Why Cat Bites Are More Dangerous Than You Might Think

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Your cat's love nips might turn into something not so lovely. According to Mercury News, cat bites can be more serious than many expect.

Due to the bacteria found in cats and humans, feline bites can become easily infected, and in some cases, even deadly. Princy N. Kumar, head of the infectious diseases division at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital shared that close to 50 percent of all cat bites become infected.

"People underestimate the danger," Kumar told Mercury News, "and don't realize they should get a bite looked at right away. They don't realize that being bitten by a cat, they've got a 1-in-2 chance of getting infected."

Professionals recommend that you always come to the hospital if you receive a deep cat bite that punctures the skin. To treat this wound, you will need prophylactic antibiotics, something not available through self-treatment.

Cat bites often prove to be more serious than dog bites. Canines deliver crushing bites that don't penetrate far into the skin; cats, on the other hand, bite with their long, sharp teeth, introducing bacteria deep into the skin. A dangerous bacteria found in over 90 percent of cats, Pasteurella multocida, often leads to infection. This bacteria can mix with the staphylococcus and streptococcus found on human skin and cause serious health issues.

Thirteen percent of animal bite cases seen in emergency rooms are cat bites. These injuries can lead to hospitalization for bone infections, septic shock and surgery to clean out the deep wounds. Because of these serious effects, doctors asks anyone who receives a deep cat bite to go to the hospital, no matter how minor it may initially seem.

To prevent cat bites, there are a few easy steps to follow to keep you and your family safe. Never corner a feline, or try to pick up, kiss or hug a cat that seems frightened. Any friendly kitty can bite or scratch when it's scared, so it is important to recognize the signs of fear in felines. When cats are angry or scared, they will hiss, growl, arch their backs and pull back their ears. Try never to crowd or approach a cat showing these signs, even if it is your own pet. Since cats can become angered by rough handling, it is crucial to monitor interactions between cats and children.


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