Don’t Take Cat Bites Lightly

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The information in this post is not a substitute for medical care. If you have been bitten by a cat, see your doctor or visit an urgent care facility. We cannot answer questions about whether your bite needs medical attention in the comments section. 

It can happen even with the most loving, docile cat: an overexcited cat nips her guardian while playing, or accidentally bites her guardian’s finger while accepting a treat. In more extreme cases, redirected aggression can cause a cat to lash out at her guardian and cause severe damage. And of course, most of us will pet stray cats we meet along the way, but not all seemingly friendly cats remain friendly after being approached by strangers. Regardless of how a cat bite happens, it is not something to take lightly.

Why cat bites can be dangerous

Cat bites only account for 10-15% of animal bites reported by emergency rooms, but they pose a much greater risk of infection. Cat bites create narrow, deep puncture wounds. Unlike other animal bites, which can tear flesh and even break bones, these deeper wounds are much harder to clean. Additionally, cats’ mouths carry a large number of bacteria which can cause serious infections in bite wounds. One of the more common is a highly pathogenic bacterium, Pasteurella multocida.

What to do immediately after a cat bite

Immediately wash the wound under running water. If the wound is bleeding, don’t stop blood flow; in fact, try to encourage bleeding by gently pressing the area around the wound. Bleeding may help flush out any bacteria that may have gotten into the wound. Don’t use harsh disinfectants or chemicals to clean the wound, as they may harm tissue and slow down healing. Arnica, a homeopathic remedy, can help prevent bruising, and Ledum can help prevent infection.

Seek medical attention

While some cat bites may heal without causing infection, it is recommended that you seek medical attention for all cat bites. A serious infection can develop 24-48 hours after being bitten. According to a Mayo Clinic review of records for 193 cat bite victims, 36 were immediately admitted to the hospital, where they stayed an average of three days. Another 154 were treated with oral antibiotics as outpatients, although 21 of them eventually had to be hospitalized. Complications included nerve involvement, abscesses and loss of joint mobility.

Signs of an infected cat bite

If you decide to delay medical care, watch closely for signs of infection. If you notice any redness, swelling, discharge from the wound, increasing pain, or difficulty moving the hand, seek emergency care.

Treatment of cat bites

Most cat bites are treated with antibiotics, with penicillin being the most commonly used drug.

Cat bites to the  hand can be especially dangerous, since tendon sheaths and joints are close to the surface in the hand and cat bites penetrate deeply. In severe cases, surgery may be required to clean out the infected areas. Cat bites can also lead to bone infection, and in extreme cases, septic shock, which is a life-threatening condition.

Your physician may also recommend a tetanus shot. If the cat who bit you was not current on his rabies vaccination, or was a stray with unknown vaccination status, you may need to undergo prophylactic treatment for rabies.

Cat bites are reportable

In most jurisdictions, physicians are required to report animal bites to the local health department. In almost all states, a cat that has bitten a human or another domestic animal must undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine period. Some states allow this quarantine to be done in the cat’s home, others require that it will be carried out in an approved animal control facility. If the cat is healthy after 10 days, there is no risk to the person who was bitten.

How to prevent cat bites

Do not allow kittens and young cats to play with your hands. While the kitten grabbing at your hand and biting your fingers may be adorable, it won’t be so adorable anymore when he has grown into an adult cat. Use interactive toys to play with your cat instead.

Never try to separate cats who are fighting. If your cats get into a serious scuffle, use a blanket or sturdy piece of cardboard to try to separate them. Give them time to calm down before approaching them.

The information shared in this article is not a substitute for medical care. If you have been bitten by a cat, see your doctor or visit an urgent care facility. We cannot answer individual questions about whether your bite needs medical attention in the comments section. 

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188 Comments on Don’t Take Cat Bites Lightly

  1. Ann
    May 10, 2017 at 11:30 am (3 weeks ago)

    Hi there, I was bit by my indoor, fully vaccinated, cat about 4 weeks ago. He managed to get me on 3 separate areas, thumb, hand and between my pinky finger. I went to the emergency dept. immediately. I was given a strong oral anti biotic, a tetanus shot. The on call Dr. cleaned the sites with sailine and bandaged me up. 2 days later i was in a lot of pain and swelling. Went back to emerg. where they hooked me up to intravenous anti-biotics. Wounds have all healed but on all 3 sites I have a hard little bump. I curious to know what this is? will they go away with time??

