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What To Do if You are Bitten by a Cat

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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What should you do if you are bitten by a cat? Cat bites are reported less often than dog bites however the number of cat bites that occur each year is believed to be high.

Dog bite numbers are recorded as follows. According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 800,000 are bitten by dogs every year. Other health authorities report that dogs bite 1 million people every year and that only half of the bites that occur are reported. Bite wound account for approximately 1% of human emergency room visits.

Cat bites can be deceptive as they can look small on the outside but are deep and have a high risk and rate of infection.

Here is a list of steps on what to do if a cat ever bites you or your children:

1.Immediately wash the cat bite wound with soap and warm water. Let the water run freely over the wound. Cover the wound with a clean cloth or towel while you get help.

2.Contact your physician or local emergency room. Cat bites commonly get infected and the safest thing to do is to visit your physician or local emergency room and let them determine the best treatment.

3.If the bite appears to be serious – call the ambulance, 911 or go to the emergency room immediately.

4.Report the Bite. Call you local animal control agency. If you are not sure of the agency you need to report the bite – call your humane society and they should be able to advise you on whom to call. Tell the agency everything you know about the cat. Include the owner information if possible, address of the cat or location or if he is a stray – indicate the size, color of the cat, where you saw him and direction as to where he went after the bite.

5.Any animal that has bitten a person or that is under the suspicion of being exposed to rabies is often required by law to be quarantined for a period of time. The amount of time, as well as the quarantine site, depends on the bite, the pet's vaccine status and local laws. Pets unvaccinated for rabies may have to be euthanized and tested for rabies.

Here are some additional articles that might be helpful to you:

Aggression in Cats
What dogs are most likely to bite?
What can you do to Prevent Bites?
Animal Bites, Rabies and Quarantine in Cats

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