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Felinexpress.com Home > Cat Behavior > Cat Bites and Humans

Cat Bites and Humans

If you are working with feral cats or stray cats, be sure your tetanus shot is up-to-date. Work slowly around the cat, avoid eye contact and if you have to handle a strange cat, do so carefully and with protection; long leather gloves, goggles, long-sleeved shirt, socks, shoes (no open- toed shoes) and long pants.

Even when you do take precautions, cat bites can occur. Cats are quick to attack when frightened or angry. They explode when they attack, rushing in quickly and using all their hunting skills on you who are now their prey. 

Once the cat latches on to your skin with claws and teeth, your first impulse is to pull away quickly. This will only cause the cat to clench down firmly (because the prey is trying to escape). You need to push forward whatever the cat has in its mouth; your hand, your leg, your finger. Pushing forward will startle him and he will relax his jaw, then you quickly pull away.

If the bite has broken the skin and is bleeding, don’t mess around with it. Get to the doctor’s immediately. Cats carry a lot of bacteria in their mouth and on their claws. Even a good scrubbing of betadine and soap is not adequate to kill the bacteria.

If for some reason you can’t get to the doctor, here are some things you can do to help stop the spread of bacteria:

  • Make a mixture of hot water (as hot as you can stand it) and Epsom Salt. Stir the water vigorously to dissolve the salts, and then place your injured body part in the hot water for at least 20 minutes.
  • Scrub the wound with hot water, Betadine and anti-bacterial soap. Follow up with Hydrogen Peroxide, pat dry. Put Neosporin on the wound, bandage the area.  Watch it closely, if you are still bleeding twenty minutes later get to the ER!
  • Keep the injured part elevated higher than your heart to help stop the bleeding. Take Tylenol or Advil for the pain- do not take aspirin!
  • Watch the site carefully and return to the doctor immediately if any of these following signs are present:
  • Redness, swelling or heat coming off the wound
  • Pain level increases even after medication
  • Pus starts coming out of the wound
  • A foul odor develops around the wound or the dressing
  • You develop a fever or sudden chills
  • You are nauseated or vomiting
  • Pain stops movement of your joint

Most states require you to report all bites. While you are at the hospital you will be given a form to fill out. This form will go to the health department. You may be asked to surrender the animal for a period of no less than ten days or place it in quarantine within your home; if the attack was unusually vicious and the bite deep, animal control may be called. They will come to your home and pick up your cat.

Never try and corral or pick up an angry cat. If you can get it into a room by itself and then just shut the door on it for a few hours that is the wisest move. If you are afraid to approach the cat hours after you have been bitten, get help from a friend or neighbor to put the cat into a cat carrier, cage or whatever you have available.

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