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 10, 2017 at 1:53 pm (3 weeks ago)

      That sounds like it could be scar tissue – I’d get it checked out by your doctor if you’re concerned.

      Reply
    • Find any service
      May 13, 2017 at 3:35 pm (2 weeks ago)

      Considering you have the same thing at all sites I’d just wait it out about a week. I’m thinking it’s inflammation given that the infection have healed. I’ve had something similar but not every time. If still there after a few weeks then you should see a dr just to make sure and calm yourself. I’m sure they’ll disappear though. After my bites heal the skin on my fingers tend to peel because they were stretched so much from the swelling. It can take a couple + weeks for your fingers/thumb to return to normal. In fact I just this week finally lost the part of my nail where I had gotten bit on 2/27. All this time the bruise under my nail had stayed with me until now.

      Reply
    • Katrina
      May 20, 2017 at 3:34 pm (1 week ago)

      It’s scar tissue (keloid). It will decrease over time. You might always have a little scar there though. No biggy, unless you are a hand model. The lighter your skin is, the less noticeable the scar will be after a year or so. Welcome to cat ownership. I have a few permanent cat scratches, too. In the future, wash the site really well as soon as it happens. You can even clean it with a little peroxide (only at first don’t keep using peroxide). Then I use a little neosporin and I keep using it until the scratch is healed. Also, don’t play with your cat with your hands. They will think it’s ok to bite you, since that is how they play. Use a wand toy. Also, just leave them alone when they are grouchy. You really have to get to know when they are irritated or overstimulated. I just got bit by a neighborhood cat today. He/she was nervous, because my cats were in the window. I should have known not to move too suddenly around a nervous cat and I have had cats for years. Now I’m on the web trying to see if I really need a rabies shot or if I can just wing it. 🙂

      Reply
  2. D KESHAVRAJ
    April 23, 2017 at 10:54 pm (1 month ago)

    Hiii dis is Keshav

    Cat bitted me 3 days ago. Any redness and swallow is not appeared I didn’t went to doctor just I washed the wound with Dettol..
    I need u r suggestions .And what injection is used for cat bite

    Reply
  3. Lea
    April 20, 2017 at 7:27 am (1 month ago)

    I gotta preface that I love my cat dearly, she’s very affectionate and kinda trusts no one but me.. she was hard to handle but I refused to give up on her. Mostly indoors. She was mistreated as a kitten.. She is alot like a dog whenever I get upset or if I’m asleep and there’s a knock at the door, she instantly begins to growl.. always stands near me if I’m arguing with my friend about something. I leaned down for a kiss but pulled up too quick for her to nuzzle, it was feeding time and I shoulda known better… as I pulled up- she chomped. I was really sleepy too otherwise I think I would have been more careful.

    I have a small gash in my lower lip, its not in pain or sore or anything… but I have decided after a nap, I’ll take augmentin. I pulled an allnighter and can’t be bothered to find it. I cleaned it a little with rubbing alcohol. Washed out my mouth… I have to shower and get dressed later for my shift.. is the soap or toothpaste going to create a bad reaction??

    Reply
  4. Karen
    March 21, 2017 at 2:17 pm (2 months ago)

    I was recently attacked by my cat. Inside cat got out, I tried to bring him in. He attacked me three times causing 3 stitches in my wrist, severe bruises. It was extremely painful and still is after a week. Please I never thought in a million years this would happen. It did. I’m so devastated. Be careful. This is a very loving pet.

    Reply
  5. Donna
    February 27, 2017 at 7:41 am (3 months ago)

    I was bitten by one of my older rescue kittens today. He can be nice but when it comes down to it, he is feral. I trapped him at an early age but it still must’ve been too late He got my left thumb and my right forefinger while I was trying to give him worming medicine on his neck. I usually wear electrical gloves because it’s hard for them to bite through. I had to take them off to give him the medicine. He does not like to be cornered but he desperately needed that medicine.
    The bite in my right fore finger is definitely infected, as I’ve been bitten many times so I know. The redness is starting to go up my arm. I don’t have any antibiotics on me and I do not want to go to the ER. It’s 1:30 in the morning now and I guess I just want to make sure it’s OK that just go to bed. I’m tired and I just want to go to sleep. I have other medical issues and I’m just tired of doctors and the ER.
    I got bitten at around 12:30 in the afternoon. I put some Polysporin on it. I should at least live through that morning, right? I’m too tired and have to work in the morning so I do not want to spend it in the ER.

