Can a cat bite be fatal? Here’s what to do after a cat attack


As cats are innocent and adorable, their bite can be fatal and should not be taken lightly. A Dane lost his life after having his finger bitten by a cat a few years ago; he was infected with a flesh-eating bacterium. The man, Henrik Kriegbaum Plettner, had adopted the cat and her kittens from a shelter and was bitten while trying to move one of them. Although you might not suspect that they can behave in such an unpleasant way, cats tend to bite or scratch when they are frightened or startled. People don’t take cat bites seriously, but they can lead to life-threatening infections. After first aid, you should definitely consult your doctor. (Also read: Christmas candy that can be toxic to your pets)

Can a cat bite be fatal?

“Yes, if the wound is not cared for and cleaned properly. In addition to being painful, infected cat bites can become larger, red or discolored. If this infection is not treated in time, it can spread to other parts of the body and cause sepsis (blood poisoning), requiring hospitalization.These infections can sometimes be fatal,” says Dr. Shantanu Kalambi, Chief Veterinarian, Supertails.com.

What infections can a cat transmit to humans through its bite?

“Cats, despite their fluffy and cuddly appearance, tend to bite or scratch when startled. While a cat does bite, it may not seem like a big deal – it may even be cute when playing – but some cat bites can have major health consequences. The majority of bacterial diseases, including pasteurellosis, are usually transmitted by cat bites. Another potential risk is the rabies virus, which is only transmitted by diseased cats (unvaccinated feral cats with clinical signs of rabies),” says Dr. Kalambi.

In what cases can a cat bite become fatal?

Swelling, discomfort, and other concerning symptoms can result from any cat bite on a person, no matter how small or severe.

“It is crucial to remember that a bite from a rabid cat can be fatal. Other cat bites can cause sepsis (infection entering the bloodstream), which can cause fever, lethargy, pain, weakness, hyperthermia, coma and death if not cleaned and cleared.However, if the bite is kept clean and given sufficient time to heal, the majority of bites from domestic cats (vaccinated) do not lead to death,” says Dr. Kalambi.

What to do immediately after a cat bite?

Take a deep breath and keep in mind that you need to act immediately. Remember not to ignore it. If you have been “victim of a cat attack”, take the following steps as suggested by Dr. Kalambi:

● Run running water over the wound for 5 to 10 minutes.

● Wash the wound with a mild soap and then rinse with additional water.

● Wash and pat dry. Apply an antibiotic cream.

● Repeat this step every day until the wound heals.

● Cat bites can be unpleasant; consult a doctor if you experience pain or fever.

● Antibiotics may be needed for deeper bites. Consult your doctor.

● Get a tetanus shot if you haven’t had one in the past 6 months. Consult your doctor.

● Although rabies is usually undetected in cats, if the cat that bit you is not vaccinated, be sure to get your post-bite vaccinations. Consult your doctor.

How to stop cats from biting you

Dr. Kalambi says it’s critical to understand why cats engage in play by biting in the first place.

“Bunny biting and kicking are natural kitten play activities. This is how they interact with their litter mates and mother. The behavior is similar to how cats will then pounce, grasping and biting prey. However, the cat may not always be playful; the cat may become agitated due to outside forces, including you,” explains the expert.

So keep in mind the following:

● Do not wake a sleeping cat

● Do not approach or directly touch a foreign cat

● Learn about cat behavior and warning signs (tucked ears, flexed eyebrows and arched back) and give the cat some space if it seems uncomfortable around you

● Do not lift a cat directly

● Avoid petting an unfamiliar cat’s belly, face or paws

● Do not try to mediate between two fighting cats; use alternative tools like a towel or blanket, or in the worst case, spray water

What are the important vaccines for a cat after adoption

Cats need two main vaccines:

● Rabies vaccination (at 3 months), which requires two doses in the first year, followed by an annual booster, and vaccination against hepatitis B (at 3 months).

● Tricat (PRC): two doses the first year, then annual reminders (at the age of two months).

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