Cats are the furry friends of the internet. Who doesn’t love to take a break in the day to watch them try to fit their big bodies into tiny boxes, or jump high upon the kitchen cupboards (sometimes ending in an epic fail)? Cats are calming and soothing when they snuggle into your lap on a chilly day and purr your anxieties away. Unless, of course, you come under attack.
Dogs Aren’t The Only Ones
Dogs are often the culprit when it comes to bites and attacks, but cats can have a nasty side that causes them to sink their teeth into your skin. Cats have very sharp canine teeth that can puncture the skin easily. These punctures are so small that they can seal over quickly, leaving the bacteria from the cat’s mouth trapped under your skin. These bacteria can then multiply and spread, causing an infection in the victim.
Cat’s nails can have the same effect. The sharpness pierces the skin and deposits bacteria down deep. The bacterial spread can cause a condition called cellulitis.
What is Cellulitis?
Cellulitis is a common, potentially serious skin infection that occurs when bacteria enter the skin through a break or wound. Many things can cause cellulitis, but a cat attack can put you at a higher risk of developing it. Possible signs of cellulitis include:
• Redness on skin that expands over time
If left untreated, cellulitis infection can spread to the lymph nodes and bloodstream where it can become life threatening. Sepsis can also occur, often causing flu-like symptoms and leading to grave illness. If any of these symptoms occur, medical treatment should be sought immediately.
What To Do If A Cat Attacks You
If you are bitten or scratched by a cat, it is important to wash the affected area with soap and clean running water. Avoid scrubbing hard, or using strong disinfectants as these can harm the skin tissue. A mild solution of 1 teaspoon table salt and 2 cups lukewarm water can be an effective cleanser. To control bleeding, apply direct pressure to the wound with an absorbent cloth.
It is advisable to see your doctor as soon as possible to avoid a bacterial infection, as this can develop within 24 hours. You might need a tetanus booster, or sutures if the wound is deep enough. You’ll likely receive an antibiotic prescription to avoid a bacterial infection. A doctor might also recommend a rabies treatment if the animal is questionable.
Proving Owner Negligence
Cats are naturally less aggressive animals, so proving negligence upon the owner can be difficult. This is especially true when the cat has been known to be friendly, timid, or has a history of passive behavior.
Some cats, however, can be more aggressive. When owners know that they have a cat that is not friendly and has displayed aggressive behavior in the past, they have a legal responsibility to ensure that visitors are safe in the home. Visitors should be warned about possible hostile behaviors, and the cat should be confined to another area of the house. If this does not occur, and the visitor gets bitten or scratched, the owner can be held responsible for harm that is caused by the cat.
If you’ve been bitten by someone’s cat or any other animal, you might wish to explore your legal options. This is especially true if your injuries were serious and required medical treatments in order to heal properly. All lawsuits have limitations and exceptions, so a personal injury attorney can help you discover what rights you have for compensation. Contact our law firm today to find out what we can do for you.