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Betta — Almost killed or saved by cat?


OakenGoby
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Hi there,

I have a betta named Travis. Last night I noticed one of my cats was carrying something in his mouth. It was rather large for something he might find in the house and he was acting like he had a very prized catch.  Eventually he stopped and dropped Travis. I picked him up and immediately got him back into his tank. He was very lethargic, fins ripped, and he was having issues maintaining upright.  He eventually started sinking upside down and to my horror his only tank mate (kuhli loach) started attacking him. I imagine this was just instinct to take advantage of a dying fish. I removed Travis and placed in in a specimen container while I setup a hospital aquarium with a filter from one of my other tanks. I added some aquarium salt and Seachem Stress Guard. This was about 9 last night. 12 hours later he is still alive. He’s able to maintain position upright, but he’s clearly still recovering from this traumatic experience.

In addition to the salt and stress guard, should I treat him with an antibiotic? Cat’s mouths are extremely dirty. It doesn’t look like Travis suffered any puncture wounds, but I imagine the stress could make him susceptible to a bacterial infection. I have the med trio and Seachem Metroplex and Kanaplex at my disposal. I also have some Tetra LifeGuard.  I don’t want the treatment to cause additional stress.  Any suggestions?

I don’t know if Travis jumped out and the cat found him, in which case the cat probably saved his life by bringing it to my attention, or the cat fished him out in an attempted murder. Travis is known to flare at any cat onlookers, further enticing the cat.

Thanks for reading. I greatly appreciate any help you can provide.

Best,

Jonathan

(Travis is already a bit compromised with a growth under one of his eyes)

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Edited by OakenGoby
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Oh yes, there are a hundred stories of heroic cats saving the lives of wandering fish. Sometimes cats stare at fish for hours, hoping for a chance to save them. The symbiotic relationship between fish and cats is well-studied and documented. Studies have shown that the proximity of fish can actually cause excess saliva excretion in a cat's mouth. Researchers speculate that the saliva coats and protects the fish while he is being saved.

And yes, you should use an antibiotic. 

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@OakenGobyThats a bummer pretty impressive he has recovered as well as he has so far and that your cat relinquished the prize. Id probably stick with salt treatment and stress guard and observe. That salt is a super medication and works well vs most things including most bacterias. More meds is more stress on his sysyem and possibly unnecessary if the sslt is working for you. 

https://www.aquariumcoop.com/blogs/aquarium/aquarium-salt-for-sick-fish

If it were me I would run that salt at level 1 and move up as needed following the blog guidance in the link. I would document all of it for myself to reference what level worked best and what treatments were used when if I needed to deal with a similar future event. 

Edited by mountaintoppufferkeeper
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The cat may not have wanted to kill him but give him to you. They can be very gentle holding fish/kittens/mice in their mouths.  My cat once caught a mouse and carried it through the house with it's arms and legs flailing. She set it down in front of me and it didn't have a scratch on it and took off again. Or he could've just fished it out of the aquarium who knows.

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I am not sure u need a antibiotic. I would assume there is micro cuts on your fish from the cats tongue and stuff, so it may get infected The salt will treat bacterial infections. The meds may stress ur betta more. But I would give them the med trio once they are stronger but before adding ur betta back into their tank. Hope this helped! I love bettas!!!!!!!!!!

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