Here's my cautionary tale so others can also get help early.
I had to put one of my beloved cats down a few days ago...he was diagnosed with a mass in his chest that compressed his lungs to something like 10% and his heart as well. While the vet was putting the line in, he became scared, tried to jump off the table, and I tried to stop him. I ended up with a very serious cat bite in my hand.
Although I went on antibiotics within the hour, by the next morning I knew they were not working. My hand was red, warm, swollen and the swelling was increasing through the morning. I went to my primary doctor who said I needed to go to the ER immediately. The ER doc said he was admitting me immediately. Yikes! I was in for 24 hours with an IV line in for antibiotics.
Although I've had cats my entire life, I had no idea that a bite could be so serious.
My advice is (1) have an emergency plan so if you get admitted to hospital, your horses can get the care they need, and (2) if you do get a cat bite, get in touch with your doctor immediately and if there is evidence of infection that is spreading quickly, get to the ER!
I have heard similar things about how dangerous cat bites can be. Did your doctors say what's up with that? I had thoguht that a bit is a bit and that any bite can be serious, but didn't realize cats could be so bad.
Cat bites can be bad like that because they have needle-like teeth that can inoculate bacteria, usually Pasteurella, down into the subcutaneous tissues. They are especially bad in the hand because there is very little tissue there and a serious cat bite can get down to bone.
OP, I'm so glad you were on top of your symptoms and didn't brush it off! I hope you heal quickly!
Cats have very 'dirty' mouths, they are MUCH worse to get a bite from than a dog, which is why a lot of groomers don't groom cats anymore. I know a groomer that got bit, she went into shock virtually immediately and kept grooming the cat in a daze as blood was coming out of her hand (we had to stop her and take her to the doctor). I don't groom cats cause of this, however b/c I'm the owner of the shop and very good with difficult animals I am always the one that has to step in and help my other groomer get a cat done when it's difficult haha. I should almost just do them!
BTW sorry to hear that you had to put your cat down. That's always tough, even for the right reasons.
I had a friend bitten by a feral cat she was feeding.
He didn't look quite right, so she tried to see what was wrong and got too close.
She cleaned it good, but in a couple of hours it started swelling and she went directly to the ER, where she also spent some days on antibiotic IVs and almost lost her hand.
The cat was trapped by animal control and tested positive for rabies on top of that.
She had to get the series of rabies shots too.
The ER people told her that if she had gone to sleep waiting for morning to go to the Dr, she may not have been alive by then, those infections can kill you in a few hours.
I had a wonderful cat whose one flaw was blind panic under certain situations. The most prevalent panic situation was a trip to the vet. On two different occasions, i was bitten badly by my beloved, usually darling pet.
I may have dodged a bullet, because the one bite that was on my hand definitely got worse before it got better. (I was on oral antibiotics immediately for both of them.) I wouldn't have let it get horribly bad, but I did think I should give the antibiotics a chance to work. Perhaps that wasn't the right decision, but it ended up okay for me.
I remember the bites being incredibly painful – so deep! The ache was different from a normal cut or bruise and seemed to radiate right down to the bone. I loved that cat dearly, but I don't miss the risk of ending up in the hospital.
Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.
A friend of mine recently rescued a cat from a private owner going through tough times. The cat bit her so she called her father in law (MD) to see what he recommended. He called in an rx for antibiotics immediately, told her what to look out for, and also said that one of the things they commonly saw was that cats teeth would fall out and STAY IN THE PUNCTURE WOUND. Yikes!!!
Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)
I had that happen when one of my cat's bit me. I was moving & she got loose when the movers were packing out my apartment. When I grabbed her, she grabbed back.
It wasn't super, super painful; just swollen & uncomfortable, so I of course went to the barn one last time as planned.
The next day I when I picked up my medical records, my hand was still swollen. I was pretty unconcerned - the front desk had me in the back pretty darn quick & I left with a week or two worth of antibiotics and directions to soak it in Epsom salts at least daily.
I've got a couple semi-feral cats & I'm VERY careful around them. Lord only knows what they've been into.
I got bit by a cat in the line of work once, also as we were euthanizing.. and the vet dropped that cat like a hot potato and grabbed my hand and started scrubbing it with nolvasan so hard it brought tears to my eyes- it was a deep gash and she scrubbed to the bottom, omg it hurt so bad! We had others come finish with the cat (poor thing) but I still have a scar on my hand. No infection ever though.
I don't take any bite/scratch lightly... that hurt.
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey
Yeah, I was having a feral cat spayed and the sedative wasn't strong enough. When she tried to leave I held her and she bit me. Went to the er a little later and it healed up - but it was a bigger deal than one would expect.
My vet said that I had been wrong to try to restrain the cat, and that we were in a small room and I should have just let her go and we could have gotten her after she settled down. My vet was right, I'm sure. Just let them go and start over when they calm down in such situations. I, of course, thought a little more sedative would have also worked to avoid the problem - but will follow the vets advice in the future if possible.
It could have been a very big deal had it his a vein, which it just missed.
She's a great cat, btw - sweetest cat ever - but she was pretty feral then.
My dad collapsed at work one day, everyone thought Heart Attack!! Turns out a cat bit him the day before and he in typical tough guy fashion just "walked it off". Which resulted in massive infection and fever. Luckily it resolved quickly with IV abx. But yeah, not something to mess around with.
When I started bathing cats at the grooming salon I worked at, the very first thing they told me was that ANY cat bite merited an immediate transport to the ER, and it was never acceptable for me to "suck it up." If the cat broke skin, no matter how slightly, I would have to agree to being transported. I thought they were being paranoid at the time, but reading this makes me REALLY grateful they had that policy.
Same here. Semi-feral cat bit me when I was trying to get her into a carrier. Had to go to ER and almost got admitted -- fortunately, they let me go home after giving me a shot and oral antibiotics. Very foolish of me not to have worn gloves.