Headlines Exaggerate Risk from Cat Bites

You have probably seen the headlines that warn humans of the risk that cat bites present.  I have a story to share with you about cat bites.

The human was sleeping, and I was play biting his finger.  Well, he jerked his hand away instinctively, and I did what my instincts told me to do.

I bit down harder, and I cut his finger badly.  He probably should have gotten stitches, but instead, he put a lot of pressure on his finger and stopped the bleeding.  Then his finger healed on its own.

If you've done something to get this reaction, get ready for a cat biteIf you had read some articles about cat bites, you would have thought this was a miracle and that my human was very lucky.  After all, one out of every three cat bites required hospitalization, the headlines screamed.  And even the tiniest pinprick bite, the articles said, could result in hospitalization.  If you believed the articles, the one inch gash on the bottom of my human’s right pointer finger combined with the half inch cut on the top put him at risk of having his finger amputated!

The wound my human suffered from my cat bite was worse than thisWell, my human still has his finger, and the wounds have healed.  And I was very sorry when I did it.  When I released his finger, I looked up at him with sad eyes to tell him I did not mean to hurt him.

Sadly, it does not appear that the humans who wrote this irresponsible article feel the same way.  A further reading of the report that it was based on shows that the risk from cat bites was severely exaggerated.

First, the study only looked at humans who went to the hospital because of the cat bite.  My human did not go, and many humans do not go when we draw blood with one of our bites.  Instead, you do what my human did, and treat the wound at home.

One of the humans in white coats from the Ontario Veterinary College wrote about the actual risk from cat bites.  “Cat bites are nasty,” he warned.  With hundreds of thousands of bacteria in our mouths, and sharp, needle like teeth, our bites are very good at injecting bacteria deep into the bitten tissue.

But one in three people who are bitten by cats getting admitted to the hospital?  The humans in white coats were emphatic about this.  “Not a chance,” they said.

This does not mean you should ignore things when we felines bite you.  You should carefully watch the wound to make sure it doesn’t get swollen or show any other signs of infection.

But you do not have to worry that every one out of three times we bite you, you will need to go the the hospital.  Cat bites are no fun, but they are not that dangerous.  And the headline writers who scare you by telling you that make me want to do this.

This feline facepalm is how I felt when I heard the hype about cat bites

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5 Replies to “Headlines Exaggerate Risk from Cat Bites”

  1. I´ve been bitten, Then I at first pressed out some blood to get out nasty things, then washing it with cooked, cooled water. After that I haven´t (so far) had any problem. So not all bites are nasty! I agree! <3

  2. I agree with you and your human 100% Bagheera on this subject, the media exaggerates so many untruths about cats and health. Another big misconception out there is the issue of toxoplasmosis and pregnant women- so many people believe that if a pregnant woman cleans a litter box (or some really dumb ones think even pet a cat) that she will contract toxoplasmosis thus endangering her and the fetus’ life. Like cat bites, the percentage of women that do contract the disease is so small it is not a major issue to worry about. For a woman to contract it she would have to handle the feces of an infected cat and then inhale or get it in her system via her hands, etc. Who handles cat feces with their bare hands?!! And even if they were to for some crazy reason, they wouldn’t proceed to sniff it close or go eat dinner without cleansing their hands first! Not to mention for it to even be in the feces the cat would have to be infected and it is rare for cats to carry it compared to the scare tactic frequency the media and public portrays. Anyway, I could go on all day and I know I do not need to preach to the already knowledgeable and sensible minds of you and your human. I recall the research he did on the topic of whether flushing cat waste in the toilet was safe to the sewer/septic systems and to other living things– which as you know is another health scare exaggeration in the media unfortunately believed by a lot of people. Thank you for writing about this as the more the correct information gets out there on these misconceptions, hopefully it will help to reduce the numbers of cats abandoned in shelters, put out, or abused by ignorant and inhumane humans who do not research the facts and take out THEIR inability to recognize the difference between misleading, exaggerated ‘news’ and factual reality.

    1. I understand why humans who are pregnant are told to avoid scooping the litter. The odds are very low that they could get infected, but it is a risk that does not have to be taken if there is another human to handle the cleaning of the litter box.

      But the human doesn’t think that the risk of us indoor only cats having the parasite are big enough to warrant not flushing our waste and litter down the toilet.

      1. Yes I agree. My sister is expecting and my feline niece Pumpkin uses a litter box, so my sister has her boyfriend clean the box just in case. They doubt Pumpkin has toxoplasmosis, but have not had her tested to be sure so although it is unlikely to be safe her boyfriend takes care of that duty.
        I do not use a flushable litter at this time for my mancat Kaspars, but if I did I feel the same as your human and would not hesitate to flush it either.
        Btw- you are so handsome and adorable Bagheera, if I were to come over to visit you would you let me cuddle you in my arms and cover you with smooches? Kaspars is a former feral and not what you would call a lap cat. He enjoys giving and receiving love, but only on his terms. Phoebe was a super snuggling, power purring, mellow lap cat who adored giving just as many smooches as she received. I miss that daily love and dose of affection we shared, how I would love to rub my face in that beautiful Bengal fur of yours! Are you like Phoebe or more like Kaspars and Jacey?

        1. I am sorry, but I do not like to be held. I tolerate it from my human, and do not like it when other humans try to hold me. When the human goes to bed, I will hop on the bed and knead the pillow that he is not using. And I will sleep next to him. But I do not like it when he holds me. With humans I do not know, I get very annoyed when they try to hold me. I do not mind if a human I do not know pets me. But picking me up is not allowed!

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