A cat bite is easily underestimated. Anyone who has been bitten by a cat shouldn't just tick off the incident. Experts estimate that every second cat bite leads to problems worth treating. Basically, you should always get animal bites treated. This applies even more to children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.
Bacteria can cause infections after a cat bite
Cats have relatively long, pointed teeth that can penetrate deep into the tissue. Bacteria that adhere to the cat's teeth or saliva can get under the skin and lead to an infection. Hands or forearms are often affected when cats bite. In the worst case, the bite - even if it is barely visible - can lead to life-threatening blood poisoning (sepsis) or other diseases, usually when an infection spreads to the joints or tendon sheaths.
The risk of infection in a cat bite is also so high because the bite wound is rather subtle and - unlike the wound after a dog bite - is closed more quickly and cannot be washed out properly. This means that the bacteria can reproduce undisturbed under the skin. A cat bite is therefore usually more dangerous than the often worse looking dog bite.
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Bitten by cat: what to do?
If you have been bitten by a cat, disinfect the wound as soon as possible. If you do not have a disinfectant on hand, wash the bite site thoroughly with water. If you have been bitten in the area of joints or tendons, a visit to the doctor is always advisable. The dangerous bacteria in the cat's mouth often cause the wound to swell. Redness is also characteristic of an infection and is still present after hours. The doctor will clean the wound and may prescribe antibiotics for you.