    Reply
    • Kayla marie
      March 20, 2017 at 5:06 am (2 months ago)

      Hi since you seem to know what your doing, should i go to the docter? My moms friends cat was scared of my dog and started getting really upset and scared so i reached in to help but she bit my ring finger on the front right next to my nail and on the back left side of my finger pad. The swelling is not too bad just my finger pad is swollen and is bruiseing. It still hurts i woke up 3 times in the night because of it hurting it happened about 12hrs ago. Should i wait until 24 hours to see if it goes away by then? Or should i go asap. (Btw i let my fingure bleed for a bit so it could flush out any bacteria and then my mom poured peroxide on it and then put neosporn on it).

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        March 20, 2017 at 1:03 pm (2 months ago)

        As metioned in the article, if you have been bitten by a cat, see your doctor or visit an urgent care facility. We cannot answer individual questions about whether your bite needs medical attention.

        Reply
      • Ingrid
        March 20, 2017 at 1:04 pm (2 months ago)

        As mentioned in the article, if you have been bitten by a cat, see your doctor or visit an urgent care facility. We cannot answer individual questions about whether your bite needs medical attention.

        Reply
      • Donna
        May 13, 2017 at 3:09 pm (2 weeks ago)

        Sorry I just saw this. Whenever there is a reaction to a cat bite, e.g., redness, swelling, pain, you should go to a dr as soon as possible so they can prescribe antibiotics. Even for me I will get antibiotics because it’s the only thing that will bring down the swelling, reduce the pain and take away the infection. I just didn’t want to go to the ER, which some doctors will do for more serious bites, because our ERs aren’t necessarily that great most of the time, unless of course you’re critical with something like heart issues. Last time I went was for dehydration, my dr sent me, and I was waiting so long and so cold that I told them I would wait outside and went outside in the sun and sat on a curb for awhile. All this while they were tending to a walk-in for what appeared to be a rash. I could barely even stand up but I guess it’s first come, first served 🙁

        Reply
    • Kayla marie
      March 20, 2017 at 8:05 pm (2 months ago)

      UPDATE: i just got home from the docter, luckily im 15 and i already had a tetanus shot. So they looked at my finger and gave me penicillin. Already feeling loads better! I had to get a xray of my hand. Hopefully there is no fracture. They did tell me that i could possibly have to have my blood drained out of my finger. They are sending me to a hand docter next week. Please go to the docter if you get bit it is so much better safe then sorry

      Reply
      • Kayla marie
        March 25, 2017 at 11:04 am (2 months ago)

        Update: I unfortunately had to get surgery. Ill let you know if i have any futher updates :/

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          March 25, 2017 at 11:56 am (2 months ago)

          I’m so sorry, Kayla. All my best for a quick recovery.

          Reply
        • Donna
          May 13, 2017 at 3:10 pm (2 weeks ago)

          what was the surgery for? what did they do?

          Reply
      • Kayla marie
        April 8, 2017 at 2:29 pm (2 months ago)

        im done with going to the hand doctor. they said that i dont have to go anymore :))) yayy

        Reply
    • Marcia
      May 12, 2017 at 11:57 pm (2 weeks ago)

      You should have immediate gone to the hospital. The redness going up your seem was the infection spreading. Same thing happened to me, I went within 24 hours and was admitted for 6 days

      Reply
  6. nath
    December 8, 2016 at 1:33 am (6 months ago)

    my cat nibbling my pointing finger then later my finger start a little ichy and when i look at it theres a red-ish mark and the other one, it looks like a mosquito bite but redder and only on my poiting finger she also nibbles my thumb but only my pointing finger have reaction . theres no bleeding no bite marks. is this is just a allergy or what (i dont have allergy to anything)

    Reply
  7. Benny Paul
    November 19, 2016 at 2:17 am (6 months ago)

    Hi I had bitten by a cat by around 11.30 will it cause rabbis. Which doctor should I go. Please reply me little fast.

