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Cat bite – what to do with swelling?

“I was bitten by a cat, what should I do now?” – if you ask yourself this question, you’ve come to the right place. Although cats are usually docile furries that are happy to cuddle, they can sometimes be aggressive or just unpredictable. According to scientific studies, as many as one in three people bitten by a cat require hospitalization. The bite, although small, can be deep and can be infected. How to avoid this unpleasant surprise? And how to behave if it has already happened to you? We will answer all your questions.

Cat bite – why does a cat do it?

Some cats are badly behaved, others live in the wild and simply don’t know humans. Incorrectly socialized cats do not know the proper behavioral basis. They may have difficulty setting personal boundaries and may not understand the needs of other people or animals. Usually such a bite by a cat is neither painful nor dangerous.

A cat bite is not always the result of aggression. Some animals are just used to catching everything with their teeth. This behavior is most common in kittens that have been taken from their mother too quickly. They did not manage to learn correct behavior in their youth. The cat can also be taught this form of play by the handler. In old age, it is much more difficult for him to change habits.

The situation where a cat bite is the result of aggressive behavior is quite different. An animal can also bite severely when stressed or scared. It happens that a cat bites in an act of self-defense – even its own owner. It also happens to bite during play that has got out of hand. Then, according to the animal, it is legitimate behavior. Therefore, when approaching an unfamiliar cat, you should always be careful. Even your own pet can behave unexpectedly. How to behave with a cat bite?

I was bitten by a cat – is something threatening me?

The bite of a wild or foreign cat can be especially dangerous. In general, cat saliva has antibacterial properties, but only for the animal’s body. A domestic cat bite seems completely harmless because you know its condition. However, all this does not mean that you are safe.

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There are various bacteria in cat’s saliva that can cause diseases that are dangerous to humans. The most dangerous is Pasteurella multocidaand its carriers are as many as 90% of domestic cats. Vaccination against rabies and your cat’s good health will not protect you at all. If the bite is shallow and doesn’t leave a long-lasting mark, you’re probably fine. However, when you can see deep wounds and blood after being bitten by a cat – it is already quite a dangerous situation.

Cats have thin and sharp teeth that do not cause extensive open wounds. However, they can cut quite deeply. Cleaning such wounds is very problematic. Superficial disinfection may not be sufficient. Bacteria from your cat’s saliva and the surface of your skin find their way into deep tissue. It is especially dangerous for a cat to bite the wrist or hand – all places where joints, bones and tendons are close to the surface. Infection in these tissues can be very painful and difficult to treat.

Cat bite – what to do?

Be sure to stay calm if you are bitten by a cat. Especially if you are still around the pet – do not panic and do not struggle. The situation in which the cat bit you is probably stressful for him as well. Your sudden reaction intensifies these negative emotions. As a result, the cat will bite harder and the wound may become deeper or more extensive.

When bitten by a domestic or wild cat, it is best to give up, i.e. relax your arm and wait for the cat to release the pressure. Alternatively, you can insert your hand deeper into the cat’s mouth. It may sound illogical, but it is very unpleasant for the cat – it will not be able to strengthen its grip on you with its teeth. The discomfort for the animal is so great that it can move away from you by itself. Only when you feel loose, take your hand out of his jaw and move away to a safe distance from which the animal cannot reach you.

A bite by a domestic cat – the first reaction

What to do after a cat bites in the first place? First of all, wash and disinfect the wound. Even if you can’t see blood, it’s better to do so – just in case. First, wash the area with clean, mild soap and water. Then use regular saline, hydrogen peroxide, or a specialized disinfectant you buy from a pharmacy.

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If your cat’s bite has caused visible bleeding, let the blood flow freely, at least for a short while. In this way, your body gets rid of harmful microbes on its own. Finally, dress the wound with a sterile dressing, and in the following days take care of proper hygiene. All this should be enough for shallow wounds. However, deeper ones may require the use of an antibiotic.

It is worth having antibiotic ointments in every home medicine cabinet. They are available at any pharmacy without a prescription. Use them to lubricate your wound regularly to aid healing and help prevent infection. If swelling develops after a cat bite, specialist help is needed.

Cat bite – swelling

Did your cat bite cause a swelling or a fever? Be sure to see a doctor. This situation may even necessitate surgical treatment. When harmful bacteria enter the bloodstream, the risk of infection is high. If you also have a weakened immune system or suffer from other diseases, it is a very dangerous situation. It can even cause septic shock with fatal consequences.

Rabies after a bite

If you are bitten by an unknown cat, it is best to see a doctor right away. A specialist will look at the cat’s bite and decide if prophylactic rabies injections will be needed. In this disease, quick action is especially important as it is incurable and fatal at the onset of symptoms.

Cat scratch disease

Swelling after a bite by a cat also occurs in the case of infection with the so-called cat scratch disease. This unit develops on a bacterial basis and is most often limited to the symptoms visible on the skin. At the site of a cat bite, you may notice a lump, blister and even more extensive ulceration. The skin lesions should resolve on their own after a maximum of 8 weeks. Usually, however, you do not have to wait that long – the disease disappears after about 10 days.

Cat bite – swelling, fever and more serious symptoms

It is possible that in your case the infection from a cat bite will turn out to be very serious. You may notice a number of symptoms:

  • enlarged lymph nodes;
  • fever;
  • headache, abdominal pain, throat pain;
  • general weakness of the body;
  • increased fatigue;
  • enlarged liver or spleen.

If a simple cat bite causes these symptoms, be sure to inform your doctor. You will likely need antibiotic therapy. Usually, about one week of treatment is sufficient, but each case may be different.

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Cat bite – how to avoid it?

It’s best to just keep your cat from getting bitten. You will then not have to think about the correct response. It is also the only one hundred percent effective way to avoid dangerous diseases and complications. Learn to deal and play with cats safely. Here are some tips for the right thing to do:

  • if you take a cat under your roof, devote a lot of time to it and learn the desired behaviors from an early age. Do not allow biting to be a form of play. It’s best not to use your body parts to play with, just cat toys;
  • closely observe the animal’s body language and behavior. You are more likely to be bitten by a cat if you irritate it further in a stressful or tense situation. Do not approach and harass the pet when you see that it is tense;
  • never go among fighting cats. If you want to stop aggression, do it at a distance – you can separate the animals with a blanket, pillow, broom, cardboard, but not with your own body;
  • don’t make your cat do anything it doesn’t want to do. This causes irritation and, in effect, is bitten by the cat. Never impose yourself on your pet. Even if your or the foreign cat gets petted and wants to leave – let him do it. These animals value their freedom and their own space very much;
  • if you think your cat is behaving more aggressively than it should be – get professional help. Perhaps behavioral therapy and specialist intervention will be necessary here;
  • don’t touch foreign cats. Especially if the cat evidently does not want it, it looks wild or untamed with being petted. If it is someone else’s cat, ask the sitter first if you can touch the pet. Some cats react badly to strangers – especially when they are intrusive and chaotic.

A cat bite is not always dangerous. For a tamed and raised pet, the first catch with his teeth is only a warning sign or is part of the game. However, in the case of clearly aggressive or wild cats, it is best to exercise caution. Never approach a cat that may be sick or whose behavior you cannot predict. A deep cat bite is difficult to clean and can cause very serious complications. Therefore, it is best to avoid situations where the cat might bite you. If you notice any swelling or other disturbing changes – see a doctor right away.