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Tip to Protect Yourself from Cat Bites and Scratches

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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It sounds hard to believe, but pet injuries (especially dog bites) comprise the second most common childhood injury requiring emergency-room care. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 60 percent of the 4.7 million people bitten each year are children.

Cats can scratch and or bite, both of which can be dangerous. Generally cat bites will look less traumatic but are equally or more dangerous than dog bites!

Here Are a Few Tips on How to Avoid Cat Bites and Scratches

  • Never approach a strange cat, especially one that is cornered, injured or feels threatened.

  • Allow the cat to "sniff" you and rub against you before you start petting it.

  • Don't disturb a cat while it's sleeping.

  • If you are tying to capture an injured or stray cat – be very careful. Use a cage or create. If you are directly handling a feral or injured cat – wear thick leather gloves or a thick towel or blanket to cover the cat.

  • Learn to read the behavior of cats. Cats will often show you signs of agitation before they become aggressive. For example, if you are petting a cat and the tail starts to swish quickly or he starts to "twitch" his skin – he may be tired of the petting session and want to be left alone. This is a good time to quit petting your cat and leave him alone.

    For more information on cat bites and scratches, please read The Danger of Pet Bites Or Cat Scratch Disease.

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