    Reply
  8. Blaire
    October 25, 2016 at 11:28 am (7 months ago)

    My cat bit me on the wrist, above one of the tendons leading to my thumb, last Monday evening because she’s scared of the new puppy and was in danger mode. When she bit me, my hand tingled similarly to how it feels when you hit your funny bone for about 30 seconds after she let go. The next day it was painful and red and swollen and obviously infected. I went to a Walgreens health clinic and they prescribed me 10 days of augmentin which I have been taking as directed. The infection appears to be gone and the wound is healing but I have developed some stiffness in my thumb and upwards toward my elbow. The area around the bite feels slightly desensitized. I’m concerned that she hit a nerve. Will it heal on its own after the the antibiotics are done or do I need to seek further medical attention? I’m not sure what else they will do since there’s no longer an obvious infection. I appreciate your input. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Sue Funcke
      October 27, 2016 at 4:44 pm (7 months ago)

      Well of you read my story below your post, I would suggest you see a doctor. If the teeth hit the tendon sheath, the bacteria is then trapped inside. I was on double intravenous antibiotics for 10 days and then orally fur a further three weeks. Don’t mess with cat bites.

      Reply
  9. Sue Funcke
    October 25, 2016 at 6:52 am (7 months ago)

    A month ago, my Siamese was sleeping on my lap, the kitten at my side. All was well for about 15 minutes when the Siamese launched herself at the kitten. I put my hand out to stop her and she bit right through the finger pad on my left middle finger. We squeezed it, ran it under water and put betadine on it. Next morning I went to get oral antibiotics as it was throbbing, within three hours of taking them my finger had swollen to the second knuckle and I went back to the doctor who admitted me for Intravenous antibiotics. Next morning it had tracked into my hand and I was taken for surgery as the area where she bit through had gone black. In total I had 4 surgeries, 2 procedures with morphine in the ward ( pretty gross) a week with a vacuum suction on my finger and a skin graft. I was in hospital for 3 weeks. I had the dressings off today and I need occupational therapy and a special protective dressing for my finger, oh and I still can’t bend the middle joint. So my advice to anyone with a cat bite, go straight away to hospital for treatment, I would hate anyone to go through this and I had it attended to within 12 hours of the bite.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 25, 2016 at 9:17 am (7 months ago)

      I’m so sorry you had to go through that, Sue, but thank you for sharing your story. All my best to you for a complete recovery!

      Reply
  10. Zoya cheema
    October 22, 2016 at 4:06 pm (7 months ago)

    Hi today a cat bite on my mother finger she quickly washed her hand in running water and then she took a tantnus vaccination from a physician later i gave her homeopathic medicine Arnica, her blood is too thin and she is diabetic paitent the wound area is swell and the bleeding is running i also made a bandage on her fingure can u plz suggest that is it harmfull for a diabetic patient? If it would not healed in 24..

    Reply
  11. King
    October 17, 2016 at 12:37 pm (7 months ago)

    Hi i have a son.. about 4 years old and our cat was with us about a year we got the cat since it was a kitten from our parents.. then i saw a 2 lightly.. dunno scratch or bite mark.. but when i asked my son he said the cat bit him.. but not that deep.. no sign of swollen or redness this past 2 days.. also have rinse with water and soap then cleaned it with agua and alcohol 2 times.. no signs of fever either do we still need to go to the doctor?.. also the wound is like gettin healed already.. please help.. it’s my first time to encounter this kind of bite

    Reply
    • Harry
      February 23, 2017 at 2:21 am (3 months ago)

      Hi. How is your son now? Did you see a doctor?
      The reason why I am asking is that I had a similar experience yesterday.
      Should I see a doctor?

      Reply
  12. Ingrid
    October 6, 2016 at 5:38 am (8 months ago)

    To everyone who has recently asked in a comment whether you need to go see a doctor after being bitten: go see a doctor. I am not a physician, and even if I were one, I couldn’t make that call based on your description of what happened to you and what your wound looks like. I can only reiterate the disclaimer at the top and bottom of this article. Thank you for understanding, and all my best to all of you!

    Reply
    • Sue Funcke
      October 25, 2016 at 6:56 am (7 months ago)

      Good response, even small cat bites can cause a serious problem. Please feel free to post my story that I just wrote to as many forums as possible. Sue

      Reply
    • Harry
      March 21, 2017 at 2:00 am (2 months ago)

      Yeah. I took vaccination. I am safe now.

      Reply
  13. Cherry Miranda
    October 6, 2016 at 5:09 am (8 months ago)

    Hello Ingrid,its my 5th day working in a new house ,their cat bite me on my left foot just above my ankle.I knew their cat have been vaccinated – but am worried do I need to see a doctor since I did already the first aid remedy like washing my foot with soap& water then clean it with alcohol ??

