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 by the cat bite seals rapidly overtime. This can cause bacteria end up trap 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
A cat bite likely to develop infection has the following signs and symptoms:
- Drainage of pus
If bit 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.
You can use a mild salt solution to clean the wound. The bleeding can be controlled by applying direct pressure onto the wound using a dressing or bandage. Check the wound as soon as possible since a serious infection can develop within 1-2 days.
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 necessary to seal the wound for it to heal while others are open to heal naturally. The doctor might also suggest a tetanus booster and rabies prophylaxis.
Never ignore a cat bite, while it is a common wound, it requires assessment due to 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.