cat bite

lily316November 27, 2012

I remember Phylis's ordeal with a cat bite. Although I have never been bitten , my daughter was yesterday. She has two older male house cats. about 10-12 years old. One tries to escape when he can, never goes further than the yard . Yesterday morning when she went for the paper, he ran out. She was alone and ran out with wet hair and grabbed him. He turned and snarled and she dropped him, then flattened him with her hand . When she picked him up he really bit her on her right hand. Her husband took her to Patient First where she was treated and given antibiotics. Today it's still swollen, and I think she should go back to the doctor. I know others here have been bitten. It's the worse kind of animal bite, but I don't know why. Any advice from those who had first hand experience.

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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

yes it is extremely dangerous. Cats carry some of the most deadly germs in their mouth. My husband was bitten in the meaty part of the hand between the thumb and first finger there are a lot of nerve bundles there. We thought for a while he was going to lose his hand. He was going to a lot of specialist. He was diagnosed with cat scratch fever on top of all the infection.

NOT something to play around with for sure. She needs to get follow up care and take really good care of the wound.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 2:43PM
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Puncture wounds are especially difficult to care for, cat or not (fangs or nails sticking out of things). Not to mention, humans and other animals also have microbes in their mouths. All bites are dangerous, regardless of the source since it is the salvia that carries the bacteria.

She should watch it close and keep it clean, with the dressing changed at least once a day and when it gets wet or dirty.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 3:23PM
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Yes, it is serious....I had more medical people tell me how bad a cat bite could be because of their pointed teeth that do a real puncture, and they are loaded with bacteria. One of the nurses told me about a woman who had been bitten in the area between thumb and index finger. She eventually had to have the thumb amputated!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 3:32PM
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I've had a very bad bite from a cat and one from a possum. Both times my hand swelled up like a catcher's mitt. I think listeria is the bad bacteria that often causes the problem. Going to the doctor and taking antibiotic and being sure you have had a tetanus shot is about all you can do, I think. The cat bit me right in the joint of my little finger on my right hand...joints are bad places to be bitten. The possum
bit me on the back of my hand and exposed a tendon, and may have even damaged it, but now, some years later, I can't tell any damage from it. For awhile, my middle finger slightly listed to the left. I did go to the doctor for both of the bites, but only once. They eventually did heal okay.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 3:39PM
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Joining in to say I have also been bitten by a cat and to this day I can predict the weather with the aching of the muscles in my right hand near the wound site.

I was given several high powered injections of antibiaotics in my back side over the course of a week in addition to oral meds. Had it not been 2 days before Christmas, the doctor wanted me in the hospital. I begged and pleaded to not be admitted.

What gave me the most relief was soaking my hand in very warm water and Epson salt. Then either ice or heat pack which ever felt best at the time.

Long after the wounds had healed and the meds were long over, my hand would still throb to beat the band. I ended going to the drugstore and purchasing a wrist support band similiar to what you'd use for carpel tunnel. It was amazing the relief I got when wearing that brace. I still wear it occasionally when the throbbing returns, usually due to a weather change.

I wish her quick healing.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 3:48PM
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Wow! I guess I was lucky. I got bit this summer by a neighborhood cat just back from where the thumb and index finger join. It was super sore for a long time and I soaked it in epsome(?) salts, After the soreness left a sore lump remained for a very long time... it is a smaller lump now, a hard small pimple size but still there. As I said, guess I was Very Lucky... and the cat is not to be trusted around me anymore. Best of luck with your bite.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 3:50PM
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Wow , these are scary stories. I just talked to her and she's going back to the doctor today. I don't think there's a red line but I guess it's still swollen and throbbing. I count myself lucky not to have ever been bitten by all the cats I've had. Some may have taken my hand in their mouth while were were playing but none ever broke the skin. However, I really am dreading using Frontline on Henry because he gets really snarly and mean. We wrap him in a towel , but still there is risk. I'm worried about daughter. She can't even drive because she can't shift gears in her Mini.

Thanks for your replies.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 4:12PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Yikes! I've never been bitten by any of my cats, either...but I have had a wicked case of cat scratch fever. I hope that your daughter takes this very seriously and recovers soon.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 4:50PM
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I broke up a cat fight in high school and was bitten pretty badly. I had oral antibiotics but either I waited too long or they weren't strong enough so I ended up in urgent care with a hugely swollen hand.

I had to keep an IV in my arm for a week and go to urgent care every day for a 2-hour dose of IV antibiotics. I couldn't bend my arm with the stupid IV in there 24/7. Not fun!

Definitely better to take care of it as early as possible as it only gets worse.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 5:19PM
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The cat that bit me was one that a friend asked me to take. It had been attacked by a dog, and brought to the clinic where she worked. The owner of the dog paid for the vet bills but no one claimed the cat and no one wanted her. My friend said she would have her spayed and vaccinated if I would take her. She brought her over. I was going to keep her in my bathroom for a few days. She was in a crate and I reached in to pet her, and yeow!! She bit me hard!

The possums was one I was given to release. I let him out of the crate and as he took off, he was dragging both hand legs. I reached down to grab him by the tail, so he wouldn't get away, and he turned around and nailed me hard.

I handle wild possums every day and often they will show their teeth, but they won't bite. But, this one was injured (which no one had told me about) that is why he bit me. I have been bitten several times since then, (actually, several times a year) and I don't even get sore, much less infected. I don't know if I am immune to the bacteria now or what...but it just bleeds a little, I wipe it off and go one. I think too because I handle a lot of dirty animals, I am less likely to get sick from it than most people. One of the reasons I won't let anyone else handle the animals here, when people want to come over and help.