    Reply
  14. Snow
    October 5, 2016 at 7:56 pm (8 months ago)

    Hi, my cat bit me on my toe 3 days ago. It bled a bit and then it got red and swollen. It’s a bit less swollen today. Should I seek medical attention? My cat got his rabbies shot about 4 years ago.

    Reply
    • Marcia
      May 13, 2017 at 12:05 am (2 weeks ago)

      Rabies it’s not the problem. Cats have a get dangerous bacteria in their mouths that can cause serious medical problems. Cats teeth are like needles and the deeper the bite the deeper the bacteria gets into the area where you were bit. Hands need treatment immediately

      Reply
  15. Snow
    October 4, 2016 at 8:43 pm (8 months ago)

    Hi, my cat bit me on my toe 3 days ago. It bled a bit and then it got red and swollen. It’s a bit less swollen today. Should I seek medical attention? My cat got his rabbies shot about 4 years ago.

    Reply
  16. Steven P
    October 1, 2016 at 4:21 pm (8 months ago)

    Hello, I was bit by my cat who ive had for 18 years on my elbow. it left a fairly deep punture wound. this morning it doesnt look that infected just discharge from the wound and it feels a little painful, normal for a wound like that i assume. i dont have health insurance right now, do i need to see a doctor?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 2, 2016 at 5:28 am (8 months ago)

      A deep puncture wound that is painful could be infected and requires medical attention.

      Reply
    • Sharon
      October 4, 2016 at 7:02 pm (8 months ago)

      Yes you do. I was bit a month ago by a cat I was fostering and was put on antibiotics right away. It still hurts deep in my wrist. If you have discharge then it’s infected. Cats carry a large amount of bacteria in their mouths.

      Reply
      • Steve
        October 8, 2016 at 8:59 am (8 months ago)

        Well I seem to have gotten lucky, it looked infected for a few days now it’s a little tiny bit but it looks a lot better. I’m going down to the health insurance office next chance I get though that’s for sure lol. Thanks

        Reply
        • Steve
          October 11, 2016 at 6:32 pm (8 months ago)

          Update: I indeed did get lucky, the discharge went away and it stabbed up, same with my thumb no signs of infection from the start with the thumb tho. Either my cat is extremely clean or my immune system is a strong. Lol thanx helpful people 🙂

          Reply
  17. Joyce
    October 1, 2016 at 3:47 am (8 months ago)

    Hi i have been biten by a wild cat after 8 day my mum told me i ws suppose to go to hospital , i think i will go to hospital on Monday , this cat killed my chicken while other is left injured i think it will need antibiotics to .

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 1, 2016 at 5:25 am (8 months ago)

      Do not wait until Monday, Joyce. You are at risk for rabies and need to see a doctor immediately. You will most likely need to get the preventive vaccine series to protect you.

      Reply
  18. Debra humes
    September 25, 2016 at 4:08 pm (8 months ago)

    Took in a Siamese cat on sept 18. Got bit on my left hand on Tuesday and have been n the hospital ever since. Had surgery Thursday sept 22. Worst pain I’ve ever had.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 25, 2016 at 4:15 pm (8 months ago)

      I’m so sorry, Debra. All my best to you for a quick recovery.

      Reply
  19. Gilbert
    September 24, 2016 at 11:02 pm (8 months ago)

    Hi ! I’m feeding strays cats (mother and daughter) for like a month now and today when I was about to hold the mother it bit on my hand. It bled but the wound is not too deep. Should I worry ?

    Reply
    • Sharon
      October 4, 2016 at 7:06 pm (8 months ago)

      You need to see a doctor. Cats carry a large amount of bacteria in their mouth. I was bit a month ago by a feral I was fostering and got antibiotics right away. It still hurts deep in my wrist.

      Reply
  20. Orion
    September 22, 2016 at 6:42 pm (8 months ago)

    Greetings. I’ve recently adopted a stray cat wondering in the street and he was so cute. While feeding him, however, he accidentally bit my left hand’s point finger as he can’t balance himself the first time I saw him. (He’s okay now) I’m pretty paranoid about this because a day later, my RIGHT hand swelled up! There’s a cat scratch just below of it but it’s pretty far from the swollen part. Should I be concerned? I took an immunization vaccine from my school but I’m not sure if it can cure rabies or something…. Help? (I’m pretty new with this cat thing so I’m sorry if I sound stupid.)

