According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 340,000 individuals every year seek medical treatment following a dog attack. While you may expect a dog bite to leave you with serious physical, mental and emotional trauma, cat bites and scratches can be just as catastrophic. 

Following any animal attack, it is important to seek emergency medical care. After all, serious injury symptoms may not appear immediately. If a cat bites or scratches you, though, you may be vulnerable to a variety of injuries. 

Infection risk 

Cat saliva is full of potentially harmful bacteria. The same is true for the animal’s claws. If an attack breaks your skin, you may develop a serious infection from germ transfer. If you have any of the following symptoms, you may have an infection: 

  • Redness, soreness or swelling near the wound 
  • Numbness, tingling or heat near the wound 
  • Fever, nausea, vomiting or chills 
  • Loss of appetite or thirst 
  • Loss of motion 

While antibiotics are usually effective at treating bite- and scratch-related infections, some infections may require hospitalization. In extreme cases, infection may result in blood poisoning or even life-threatening septic shock. 

Physical scars 

For hunting and protection, cats have sharp teeth and retractable claws. During a feline attack, the animal may bite and scratch you several times. As your skin heals, scars may take the place of open wounds. While scarred skin may look or feel differently than normal skin, it can also be susceptible to additional injury. Regrettably, the physical scars you sustain in a cat attack may be with you for the rest of your life. 

Mental health complications 

Individuals who go through traumatic events, such as a cat mauling, often report mental health complications. After a cat bites or scratches you, you may experience anxiety or depression. You may also develop post-traumatic stress disorder. Accordingly, when addressing the physical consequences of a cat bite, you must not neglect your mental and emotional health.