cat bites

How to care for cat bites

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Cat bites usually happens when cat owners are bitten by their pets usually during playing especially when the cat is agitated and aggressive. Generally, even when the cat is immunized, the wound should be checked for infection. In addition, cats have long fangs and their bites are deep and susceptible to infections.

Unvaccinated cats infected with diseases can transmit it through bites. Generally, the saliva of cats has plenty of bacteria which can enter the wound and result to infections.

Risk factors of a cat bite includes rabies and tetanus caused by bacteria in dirt and animal feces. The most common organism found in infected bites includes Pasteurella multocida, streptococcus pyogenes, staphylococcus aureus, Bacteriodes and Moraxella. In addition, these bacteria can cause infections such as cellulitis and necrotizing fasciitis or spreading of infection in the soft tissues such as the muscles.

Causes of cat bites

Cat bites left untreated can lead to gangrene or infection of the bone when it becomes severe and spread to other areas of the body.
  • The cat is feeling agitated and frighthened and humans or objects are the nearest they can bump into.
  • Carried away while playing.
  • The cat feels that they are being treated too roughly and they scratch or bite.
  • Sick and not feeling too well.
  • Lastly, simply feels likes biting


  • At first, pain and bruising develops within 24-48 hours
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Development of pus and foul odor
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Lastly, pus draining from the wound

Cat bites left untreated can lead to gangrene or infection of the bone when it becomes severe and spread to other areas of the body.


  • Stay safe and secure the cat and the affected person. Generally, move one away from the other. Cats can still bite or scratch if they are frightened or their kittens are threatened.
  • Clean the wound immediately under cold, running water to wash away saliva, dirt and bacteria for at least several minutes.
  • Gently squeeze the affected area to drain the blood with dirt and bacteria inside the wound.
  • If the wound happens in the hand or arm, elevate the area above the level of the heart to prevent accumulation of fluid.
  • Disinfect the wound using rubbing alcohol, iodine scrub and hydrogen peroxide. Using sterile cotton, dip it on any disinfectant and wipe it over the bitten area to prevent bacteria and other pathogen from growing.
  • After disinfecting the wound, apply over-the-counter antibiotic cream over the affected area. Use the prescribed triple antibiotic cream.
  • Cat bites are usually small and can be covered using an over-the-counter adhesive band aid.
  • Take the prescribed antibiotics such doxycycline, cefalexin and metronidazole.
  • Cat bites can transmit rabies to human. Generally, take anti-rabies vaccination if not given the vaccination in the past 5 years. Get a shot in the first 72 hours after the injury.

Disclaimer / More Information

The material posted on this page on cat bites is for learning purposes only. Learn to properly manage wounds by cat bites by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.


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