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Cats Bites And How To Avoid Them

Updated on September 16, 2015
Always take care of cat bites
Always take care of cat bites

Always Take a Cat Bite Seriously

A cats teeth are very thin and very sharp, and a cat will bite when it is extremely agitated or frightened. Did you know as that as many as 40 percent of cat bites become infected and require immediate medical attention?

It is estimated that 80 percent of all cat bites become infected. The most common type of bite is a puncture wound. If a cat bite continues to bleed, your chance of infection is slim. The bleeding flushes the infectious saliva out of the bite mark. But, with their sharp, long pointy teeth, a cat bite is more apt to predominantly cause a puncture wound that does not bleed very much, if at all. And by not bleeding this leaves room for an infection to develop. Cats do bite, but there are ways to avoid being bit.

With caution and some simple tips.

There are some bite wounds that heal very quickly, yet, on the other hand, some get infected quickly by producing an infection that will travel through your blood stream infecting other areas of the body. That is why it is important to pay quick attention if you are bitten by a cat.

Some people are at a more serious risk. And should always take precautions.

• If you are 50 year of age and over, you may have a higher risk of getting an infection if bitten by a cat.

• If you have diabetes, circulatory problems, liver disease, alcoholism, or HIV/AIDS, you are at a higher risk of infection.

• If you have had a mastectomy or organ transplant.

• If you take chemotherapy or long-term steroids your risk is greater.

• If you have had your spleen removed.

If you have any of the above symptoms you may be more likely to develop a serious infection than other people. You should take special care to avoid being bitten or scratched. And if you are bitten or seriously scratched, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible to avoid any kind of risky infection.

If you are bitten you should clean the bite mark immediately. You should do this with plenty of soap and hot water. You will want to remove as much cat saliva as you possibly can. If possible sterilize it with a Betadine solution. This is a surgical soap that kills just about everything. You can buy it at any drug store. It is also available in an ointment form. So if you are around cats a great deal, having it around cannot hurt.

You can soak the wound in Epsom salts or a peroxide solution and warm water. Again, try to get the wound as clean as possible. The idea is to prevent infection and swelling. Apply antibiotic ointment and cover the wound with gauze or a sterile bandage.

It is recommended that you seek medical treatment for any severe cat bite. The bite can turn into an unpleasant, infected mess in a matter of just a few hours. Treatment includes an IV antibiotic and oral antibiotics if the wound is serious enough.

A bacterial infection can develop from a cat bite, many cats, although they don't have symptoms, may have the Pasteurella multocida bacteria in their mouth, which can cause wound infections in humans.

Getting a tetanus toxiod shot is a good precaution, especially if it has been more than five years since the last tetanus shot and your cat bite is very deep or is contaminated with dirt or other debris. It is possible to contract rabies, but it is very, very rare, surprisingly, more reported rabies cases in the United States involve cats than dogs, although those cases are still much lower than the incidence of rabies in wild animals.

How To Avoid Being Bitten By A Cat

There are several things you can do to lessen your chances of being bitten or scratched by a cat. First and foremost, pay attention to how your cat, or any cat you are near is acting. If your cat is cowering when you get near it, or flattens its ears, its pupils become dilated, it is twitching it's tail slowly, grumbles or hisses, then your cat may be likely to bite or scratch if you attempt to touch or handle it.

Secondly, do not force the cat to do something it doesn't want to do. Some cats may not like being picked up or held, especially by people they do not know. If your cat is trying to avoid you or someone else, don't force it to interact. This could cause the cat to react in a negative manner.

These are just a few suggestions to avoid being bitten by your cat or a stray. Remember if the bite is serious, it is advisable to seek medical attention as soon as possible to avoid a serious infection.

Handling Tip

Handling your cat, you will be able to locate your cat's sensitive spots that requires additional careful attention. Usually these are the mouth, paws, ears and backside. When petting the sensitive areas, touch your cat for just one second and immediately reward it with its favorite treaty. Then touch it for two more seconds. Gradually increase the time of contact required for another treaty. Your cat can learn to happily tolerate prolonged contact in these areas.


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    • crazybeanrider profile image

      Boo McCourt 5 years ago from Washington MI

      My mom's cat is a biter, even little scratches can get infected. Warm water and soap are very helpful. Thank you for reading Stephanie.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      Cat bites can be so susceptible to getting infected, and your cautions are excellent. As a cat lover, I have occasionally been bitten by playful kittens or a frightened adult cat, and it's no laughing matter. The last time I was bitten, my doctor gave me antibiotics and a tetnus shot. Voted up and useful.

    • crazybeanrider profile image

      Boo McCourt 6 years ago from Washington MI

      Nine precious cats. I just got a kitten and he nips, and I have to break that habit quickly. I do not want a nipper or biter. My other cats never did that so this is all new to me. Thank you for your great comments. Take good care, and hugs to all those Kitty's

    • crazybeanrider profile image

      Boo McCourt 6 years ago from Washington MI

      Nine precious cats. I just got a kitten and he nips, and I have to break that habit quickly. I do not want a nipper or biter. My other cats never did that so this is all new to me. Thank you for your great comments. Take good care, and hugs to all those Kitty's

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Wonderful hub. I just read your hub to my wife. We have nine cats. We are very careful when our cats act like they want to bite during play. A simple, painless , little slap on a cat's mouth will help teach a cat not to bite. You are so right about the dangers of a bite. We are going to keep antibiotic ointment near us at all times. It is cheap from dollar stores, so it is worth keeping two , or hree tubes in differentareas around the home if we happen to misplace one. The ointment might be of help while making preperations to visit a hospital in case of and emergency. A cat has never bitten us in fifty years, but there is always a first time. Thanks for the important advice. Germs in any mouth can be deadly. The teeth of a human can be very infectious. I heard of a man that lost his arm because of and infection in his knuckles because they came into contact with human teeth.

      God Bless You Precious Heart.

    • crazybeanrider profile image

      Boo McCourt 6 years ago from Washington MI

      Hi blogggerone, I have a tendency to heal slowly from cat scratches so have to be careful, I think I am allergic to but keep them around and suffer the allergies anyway. What one does for love.. lol!

    • profile image

      blogggerone 6 years ago

      Never new my cats could be so dangerous. I'm allergic to their saliva and break out when they rub their mouths against my skin. Love them all madly anyway.