A cat bite can penetrate and puncture the skin, leaving a small but deep wound. This wound is particularly dangerous as a cat’s mouth carries many bacteria and the puncture wound caused by the cat bite seals rapidly overtime which can cause bacteria to be trapped underneath the skin where they can rapidly multiply.
Because a cat’s bite can trap bacteria underneath the skin which can let bacteria multiply freely, it can lead to conditions such as cellulitis where an infection spread across surrounding tissues or septicemia which spreads infection through the blood to different parts of the body.
Signs of an infected cat bite
An infected cat bite can be identified by following signs and symptoms:
- Drainage of pus
Management of a cat bite
If you’ve been bitten by a cat, immediately clean the wound by rising it with running water. Avoid scrubbing the wound vigorously or the use of strong disinfectants or chemicals as this may damage the wound even further and delay healing.
A mild salt solution can be used to clean the wound. The bleeding can be controlled by applying direct pressure onto the wound using a dressing or bandage. You should have the wound checked as soon as possible if the wound is left untreated, a serious infection can develop within a day or two.
Your doctor will most likely prescribe an antibiotic to reduce the risk of infection from developing at the site of the bite or anywhere else in your body. Depending the severity of the wound, stitches may be needed to seal the wound for it to heal while others can be left open to heal naturally. A tetanus booster and rabies prophylaxis may also be recommended.
Never ignore a cat bite, while it is a common wound it still needs to be checked out because of the risk of infection. Always clean the wound properly and have it examined by your doctor.
The details posted on this page on a cat bite is for learning purposes only. To learn how it is managed, enroll in a first aid course with one of our training providers.