Join Club

Scratching Post: Cat Bites

The Scratching Post banner

Editor’s Note: The Scratching Post is a column that’s sponsored and written by the staff at NOVA Cat Clinic.

Many people think that because cats are so small compared to humans that they can’t do us any real harm. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Cats have so many weapons for their size — they come equipped with 18 claws and 30 teeth. Today, we are going to focus on cat bites and how they can impact us.

Any bite from a carnivore, like housecats, can be dangerous. Due to their diets, a lot of bacteria is present in their mouths which can lead to a widespread infection quickly in a person if their skin is punctured.

A cat’s teeth are shaped to kill and rip flesh from bones. As a result, when they bite and release the punctures they produce can close up and seal bacteria within the prey’s body. It’s almost as if they can inject bacteria, leading to infections which require medical treatment.

I’ve seen many people who’ve been bitten by cats think it’s no big deal. Then a couple of days later, the hand swells, throbs with pain and one may even be admitted to a hospital.

Years before I was in the veterinary field, I was bitten on the hand by a friend’s cat. I didn’t think too much of it, just washed it and went about my business. Two days later my hand swelled up like a balloon and I was admitted to the hospital for 3 days of IV antibiotic therapy. I also needed a surgical consult because of the location of the bite. Luckily there was no need for surgery, but this can often be a concern because cats tend to bite hands and wrists.

There are so many tendons, ligaments and important structures in the hand that it is not uncommon for a cat bite to need to be surgically debrided. Here at NOVA Cat Clinic, we always recommend that anyone who’s been bitten by a cat receive immediate medical attention and antibiotics.

In addition to the risk of infection and the need for antibiotics, anytime someone is bitten by a cat we must investigate the cat’s rabies status. If kitty is up to date on their rabies vaccine then medical attention is all that’s needed.  If the kitty is not up to date, then by law the clinic must contact Animal Control.

Rabies is prevalent in Virginia, D.C. and Maryland. Animal Control must be made aware of any potential transmission form any mammal bites. In Arlington County, the typical protocol for an owned cat that has bitten someone is to follow a 10-day quarantine period. This involves keeping the kitty at home and indoors for a full 10 days for observation of any unusual symptoms.

Depending on the situation, a rabies booster may be given either before or after the quarantine process. If neither the kitty nor the person that was bitten show any symptoms after 10 days, the quarantine is considered complete and the risk of rabies transmission negligible. If there are any unusual symptoms, the kitty may need to be confiscated and the person may need intense medical intervention.

The moral of the story? Anything with teeth CAN bite. If it’s a cat, take precautions and be aware of the potential risks involved.  If a cat bite occurs, please seek immediate medical attention.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Recent Stories

Good Thursday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 21133 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…

This past week saw 22 homes sold in Arlington. The least expensive condo, single-family home or townhouse sale over the past seven days was $275,000 while the most expensive was…

Many parents of children at Key Elementary School are outraged at the way a possible threat of gun violence by a student was handled by administrators.

We could tell you how great CarCare To Go is. We could tell you about how they are transforming the way people care for their cars with free valet pick-up…

The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.

The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.

Former participants have this to say:

_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Learn about the new assessment of Arlington’s urban tree canopy and the many ecological and social benefits trees provide. Staff from the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) will share study results and compare canopy cover for different areas of Arlington.The webinar will include assessments of ecosystem services such as stormwater mitigation, air quality, carbon uptake, and urban heat islands. For background on Arlington trees see the “Tree Benefits: Growing Arlington’s Urban Forest” presentation at http://www.gicinc.org/PDFs/Presentation_TreeBenefits_Arlington.pdf.

Please register in advance to assure your place at the webinar, https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/29543206508863839.

About the Arlington County Civic Federation: The Arlington County Civic Federation (“ACCF”) is a not-for-profit corporation which provides a forum for civic groups to discuss, debate, inform, advocate and provide oversight on important community issues, on a non-partisan basis. Its members include over ninety civic groups representing a broad cross-section of the community. Communications, resolutions and feedback are regularly provided to the Arlington County Government.

The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 21,2023 at 7 pm. This meeting is open to the public and will be hybrid, in-person and virtually through Zoom. Part of the agenda will be a discussion and vote on a resolution “To Restore Public Confidence in Arlington County’s Governance”. For more information on ACCF and this meeting, go to https://www.civfed.org/.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Valentine Pop-Up at George Mason University

Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village

Standup Comedy Showcase Starring Matt Ruby (Comedy Central)

Dead Horse Comedy Productions brings together top comedians from the DMV and beyond for a live standup comedy show!

Matt Ruby, Headliner

Matt Ruby is a comedian, writer, and filmmaker from New York City. His comedy has been filmed by

×

Subscribe to our mailing list