What to do if your cat bites another animal

Cat bites can be quite nasty - the punctures hurt and can spread infection causing bacteria. Smart handling and prompt medical attention can prevent worse emergencies as well as smooth ruffled feather of other pet owners.


Do keep your hands away from biting mouths

Cat bite wounds can lead to serious blood infections. By keeping soft fleshy parts of your body away from biting mouths, you can avoid accidental wounds. Instead, use inanimate objects (a broom or a book - as a barricade, not a weapon) to separate the fighters.

Do remain calm so the fight doesn’t continue or resume

Cats can definitely pick up on our agitation, likewise they will take calming cues from their calm humans. Becoming worked up will only encourage the angry cat to continue the fight while a calm owner can help the cat back down from the fight.

Do seek medical treatment immediately for anyone with broken skin

Because bites can insert nasty bacteria under the skin, even a small puncture can become terribly infected if left untreated. Also, bite wounds tend to have a lot of damage under the skin - medical attention early can prevent lengthy recovery times from old wounds.

Do make sure both animals are current on their rabies vaccines

Regardless of your thoughts about vaccination or over-vaccination, a bite report for an unvaccinated animal is more serious than that for a vaccinated cat.

Do head off a fight if you see something brewing

Usually, cats spend a lot of time posturing before they leap into a fight. They will turn sideways, they will get big and puffy, they will growl and make scary noises. If that is what you see, then put something in between the fighters. Or turn one of the cats the other way. Or pick one up and move away. Cat fights are, fortunately, easy to avert if you can see all of the behavioral cues ahead of time.


Do not balk at medical treatment

The biggest concern with cat bites is that bacteria are pushed underneath the skin. If the skin closes over the top of the puncture, that's the perfect environment for breeding more bacteria. A giant pus pocket can develop. Therefore a surgical drain allows the area to get oxygen and trying out the nasty bacteria while the antibiotics do their thing.

Do not stop antibiotics before completing the course of treatment

As mentioned above, cat bite wounds can be nasty. The last thing anybody wants is a resistant bacteria growing under the skin. Therefore, give the full course of antibiotics so no harmful bacteria are left behind to fester.

Do not forget to wash the area of the bite

If it's a puncture wound, water will rinse away a lot of harmful bacteria. If the wound is deeper or there is a flap of skin, gently clean around the wound then wrap it of possible and seek medical treatment.

Do not hesitate to offer financial help for the other party

Goodwill goes a long way to soothe hurt feelings. Regardless of who started the fight, the best way to end the fight all the way around is make sure the animals are healthy and taken care of.

Do not put your hands in the middle of a catfight

You don’t want to be the one with the wound. The bacteria in a cat’s mouth can cause severe blood infection in humans. You don’t want to be that victim. Instead, either use an inanimate object or walk in between the fighters.

Jumping cartoon

Cats can be quite loving, and they can also be fierce hunters. Their fighting skills are quite remarkable - they move quickly and inflict deep wounds on their opponents. The wounds can contain nasty bacteria. So, stay out of the way or their mouths, seek medical help when needed, and do all you can to avert a fight before it happens.

More expert advice about Cat Health and Wellness

Photo Credits: Valentina R.; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com

Dr. Cathy AlinoviOwner and Holistic Veterinarian

Dr. Cathy Alinovi DVM — author, speaker, and retired integrative veterinarian — knew she wanted to be an animal doctor at nine years old. She began her veterinary education at the Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine and also holds a Master of...

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