Injuries from cats can lead to infections

Visiting the home of a friend might mean interacting with pets that the friend owns. Most visits that involve pets usually don’t involve the visitor getting injured; however, there are some instances in which a pet will bite or scratch a visitor. If the pet that bites or scratches is a cat, the person who was bitten is at risk for an infection.

When a cat bites someone, the puncture wounds are much smaller than when a dog bites someone. The smaller puncture wounds can heal over faster, which might sound like a good thing, but that means that bacteria from the cat’s mouth is trapped under the skin.

The same thing can happen when a cat scratches someone because the wound from a cat’s claw can be deep. A cat’s claws are prone to harbor bacteria. That bacteria is transferred to the wound when the cat scratches.

Any cat bite is something that requires a trip to the doctor; however, you don’t necessarily have to seek medical care for a cat scratch. People with a weakened immune system must be extra careful to watch for signs of infection. These signs include redness in the area, drainage from the wound, pain in the area, and fever.

Another concern occurs if the cat wasn’t vaccinated from rabies. Anyone who was bitten by a cat should ensure that the owner has an up-to-date rabies certificate. The incident should be reported to the authorities immediately because the cat might have to be quarantined.

While cat bites and scratches might seem like a small issue, they can quickly turn into a major medical issue if an infection occurs. Anyone who is bitten or scratched by a pet might choose to seek compensation from the animal’s owner to help cover medical expenses.

Source: VCA Animal Hospitals, “Wounds – Cat Bite Injuries to Humans,” accessed Oct. 19, 2015