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 23, 2016 at 9:57 am (8 months ago)

      You need to go see a doctor or go to an urgent care facility immediately, Orion.

      Reply
    • Crystal
      October 10, 2016 at 10:58 pm (8 months ago)

      Obviously this is probably something you’ve already dealt with. However, if you are bit in one area and swelling begins in another, it can mean that bacteria has caused an infection in the blood which has traveled to other parts of the body. This can be deadly.

      Reply
  21. aki
    September 9, 2016 at 9:51 am (9 months ago)

    Hi! So this happened today and I was feeding a stray cat. It was a new cat I saw in my neighbourhood so I was pretty happy haha. Anywho, after I fed it, seemed really hungry, it kept rubbing its body on my calf then i patted its back for awhile then it rubbed on me again then suddenly bit my calf. It left a somewhat burning sensation and I went home to wash it with soap. There was no blood but it did swelled abit like a normal sudden cut. It looks like a normal cut too except it swelled abit and has a somewhat burning sensation? Help ;;;

    Reply
    • Al Krauss
      September 10, 2016 at 1:18 am (9 months ago)

      Also “today”, I have a local cat “friend”, basically supported by a small group of families in a common property. This has been a long term connection (many months). Cat and I are so familiar with each other that we take too much for granted: cat was on a step, I was walking out of the house, and #1. cat stayed put, not believing it could be in danger #2. human (me) walked out without paying attention, and stepped down – you can guess! Right onto cat. The very first thing that happened was a horrendous cat shriek, and for me a sharp pain, as well as total shock at the sound and sensation. Cat disappeared, I looked down at the blood streaming out. Rinsed off, applied large bandaid, but only after checking out the internet (remembering something nasty about cat bites) did I drive to the emergency room a full six hours later. On Amoxiclav now. Cat seems ok but a little leery of me. No grudges, I don’t think, in either direction. A little more caution in the atmosphere!

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        September 10, 2016 at 5:43 am (9 months ago)

        I’m so sorry this happened to you, Al! I’m glad you got medical attention, and I hope the cat will forgive you eventually.

        Reply
  22. Alexandra Silva
    September 4, 2016 at 5:06 am (9 months ago)

    Hello 🙂 So this happened last year of January 2015,I know it’s already late but I’m curios. My cat bit me and it bled a lot, I’m aware about rabbis. And so then I only washed it with soap and alcohol and didn’t seek doctor consultation nor told my parents about it since I was scared and after that I just only wait until the scar completely heals and up until now nothing happens. Is there still anything I need to worry? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 4, 2016 at 5:43 am (9 months ago)

      The typical incubation period for rabies is three to eight weeks, but it can be as little as nine days or as long as several years in some rare cases. Please contact a doctor to get a definitive answer for your particular situation.

      Reply
  23. Kevin
    September 4, 2016 at 1:31 am (9 months ago)

    Hey, theres a stray cat thats been visiting my home for about 5 months I’ve pretty much been feeding him/her for 5 months and now its really comfortable with me and he/she lets me pet them, can i continue to pet him my two concerns are rabies and him/her bitting me. he’s very very friendly today I was petting him and he was very excited he was licking my finger and it was almost like nibbling on it should this be a concern. It’d be terribly sad for me to stop feeding him as he would just keep coming back and laying in my porch. what are the possibilities in your opinion of rabies?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 4, 2016 at 5:37 am (9 months ago)

      If this cat were to bite you, you would be at risk since you would have no way of knowing whether the cat ever had a rabies vaccine.

      Reply
  24. Hardy
    September 1, 2016 at 10:22 pm (9 months ago)

    Hallo Ingrid, my cat bit me in the back of my calf today. Blood was all over my bedroom, down the stairway and all the way into the bathroom. I rinsed and washed my leg in the sink, applied pressure to the veine and was able to stop the flow of blood, than applied provide. The two punctures were pretty deep and about 4″ apart, lower and upper jaw.
    I am ok with the wounds but wonder how to prevent this from happening in the future. The cat is 5 years old, mostly indoor but this cannot be accepted again. What should I do?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 2, 2016 at 5:25 am (9 months ago)

      You need to go see a doctor, Hardy. Deep puncture wounds are at greater risk for infection.

