Just rinse them off, maybe get a kiss and all is well.
Unfortunately, cat bites lead to hospitalization in one third to one-half of all reported cat bite cases.
The February issue of The Journal of Hand Surgery featured a three-year long study… "Research showed that out of the 193 patients, 57 of them were hospitalized for an average of around three days. Cat bite victims who had to undergo surgery came in at 38 patients, and eight victims needed more than one surgery.”* The remainder of cat bite victims that visited the emergency room were sent home with oral antibiotics.
When comparing dog bites to cat bites, cats win due to their sharper teeth, which enables them to puncture the skin deeper, implanting the dangerous bacteria they carry in their mouth. “An aggressive bacteria known as Pasteurella multocida is the main cause of infection from a cat bite. This bacteria is found in the mouth of around 90 percent of cats in good health.”*
Even healthy kitties that go to the vet every three to six months can still cause a dangerous response in human flesh after their teeth puncture the human skin.
All cat bites hurt, and most get red. It is when the swelling and redness continue to increase you should be concerned a serious problem is occurring. Please do not wait to go to the doctor if you are bitten! Time is not on your side.
My personal story…
I was hesitant to share this with you, my clients. Yes, groomers are bitten by the animals they
groom. Accidents do happen. Kitty’s Purrfect Spa, LLC carries insurance to cover groomers and
grooming assistants if a Kitty does bite or scratch. You, as a cat owner, should never worry
about allowing Kitty’s Purrfect Spa into your home to groom your beloved Kitty. We are
completely insured, if we were to get bitten by the cat we are grooming, as long as the
environment we are in is calm and peaceful, the homeowner has no responsibility.
I grew up with a cat. I was told not to dress Kitty up, put nail polish on her toes, and other despicable things like eye shadow on her face, etc. Did I listen? NO! You cannot tell a girly girl not to turn a cat into a baby! Well you can, but you will not get very far. My childhood cat was more of a doll and teddy bear than a cat; the number of times she bit me was countless.
If you tried to take the number of cat bites I have received over my lifetime from my personal kitties, I would not know where to start. Now, add that I chose to become a feline exclusive groomer.
I was excited when I got my first real cat bite from a client! It was a badge of honor. Then I was pretty much over getting bit and scratched. The more Kitties, Kitty’s Purrfect Spa has groomed, the more confidence I have built and the less number of injuries I received. At the one-year anniversary of Kitty’s Purrfect Spa, I felt like the majority of my serious bites were behind me. I have my methods down and my immune system was built up. There is a thought in the feline grooming community that groomers build up an immunity to cat bites. I was personally buying into that theory.
About November, I went on an almost injury free spree until May. In May, I got a few good chomps right to my scalp. While uncomfortable, nothing serious came of it. I got right back up and to my regular schedule.
Then a few weeks later, I was grooming a sweet sweet girl. I was almost finished, when I dropped the comb between her front legs. I took my eyes off her for a split second (I know better), before I knew what happened, CHOMP, I felt her teeth digging into my finger.
As soon as I left the client’s home, I called my doctor. The receptionist stated I just finished antibiotics, I would be fine. I instinctively knew this was a different kind of bite. A few hours later, I went in to see the doctor and was put on oral antibiotics. I took the first one within four hours of the bite. 36 hours after the bite, at 2AM on Friday the 13th, I found myself in the hospital. I was dangerously close to losing my finger. By 9 AM, I was in surgery. My finger needed to have the infection cleaned out. In less than 48 hours the sheath around the tendon in my middle finger and probably the tendon were infected by this one simple bite. I spent four days in the hospital. Then three weeks with my hand wrapped in a splint.
Please know, cat bites are dangerous. They can change your life forever. They can make you lose limbs. They can even be fatal. PLEASE, if you are ever bitten by a cat, go to the doctor to be checked out.
I know some of you fear animal control coming and taking your kitty away. In most areas, if it is your cat that bites you, the worst that will happen is your cat is quarantined in your home for 10 days. If it is someone else’s cat, the consequence depends on the circumstance. Do not put your fear for what may happen to kitty over your life. Do not wait to go to the doctor if you have a cat bite.
I cannot stress enough; I had JUST finished a course of antibiotics, JUST started a new course of antibiotics and STILL ended up in the emergency room being prepared for emergency surgery. Never underestimate the severity of a cat bite. It can kill you.
Published August 2014, Kitty's Purrfect Spa Newsletter