & Marshall College and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Columbia University.