Ask Sawal

Discussion Forum
Notification Icon1
Write Answer Icon
Add Question Icon

What should i do if bitten by a cat?

5 Answer(s) Available
Answer # 1 #
  • Wash the wound gently with soap and water.
  • Apply pressure with a clean towel to the injured area to stop any bleeding.
  • Apply a sterile bandage to the wound.
  • Keep the wound elevated above your heart to prevent swelling and infection.
Sudheer Techy
Answer # 2 #

Cat bites are common injuries. In the United States, data shows that cat bites account for between 5–15% of all animal bites inflicted to humans. Most don’t cause problems but depending on the location and the depth of the bite, they can be very serious. Only a medical doctor for humans can tell you for sure what is serious or not. If you’ve been bitten by a cat, you should contact your healthcare provider and have them examine the wound.

Cat bites can be highly infectious. The narrow and long teeth of a cat act like needles that “inject” bacteria from both the human’s skin surface and the cat’s mouth (the most common bacteria being Pasteurella multocida) into the wound. Although the bacteria are normal (“healthy”) when it exists in these sites, it is not once the bacteria are “injected” by the bite underneath human skin. The puncture wound rapidly seals over, trapping the bacteria where they can easily multiply.

Depending on the location and depth of the wound, the bacteria can spread to the surrounding tissues, leading to cellulitis. Cellulitis is a bacterial infection that involves the inner layers of the skin. Signs of a cellulitis infection typically include:

If untreated, it can lead to a potentially life-threatening condition called septicemia (which is different than sepsis). Also known as blood poisoning, it arises when the bacterial infection enters the bloodstream and the bacteria and their toxins are carried throughout the body, causing injury to other tissues and organs.

If the cat bite has broken the skin, immediate action should be taken.

The time it takes for wounds to heal depends not only on the extent of the damage but also on your overall health. If the bite is infected and appropriate treatment is implemented, the infection will usually heal within 7-10 days.

Call 911 if:

A physician can make sure that the injury is thoroughly cleaned, and properly treated, and prescribe any needed antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection. They can determine if the wound is best treated by suturing the area or leaving it open to heal. Pain medication may also be prescribed.

If it’s been more than 10 years since your last tetanus vaccine, a tetanus booster may be recommended. Also, if the cat is a stray or has an unknown rabies vaccination history, rabies prophylaxis (anti-rabies) treatment may be recommended. Prompt attention is critical. Once the rabies virus reaches the spinal cord and brain of its victim (human and animal), it is almost always fatal.

After the initial treatment of the cat bite wound, watch out for the following signs:

If any of the above occurs, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

As a veterinarian, being bitten is a hazard of the job. However, I never thought a patient would land me in the hospital. While giving a cat some oral medication, she got away from me. Even though I knew better, I reached out to grab her as she was making her escape. Well, that was definitely a mistake. She proceeded to display her displeasure by clamping down on the knuckle directly in the joint of my left index finger.

I used my right hand to open the cat’s mouth and then gingerly removed my injured left hand. Even though I thoroughly cleaned the bite wound and was easily able to control the bleeding, soon after, the area around the bite wound became red and swollen with increasing amount of pain. This led to a trip to the emergency room, where I was subsequently hospitalized, receiving IV antibiotics and close monitoring. Although the threat of surgical intervention lingered in the air like an unwelcome house guest, the infection eventually subsided after three days, and I was released to see another day outside of the confines of a hospital room.

In many areas of the country, a physician is required by law to report the bite incident to the local health department. If the biting offender is a known cat with a known rabies vaccination history, the cat will usually be placed under quarantine, typically carried out via home confinement. If their rabies vaccination is current, this could range from 10–14 days, with three visits to the veterinarian during this time to assess the cat for signs of rabies. This timeframe is needed to determine if the cat was shedding the rabies virus in their saliva at the time of the bite. If the rabies vaccination has lapsed, the quarantine time may be longer.

If the biting cat is unknown or a stray, take a picture of the cat if possible. Contact your local health department or animal control with a description of the cat and their location.

Seth Romano
Civil Engineer
Answer # 3 #

When a cat bites, its sharp canine teeth easily puncture the skin, leaving small, but deep, wounds in the skin.