I hope your daughter is better soon. I'm glad she went back to the doctor.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 5:26PM
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One of my friends was hours from loosing her hand to a cat bite recently. She was also started on the rabies vaccine since the cat had not been vaccinated and had ran off, so they couldn't test it.

Surgery and some hospital time - so don't fool around with a cat bite!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 6:04PM
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She went back to Patient First and got additional antibiotics. Different kind. I forgot what she said. She was going to bed when I talked to her at 8PM. She works in the city, and I told her if she goes to work and sees a red line on her arm, hightail it to the ER which is right down the block and get an IV for the antibiotics.

She's also worried because the department of health called to ask about the cat. He probably isn't up to date on rabies shots, so she's worried about that. Her cats are strictly indoor ones, never ever outside. This one runs out occasionally, really very rarely, and stops dead about three feet away and eats grass. He has never been out more than one minute, till they grab him. Her husband filled out the form and listed the vet. She's worried they might take the cat away and put him in quarantine even though there's a better chance of winning the lottery tomorrow than the cat has rabies.

From the picture she put on FB, the marks look like they are all on the back of her hand. Thanks heavens this didn't happen last week when she ran the Phila marathon because she absolutely couldn't have done it and trained so hard for it. .

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 1:54AM
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Lily, just checking in this morning to see if there are any updates about your daughter.

I hope she's not having any complications and that she heals quickly and completely.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 8:43AM
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When my cat bit me, someone from animal control came and they just looked at the cat to make sure it looked healthy and wasn't displaying threatening behavior. I think they check for the rabies vaccination too but I doubt it will be a big deal if he's a little late on his booster, since he has a proven record at the vet and if they have the little rabies tag. I don't vaccinate my cats every year since they are indoor only and I'm not thoroughly convinced it's good for them.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 10:43AM
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It's not necessary to vaccinate every year. They're good for three years. It's just common for a law to require it every year. Sounds like a scam to me, but there you have it.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 10:47AM
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I don't vaccinate my cats every year either and they are mostly outside cats. I am more worried about me taking rabies shots than I am of getting rabies. I don't worry about getting rabies. The chance of that cat having rabies is zero. (Same as my chances of winning the lottery). :))

The doctor asked me if the cat that bit me had been vaccinated for rabies...and I said yes. And she had...the day before. She was a feral cat, had been traumatized, didn't know me, was fault.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 11:10AM
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One December I suffered 2 injuries- a cat bite and a cut from a knife. I was trying to pick up a stray kitten that had wandered into my yard but he reared back and bit me, hard. I needed a tetanus shot. A few days later I was unloading my dishwasher and severed a tendon in my thumb on a knife, requiring microsurgery. At least I din't need another tetanus shot.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 11:52AM
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Daughter went to work and her hand is about the same, no better no worse. No fever or redness, still swollen and sore. Dept of health has called SIL's cell phone a few times. I told him to call after hours and leave a detailed message about how healthy and happy their two indoor cats are, this was a freak accident and he will report back in 10 days. This was one of the things the Dept wanted....a callback in 10 days to see if the cat was still alive. Weird.

A friend said she accidentally rocked over her cat's tail and when she picked her up, she was bitten. Friend gave a fake name for the cat and false description because hers is indoors too and not up to date on rabies shots. If animal control showed up, she was going to say the cat ran away. She told me if a cat bites a person the second time, it is euthanized.Stupid PA law since farmers aren't required to give Rabies shots to their barn cats who are never indoors and always exposed to wild animals.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 2:03PM
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I'd lie too and I'd be damned if I would let them talk me into taking rabies shots.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 2:57PM
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Talked to daughter and her hand is not as swollen, doesn't hurt very much but she has a lump on her arm which is NOT red or sore. Thinks it may be fluid draining. She feels almost back to normal, still taking two antibiotics, but it doesn't sound like an IV will be needed, hopefully. Nasty business , cat bites. I have heard many horror stories since this happened, and I have spent all my adult life with multiple cats. I will be very careful from now on and so will she. She said she won't even pick them up in the house anymore. .

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 12:29PM
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When I worked in the ER, cat bite patients came in daily for IV antibiotics. It depends on the severity of the bite. About 20 years ago, I was bitten by a wild kitten that snuck into our house. I picked it up and it bit me. We were leaving in two days for a camping trip. I phoned my doctor and they had me come in for antibiotics and told me to soak my finger in warm water every day. It healed OK and when we came home we trapped the kitten and took it to a shelter for observation.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 1:35PM
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I think why this was such a terrible event was my daughter told me when she initially had him and he jumped down, she grabbed his scruff and was rough in handling him because she was barely dressed, wet hair, 28 degrees, and wanted to make sure he didn't escape. He clamped down on her hand and she ran thru their garage with him holding on and threw him in the house. So for a few seconds, he was biting. She said the pain was way worse than childbirth. Her poor son was traumatized...thought she was stabbed or something unheard of since she couldn't even talk. Could've been way worse for her. As for the cat, he went off in the corner and licked himself and ate.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 1:51PM
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I'm sorry it happened, Lily but I am glad she has some understanding for the cat. I hope she never gets bitten again.I'm glad she is getting better. It just takes some time.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 4:43PM
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