How Serious Is a Cat Bite?

Pretty much 95% of the time, our feline friends treat us well. They can be such a source of comfort and great for our mental health, but now and again, they can get annoyed and bite. If your cat does bite you, is it even worth your time to consider getting the wound checked by a doctor?

Cat bites are actually more dangerous than you might realize, and our AFC Urgent Care Sevierville team explains why below.

How Dangerous Are Cat Bites?

When a cat bites, it may not seem like a big deal, but some cat bites can pose significant health risks. Cats have sharp teeth full of many types of bacteria, which can get lodged underneath the skin when the teeth puncture your hand, arm or whichever body part has been bitten. This can cause potential bacterial infection, which can lead to more serious health conditions.

In fact, the infection rate from a cat bite is fairly high. According to recent research, infection occurs in about 50% of cat bites in children. We’ve listed some symptoms of infection to watch out for below.

Common Symptoms of Cat Bite Infection

  • Redness or discoloration
  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • Warmth
  • A bump or blister where the bite wound is located

Will I Need Stitches for My Bite?

Since cat bites typically puncture rather than tearing the skin, stitches are generally uncommon. However, they will be necessary if the symptoms of the bite line up with any of the ones we’ve listed below.

If you’ve been bitten, make sure to stop the bleeding, wash and rinse the wound with warm water, apply an antibiotic ointment and cover it up with a sterile bandage. After you’ve done that, visit our AFC center to make sure no further treatment is necessary.

Signs Stitches Are Needed

  • Bites that are more than 0.25 inches deep, that have jagged edges or that gape open
  • Deep bites that go down to the fat, muscle, bone or other deep structures
  • Deep bites over a joint, especially if the bite opens when the joint is moved or if pulling apart the edges of the bite reveals fat, muscle, bone or joint structures
  • Deep bites on the hand or fingers
  • Bites on the face, lips or any area where scarring may be a concern (for cosmetic reasons). Bites on the eyelids often need sutures for both functional and cosmetic reasons.
  • Bites that continue to bleed after 15 minutes of direct pressure

Have you been bitten? Don’t wait to get the medical care that you need, so visit our AFC Urgent Care Sevierville team today!