Are cat bites really as dangerous to humans as someone just told me ?

Stupid question coming from someone who has had cats her whole life and has 5 now but I have never been bitten hard enough to break the skin. I was buying a grooming kit because my groomer moved away and I have to learn to do it myself now. But Allie gets really grouchy if you pull her hair when you are combing her and she will bite. I had to pay extra at my groomer because Allie is "difficult". So I mentioned that to the woman at Petsmart and she said that if she breaks the skin and causes me to bleed that I need to get medical care immediately because of the toxins in her saliva my whole arm could sieze up from a bite on my hand. She said that this is why it is much harder for groomers to get certified to groom cats and they don't currently have one at this location. That seems ridiculous to me. She's MY CAT. She has all her shots and lives indoors. I don't see how her bite would be anything more than just painful.

Asked by Allie on Feb 14th 2009 in Grooming
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Best Answer

Izadore (Izzie)

Using common sense is vital when bitten by anything--cat, dog, human, etc. Your kitties are indoor, constantly vetted and watched for any odd behavior that could indicate illness. When we would get bitten or scratched by a stray, we went straight to the urgent care, but in the case of a pet indoor cat, the doctor recommended thoroughly cleaning the wound and then watching it for swelling, itching, etc. He said if we began to feel "odd" to go straight to the emergency room. A veteran foster would make himself bleed when bitten to wash out the wound. A wound should be lightly bandaged and not stitched because that prevents the wound from cleansing itself. Any wound that breaks the skin should be watched for anything "odd" looking. Like I said, it's just common sense and I know you have lots of that!

Izadore (Izzie) answered on Feb 14th.

Other Answers


Mr. Fez (Angel Dreamboat #25)

Yes, cat bites are very dangerous and virtually guaranteed to cause a bad infection if not treated right away. Human bite wounds are the worst. Cat bites are very dangerous though. The mouth just teems with bacteria. It's great that she is an indoor kitty and has all her shots... but being up to date on shots will not prevent someone from getting a bad infection if she did bite them. However, rabies vaccines are required by law and you would have to produce proof of rabies vaccination if she did bite someone.

Mr. Fez (Angel Dreamboat #25) answered on 2/14/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Actually, there’s some pretty nasty bacteria in cats' mouths, that has nothing to do with anything they are vaccinated for. A guy I know had to have his pinkie & a good section of his hand removed from infection due to a cat bite.

Still, if you clean & disinfect the wound, then keep it covered to keep future germs out, there shouldn't be a problem. The problem is, puncture wounds are harder to properly disinfect than open wounds. I keep syringes without needles around for just such an occasion. When I have a puncture wound, whether from my cat or other source, I immediately fill a syringe with Hydrogen Peroxide & squirt it directly in the hole (wound), watch for the bubble effect showing I didn't miss my mark, then pour some over whole area to be safe.

However, nail punctures from your cat, especially if he eats raw meat, are even more dangerous than bites, because of the poo cats get on their claws when burying it.

Member 796903 answered on 2/14/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


All of the other posters have good advice--I don't have much to add. But I have also heard that cat bites should receive professional medical attention, especially if they are on the hands, arm, or face, first because of the bacteria in cat mouths, and second because they are puncture wounds. In all the years I've had cats, I've only been bitten a few times, when the cat was really stressed out by something. The only times I went to the hospital for cat bites were when Spike's totally feral brother savaged my arm (he had to go back to the vet's cat sanctuary, alas), and once when Spike, who was sleeping next to me, got spooked and bit me right next to my eye! I went to the ER, and believe me, the doctors were EXTREMELY concerned, even though the bite was very small and only next to the eye, and not in it. I'd say you have a choice--be extra vigilant and go to the doctor when you get bitten, or do your own sterilization and watch to see what happens. But yes--cat bites are nasty.

Spike answered on 2/14/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

Fat Girl

Yes, cat bites are extremly dangerous. they have a bacteria in their mouths that dogs don't have. When they bite and the skin bleeds the bacteris goes into the blood stream and is spread threw out the body, it is best that if you bleed from a cat bite you best go to your doctor and get a good antibiotic. I am a groomer and was bit by a kitten, in 3 days I had a infection even though I washed it very good, I than had it lanced and took antibiotics. , it did clear up. I have heard stories of groomers being bitten and ended up in hospital for a week on intravenious antibiotics. I would not delay in seeing your doctor if you are bleeding from a cat bite. That is why alot of groomers won't even do cats anymore. It does not matter if they don't go out or their up to date on shots the bacteria is always there. please be careful.

Fat Girl answered on 2/14/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


****IMPORTANT***NEVER watch a cat bite. If you get bitten by a cat you should scrub the area (it should hurt you are scrubbing so hard) with soap and water. You must the go to a doctor for antibiotics. This is true in 100% of the cases. Not only is the bite wound bound to get infected but if you wait to long you could actually lose your hand/arm etc. No joke. It could be as little as 2 days before the wound is so bad that you could need an amputation. Never use neosporin as this traps the bacteria inside the wound and so not use hydrogen peroxide as this can inhibit regrowth of skin. Now, a dog bite, unless severe, rarely needs antibiotics. All animal bites are required to be reported and if you go to the hospital they will file the report. If an animal has an unknown rabies history (no known date of vaccination) and you do not personally know the animal then rabies vaccination may be necessary for you. Bites have happened lots times to me (including having to receive rabies vax).

Hunter answered on 2/15/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Everyone else has already covered it, but I wanted to stress that it's not just cat bites. Any bites from any creature whatsoever that break skin merit a visit to a doctor or an ER if your physician is not available at the moment.

When mom was working daycare, the daycare would require reporting of any bites that broke skin and sent the injured party to the doc right away. My mom thought it was amusing at first, but one of the other workers told her that she ended up with a nasty rash going up her arm even before she was seen at the E.R., and she had gone there immediately after! Mom wasn't laughing any more.

Mouths are places for all sorts of nasty bacteria, be they canine, feline, or human. It doesn't matter how many vaccinations said creature has had (although with human toddlers, chances are they don't have all their vaccinations in =P), it's the whole mingling of "foreign" bacteria and your immune system that you have to contend with.

Gracie answered on 2/16/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer