Some of you may remember that we have a semi feral cat Zack. I say semi feral as he is kind of OK with people he knows but if he hears a stranger's voice he will bolt for the nearest door or window and that is the last we will see of him for at least a few hours. He also hates the dogs with a vengeance although he has been getting braver hissing at the pup when he gets too close. So as you might imagine he does not like to be picked up or fussed in anyway - in fact the only time he lets me stroke him is if I have just put some food in his bowl. So it was a horrible moment on Tuesday night when I gave both the cats a midnight snack and stroked Zack only to feel a horrible sore on his neck. He did not seem bothered by it so I got down on all fours and peered at him while he was eating his tasty treats. All I can say is it looked awful, red, sore and very bloody, but he did not seem at all bothered so given the late hour and my preference for seeing my regular Vet I locked both the cats in for the night. On Wednesday morning he was fine so with no breakfast for either of us and eventually after a lot of trial and error on my part I got him into the cat carrier and off we sped to Churnet Valley Vets. He howled the whole way like an injured baby. One look at his neck from Pat the Vet, coupled with the fact that we both knew there was no way I would be able to get antibiotic cream on his neck every day for a week or so which is the conventional treatment led us to the decision that he needed to be stitched up. So roll forward a few hours and a very groggy puss arrived back home complete with cat collar and a rather messy looking scar. Pat had removed all of the rough edges that would possibly lead to infection, cleaned out Zack's wound - which looked like it was a burst abscess and double stitched him up. Look away now if you are squeamish! This is his wound.We all had a very restless night and Zack was very scared having the collar on so this morning I removed the collar and let him outside. So far today he has stayed close to the house and has not scratched at his wound so I am hoping that he continues to leave it alone. Apparently these type of wounds are quite common on cats who are fighters which both Zack and Millie are, they defend their territory at all costs and this time the boy got injured. It could have just been a little scratch or a bite that then got infected and eventually burst through. Most owners do not notice them when they are small and it is only when they get to the gory stage that they become apparent, or if they get infected in which case your cat may develop a very bad smell. This made me feel slightly less of a bad cat mother for not spotting it sooner and the lesson for me is to check the cats with a bit more regularity like I do with the dogs. On a final note apparently the cats who run away from a fight usually end up with injuries like this on their back or hind quarters where as the do or die type have them around their face or neck. I always knew Zack was a brave boy and now he has the scars to prove it.