When you own a cat or do in-home cat care in San Francisco or near your area, it’s inevitable that you will get bitten or scratched at some point. Cats are playful and occasionally aggressive by nature, so it’s normal that they will deliver superficial or deep bites and scratches whenever they feel overwhelmed or threatened.
Cat bites and scratches, however, are something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If not appropriately cared for and depending on how deep the scratch or bite is, the wound may hurt, bleed, swell or redden, and introduce serious infections and complications. To prevent any of these from happening, it’s important to provide basic cat bite or scratch treatment immediately.
- Clean the bite or scratch right away. Wash the wound and the surrounding area thoroughly with soap and running water. For a bleeding and deep scratch or bite, apply pressure with a clean bandage or towel.
- Keep the wound dry. For deep wounds, it’s best to use a sterile dressing to cover them. This is to prevent germs from entering the site.
- For superficial bites from household pets, make sure to observe for signs of infection. Although the chances of getting an infection are low if the bite or scratch was caused by a cat that’s properly immunized and is in good health, it’s still necessary to look for signs of infection. Call your health care provider right away if you notice some bleeding and swelling, or if you develop a fever in the next two days.
- Apply an antibiotic ointment to the site. For mild scratches, you can use an antibiotic ointment containing neomycin to the area.
- Seek medical attention. If the scratch is accompanied by a bite especially if you’ve been attacked by an aggressive stray cat, it’s advisable to go to the nearest medical facility. They may prescribe oral antibiotics treatment; a tetanus booster if your shot is not current; or a rabies vaccination. This is especially crucial if the wound is on the face.
Although cat bites and scratches are fairly common, this doesn’t mean that they should be taken lightly. Even minor ones have the potential to cause fatal complications, such as rabies exposure. Thus, it’s important to stay vigilant when dealing with our beloved furry friends. And like all things, prevention is always better than cure. As much as possible, avoid picking up wild, stray animals and playing roughly with your cat or kitten. It’s also good to get ideas for cat play rooms that will help discourage biting.