30 March 2007

Evolutionary Advantages of Subcutaneous Fat

Anyone who has grabbed a cat by the scruff of its neck knows how remarkably loose their skin is, a property conferred by the elasticity of their skin and the presence of subcutaneous fat. When little Tien was attacked by dogs last week one of the bites was on his left leg and abdomen. For a while we (vets included) thought that his abdomen had just been bruised, until Thursday night, when a previously closed wound opened up, revealing a large abscess, which Tien diligently licked clean. I took him into the vet to have it dressed properly (irrigated with peroxide and iodine, packed with antibiotic gel). All the puss that got squeezed out was basically liquefied adipose tissue, which made me realize that if it weren't for his loose skin, that bite would have punctured his upper colon. If he were in the wild, and able to escape, that would have done him in no matter what. But thanks to his wriggly, elastic nature, the damage done was localized, and not internal, something he might have been able to recover from. Maybe. As it stands now the vets want to cut into the abscess to clean it properly. Poor guy.

1 comment:

  1. Our cat had an abcess that had to be opened up twice - after hearing what the vets found, I am sure she would not have survived without the surgeries. That is how we spent our Christmas budget that year - totally worth it. Good luck to your kitty!