      Not knowing what triggered the attack, this is only speculation, but it’s possible that your cat’s attack on you was the result of redirected aggression. She may have seen another cat outside. Here’s more information about redirected aggression: http://consciouscat.net/2012/03/12/redirected-aggression-when-good-cats-attack/ I recommend taking your cat to the vet for an evaluation, sometimes, sudden behavior changes can be an indicator of a medical issue.

      Reply
  25. Michelle
    September 1, 2016 at 11:51 am (9 months ago)

    Hello Ingrid, thank you for the helpful information. Tonight, I was cleaning my room, and was carrying some stuff in and out, my cat was on the door and am not sure if I stepped on her tail or what. She actually bite me, but I didn’t know that she did until I felt my right foot soaking wet and sticky. When I checked ot was all covered with blood. I washed it with water and a mild soap. So far the wound seemed ok, it felt normal and painless or to describe it better it feels just like a normal scratch. So fat the bitten part got swollen, but I have not noticed any discoloration, even red swelling. It appears normal, except the bump, and the bite mark it still bleeds every now and then but i’m feeling okay. I felt no numbing in the area. To be exact I was bitten around the ankle. I am just worried because of the fact that I have not brought my cat to the vet for rabies shots yet. She is a rescue by the way. I am planning to go to the hospital for anti rabies shots. I just wanted to know the symptoms if my cat has a rabies, and whay would the effect be to my cat? Thank you so much.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 1, 2016 at 5:19 pm (9 months ago)

      You need to go see a doctor, Michelle.

      Reply
  26. JD
    August 24, 2016 at 3:11 pm (9 months ago)

    Hi Ingrid – One of the five stray kittens (and her mum) that I’ve been feeding regularly for the past couple of months came in through my open kitchen window earlier this afternoon. When I walked into the kitchen to prepare lunch, the kitten freaked out and tried to escape the same way she got into the kitchen – through the same open window. She was quite terrified and panicking, hissing and her tail was all puffed up. In my naivete, I attempted to help her get to the open window by picking her up (or, attempting to pick her up). I was rewarded by her not only scratching my right hand, but also, she bit down hard – very hard to the point of it being punctured and bleeding – on my right index finger. I washed all the wounds (especially the bleeding puncture wound) thoroughly with ice cold water, then washed it gently with regular store-bought soap, and then wrapped it with a small bandage. After a few hours of it being bandaged and feeling swollen and sore and stiff all the while this afternoon, I removed the bandage. My finger looks only very slightly swollen, and the bite and scratch marks are visually quite small. What is worrying me, though, is that it is still sore and stiff and I’m in pain when I try to bend any of the joints of that finger. It feels very bruised, but, apart from only very slight redness, it is not black and blue, and only very slightly swollen where the bite happened. If it is infected, do you think it would be much more swollen or red or bruised after only a few hours? I would prefer not to have to go to my GP or emergency room, or, I shudder at the thought of it, having to go through a series of injections. Please advise (although I know I should’ve already gone to my GP, but I honestly didn’t think it would still be as painful and sore and stiff after a few hours).

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 25, 2016 at 5:48 am (9 months ago)

      You need to see a doctor or go to an urgent care facility asap if you haven’t already done so, JD. Bites to the finger and hand can be especially dangerous.

      Reply
      • JD
        August 25, 2016 at 2:48 pm (9 months ago)

        I took your sound advice, Ingrid, and have just returned from a long day at the hospital in the ER, via my local GP’s strong advice and a similar warning about the possible severity and complications from even a small bite from a feral or stray cat/kitten. Got a tetanus shot, x-rays taken, blood tests taken, and all came back okay. No nerve or tendon damage to the finger, and the kitten’s hard bite, although quite hard, thankfully didn’t go through to the actual bone. I’m on two antiobiotics now, for the potential infection (no infection as of yet, even though the finger is still quite swollen and tender and mobility is quite limited) and some OTC painkillers (Nurofen). Definitely a lesson learned for the next time, after this. If a stray kitten winds up in my kitchen, I will just stand back and let her make her own way back outside, without any intervention from me. I’m very lucky, I know. The kitten, in her severe panic, could’ve just as easily taken a bite out of my face or scratched my eyes. Thanks for your advice, and thanks very much for having this important topic on your blog/website.

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          August 25, 2016 at 5:00 pm (9 months ago)

          I’m glad you sought out medical attention, JD. All my best for a quick recovery!

          Reply

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