Cat Bites – Are They Dangerous?
Cats are temperamental creatures. One minute they’re happily purring away on your lap, the next they’ve snapped at your hand and walked away, without so much as a backwards glance. So, if you’ve been bitten by your cat should you worry?
The simple answer is, yes. 40% of cat bites become infected within 24 hours of being bitten. Therefore, even if you don’t think your cat has done any harm, you should still take steps to prevent an infection.
Why do cat bites get infected?
Cats have a large number of bacteria in their mouths. When a cat bites you, their teeth puncture your skin. Your body quickly works to heal any damage done to the skin, however during this process bacteria gets trapped under the skin.
How to identify whether a cat bite is infected?
Once the infection is prominent enough in your body, you may start to feel unwell. Fever and flu-like symptoms are the most common symptoms felt by individuals suffering with an infection as a result of a cat bite. The bite and surrounding area is likely to be red, and painful with some swelling.
What to do if you’ve been bitten by a cat
The first thing you should do is clean the wound as soon as possible. Avoid using any products which contain chemicals when washing the wound as these may cause further damage to the skin. Instead, wash the bite under running water. A mild salt solution may also be used, if preferred. If the wound is bleeding, apply pressure using a dressing and wash the wound again as soon as the bleeding has stopped.
Once the wound is clean, speak to your pharmacist or GP and get the bite checked for any signs of infection. If your GP suspects there is an infection or believes an infection is likely to occur, treatment, usually by way of antibiotics, will be prescribed.
If left untreated, the infection may spread to the body’s surrounding tissue and Cellulitis may occur. A more severe infection may pass through the blood, poisoning it, resulting in Septicaemia.
Cats are great pets to have and don’t realise the damage they can cause their owners with one simple bite. It’s not always possible to prevent a cat bite from occurring, but simple steps can be taken to prevent a bite from turning into a more serious health condition.