These punctures rapidly seal over, trapping bacteria from the cat's mouth under the skin of the bite victim, where they can easily multiply. A similar type of injury happens with cat scratches: the extremely sharp, curved nails penetrate deep into the skin, essentially injecting bacteria deep into the puncture wound. Depending on the location and depth of the wound, the bacteria can spread in the surrounding tissues causing a condition called cellulitis.

Cat bites can be dangerous both to other animals and to humans. In their mouths, all cats carry a large number of bacteria that are capable of causing tissue infections in bite wounds. One of the more common is highly pathogenic bacteria known as Pasteurella multocida. An infected cat bite wound will be red, swollen, and painful, and the infection can spread through the surrounding tissues, causing a condition called cellulitis, or through the blood to other areas of the body, causing a condition called septicemia (often called blood poisoning).

Infected people may suffer from fever and flu-like symptoms and, rarely, may die if proper medical treatment is not sought. Children, the elderly, ill, and immunosuppressed individuals are particularly vulnerable to developing severe infections if bitten by a cat.

The wound should immediately be washed under running water. Avoid scrubbing the wounds vigorously, or using strong disinfectants or other chemicals, since this may harm tissue and delay wound healing. You may clean the wound with a mild salt solution, made by mixing 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of table salt in 2 cups (500 ml) of water. Control bleeding by applying direct pressure to the wound using an absorbent dressing or bandage.

You should see a physician as soon as possible. Most cat bite wounds are small punctures that drive pathogenic bacteria deep into the skin. Left untreated, a serious infection can develop within twenty-four to forty-eight hours.

Yes. It is advisable to see a physician as soon as possible in order to have the injury properly treated. Your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics in order to reduce the risk of infection developing at the site of the bite or elsewhere in the body. Some wounds may need to be sutured (stitched) while others will be left open to heal. A tetanus booster may also be recommended.

Depending on the severity of the bite and the circumstances surrounding the bite, your doctor may also recommend that you receive a rabies prophylaxis treatment.

In many jurisdictions, your physician will be required to file a report to the local department of health. If the cat's rabies vaccine status is known and is current, the cat will usually be placed under a short quarantine, ranging from 10-14 days. If the cat's rabies vaccination has lapsed, the quarantine may last longer.

Jijo odyhko
Answer # 4 #

There are tons of dangerous bacteria flourishing inside a cat’s mouth. Cats’ teeth are sharp and pointy. When they bite you, they are essentially injecting bacteria deep into your skin’s tissue.

The puncture hole can quickly seal over and trap bacteria from the cat’s mouth under your skin.

The warm and dark inner layers of your skin are optimal for the growth of the bacteria. Skin infections, known as cellulitis, can occur quickly after a bite.

Here are some of the potential infectious diseases that can happen after a cat bite:

Pasteurella multocida is a type of bacteria frequently found in the mouths of cats that can cause infections after a bite or scratch.

In fact, a 2013 research review showed that Pasteurella is the most common organism isolated from both cat and dog bites. Immunocompromised people are at a higher risk of developing a severe infection from these bacteria.

Cat scratch disease (CSD) (also known as cat scratch fever) is an infection caused by the bacteria Bartonella henselae. CSD is transmitted when a cat carrying the infection:

The following animals are at the highest risk of carrying the infection:

It’s important to know that CSD is most common in children. According to Poison Control, CSD is usually not serious, but people with weakened immune systems are at risk of developing a more serious infection.

Cats, like many other mammals, can carry rabies. This virus is almost always fatal when untreated, but it’s extremely rare.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are only 1 to 3 cases in the United States each year.

Most domestic cats are already vaccinated against rabies. If you know the cat that’s bitten you has a rabies vaccine, it’s unlikely that you’ll contract rabies.

But if an unvaccinated cat has bitten you, you must take the bite seriously. Once symptoms are present, rabies is typically fatal.

You may need to begin rabies treatment if the cat that’s bitten you shows any rabies symptoms. If you’re bitten by a stray, it may be necessary to capture the animal so it can be observed.

Don’t try to capture the cat yourself. Instead, call the animal control office in your area.

If you can’t capture the cat, you might need to start rabies vaccination as a precaution.

Binju Mohana
Answer # 5 #

When your child is bitten or scratched by an animal, be calm and reassure your child that you can help. Your child's healthcare provider will determine specific treatment for an animal bite. Treatment may include the below.

For shallow bites from a household pet that is immunized and in good health:

Dickie Secombe