Preventing Cat Bites Is Easier Than You Think
It’s not unusual to feel that some cat bites are completely unwarranted, as if the offending feline just got a burr up the rear end. But most of the time, felines give various warnings that a reaction (like a bite or scratch) is imminent. If we pay closer attention to the warning signs, we might be able to prevent many cat bites.
While dog bites get a great deal of attention, very little is often said about the prevention of cat bites. Commonly dangerous for people, cat bites also signify that the language of felines is not well understood, or appreciated. For these reasons and more, the Pet Experts are to help!
Not unlike sharp needles, your cat’s canine teeth have the ability to puncture skin. The puncture wound can heal rather quickly, trapping oral bacteria inside the skin. Ignoring cat bites can lead to serious body-wide infections, with fever and flu-like symptoms taking over. Young children, the elderly, or infirm are at higher risks of suffering from these effects.
It’s important to seek medical treatment after a cat bite. Antibiotics are usually necessary, and even a rabies prophylaxis may be ordered if you don’t know the biting cat’s vaccination history.
It’s hard to resist playing with a kitten, but using your hands or feet as play objects is a dangerous lesson to your developing feline. Play aggression commonly includes some biting, and if you use actual toys instead of your own appendages, you can expect less cat bites.
To mitigate some of this play aggression, you can provide a variety of toys in steady rotation and spend a few times a day playing with your cat for 10-20 minutes each time. If play ever crosses a line, redirect or stop playing altogether.
Some cats tolerate a good belly rub, others absolutely detest it. If you’re not sure what your cat’s feelings are on the subject, expect to be bitten. Similarly, cats don’t enjoy being petted unexpectedly, from overhead, or behind. It’s best to invite your cat over to you and then take his or her cues on how to proceed.
Most cats enjoy a good petting session by their favorite human, until a very clearly defined point in time. Cue the cat bite, followed by your incredulous reaction, and then your antibiotic ointment/bandage.
In addition to biting when playing or when petted the wrong way, cats bite when injured, in pain, or when anxious or afraid. Keep an eye out for dilated pupils, hissing, howling, lashing tail, and flattened ears.
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