Dog bites get a lot of attention because they are often tragic and serious. But they are not the only animals that can attack a human.
Cats are just as likely to cause harm, and the American Society for Surgery of the Hand explains a bite from a cat could be more dangerous than one from a dog.
Types of bites
The type of bite from a dog and a cat is an important distinction. Dog bites general tear the skin. If they puncture, it is usually not deep. Cat bites, on the other hand, are punctures, and they do go deep.
A dog bite may look worse initially because dogs can often cause more skin damage. But after the initial assessment and treatment, the main concern is an infection, and cat bites are more prone to get infected. This is because they are deep punctures. The skin may help on top, but the area below may not, leaving holes that allow bacteria to grow easily. In addition, because a cat bite may not seem too severe, people may be less likely to get medical treatment. Not properly cleaning and dressing the injury is a good recipe for infection.
Anyone who suffers a cat bite should make sure to clean the wound properly and get medical care to help ward off infection. If the bite swells, looks red, is tender or warm or has pain or drainage, then these are signs of infection that require immediate medical attention.
Just because cat bites may not look as bad as dog bites it does not mean they cannot become a serious medical situation.