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 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!
Well, 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.